Bandsaw Blades: How to Create Smooth, Clean, Fast Cuts

Learn how to choose the right bandsaw blade to create smooth cuts every time. Tips on blade tension, types of blades, minimum cutting radius, etc. For easy DIY ideas see bandsaw projects.

Bandsaw Blades:  Create Clean Fast Cuts

How to Creating Clean, Smooth Cuts on a Bandsaw.

To help you achieve the best workability from your bandsaw, below are some tips and tricks on blade selection, setup, and maintenance that will allow you to get a smooth cut every time. For more information see important bandsaw features and bandsaw benefits

1. Use the widest bandsaw blade possible for the task at hand.

Wider blades allow you to create straighter cuts and to feed the workpiece faster without breaking blades. If you are doing contour sawing (such as creating bowl blanks), you will want to use a blade which is narrow enough to cut the desired radius. As shown in the figure below, with a 5/8” (16mm) blade, the smallest bowl blank you could cut would be 8” (204mm) in diameter.

Minimum cutting radius for a bandsaw blade.
Minimum cutting radius – CLICK to ENLARGE.

2. Use blades with more teeth to create cleaner cuts.

Use blades with more teeth to create cleaner cuts and blades with fewer teeth for faster cuts.

3. Make sure the band saw blade is stretched tight before using.

A tight blade will allow you to consistently create straight and uniform cuts.

4. Release the tension on the bandsaw blade when not in use.

Most band saw operating manuals recommend relaxing the blade tension at the end of the day. This helps extend the life of the blade, the tires, and the bearings. For this reason, many bandsaw come with a “quick release” blade tension lever. Personally, after releasing the tension, I place a Carabiner clip around the saw blade. This is my reminder that I need to tighten the blade before turning on the saw.

Bandsaw Tips for the beginner - a Carabiner clip around the bandsaw blade reminds me to tighten the blade before using.

5. Have minimal clearance between the workpiece and the guide bearings.

Lower the “Guide Post” so that the blade assembly is no more than 3/16” (5mm) above the work piece. In addition to operator safety, this minimal clearance, also results in straighter cuts since the blade deflects less.

Guide post - Band saw parts labeled.

6. Do not worry about buying blades for an older band saw.

Today there are many companies that create custom band saw blades.  They allow you to specify the exact length (down to fractions of an inch), blade width, thickness, and teeth per inch. One such company is BandSawBladesDirect.com. So if buying a used band saw, worry about features such as the maximum capacity and horsepower of the motor.  Know that you can always order blades for a used band saw.

7. Learn How to Fold or Coil a Bandsaw Blade

Learn how to fold or coil a bandsaw blade into either 3 or 5 loops (rings).

8. Know the advantages of various band saw blades.

Some of the more common styles of band saw blades are the “regular tooth”, “skip tooth”, and “hook tooth” blades. The rake angle shown below is the angle of the cutting face relative to the work piece. The regular tooth blade typically has evenly spaced teeth and a 0 degree rake angle. The skip tooth blade also typically has a 0-degree rake angle; however, it is missing every other tooth. This larger gullet between teeth makes this blade more aggressive than the regular tooth blade – resulting in a slightly rougher finish. The hook tooth blade frequently has a 10-degree positive rake angle which results in a very aggressive cutting action.

Regular tooth, skip tooth, hook tooth bandsaw blades.

Rake angle on a bandsaw blade.

Conclusion

Many people consider the bandsaw as one of the most useful tools in the shop. Woodworkers typically use the bandsaw to cut curved or irregular shapes or to re-saw thicker boards into thinner ones. Knowing how to setup your bandsaw and selecting the best blade will help ensure you create smooth, clean cuts. Some common bandsaws brands include: Jet, Grizzly, Delta, Rikon, DeWalt, Laguna, Makita, and Powermatic.

More Bandsaw Tips

 
Beginner Bandsaw Projects
Beginner Bandsaw Projects. Easy DIY bandsaw ideas.
Benefits of a Bandsaw
Benefits of a Bandsaw. Advantages of using a band saw.
 
Bandsaw Features
Bandsaw Features. Important features to consider.
 

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Bandsaw blades - how to choose the right one, blade TENSION, bearings, and minimum cutting radius.

 

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