Teacher’s Choice: Mr. Arena


In the new series Teacher’s Choice, students interview teachers about their favorite things related to the content area they teach. In this first installment, industrial arts teacher Mr. Matthew Arena shares one of his favorite pieces of equipment: the band saw.


How does the band saw work?

“There are two large wheels stacked vertically inside a band saw. The top wheel spins freely and the bottom wheel is connected to a motor. The blade, which is a long metal band with sharp teeth, is stretched around the wheels. When the motor is turned on, both wheels begin spinning along the blade. The wood to be cut is placed on a flat metal table built into the band saw and is pushed along the table into an exposed portion of the spinning blade.”

What do students use the band saw for?

“Students use the band saw throughout the year for a variety of cuts. The main use is for cutting curves. Most of the equipment can only cut in a straight line. Additionally, the band saw can also be used to cut boards that are too small to safely cut with other large saws.”

Outside of the classroom, what else is it used for?

“An unexpected use of band saws is in butcher shops. Those saws are used to process animals whenever it is necessary to cut through bones. Those band saws look exactly the same as the ones we use in a wood shop except they are made of stainless steel for sanitary reasons. Otherwise, bandsaws are used to cut curved shapes in furniture and cabinet making. Additionally, a portable version known as a jigsaw is used by professionals and homeowners alike to cut curved shapes. I always bring a jigsaw with me to jobs because it is very versatile and cannot be replaced by other tools.”


For more information and a physical demonstration on the band saw, watch the video below.