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Aren't bandsaws the wrong way around?

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Forum topic by KnickKnack posted 01-04-2014 06:32 PM 1219 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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KnickKnack

993 posts in 2314 days


01-04-2014 06:32 PM

Up front I should say I have little or no actual personal experience with a bandsaw, or a tablesaw – but I’ve seen a lot of pictures, and watched a lot of videos.

On all the tablesaws I’ve seen, as the blade spins towards you, the fence is to the right of the blade. The “waste” wood is on the left, and the piece you want is on the right. As you push the wood through, the fence is on the right.

On the router table, although there’s isn’t “waste”, it’s the same basic orientation – you’re pushing the wood through, with the fence to the right of the workpiece.

If you imagine one hand doing the pushing forwards, and the other keeping the piece against the fence – it’s the right hand pushing forwards, and the left hand pushing into the fence.

Yet, on the bandsaw, it seems, the fence is on the left – the opposite way to the other two bits of machinery above – left hand pushing forwards, and right hand pushing against the fence.

Resawing on table saw…

Resawing on bandsaw…

Perhaps the enlightened here in our little community could explain why, exactly, bandsaws are designed to be used in exactly the opposite way to the other machines? Were they invented by a left-handed person and no-one’s ever thought to design a bandsaw that works in the same orientation as the other machines?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."


22 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2395 days


#1 posted 01-04-2014 06:44 PM

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distrbd

1305 posts in 1194 days


#2 posted 01-04-2014 06:49 PM

it makes a difference if the BS body “C” frame is to the right of the blade or to the left.

-- Ken from Ontario

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KnickKnack

993 posts in 2314 days


#3 posted 01-04-2014 06:50 PM

Indeed Loren, I have seen them the “other” way around, but very rarely.
All those bandsaws seem somewhat old.

I just did a google image search for “bandsaw” – Ryobi, Inland, DeWalt, Einhell, Hammer, Felder etc etc – all “left-handed”.
It does, does it not, seem to be the norm, and I wonder why?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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DKV

3194 posts in 1251 days


#4 posted 01-04-2014 06:56 PM

Actually, the fence on a bandsaw can go on either side. The side of the tablesaw is typically determined by tilt and the direction of cut on the router table is determined by spin direction. Also, the open area on a bandsaw is typically to the right.

-- Have fun and laugh alot. Life can end at any moment. You old guys out there know what I mean...

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1717 days


#5 posted 01-04-2014 06:58 PM

I can mount the fence either side of the blade on both my table saw and bandsaw, and it really is useful. I think for the most part though, the ergonomics of workshop machinery are biased for the right handed user.

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bondogaposis

2749 posts in 1099 days


#6 posted 01-04-2014 07:03 PM

On my old Delta 14” BS the fence can go to either side and I have used it both ways many times. It does seem more natural however to put the fence on the left side and push the piece through from the open side of the saw. Putting the fence on the right side then forces you to push the piece through from the closed side of the saw and feels a little more confined. I’m right handed BTW.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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KnickKnack

993 posts in 2314 days


#7 posted 01-04-2014 07:05 PM

Also, the open area on a bandsaw is typically to the right.
Exactly!
Which makes the side to the left of the blade the obvious and natural place for the fence.
Which makes it “left-handed”.
Why?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View natenaaron's profile

natenaaron

377 posts in 545 days


#8 posted 01-04-2014 07:08 PM

my fence when I use one goes on either side as it is home made. I very seldom use a fence on the band saw though.

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 786 days


#9 posted 01-04-2014 07:38 PM

My guess, and it’s just a guess: On a tablesaw you just push. The right hand might seem natural because most of us are right handed. Bandsaws aren’t made just for straight cuts. We have to push the wood in, and control the direction of cut at the same time. So the left hand does the dumb-work (pushing) and the right-hand does the smart work (controlling).

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Bogeyguy's profile

Bogeyguy

499 posts in 815 days


#10 posted 01-04-2014 07:38 PM

Why is there air???

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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DKV

3194 posts in 1251 days


#11 posted 01-04-2014 07:44 PM

Bogey, that sounds like something my old self would ask. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

-- Have fun and laugh alot. Life can end at any moment. You old guys out there know what I mean...

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

14579 posts in 1422 days


#12 posted 01-04-2014 07:45 PM

Bogeyguy,
To keep the head inflated, of blondes of course!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3735 posts in 2482 days


#13 posted 01-04-2014 08:44 PM

Having worked in a grocery store in high school, I often had to break down the bandsaw in the meat dept and clean it. The opening was to the left of the body, like a mirror image to conventional woodworking bandsaws. In fact, a butcher-shop bandsaw is a cool thing to have if you can find one, most of them have a ‘live’ table which would be perfect for those awkward cuts. Perfect for southpaws like me, too.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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MrRon

2980 posts in 1991 days


#14 posted 01-04-2014 08:56 PM

Bandsaws and tablesaws were designed for right-hand users by right-handed designers. If you are right-handed, the fence on the left on a BS and on the right on a tablesaw, affords the most un-obstructed view of the cutting action.

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rance

4147 posts in 1908 days


#15 posted 01-04-2014 09:24 PM

I regularly use an Inca like in Loren’s 3rd picture. It is a nice one. It seems weird using it like that though. Particularly when using it with the fence.

Actually, I believe both the TS and BS were designed for the right-handed person. On a TS, your dominant hand mainly pushes forward with a push stick with slight side pressure toward the fence. It makes sense to have your dominant hand to do this. On a BS, your dominant hand mainly pushes to the left while pushing forward. As you shake someone’s hand, your palm is to the left and it makes sense to have the fence to the left of the blade. If you are free-handing, then it makes no difference.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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