Ask the Staff
My bandsaw can be operated at more than one speed. Which is the best speed for cutting wood and should I change speeds for certain wood cutting tasks and using different blades?
Some models of bandsaws do provide the ability to alter the speed of the blade (usually expressed as FPM – feet per minute). The change of speed is usually accomplished by moving a drive belt to a secondary location on the pulley(s) of the drive pulley and motor pulley. Typically the speed to use for all of your wood cutting tasks with your bandsaw, regardless of the blade width or tooth configuration on the blade, would be the listed speed that is closest to 3000 FPM.
The secondary speed offered on bandsaws with multiple speed capabilities is usually a speed that is one-half to one-third the speed of the (approximately) 3000 FPM speed. This slower speed is suitable when cutting some non-ferrous metals like copper, brass and aluminum and perhaps some very mild, thin steel. (This is why some manufacturers over the years called some models of bandsaws wood & metal cutting saws.) Of course you’d want to be using an appropriate blade for cutting metal to get the best results. You may also want to consider providing a lubricant when cutting metal. Keep in mind that bandsaws specifically designed for only cutting metal can have special oil delivery spray nozzles and capture, filter & recirculation systems to handle the oil used for lubrication.
If you use a lubricant for the occasional metal cutting task on your bandsaw, be sure to clean up the saw really well to remove all traces of the oil before you begin to cut wood again. If not, the oil residue may contaminate your wood and show up as a finishing problem later on.
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