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Bandsaw Blade Size Question

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  • Bandsaw Blade Size Question

    A buddy of mine upgraded to a big swivel head bandsaw and gave me his 9x16 Enco saw. It is in good shape other than a couple of inches of sludge living in the coolant tank and the automatic kill switch is sort of random. Getting ready to order a couple of extra blades and was wondering if the 1 inch blades are worth the premium over the three quarter ones? I have been using a 7x12 Jet for the last couple of years and it was a giant leap over the old 5x6, and I only run a 5/8th blade on it and the cuts are good. I cut everything from 12" wide aluminum to steel angle to 3" steel solids, so I know that there is not going to be one perfect blade for everything. Is something like a 1" 10 tooth starrett the way to go? I hate changing blades and I really hate having unused uncoiled ones ranging around - they either get mashed or they attack me.

  • #2
    If you do a search, you will find a consensus the Starrett blades are not popular.

    For storage, sounds like you need to learn the three loop coil manuever. (you only die once)

    With the full loop in front of you (never turn your back) grip at the 3 and 9 oclock position and twist inward, WHILE moving your hands together, and eventually to a cross-over.

    This will develop the original 12 and 6 oclock nodes swinging under.

    With your third hand (sometimes a bench corner) you can encourage this "swing under".

    And with a flick of the chin and all of that stuff you will have a three loop coil.

    You can reopen the coil in reverse hand motion. BUT never turn your back.

    Hth Ag


    • #3
      The guy at work who does our sawing only uses 10+ tpi blades for thin-walled stuff where he needs to keep a couple teeth in the material.

      For solids, he usually has a 1", 2 tpi (not a typo) blade that he runs damn near everything through. It really seems to open the saw up in terms of speed, but you have to be gentle with the downfeed.


      • #4
        Wow, 2 tpi!

        I've been using Lynox bimetal exclusively for over a year, and won't use anything else given the choice. That's in part to the fact that I'm still running the SAME 3 BLADES! These are the top of the line in my opinion/experience. I've got (something like) 6-10, 10-14, 14-18 multi pitch blades. Those 3 do pretty much anything I put in the saw...
        Master Floor Sweeper


        • #5
          Hi guys,

          I am not a blade expert since I mainly work on the electrical and mechanical end of bandsaws. As well the ones I usually work on are on the large size but I know my boss who does our blade recommendations would look at you 12" piece of alum and see that the saw will have 120 teeth in the cut at once and would recommend a much coarser tooth spec. probably 3-4 vari-pitch. We commonly sell these to a lot of fabricators and steel service centers. Of course they are often using anywhere from 1-2" wide blades and are going for the best balance between cutting speed and longevity.

          Just my 2 cents worths.



          • #6
            I have been buying mine from McMaster who oddly enough has the best price going among the usual suspects MSC,Enco,KBC.

            150x1" biemtal vari-pitch 10-14 runs $50.65.The current blade is over three months old and still running strong after 150lbs of chips being cleaned from the tray.Everything from A-36 to stainless.

            I have to agree on the Starrett blades,they are best suited to wood.Lennox,Sandvik and Simmonds are the top three in my book.The ones I have been getting have been Sandvik.
            I just need one more tool,just one!


            • #7
              Lennox Bi Metal blades only . a 1 inch may be too wide . the teeth are supose to just clear the band wheels you may can get buy with 3/4 wide. depends on the saw. They are designed for a certain size blade.
              Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


              • #8

                Lane as usual is correct. Your saw is meant for a certain size blade. Use that size. Going bigger will diminish the support from the guides and cause tracking problems, increased wear on the guides, and blade breakage.

                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


                • #9
                  And on many saws (paricularly cheaper saws), going smaller will cause the teeth to go over the wheel and loose their "set" on the inside. But some let you control the depth of blade on the wheel so that that same saw can run 1/2" up to 1" blades (and so on).
                  Master Floor Sweeper


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BadDog
                    And on many saws (paricularly cheaper saws), going smaller will cause the teeth to go over the wheel and loose their "set" on the inside. But some let you control the depth of blade on the wheel so that that same saw can run 1/2" up to 1" blades (and so on).
                    Interesting thought. I wonder about my little 4X6 where the blade always runs with the teeth on the wheels. I ran a few import blades when I first purchased it and they always failed by breaking, but since I switched to the better quality blades I find that they will start cutting crooked and I need to replace them to get a straight cut. I need to examine the teeth next time that happens.

