A friend confessed to me that he thought he could find a band saw with one blade capable of cutting through all materials.
I knew this was practically impossible. What is weird is that many more people, especially those using band saw for the first time have no idea on which band saw blade to use for what purpose. Band saw blades are available in widths, tooth design, configurations, and materials.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with information on how to find the best saw blade to use and some safety measures to take to prevent any accidents.
Here are the most important considerations:
Which Band Saw Blade to Use
While blades feature different materials, I prefer a carbide-tipped blade or tungsten carbide blade when I need to cut into nickel-alloy steel. It offers more resistance to heat and blades compared to bi-metal blades when cutting harder materials.
For woodcutting, I would recommend Carbon Tool Steel blades. Most manufacturers provide information on what materials such blades are suitable for.
Band Saw Blade Thickness
The continual heating, flexing, and cooling has tremendous effects on the band saw blades causing metal exhaustion/fatigue and finally, metal failure. This underscores the importance of choosing the right blade thickness.
Blade thickness depends on the size of the wheel and the work you intend to do. Thicker blades are capable of withstanding greater cutting the strain is coming from straight cuts.
However, they are prone to breaking from twisting and bending actions. Thinner blades are suitable if you need a band saw for light work.
Blade Teeth Per Inch (TPI)
The golden rule among users of band saws is to maintain at least 3-TPI in the work piece you are cutting at all times. One thing you should know is that more TPI or teeth per inch result in smoother but sluggish cuts while fewer teeth enable faster cuts but with a rough finish.
Maintaining at least three teeth in the work piece being cut provides for better stability and precision both in cutting metal and in cutting wood.
2 or 3 TPI is ideal for re-sawing and cutting thicker materials. 6-8 TPI blades are ideal for general-purpose cutting.
Contrary to what some people may think, band, saw teeth are not universal. Three different styles of teeth in band saws including regular, hook and skip. Regular teeth feature teeth that are proportionally placed making them suitable for general-purpose blades both contour and cut-off sawing. Use them to cut thin materials.
The teeth on skip tooth blades feature a 0-degree rake angle and are more widely set to prevent clogging that might result from cutting soft wood, plastics, and non-ferrous metals. Hook blades, on the other hand, feature larger tooth a positive 10 rake angle.
This enables the blade to feed into the work piece more aggressively for faster cutting.
When it comes to width, it is a good idea to choose the widest blade possible depending on the kind of cuts you intend to make. When you are cutting curves, the width of your blade will determine the minimum radius that you may cut.
Blades that are larger in width are suited for near straight line cuts or re-sawing while smaller blades are ideal for smaller radius cuts.
How to Set Band Saw Blade Safely
You must take utmost care when setting your bandsaw blade. The very first thing to do is to switch off the machine and then disconnect it from the power source.
If you do this, it will prevent the unit from accidentally coming on when changing the blade, leading to catastrophic outcomes. Open both the bottom and the top cabinets and clean them of dust and other debris.
The next step is to loosen the tension on the blade by turning the tension knob. After this, raise the band saw guard, remove the rare blade guard and loosen the blade guard under the table.
You can then safely remove the old blade and slip in a new blade. You can then fix back the saw guards and then tension the saw blade. The process is straightforward but requires skills and a lot of keenness to execute safely.
I would recommend that you watch someone set bands saw blade first before trying it out if it is your first time.
1. Where can I buy band saw blade?
You can find a saw blade in a local hardware store close to you. Alternatively, you can obtain one by purchasing it from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay among others.
2. What Is Blade Tension?
Blade tension is a technical term that determines how strong the blade is for band saws. Band saw blades must be stretched tightly to work properly.
3. Which type band saw blade should I use?
This is purely your choice. You should base it on your budget, cutting needs, and the model of the band saw you are using. This may need some research.
4. What is blade tooth pitch?
Also know as teeth per inch, or TPI, a blade tooth pitch refers to the number of blade teeth that are available in one-inch length a band saw blade. It determines the cutting efficiency and results.
5. What is a rake angle of a band saw blade?
The rake angle is a term describing the angle between the cutting or front face of the tool and a line perpendicular to the work piece. Rake angle can be positive, negative or zero.
You cannot go wrong if you use the above information to your the advantage when considering which band saw blade to use.
Choosing the right blade is a major step in achieving the best when it comes to what a band saw can do for you. If you are still not convinced, then you can speak to an expert.