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 sets of tooth load. Also this device is versatile for curved or irregular shapes of cuts. The minimum radius of the 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 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 the corbel you dreamt of.    

tips to cutting corbels on a band saw
Credit: Photo: Amazon.com

Tips for Cutting Corbels

Professionals follow a 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

Setting up a bandsaw is meant here to make your band saw best tuned for making a corbel.  A well setup bandsaw 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, squirting 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 a 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 starting cutting in the outline of a corbel. Relief cuts have 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

Curves cut by bandsaw are called relief cuts. For making a corbel, you need to have a relief cut first before making an 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 cuts 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 a 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 the blade is in spinning mode. 

After the 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 the 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 a 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 an 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 the cut in the middle. While making a curve cut, never turn the materials against your forward cutting. If you do so, your cut might drift out of the line, turn the saw off, and cause your material to get out while the 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 bandsaw 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 jigsaw instead. But it’s optional.   

Concluding Remarks

As I have discussed, cutting curve cuts in tight spaces 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 projects. 

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

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

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

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About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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