When cutting curved parts on the band saw, there are many times that the curves are parallel to one another. To avoid lumpy curves, I put my thumb down on the band saw’s table to act as a single-point fence.
I prefer this to setting up a fancy single-point fence in wood because my thumb has feelings. I can easily tell if I’m pushing the work in the right direction and with the right amount of force.
This works best with pieces you can steer and push with one hand (my left in this instance) and control with my right.
Here I’m cutting out a pattern for a new crest rail design for an upcoming chair class. The thumb is doing a great job. Once again, a reason that lower species of animals should never be allowed on machinery.
— Christopher Schwarz
16 thoughts on “The Other Band Saw Fence: A Big Thumbs-Down”
I bought my first bandsaw from a fence. He sold machinery from the back of his van, down by the docks.
Instant on/off heavy magnet works well and quickly too, assuming your saw’s table surface is steel. Multiple sources for these are available online.
Ten bucks for a switchable magnetic base like you’d get on a dial indicator. It’ll hold harder than your thumb can (couple hundred kg of holding force). And if you accidentally shove it into the blade, well, you’ve lost a bandsaw blade. Cheaper than a new thumb.
Scott Phillips would not approve.
Not lower. Just different.
I do very little with power tools. I do how ever find myself using my fingers and some times my thumb as a fence. but I do the same thing with my handsaw, chisel and marking knife. a little off subject but still talking chairs I finished my first stick chair Saturday. I love it, Was fun and I do plan on making more check my FB page for pic’s ( The Country Woodwright ). Please keep in mind I didn’t have any plans to build it. Just pic’s. I did purchase a templet and the welsh stick chair book. so the next one will be close to perfect if anything can be perfect.
Are you certain that a non opposable thumb wouldn’t work just as well?
I’m against those.
Disappearing skills of the old school crowd. Good job!
So you’re saying any Hominidae can operating a band saw…? ;>)
If one hand pushes, and one hand guides… Which hand holds the selfie stick?
Your rocking a big blade in this picture. If I’m cutting a curve, 3/8″ is my go to blade width. Does the extra blade width help eliminate lumpy curves?
It is a 3/4″ resawing blade. It does just fine with large shallow curves. And it will let you know if you are oversteering.
On our smaller band saw, our stock blade is a 1/2″ blade. I’ve never liked narrow blades – but I can’t say why.
To help cut out curves, I used a single b/bearing roller mounted to a piece of metal or wood to hold it and clamped the holder to the table at the distance needed. Saves your thumb for ‘hitchhiking’.
Why so much gap between the guide and the work? Bad practice.
For cutting 5mm plywood? The guides don’t even get touched. It’s not bad practice at all.
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