July 1, 2017 by SteelWolfKnives
Tool Spotlight – Bandsaw
A bandsaw is one of the luxuries that can make a knife makers job easier. To be clear, you can make good quality knives and in a normal amount of time just fine without a bandsaw, but having one does a few things for you.
With a good bi-metal blade on your bandsaw, you can cut steel, softer metals (like brass or aluminum), and wood. Using a bandsaw instead of an angle grinder when cutting a knife blank from the steel allows for bigger scraps since the blade is smaller and more flexible. This can be nice for making small trinkets and practice for things like welding or heat treating. Several other knife makers have made bottle openers and pendants out of the scrap. While these are small, they are easy to make and would be going to waste otherwise. So if you can sell them and they’re quick to make, why not?
Along the same lines, a bandsaw can be incredibly useful for long cuts. While using an angle grinder, you need to add relief cuts fairly often so that the disc does not get bogged down and overheat or explode. While this isn’t a problem for smaller cuts, on long ones it is much easier with a bandsaw. Sometimes the sheer thickness and length of the cut means that using an angle grinder would be impractical, if not impossible. Using the bi-metal blade you can quickly follow the cut with fewer relief cuts.
With this same blade, you can cut softer metals. I use it to cut the brass that I use for accent pieces like the bolster or pommel. I have learned that I despise working with brass (but that’s a story for another post), but having the bandsaw means that I can at least cut it quickly and fairly accurately without having to use a hacksaw on it. This should also work for cutting aluminum and copper.
With yet still this same blade, you can cut softer materials for the handle. Both wood and G-10, the two most common knife handle materials, can be put through the bandsaw without burning or melting if you are patient. This is much easier than using a tablesaw and grinding in the shape with a belt sander. It is faster than using a wood saw. You’ll still have to shape the handle obviously, but having close to the right shape before you start on the belt sander will save a lot of time and effort.