Your Guide to Band Saw Blades
The band saw blades are so unique that just the smallest difference in the blade can have such a dramatic difference from the last. Due to this dramatic difference, you should be fully aware of your desired cut and project at hand before deciding on a blade.
Each blade works best with different materials and cuts, so it’s crucial to know your band saw blade types before operating this power tool. Before selecting a blade, here are some questions you should be able to answer:
- What is the composition of the material?
- Is there any bundling of the material?
- Will it be a cooled cut?
- What machine are you performing the cut with?
- What is the shape of the part to be cut?
How to Choose Your Band Saw Blade Types
Band saw blade guides will tell you there are three main areas to consider before selecting the best band saw blades, these include:
What Type of Band Saw Are You Working With?
The type of band saw you’re using should be your first consideration, particularly whether it’s for metal or wood.
For metal band saw blades, select a carbon tool steel or bimetal blade to perform the smoothest cut. The cheaper alternative is a carbon steel blade, ideal for projects at home but with a shorter shelf life.
The bimetal blades will last 10 times longer but are a lot more costly. Depending on how often you use it, whether at home or larger scale production, you might choose to go with the cheaper or more expensive metal band saw blades.
For woodworking band saw blades, carbon steel is a great choice. It’s going to last a lot longer performing cuts on wood rather than with metal, so it’s okay to select the cheaper option. For something a little tougher, you could also work with premium gold carbide, a favorite choice for woodworking band saw blades.
How Tight do You Need to Turn?
This factor will depend on the type of machine you’re working with, horizontal or vertical. Your horizontal band saw blades only ever use one width of the blade, as this is what they’re designed to do.
Vertical band saws are entirely different altogether and vary greatly in their length. Be sure to check the minimum turning diameter for each blade before deciding if it’s right for your project.
What do You Intend to Cut?
The material you’re cutting and type of cut you want to perform will determine the tooth pattern that’s required. For both metal cutting and wood cutting, there are different ways to perform a cut.
Woodworking band saw blades work on the theory that the fewer teeth you have per inch, the rougher and faster you’ll cut. Whereas, the more teeth you have the smoother and slower you’ll cut. However, every project is different and it will depend on the type of wood you’re working with as well.
Metal cutting band saws go by the thickness of material to determine their tooth pattern. For thin materials, you should select a blade that has more teeth per inch. Thick materials need a blade that has fewer teeth per inch to perform a deeper cut.
Number of Teeth Per Inch
Those who work with band saws will understand the importance of teeth per inch when deciding on the desired finish and feed rate of your workpiece.
For resawing wood and cutting thicker stock, a coarse tooth blade should be used, generally 2 or 3 teeth per inch. If you’re working with thin metals and plastics under a quarter inch, go with a fine toothed blade of 18 to 32 teeth per inch.
For general woodworking, roughly 4 teeth per inch will give you a fast and rough cut, but something closer to 14 teeth per inch will make a slow and smooth cut.
Some general things to remember when selecting your teeth per inch for band saw blade types:
- At least three teeth per inch should remain in the workpiece;
- The more teeth per inch you have, the smoother your cut will be and the slower it will take to perform;
- The fewer teeth per inch, the faster and rougher cut you’ll receive;
Changing A Band Saw Blade
The band saw blades need to be properly maintained to ensure a long life, but even the best cared for blades require changing from time to time. Blades can crack, become worn down, or even lose some of their teeth, but with our simple guide, you’ll be able to change your band saw blade with minimal fuss and optimum safety so you can continue on with your work.
Ready the New Blade
Many band saw blades come packaged in a tight coil, so you’ll need to have the blade ready well before you decide to change it. Wearing protective gear for your hands and eyes, hold the blade together and cut the ties. Throw the blade clear from you to allow it to unravel.
Prepare Your Saw
Now that the blade is ready to go, you’ll have to turn off your band saw completely and disconnect it from its power source so that you can prepare it for its new blade. Loosen the band saw blade guides and use the lever to release the tension on the old blade. Remove the old blade and tie it up into a coil to ensure it won’t do any harm.
Install the New Blade
Using the guide bearings on your saw, hold the blade in its correct place then hold the saw in place while tightening the tension. Once the tension is tight enough so that you don’t have to hold it in place, you can tighten it completely. Close the machine and adjust the blade guides so that they’re aligned again.
Check the Blades
To make sure the blades are working correctly and aligned, do a test run of some spare stock. If your machine is vibrating this is a good indication that it hasn’t been aligned correctly so will require some adjusting.
Popular Band Saw Blades
Because each band saw blade is different, we’ve divided these reviews into woodworking band saw blades, metal band saw blades, and portable band saw blades, for an in-depth look at the power and capability of each category.
