6 Tips to Cutting Corbels on a Band Saw

Band saw is a power-actuated cutting device assembled with a long sharp blade. It has a continuous band of metal tooth stretched between two or more wheels for cutting materials including wood, metal and plastic as defined by Wikipedia. The principal feature of the band saw is its ability of precise cuts with evenly dispersed set of tooth load. Also this device is versatile for curve or irregular shapes of cuts. The minimum radius of curve depends on its width and kerf. However, band saw is an expert solution of making a corbel due to its curve cut ability in an extremely tight space.  

However, as corbel deals with various types of curve shapes, therefore band saw is the last resort to utilize its capacity for making a various kinds of elegant corbel. 

Given the facts, I have designed this article outlining 6 tips to cutting corbels on a band saw so that you won’t need to struggle with other ways to make corbel you dreamt of.    

Tips for Cutting Corbels

Professionals follow couple of brilliant ways to cut corbels. Therefore, if you adopt some proven ways of making corbels, you would be able to accomplish your project efficiently. The following tips are underscored that derived from the professionals’ long experience and recommendations. 

Get Your Band Saw Ready

tips to cutting corbels on a band saw

Credit: Photo: Amazon.com

Setting up band saw is meant here to make your band saw best tuned for making a corbel.  A well setup band saw involves a few basic aspects like choosing the right blade size based on your board, positioning the blade on the crown of the wheel, positioning the guides and thrust bearing, squiring table and tensioning the blade etc. Proper setup of band saw would give you the best result for making any kind of curve cut. 

Draw the Outline of the Corbel on the Board

The simple way to draw a design of the corbel is to get your board little larger than the corbel. Then draw the outline of a corbel with a pencil.  

Larger board allows you to make a relief cut before start cutting in the outline of a corbel. Relief cut has some advantages for accurately making your corbel. So, let’s move to the relief cut to make an outline for the corbel. 

Go for a Relief Cut if the Corbel Involves Tight Curves

Curve cut by band saw is called relief cuts. For making a corbel, you need to have a relief cut first before making outline of the corbel.  The relief cut makes a scope to reduce the wastage of the material. Also it provides you with a bigger area to move the board without winding the blade and offers you a greater precision as relief cut will cut just around the outline to produce a primary shape for the corbel. 

So, go for a relief cut before making a final cut for your corbel. Take care while making cut around the outline on the board so that the cut is not too deep. It would prevent damage to your workpiece. 

Smaller relief cut may produce small amount of wood dust which may get jammed between the table and the blade. This rubbish may damage your workpiece. To avoid such occurrences, don’t try to remove the rubbish while blade is in spinning mode. 

After relief cut, unplug the power from your saw and allow time for the blade to stop spinning. Then take out your board from the machine. 

Now a template of corbel is ready which you can trace on rest of the board pieces. However, sand the rough spots to make it as smooth as possible for tracing it for the new piece. 

Making a Cut Just on the Outside of the Line

The blade’s thickness of the band saw is around 1/16 inches which is called blade kerf. For this part, the machine generates sawdust. It’s advised to remove the dust from the waste part of the board, not the part you will be working on for your corbel. To create more precisely cut part, move the blade around the waste part of the outline preserving the line you are going to cut for your corbel. Never cut just over the line, because you may fail to achieve accurate cut for your corbel if you didn’t leave extra space. 

Continue Cut Forward as You Turn the Material

You always have to be careful while cutting forward avoiding termination of cut in the middle. While making a curve cut, never turn the materials against your forward cutting. If you do so, your cut might be drifting out of the line, turn the saw off, and cause your material get out while blade stops spinning. Don’t exhaust your blade by twisting which may cause your blade to be broken or out of the wheels.  

Manage the Bigger Sheet for Corbel

Moving a heavy or large board on the band saw is a challenge, especially if the band saw is narrow between the exposed blade and the standing column of the body.  In this case, you can manage your board by splitting it in multiple parts using a jig saw instead. But it’s optional.   

Concluding Remarks

As I have discussed that cutting curve cuts in the tight space could be a challenge. That’s why the above tips have been highlighted to make you able to accomplish your corbel making project efficiently. These tips also would help you protect your workpiece. 

You may have other options to follow. But always try to go with the proven ones so as to efficiently deal with such sensitive and challenging project. 

Maintain safety protocols as usual as woodworking project with the saw produces too much sawdust that could cause respiratory problems and eye injury. 

There is no end of learning. Stay in touch with professionals and institutions to continue learning for your professional development.   

I would appreciate if you share your feedback with me so that I can come up with the solutions you may be expecting. 

Last Updated on January 26, 2021 by John Dylan

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