                    I wonder if I could cut a groove for the teeth in the wheels?
                    Paul A.

                    Make it fit.
                    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


                    • #11
                      The wheels have a clearance for the teeth if you run the intended 1/2" blades. My 1/2" Lenox(sp?) blades have been running fine for a very long time, and the 10-14 (or whatever that mid blade is) is on it 90% of the time.

                      There is a local saw guru, a fellow with MANY years experience that left a big sharpening/tooling operation and opened a band saw specialty shop here in Phoenix. He makes all manner of band saw blades from top quality roll stock and has ~3 guys working full shifts doing nothing but band saw blades. The biggest ones I saw are well over an inch wide (maybe near 2"?) and looked to by about 1/8" thick, down to bands that look more like flat pieces of wire. Anyway, I wanted some short blades for my saw to do free hand scroll type work. And I wanted a wider blade for straighter long cuts. (Good quality blades fixed the straight cuts, didn't need wider...). He's the guy that warned me about the "ruining the set" issues.

                      He explained that the cheap saws run the blade hard against a wall on the back of the wheel (yep, the HF does). And the only way to run a normal toothed blade less than 1/2" on a cheap saw (without killing the set) would be to make a backing ring or something to hold it off the back lip of the wheel. Better saws with rigid frames locate the band without the wall, so you can have a range of blade widths, each adjusted to run without tracking on the teeth. He said he could make me some short blades that would work, but they cost a lot more and don't work as well. Been a while, but I think the price was something like $40? I pay $20 for the Lenox multi-pitch bimetals that seem to last forever. I passed...

                      So that's a brain dump of what I think I remember of that conversation. This was quite some time back...
                      Master Floor Sweeper


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BadDog

                        He explained that the cheap saws run the blade hard against a wall on the back of the wheel (yep, the HF does). .
                        I think I should take exception to that part of your post.
                        The big horizontal band saw at school ( I can't remember the name
                        but it is one of the big well known names) has a "stop wall" on the
                        back of the wheels. It uses a 1" wide blade and I've made up a few
                        of them over the years. (the students seem to have no concept of
                        apropiate speeds for materials) :-(


                        • #13
                          The Wellsaw 11x18 at work also has back rims on it's wheels,as does my Grizzly 9x14 at home,it also has solid carbide backup guides along with adjustable carbide side guides.The guides make the saw.

                          One tip is to feel the back edge of the band every so often.Over time you will feel a slight burr being raised on the back edge by the backup guides.This situation is worse on saws that use ball bearing backup rollers due to the higher contact pressure.

                          Once you feel a burr,start the saw up and touch a oilstone to the back of the blade and roll the burr off the sides of the band.

                          The burrs eventually form cracks,by removing them before cracking begins you extend blade life from breakage.
                          I just need one more tool,just one!


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't take exception to being stuck with a 1" or larger blade. I think that's an acceptable thing to fix on a bigger saw. I don't want to be stocking all kinds of thicknesses when I'm never going to use them. Some 2, 4, 10, and maybe one finer pitch in 1" would be grand.

                            Our work saw is the same way, a DoAll. Looks like to be in the 15" round capacity range. It's a very fancy automatic, with controllable downfeed pressure AND a sort of "IPM" control. Automatic stock gaging to halt the rapid drop, maximum stock feed is like 72", chip conveyor, coolant, etc. Even has a manual mode, but all the movements are still hydraulic. No heavy lifting.

                            I love that darn thing.


                            • #15
                              Well, maybe I misunderstood, or misremembered the details. But, I distinctly recall that he said the cheap saws would ruin a blade if a smaller blade than spec was run. And that better saws had some facility to allow running the smaller blades. Basically, the only point relative to me was that I couldn't run a small blade like I wanted, the rest was just interesting conversation.

                              Now I'm curious what the deal actually was, I'll try to remember and call him on Monday to see if I can get clarification. I really thought it was the back wall used exclusively for tracking on cheap saws, with better saws having some improved way that allowed variable use of wide and thin blades, so that in any case, you could keep the teeth off the edge. <shrug>
                              Master Floor Sweeper