Shop Tip #114
© Frank Ford 2005; Photo by FF

This one's a little difficult to describe. Next time you're "freehand" cutting on a band saw following a pencil line without a fence, try this little trick. As you push the stock through, apply pressure inwards toward the throat of the saw. On most band saws, the throat is on the left, so you'll be pushing the stock lightly toward your left using your right hand. Once you get the feel of it, you'll be able to let the wood "ride" against the back edge of the moving blade, and you can use it like a pivot to guide your cut more accurately. If you look closely, you should see something like the two views below, where on the left side of the cut, the blade isn't touching at the back edge at all, and on the right side, the blade is leaning right against the freshly cut surface. At first, it may seem counterintuitive, but, believe me, it works like a charm when you get the hang of it!