Choosing Appropriate Wood Bandsaw Blades

Oct 23, 2018

Cutting different types of materials with a bandsaw often requires specific blades -- and there is a wide variety of wood bandsaw blades to choose from, including universal blades. Some blades work well for rough cuts, while others are more appropriate for precision cuts. Along with application, speed, accuracy, and stock size are other factors you must keep in mind when selecting the correct blade for your project.

Types of Wood Bandsaw Blades

  • Standard: a blade with evenly spaced teeth
  • Skip: a blade with fewer teeth, still evenly spaced
  • Variable: a blade with different teeth spacing
  • Hook: a blade with teeth shaped like hooks

Other key variations in bandsaw blades include thickness, width, length, and teeth per inch (TPI). The correct blade length depends on the machine, particularly the size of the wheels that move the blade. While smaller bandsaws require thin or narrow blades, larger machines are designed for thicker and wider blades. 

The spaces between teeth are called gullets. Large gullets make it easier to remove debris, while smaller gullets are useful for smoother cuts. If the quality of the cut is more important than speed, experts favor standard or skip blades. Standard or hook blades work well for ripping and crosscutting. Wider blades yield straighter cuts for resawing. 

Stock Size and Feed Rate

Increasing the number of teeth per inch is necessary for tighter cuts, but this slows down the feed rate. By contrast, a thick blade with fewer teeth will cut logs quickly. Cutting large logs may require adding a riser block, which changes the length of the blade. It is important to read your machine's manual and find blade numbers for appropriate cuts. In some cases, you may have to order a custom blade. 

Switching Blades

One of the problems with switching blades is that it can take 15 to 30 minutes due to resetting tracking, tension, and blade guides. That's why many fabricators turn to the 3/8 inch 4 TPI standard blade as an all-purpose solution, especially when speed is an important factor in their decision-making process. This combo blade works for precision cuts, ripping, crosscutting and resawing. 

A useful accessory for unique projects is a stabilizer, which replaces bandsaw bearings and changes the way the blade cuts. It allows for adjusting blade tension, which can be useful for tighter cuts. For safety reasons, always turn machine power off when switching blades or adding a stabilizer. 

Smaller width blades are useful for curves, while larger widths are more suited for general ripping. Making sure that the blade length and number of teeth match the type of wood you're cutting generates the best results. For more information about wood bandsaw blades, contact Echols Saw and Supply at 602-278-3918.

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