Imagine working on a huge commercial project and being instructed to cut 100 hangers out of threaded rods and steel stock. Your first thought would probably be that you’d be at the job site forever before you get the job done. However, if you have a handy power tool on hand, then the task can be completed in no time.
If you’re in the field and can’t bring your band saw with you, or you don’t have the time to bring your metal stock back to the workshop, then a portable band saw is a must-have tool. This band saw cuts through unistrut like warm butter, and the larger handheld models can even slice through more than one threaded rod at a time. Needless to say, it’s a great power tool that can save you precious hours of manual work.
What Is a Portable Band Saw Kit?
A portable band saw kit is essentially the handheld band saw unit, a carrying case, and additional blades (depends on the make and manufacturer). Cordless models might come with batteries and a charger. As soon as you purchase a kit, it’s pretty much good to go, though you might need to charge its batteries beforehand and install the flexible blade.
What Can You Do with a Portable Band Saw?
People who first see a handheld band saw will probably question why it’s needed when table-top band saws are rather lightweight and portable. In all honesty, this is a fair question to ask. However, if you need to cut metal or plastic pipes in the field, a floor or tabletop band saw won’t be as readily available as its handheld counterpart.
Portable band saws come with varying cutting capacities. The cutting capacity refers to the maximum size of an object that the unit can slice through in a single pass. You can fit objects as wide as 5 or 6 inches in the largest models, and the smallest ones for cutting single metal rods or plastic pipes can have a capacity of 2 inches or less.
We mentioned earlier that this tool is a time-saver. Basically, with larger models (5- to 6-inch cutting capacity), you can pass the blade through multiple objects in a single motion without the risk of sparks or flying metal debris. If you need to cut several metal channels down to length, stack them up on top of each other and plunge the band saw’s blade downwards through the metal. Keep the edge of the channel flush with the unit’s shoe to ensure uniform cuts from the top channel all the way down to the final one.
If you’re wondering what the handheld band saw can do that the tabletop or floor band saw can’t, the answer is nothing. This handheld model can be used to produce straight cuts in and through wood, metal, and plastic objects, and it can even be used to make intricate curved cuts when the need arises. Simply mount the unit sideways on a makeshift stand and it can be treated like a normal-sized band saw.
What Are the Pros of a Portable Band Saw?
You get several benefits from a portable band saw that you won’t get with a bench-top one. First of all, these units are extremely lightweight (around 15 pounds) and can be carried from place to place with ease while stored in its carry case. “Portable” tabletop band saws can weigh upwards of 70 pounds and are a hassle when loading and unloading from your truck.
Secondly, portable band saws have several safety features installed to enhance comfort and controllability. They come with reinforced shrouds (protectors) that prevent damage to the unit when accidentally dropped from high places or after passing through materials. Their handles are usually coated with rubber grips to improve comfort and reduce fatigue. In addition, they can come with several other features, such as built-in LED lights or hanging hooks.
Finally, the biggest benefit you get is that they are considerably cheaper than traditional band saws. Because they’re compact, lightweight, and require less power to operate, they come with a friendlier price tag compared to their tabletop or floor counterparts.
That about sums it up for the portable band saw. It works similarly to a traditional tabletop or floor band saw, but it’s handheld and can be used to cut through multiple rods, rebars, channels, and small-diameter pipes with ease. To get the most out of your portable band saw, pick a model that has a sufficient cutting capacity which suits you best in the field (between 1-1/2- to 6-inch cutting capacity).