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bimetal or carbon steel bandsaw blades?

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  • #16
    Bi metal. I've used both on my chicom 7 x 12. My experience is bi-metal costs twice as much but lasts 4 to 6 times longer. Even I can work that math.

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    • #17
      The carbon steel bandsaw blades have the advantage of greater flexibility. These "soft back" blades work really well when you are cutting out strange shapes on a vertical bandsaw, but they still dull much faster than bimetal. They are also cheaper. I went through four carbon steel blades (not counting the chineese one) on my 4X6 before I switched to an "aggressor" bimetal blade. I think it was the cheapest bimetal blade that Enco had and I bought two of them. I've yet to replace the first one and I've cut a lot of spring steel, 4140, cast iron, low and medium carbon steel, leaded steel, etc. I've often pushed the saw beyond it's capacity and yet that blade is still sharp.


      My vote is for bimetal!

      Mcgyver - Keep in mind that the instantaneous temperature at the tooth can be pretty high, even when the blade is running slowly. Also, bimetal is, I suspect, harder than ordinary steel. For instance, most tool steels harden to a max of about 60 Rockwell C while M2 can be hardened to 65 Rockwell C and Rex 95 or other high cobalt alloys will harden to 69-70 Rockwell C. Of course, their main advantage is increased hot hardness, they are still a little bit harder even at normal temperatures.

      edit: Clutch - if you choose bimetal (you should ) then you probably only need to buy one blade. Unless you run the saw "balls to the wall", you'll probably decide you need a saw for yourself long before it becomes time to change the blade again.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Black_Moons
        mechanicalmagic: Ever try to file or hacksaw those 'blade killing' materials? Might be a little easyer test.
        Nope,I got so many drops and bars in the rack / bins, I just take one out and machine it. In retrospect, I should have marked it, but I didn't, it's in the bins now. Hindsight is 20/20. I DO mark the stuff when I find it.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Fasttrack
          l!

          Mcgyver - Keep in mind that the instantaneous temperature at the tooth can be pretty high, even when the blade is running slowly.
          agreed, temp and heat is often confused, its temp which is mostly dependent cutting speed that we need to worry about aging the tool steel blade...and coolant wont help much either. Its theorizing for me, i'm using a bimetal blade. As i think more about it it might not be practical to slow the blade down enough that temp didn't affect the edge....still a if I had a blade welder it would be worth looking into the cost of a roll and putting the saw at its slowest speed. I like solutions that have a 30 year life span siting on the shelf vs having to stop work or runabout picking up another $30 blade . All idle talk until i stumble over a $5 blade welder
          .

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          • #20
            I won't even buy a carbon steel blade for my hacksaw anymore. About all I find them good for is friction cutting- and it doesn't matter which way you put them on. In fact, with the teeth to the back it seems to cut better-
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Mcgyver
              agreed, temp and heat is often confused, its temp which is mostly dependent cutting speed that we need to worry about aging the tool steel blade...and coolant wont help much either. Its theorizing for me, i'm using a bimetal blade. As i think more about it it might not be practical to slow the blade down enough that temp didn't affect the edge....still a if I had a blade welder it would be worth looking into the cost of a roll and putting the saw at its slowest speed. I like solutions that have a 30 year life span siting on the shelf vs having to stop work or runabout picking up another $30 blade . All idle talk until i stumble over a $5 blade welder
              Yep. We had some rolls of "Starrett" brand carbon steel blade at one of the shops I worked in. It was handy having it on the shelf, although I found myself making up blades about once every two weeks. The saw did get used pretty heavily and we never put a bimetal blade on it, so I'm not sure how they would compare.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mcgyver
                if I had a blade welder it would be worth looking into the cost of a roll and putting the saw at its slowest speed. I like solutions that have a 30 year life span siting on the shelf vs having to stop work or runabout picking up another $30 blade . All idle talk until i stumble over a $5 blade welder
                Shop Floor Talk has a thread by Florida Jim on brazing bandsaw blades. He uses a simple homemade jig. I'm always too busy to try making my own blades, but if I had time, I'd give his method a whirl.
                http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...hlight=brazing

                I use carbon on my 4x6 to cut 1/4" round stainless because bi-metal is not available in the fine tooth sizes for the 4x6. I don't keep records on blade life, but it seems like the carbon blades last at least one month cutting mostly stainless (the 4x6 is currently dedicated to that one job).

                Of course, the saw does not run 24/7, so one month in my shop may not be the same as one month in your shop.

                Blades generally last longer on my 7x12 than on the 4x6, probably due to the 7x12's coolant system. Carbon blades typically last 2 - 3 months, so I am happy to use carbon. But, last time I ordered blades, Enco had their bi-metal on sale so I stocked up and will be switching to them.

                Before acquiring the 7x12, the 4x6 had to saw everything and it used bi-metal for larger stock. On the 4x6, the bi-metal blades averaged about a month -- which is about how long carbon blades last on the 4x6.

                In general, I've been happy with carbon blades and don't see a big improvement with bi-metal, and I cut a lot of "difficult" metals -- stainless, 4140, and scaly ductile iron. I do run my saws on a slower than recommended speed -- I have to run it slow for stainless, so I just leave it on that low speed all the time, even for aluminum.

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                • #23
                  Well, I must have run mine too fast cause I couldn't get more than a couple days out of a carbon blade.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                  • #24
                    Another vote for Lenox Diemaster II Bi-Metal blades.
                    I run the 6-10 vari-tooth blades as I rarely use the bandsaw for anything smaller then 3/4" or so, and they work very well and last for ages.

                    As a matter of fact they're so good that a six-month old blade in my bandsaw still cut up the pre-hard 2085 stainless (modified 420 stainless) into much more manageable lumps. The original size was 420mmx360mmx40mm.




                    Peter

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