Making curves with a bandsaw

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Forum topic by daddywoofdawg posted 09-16-2015 04:03 PM 709 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 995 days

09-16-2015 04:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shaping

I have a band saw that I use at least 3 times a week,But when I’m cutting curves I get sometimes a little twist in the blade,or have to back up and come in from a different angle and big sweeping cuts,using a blade that shouldn’t be a problem for that size blade.
My question is what Is the proper way to Making curves with a band saw?I looking for technique type answers,and don’t see on you tube anyone talking about the technique,they just do it.
Do you push and turn?are you turning and pushing at the same time? what is the proper way,before I learn bad habits.
It’s one of those things that you don’t think about,but doing it right saves killing a blade,and making a simple cut hard.

13 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 09-16-2015 04:16 PM

Hi Daddy

Haveing trouble cutting curves can be for a number of reasons #1 too tight of raduis for the width of blade you’re #2 using, a dull blade or blade with not enough tension on it,#3 poor technique such as feeding the material to fast. #4 a underpowered band saw.

-- Custom furniture

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#2 posted 09-16-2015 04:20 PM

One other item is before cutting curves it’s always a good idea to cut relief cuts along the radius to help the blade from being place in a tight turn.

-- Custom furniture

View Porchfish's profile


747 posts in 1952 days

#3 posted 09-16-2015 04:29 PM

listen to a1Jim,sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. another lil’ tip, use a stone to lightly round off the back of your blade (I use an old broken 400 grit waterstone, but I think any med. oilstone will do the job. They sell them with lil’ wooden paddle handles glued on….don’t waste your $$ ...the idea is to remove burrs and the squared off edges that can effect the degree of smoothness in curved cuttings.

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1771 days

#4 posted 09-16-2015 04:38 PM

Another trick is to “stone” the back of the blade to ease the sharp edges, helps in sawing curves.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2663 days

#5 posted 09-16-2015 04:40 PM

Keep the upper blade guide down close to the work and make sure they are aligned correctly.

View Daruc's profile


459 posts in 552 days

#6 posted 09-16-2015 05:02 PM

steer from the back as you guide it through, if that makes any sense.

-- -

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 995 days

#7 posted 09-16-2015 06:23 PM

I think what I’m looking for is technique the how is it done,is it a pushing turning motion? Ya it’s not in the saw or it’s power or blade that I’m having trouble with. but the technique.I see videos and they go though a curve like a sports car,but I’m more like a semi going down a winding driveway. It’s more that i have to make a lot of relief cuts to make a cut.using any size blade.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1789 days

#8 posted 09-16-2015 07:06 PM

If you tension is set up correctly, and you have a sharp blade, one of the things that’s helped my bandsaw curve cuts is to make sure that you’re feeding at the correct rate. For me, that means make sure that there’s always pressure pushing the piece through (to avoid stopping/starting), but also that the pressure is light enough that you’re not giving the blade a chance to do its cutting.

You made the reference that when other people do it, it goes through the curve like a sports car. That’s a good analogy. Think about taking an off-ramp in a car, or on a motorcycle. You try to gauge the radius of the curve and turn the wheel, or lean and apply bar pressure, such that you can maintain that one position throughout the curve. If you need to make corrections, do them slow and smoothly. Your curve will look better if you get back on track over 6 + inches than if you try to do it in 1.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


4028 posts in 1619 days

#9 posted 09-16-2015 07:19 PM

Cutting curves on a band saw (and scroll saw) takes some practice. There are several good videos on how to do curves on a scroll saw, and how to hold the piece so you have one hand providing the pivot and the other doing the pushing. Same deal on a band saw.

The guys doing it like driving a sports car have had LOTS of practice :) I’ve done quite a lot of work on both the band saw and scroll saw, and I still drive ‘em like an old geezer driving a 49 Chevy pickup down a dirt road! Slow and steady.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View shipwright's profile


7084 posts in 2218 days

#10 posted 09-16-2015 07:32 PM

I’ve done a lot of hours on bandsaws and now in my retirement I do a lot on my chevalet. I use the same technique for both. I think Ed is describing about the same thing in a different way. I try to look not at the area being cut but at an area just ahead and think of that area being lined up into the blade in a moment. I’m thinking ahead of the cut I guess you’d say.
Bottom line: practice, practice, practice

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View bearkatwood's profile


1172 posts in 431 days

#11 posted 09-16-2015 07:51 PM

I was going to comment and help, but ,man does this site have a bunch of talented woodworkers who are very helpful. I guess I would just say check your set up and listen to these guys, they’re onto it.

-- Brian Noel

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 811 days

#12 posted 09-16-2015 09:34 PM

I would say that practice is super important…but it is the LAST important thing.

You could practice all day with a fat, dull, loose blade…and never get any better at it.

Tighten your dull blade up until it breaks and make note of where that was…then put on a new sharp blade and tighten up almost that much :)

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View Yonak's profile


979 posts in 941 days

#13 posted 09-17-2015 04:04 AM

dawg, check out this chart for blade width versus curve radius :

Are your curves tighter than they should be ?

Did you follow Porchfish’s and Bondo Gaposis’s advice about burnishing the back edges of the blade ?

Use a skip tooth or hook tooth blade with as few teeth per inch as you can get. Is your blade sharp or do you try to get too much mileage out of it ?

Regarding push vs. turn, you should only push as much as you need to keep from binding on a tight curve, no more.

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