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How to Set Up a Bandsaw – Step by Step Guide

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 10, 2024

You finally bought a bandsaw?


This machine is one amazing tool that can accomplish many different tasks with ease! That’s why every woodworker loves it, and we are sure you are going to love it too.

However, before using it you have to set it up. This may be difficult for a beginner, or for any person who does not have experience.

That’s why we are going to give you a detailed tutorial on how to set up a bandsaw. After following these steps you will have one absolutely great tool that you can operate safely.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

To follow this tutorial you will need your bandsaw, some safety equipment such as eye protection and gloves, some material to test your bandsaw and of course, patience. It may take time, but don’t give up. We are going to set up your tool together with a step by step guide.

Step by step guide

Step 1: Align the Blade

After you have made sure that you have unplugged the saw comes the first step- aligning the blade. You have to install it and apply small, but enough tension to keep it on the wheels. By using the tracking adjustment at the same time you turn the wheel by hand you have to line up the deepest part of the gullet with the center of the top wheel. And you are done with the first step.

Step 2: Tension the Blade

There is a tenon meter, but most of the time it is not accurate, so you better tension the blade yourself. When your finger can deflect the blade by about ¼ “, then you are ready. Do this at the back of the bandsaw, since nothing will be able to get in its way. 

You should not apply a lot of pressure, when you see your finger is turning white you should stop because you are pushing too hard. Check if the blade is tracking with the gullet.

Step 3: Side Guide Adjustment (Front to Back)

Of course, you have to adjust the side guides. The front side guides have to be placed about 1/16” back from the deepest part of the gullets of the blade. You have to do this with both bottom and top guides.

Be careful! The side guides should not be in contact with the teeth of the blade, since this may lead to dangerous situations.

Step 4: Thrust Bearings

You have to adjust the thrust bearings with a lot of attention, because they must NOT rotate while the blade is moving. However, they have to begin rotating when small pressure is being applied to the blade.

Do not save time on this adjustment, make sure it is perfect, since it is one very important step. Do it with both bottom and top guides, as you did with the previous step.

Step 5: Side Guide Adjustment ( Side to Side)

The adjustment of the suide guides is really important, especially in this step. You have to adjust them close to the blade, but not touching it. When the blade is moving, the bearings have to be stationary. 

If pressure is applied to the blade, even light pressure, the bearings have to start spinning. Again, do not save time here, spend the needed amount of time to make the adjustment perfect.

Step 6: Square the Table

You have to make a small, partial cut into the board by using 2×6 or 2×4. Turn the machine off and flip the board around. Then you have to give a try on getting the blade to slide into the slot you cut before that.

If it goes through it easily with no resistance, then the table is exactly 90 degrees to the blade. However, if it does not slide easily and there is a resistance you have to adjust the blade again. Don’t stop testing until you make it right.

Step 7: Align and Fence

Aligning the fence is one of the last steps. The fence should be aligned parallel with the body of the blade. You do not need to use anything else but a ruler. You can align the fance easily with the right ruler by placing it on the body, between the teeth of the blade.

Step 8: Test Cut

Of course, you have to test a cut. After all, we are aiming at setting up the bandsaw to be used. So, do your tests, try using your bandsaw and check if you have done everything in the right way.

Do not forget that the bandsaw is one powerful machine that can accomplish almost any task, but it can also be dangerous. Wear proper safety equipment while testing it for the first time.


Before you start setting up your bandsaw, we should talk about safety, since this is one of the most important things to consider. The bandsaw is a powerful machine, which means that you have to be aware that dangerous situations may happen.

Before you start working with your machine, you have to be familiar with the manufacturer recommendations for operating the tool properly. We will leave the most important ones here, but this does not mean you don’t need to read the ones in your saw’s box.

  • Always make sure the tool is unplugged- before setting up, or moving any parts of the machine you must be sure that it is unplugged and unexpected start will not happen.
  • Wear eye protection- as we already said, the bandsaw is a powerful machine, so you should keep your vision safe! There is a lot of sawdust and wood chips that can be thrown in different directions, so be careful and wear eye protection!
  • Wear leather work gloves- it is a good idea to invest in good work gloves, since the blades are sharp and can hurt your hands. Be careful and take safety measures.

In conclusion we can say that setting up the bandsaw is one important task that has to be made properly if you want to use your machine. So, read carefully the guidelines, follow every step and make sure you wear safety equipment!

If you need more information you can always watch some tutorials online. Don’t forget to read the manual before starting anything else. We wish you good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How do you set up a bandsaw?

If you want to set up your bandsaw you have to follow some steps. It is not a hard task, but you have to be careful. You have to follow some safety practices and to read the manual, then you have to do the tuning, installing the blade, tensioning the blade, adjusting the guides and adjusting the table and fence. You have to test and you are ready.

2.What are 5 general guidelines for using the band saw?

There are some general guidelines that you have to follow while using a band saw, since this is a machine that may be dangerous in some situations.

  1. Make sure you know how to use it and you have read the manual.
  2. Always wear safety protection equipment such as glasses, face shield and gloves. You should also protect your hearing.
  3. Make sure all guards are adjusted and the band saws are enclosed
  4. Do not use excessive force when pushing the material.
  5. Do not leave the machine running unattended.

3.What should you not do with a bandsaw?

There are some things that you should avoid when using a band saw:

  • Do not put too much power on the material
  • Do not remove the material from the blade while it is running.
  • Never stop the machine by thrusting stock against the edge.
  • Do not change and touch blades while the bandsaw is plugged in.
  • Do not remove sawdust by hand, always use a stick/brush.
  • Never leave a band saw that is running unattended.

4.How far should your fingers be from the band saw?

Your fingers should be far away from the blades, so you can keep them safe. You should always wear safety equipment and you should always protect your hands.

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