If you enjoy making your own furniture, or you are considering starting your own business fabricating large items, one essential item in your tool collection will be a saw. Here’s a guide to the types of saws you’ll need in order to get the best results for your product.
Bandsaws are used for cutting metal, plastic, wood, and other materials such as MDF. A bandsaw is a very versatile piece of kit that you can use to cut curves, as well as straight lines.
Bandsaws are available with various wheel sizes; the larger the wheel, the larger the capacity of the saw in both throat and depth. Bandsaw blades come in different widths, tooth sets, and gauges for different applications and are controlled by guides at the bottom and top of the cut. In addition, most bandsaws come complete with a high-quality cast iron table that can be tilted, and is also equipped with a fence for cutting straight lines.
Beam saws are machines that are used for cutting sheet materials including wood, plastic, and metal. The idea is that the material you are working on remains static and is secured by using a pressure beam. The beam saw is fixed to a carriage that moves along, cutting the material as it does so.
Beam saws come in two main types. Front loading beam saws allow the material to be fed into the machine from the front, drawing it into the beam saw for cutting. Rear loading beam saws automatically load the material from stacks placed at the rear of the saw.
All forms of beam saws are computerised and contain optimisation software to provide you with the best yields from your materials.
Crosscut saws are perfect for cutting materials, specifically wood, to length. Crosscut saws allow you to cut the wood across the grain without risking the material splitting or tearing, which can happen when using a rip saw. The cutting angle of each of the saw’s teeth is angled in an alternating pattern, which allows every tooth to act in the same manner as a knife blade, slicing through the wood smoothly.
General saws and saw benches
General saws and saw benches are generally associated with the sizing of construction materials, especially timber. General saws are useful for performing deep cuts, commonly referred to as ‘ripping’. To accommodate this function, general saws are usually fitted with larger blade capacities and increased motor power when compared to other types of power saws.
Panel saws are used for cutting sheets of material such as MDF, wood, plastic, and chipboard. A panel saw is an essential piece of equipment for a professional woodworking company and is used for cutting panels quickly, easily, and accurately.
A panel saw usually consists of an aluminium sliding table that moves the material from right to left on a crosscut table. The table has an aluminium fence to make sure that the material stays square and also has a stop system to ensure accurate sizing. On the right of the table is a rip fence to accommodate smaller pieces of work.
Most panel saws have scoring saws for use when cutting laminated materials. Most panel saws can be tilted electronically from 0 to 45 degrees, allowing for greater accuracy and quicker setup times. Double tilting panel saws are also available.
Resaws are used when larger sections are required. A resaw consists of a wide blade, large wheels, and a feed system that helps to transfer the timber through the machine. These features make a resaw ideal for cutting timber along the grain in order to reduce large sections into smaller ones or veneers.