Cutting Metal in the Woodshop

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 03-19-2012 01:17 AM 3781 reads 3 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As woodworkers we also need to cut metal once in a while. Also, having the ability to cut metal will allow us to create custom handles as I have on past projects.

The question is how do we get a clean cut? Hacksaw? Reciprocating saw?

Nope – portaband is the answer.

The portaband is a powerful, smooth cutting portable bandsaw and a tool that I recommend for any custom woodworkding shop.

Hope you enjoy!

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

20 comments so far

View WoodLe's profile


155 posts in 2819 days

#1 posted 03-19-2012 01:42 AM

Great tool! Todd. I use one of these Milwakees all the time at my workplace. Way nicer than a recip any day! Recips still have their place in hard to reach places, but if there is anyway to use a hand bandsaw, that is what I reach for.

-- Wooster, Ohio

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#2 posted 03-19-2012 01:44 AM

It is definitely a smooth cutting machine due to the blade traveling only one direction. It is great for cutting metal stock and does not take up much space on the shelf.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2862 days

#3 posted 03-19-2012 01:48 AM

Thanks Todd, I have had one at my job for the last 12 years. It does get heavy use and its great. We use a Milwaukee.
Nice video.
And yes it is the only one we have had.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4423 days

#4 posted 03-19-2012 01:50 AM

Todd I often have wanted to buy one of those saws. (For the portability) Maybe 40 years ago I bought a Sears metal bandsaw. I have gone through many blades over the years and I’ve made a lot of things out of metal and also fixed lots of kids playground equipment that haven’t stood up to four or more rambunctious kids.

Great review.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 01:55 AM

superdav – that just proves my point on spending the money a pro-grade tool.

Karson – I need the portability for my remodel work so this was really my only choice. It was a good choice too.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3174 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 02:31 AM

Great tip. I had to cut metal on my last project it was a pain. I was thinking about a reciprocating saw but I may have to look into one of these.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Hogger270's profile


11 posts in 2282 days

#7 posted 03-19-2012 04:13 AM

Woodworking band saws and lathes can somtimes be used to cut metals but tooth pitch and rake angles almost allways need to be changed. try for three teeth in contact with each layer of metal being cut and lower rake angles from +5 to -5 degrees. Two or less teeth will result in ripping the teeth off of the band. The lowest speeds available on woodworking machines is almost allways too high for metals (Aluminum can be cut at higher than the normal lows of woodworking machines if continuosly lubricated). Brass,copper, zinc,(non ferrous) and cast iron (mild not chilled) are possible. The addition of a jack shaft in the drive system is highly desirable. Lubrication and cooling are needed for all except cast iron which should be cut without either. Coolants (broad definition ) Primarily cool the cutting teeth and the material being cut with some lubricating properties. Lubricants Primarily reduce friction between the chips ,stock and tooth gullet with some coolant properties. As woodworking machines are not equiped with coolant sumps and guards flood coolant systems are seldom used . A gravity drip or spray mist system, manual brush application,or application from a solid form are more suitable.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 04:38 AM

Hogger270 – I think you have a good topic now for a blog;)

I don’t do a lot of metal work, I hire most of it out. I don’t have the room in my shop and I don’t have the money to spend on it. I know guys that have the tools & experience to see my ideas through.

The portaband provides a relatively inexpensive way to do basic work with metal in a woodworking shop.

I have done some custom work myself. It was a fun challenge to create solid copper handles on a modern design closet.

Click for details

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#9 posted 03-19-2012 05:56 AM

gr8 sell on the portaband saw. I do like incorporating metal/iron in some wood projects. I’ll definitely keep one o these in mind if I ever decide to buy one. Thnx for the review

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3213 days

#10 posted 03-19-2012 06:15 AM

Great little saw, the trades men use them a lot in remodeling and demo. I work in a machine shop so I can do the government work in my spare time if I have to. I haven’t tried yet but I was buying jig saw blades today and there was a pack of carbide tooth blades made by Bosch, it would probably do real nice for flat plate metals. Good presentation Todd, well cut and clean!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4002 days

#11 posted 03-19-2012 11:38 AM

Hi Todd,

Your right, they are very handy to have in the remodeling business. I have the Porter Cable, and it has worked well for me for a good number of years.

I also have a Revolution metal cutting chop saw, which uses blades that look like wood cutting blades, but will handle some serious steel. It can also be used on stainless and aluminum with a different blade.

Much less sparks and burrs the with the abrasive blade chop saws. ANd much faster cutting. They also make a hand held circular saw for cutting steel.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3107 days

#12 posted 03-19-2012 01:39 PM

The Portaband is a great tool, and the parts are readily available if you are going to be using it a lot. The new
enclosed blade metal cutting skil type saws also work great, I have had one for several years now, and also use
the abrasive cutting discs on my grinder, which involves gloves and a face shield. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3695 days

#13 posted 03-19-2012 08:29 PM

Nice tool, Todd!

View Stephenw's profile


273 posts in 2408 days

#14 posted 03-19-2012 09:59 PM

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3174 days

#15 posted 03-19-2012 10:05 PM

The metal cutting bandsaw table is awesome!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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