How to Use a Horizontal Band Saw

Jan 17, 2019

A horizontal band saw, which is like a horizontal guillotine, is useful for cutting big pieces of metallic or plastic objects. The blade slides on rollers while the stock remains stationary, held with clamps. Horizontal band saws come in various sizes from portable to stationary units. Here are important points to know about these saws and what they are used for.

Cutting Techniques

Cutting a high volume of large pieces of metal such as pipes is a common task for a horizontal band saw. The moving blade is useful for cutting objects at specific angles, as the horizontal band saw only allows for straight cuts, which can be at 45 or 95 degrees. While a vice is used to hold the work piece in place, a hydraulic valve is responsible for the cutting pressure and how well the saw can cut. Since a horizontal band saw is often used for cutting metals, cooling oil is applied as a lubricant. The blade will periodically need to be changed to ensure quality performance.

Safety Issues

The main point to remember when operating a horizontal band saw is to keep your distance. The sharp and swift blade can cut and remove fingers quickly. You should only operate the machine if you understand all the controls. You don't want to touch any part of the machine while it is operating, including the guide arm. All the guards and covers should be closed. You should never try to adjust the stock while you are cutting it. When adjusting the blade tension, make sure the machine has come to a complete stop.

When mapping the location of cuts it's helpful to use a marker to mark lines on the work piece. Then the operator should determine the proper clamping position and the amount of cooling fluid. Selecting the appropriate cutting speed is also a factor for best quality cutting. For maximum safety, use protective gear such as safety glasses and ear plugs.

Working With Blades

Be aware that blades can break during operation and create a hazard in the workplace. A moving blade becomes more dangerous when it attaches to loose cloth or hair. That's why the work piece needs to be strongly supported by a table. Prior to turning on the machine make adjustments to guides, guards and the cutting head. Once the band saw is turned on listen for a clicking or ticking sound. Turn the machine off if you hear such a noise and have it inspected by an expert.

For cuts, make sure the working piece is completely secured. You should allow the blade to reach full speed before making the cut. Then let the blade come to a complete stop prior to releasing the vice.


Whether you are building a book case or fixing a leaky pipe, a horizontal band saw is a useful tool in the workshop for a wide variety of metal cutting. Contact us at Echols Saw and Supply at 602-278-3718 to learn more about appropriate tools for your projects.