Band Saw is an important tool for a variety of cutting applications and this tool gives you complete precision along with diversified functionality that makes it a must to have tool in a workshop. The most important part of the band saw over which the entire performance of this tool depends is the blade. With the right kind of blade chosen for your everyday work, you will make your job a lot easier. A wrong selection of blade can make teeth of the blade dull and can even damage your expensive stock piece. It may appear difficult but choosing the right kind of blade is simple, you just need to understand your requirements and then select the ideal tooth shape, teeth per inch and size of the blade.
Choosing the Right Band Saw Blade
Some of these tips/steps will help you in choosing the best blade for the kind of work you will usually perform with the band saw.
1. Identify your needs and check blade performance:
When finding out the right blade for band saw, you need to scrutinize your requirements of work and budget. You should be able to find a blade that is well under your budget and is capable of giving you desired performance with durability. These factors are extremely important. Your band saw blade must be capable of performing all different applications that you need. Improved productivity, good surface finish and low cost must be considered in order to make a profitable decision. You may need to deal with hard materials, solid shapes cutting, structural cutting, tubing and much more and since you may not be able to find a blade satisfying all these requirements. Thus you need to make out whether you wish to buy dedicated blades or some blades that work well with different applications.
2. Blade Pitch:
A tooth per inch is referred to as the pitch of the blade for a band saw. If you would be dealing with very hard solid material, you may need a blade with a lower pitch. Lower pitch blades are more aggressive ones and give you faster cutting however the cuts will be rough over surface.But if you wish to have cleaner cuts, you should select a higher pitch blade which will be slower in comparison to the other one.
3. Blade Width:
When shopping for a band saw blade, you will find a wide range of blades having different widths. Blades that have more width are usually the stiffer ones and these blades will be most appropriate for making straight cuts. You can even resaw board in a thin board and can make veneers with the use of such blades.On the other hand, blades that are narrow are capable of offering tighter curves. These blades usually have higher pitch.
4. Blade Kerf:
As blades come in different sizes in terms of width, you will also find varied thicknesses for blades. A thinner blade will have narrow kerf and thus this blade will be able to make cuts easier. A thinner blade will be most suitable when you are carrying out some specialized cutting operations such as veneering. However if you are dealing with green wood, you will find a thicker blade more appropriate and helpful.
5. Blade Tooth:
Usefulness of a blade hugely depends upon shape of its tooth. You will find blades with a wide variety of tooth shapes. Common shapes of tooth include skip, raker, hook etc. Many of the band saw cutting applications can be performed with the use of hook tooth. This one works much faster for cutting in comparison to its slower peers raker, standard and skip. The other three shapes mentioned here should be used if you wish to have complete clean cuts and you will find these teeth with higher pitch blades.
You will also find variations in material that the blade is made up of. You can buy carbon steel hard blade, bimetal blade or carbide tipped teeth blade. Considering low cost, hard carbon steel is the best option having lowest cost. Carbide ones are costly but are highly durable. For average longevity and price, you should go for bimetal blades.
Other Considerations for Best Performing Blade
Not only the blade itself; but there are other important considerations that you must keep in mind when choosing a band saw blade.
- As with all other tools, you need to maintain your band saw in a perfect functioning shape. Keep a check on its accuracy and make it vibration free in order to give your band saw blade a longer life. If you are experiencing blades wearing out, the problem may not be blade but you should check adjustment of wheel or guides that may be causing this problem.
- Knowing the tool and having knowledge for proper use for different applications is important. Before operating your band saw you must know everything about operation of this equipment. Improper use may cause harm to your band saw blade.
- You must have right coolant for varied cutting applications. This would not only give you improved cuts but will also give your band saw blades longevity.
Apart from all the tips and tricks that we have shared here for proper selection of blade, you must also check reviews of your specific band saw model in order to make out which blades work best for varied applications with your saw. Careful selection will give you worry-free operation for years. You should pick up a band saw that suits your purpose of cutting and have all the characteristics for offering you cleaner cuts.