POWERTEC 13132X Band Saw Blade with 62-Inch x 1/8-Inch x 14 TPI
All POWERTEC Band Saw Blades are crafted with premium materials, and this style is no exception. Made of high carbon steel, the POWERTEC 12122X Band Saw Blade can cut through both hard and soft wood as well as plastics and non-ferrous metals, making it more than just a woodworking band saw blade.
This model of blade fits the Powertec 9-Inch Band Saw BS900, Harbor Freight 96980, 60500, and Craftsman 21419, so it’s quite a versatile product. It has reliable cutting action and tooth hardness of Rc 64-66, making it a dream for both amateur and professional woodworkers alike.
All POWERTEC blades are made from one piece of carbon steel and are designed to wear evenly so that they last longer than their competitors.
- These blades are capable of making extremely fast cuts with precision and straightness, each and every time;
- Able to work with both hard and soft kinds of wood, they are a clear choice for all types of woodworkers, professional or hobbyist;
- Because 14 TPI is quite a fine blade, they tend to load up with sawdust quite easily and require a fairly regular clean;
The POWERTEC 13132X Band Saw Blade with 62-Inch x 1/8-Inch x 14 TPI is extremely great value for money and thanks to their durability you won’t need to replace them very often. These blades are ideal for woodworkers due to their ability to cut through both hard and soft kinds of wood.
Overall, they perform a fast cut with extreme precision, show exceptional quality, and a reliable and consistent cutting performance. These blades are recommended for anyone who works with wood and wants a consistent cut, for all levels of skill.
Vermont American 31152 3/8-Inch by 18TPI by 59-1/2-Inch Metal Band Saw Blade
The Vermont American 31152 3/8-Inch by 18TPI by 59-1/2-Inch Metal Band Saw Blade is a quality blade for performing cuts in both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Produced for a bench top band saw, its carbon steel blade has a 1-inch minimum radius and -3/8 width. This type of blade is suited more to the home workshop rather than large production metal cutting sites and cuts through a range of different metals.
Vermont American band saw blades are designed to exacting specifications. Using a laser-cutting machine, these blades are consistently high quality and durable.
- Works excellently on lightweight metals such as tin, sheet metal, brass and aluminium;
- The smoothness of the cut achieved with these blades means you spend less time finishing your workpiece by sanding or polishing;
- This blade needs to be run at a very slow speed to get a precise cut, so it can take a little longer than others;
For a general metalworking band saw blade that would work with most projects in a home workshop, the Vermont American 31152 3/8-Inch by 18TPI by 59-1/2-Inch Metal Band Saw Blade will certainly get the job done.
These blades are a testament to the Vermont American brand and are a high quality and durable accessory. Made from carbon steel, it has the capacity to cut through both hard and soft wood but works best on the softer variety.
For its price, it certainly gets the job done, but for something that can cut a bit thicker you may need to upgrade your blade. This blade would only suit the amateur or hobbyist metalworker and definitely is not recommended for job sites or professional use.
DEWALT DW3982 .020-by-44-7/8-Inch 14 TPI Portable Band Saw Blades
These DEWALT DW3982 .020-by-44-7/8-Inch 14 TPI Portable Band Saw Blades are a great choice of portable band saw blades for use with your DEWALT power tool. Matrix II high-speed steel edges make these blades heat and wear resistant, giving them a longer life than many comparable brands.
Measuring in at 44-7/8 inches long and ½ inch in height, they can cut through a range of tough materials without needing to rely on another blade. They also feature 8 percent of cobalt and an alloy steel backing that prevents fatigue when cutting.
- These blades are extremely durable thanks to the 8 percent cobalt content and alloy steel backing;
- Able to cut through a range of heavy duty materials, these DEWALT portable band saw blades make the ideal choice for worksites that work with different metals;
- Special technology Matrix II high-speed steel edges are wear and heat resistant, meaning your blade will last longer than other blades;
- This blade can be prone to cracking and breakage, so you need to be sure that you’ve selected the correct teeth per inch for your workpiece before starting your project;
- These DEWALT blades are a little costlier than others on the market, so it might pay to do some further research on other varieties if you’re looking on the cheaper end of the scale.
The DEWALT DW3982 .020-by-44-7/8-Inch 14 TPI Portable Band Saw Blades are the top pick for those who work onsite cutting a range of materials with a portable band saw. Their specialized features that strengthen the blade, such as alloy steel and carbon, mean this blade will outlast the competitors when applied to the correct material.
DEWALT is a trusted brand with a reputation for quality band saws, and their blades are no exception. These blades are great for use with DEWALT portable band saws and will have a long life if used correctly.