From sawmilling through resawing, ripping and blank cutting, we use five bandsaws. The sawmill and resaw have 4in. wide blades Stellite tipped teeth, and the other three have narrow carbon blades from 11/4in. wide for the ripper, 3/8in. for cutting circular discs and 1/2in. wide for smaller ripping and resawing.
The blades we sell are the same as the type we use.
For a few years we sold a blade rightly claimed to have durable edge, then our suppliers more or less told us that we were taking business from them so closed our trade account!!
We were desperate to continue using and selling the same blades so put a bloodhound out to find the source of the blades and before long were told we could obtain the same blades but welded up by another manufacturer.
They cut true and last better than any we have tried, and we think we have tried them all.
Cutting discs is about the most demanding job you can ask of a band blade and the reason why some suppliers have switched to square bowl blanks.
The key to good bandsawing is to have the right blade for the job and feed the wood into the blade at the correct speed. Let the blade do the work. This being so, correct blade tension with well set guides and thrust bearing makes bandsawing an effortless and satisfying job.
The coarser the blade, the bigger the gullet space to carry the saw dust, so ideally, you want as few teeth per inch as possible commensurate with the fineness of the cut required and the thickness of the timber.
For discs and resawing, 3 or 4 tpi will suit most workshop bandsaws but the smaller models will not generally have the power to take such a big ‘bite’, so 6 tpi blades are usually supplied for these.
Blades up to 1/2in. wide are 0.025in. thick, blades from 1/2in. to 1in. are 0.035in. thick and the 1 1/4in. are 0.042in. thick.
We mention this because the thicker the blade, naturally, the less it likes to flex, so although wider/thicker blades might fit the smaller bandsaws and theoretically rip in a straighter line, they will inevitably work harden and break more quickly as they are forced to bend around the smaller wheels.
It is worth mentioning that about two years ago, we threw the book away and stopped taking the tension off the blades at the end of the day.
Apart from on the 4in. bandsaws, we haven’t taken the tension off a narrow blade since early in 2002 (except for changing blades of course!) and we reckon our breakages have been reduced considerably. We put it down to keeping the blade under steady pressure.
The same book said you can cut a 1 1/2in. diameter circle with a 3/8in. blade, but we struggle to cut below 5in. diameter unless the wood is thin or soft, so hope this might act as a guide if you are cutting blanks.
There are around 190 combinations of length and width in our list, all of which can be either skip or standard toothed and some can be with extra set, so to list them is somewhat impractical.
We are now moving over to skip tooth blades throughout and will phase out all standard set blades as we re-stock.
Skip toothed means that the teeth are set one to the left, one to the right and one without set. This tooth acts a ‘raker’, carrying the sawdust from the cut, aiding accuracy, smoothness and speed of cut.
We have a standard list of around 40 blades in various sizes. We will be pleased to quote for blades from 50in. to 312in. long in widths of 1/8in. 3/16in. 1/4in. 5/16in. 3/8in. 1/2in. 5/8in. 3/4in. 1in. and 1 1/4in. tooth configurations of 24, 18, 14, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3 and 2 teeth per inch, depending on blade width.
We order regularly and be happy to order just one blade at a time for you. Just call or email us for a quote.
How to measure blade length.
Fix a narrow strip of tape around the blade, put the blade flat on the floor like a wheel and make a pencil mark where the tape touches the floor.
Carefully roll the blade across the floor in a straight line then make another mark when the tape touches the floor.