Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing Band Saw Blades
The band saw is an extremely handy tool when it comes to many usual tasks. It’s versatility and precision allows it to perform a range of cutting functions and makes this tool a must have in a workshop. Needless to say that the blade is the most important part of this tool and making a wrong choice on this account would mean that your performance would suffer.
However, the optimum blade would ensure greater efficiency in terms of performance and effort. While you might find it extremely difficult choose among blades, here’s a simplistic guide to the same. All you need to keep in mind is your requirements and then make a choice accordingly, based on teeth per inch, tooth-shape and blade size.
Tips for Choosing
1) Assessment of durability, budget, and performance – It is extremely important to consider these three factors budget, durability and performance while deciding upon your choice of a band saw blade. The most optimal solution would be to ensure getting the blade that offers lowest cost cut while keeping moderate levels of finish thereby leading to sustained productivity and profitability. You would also need to decide on whether you would want a dedicated blade for a specific type of cut or a blade that would provide for multiple cutting applications.
2) Blade Impact – It is extremely important to understand the significance of blade impact and the effect it has on a blade. When cutting an object, the blade receives an initial impact shock upon coming into contact. Post that it is consistent in terms of direction and intensity and there is a constant amount of stress on the teeth which is unchanged throughout the cut. The blade’s durability is thus based on its resistance to wear and this is largely based on three things – tooth geometry, hardness, and rake angle.
3) Determine materials to be cut – Most band saw blades are bimetallic i.e. they are alloys of different materials. It is for this reason that these blades can cut through steel and other strong metals and yet not break or lose sharpness just like a fillet knife. These blades thus are stronger than the traditionally used non-bimetallic blades. Some bimetal blades are coated with titanium nitride which makes them optimum for custom applications. There are also bimetallic blades which can work in hotter temperatures without losing strength and rigidity.
4) Blade tooth type – Blade tooth is one of the most important factors to be considered while investing in a band saw blade. There are usually three variants of the tooth and their usage depends on functionality. The variants are as follows.
- i) Regular tooth – This is a more or less straight face tooth with deep striations to cut through efficiently. It is generally used to cut through metals.
- ii) Hook tooth – The hook tooth as the name suggests has wide spaced teeth and deep gullets with an angled undercut face that helps a deeper dig. This type of teeth is best suited for materials like wood, plastic and non-metals.
iii) Skip tooth – The skip tooth is similar to the hook tooth but not identical. It involves a right angled tooth and another angle at the junction of the tooth and gullet. This type of tooth is most commonly used for nonferrous materials.
A careful selection will ensure that your blades last longer and be of great service to you. You should therefore select a blade that complements your cutting style and offers you clean cuts. However, here are also a few other things you should know to increase blade durability – Keep blade vibrations at a minimum, use proper technique while using the blade and use a proper coolant which will help not only provide improved cuts but also longevity.