Premium Resaw Bandsaw Blades Rutland VT
West Rutland, VT
Fair Haven, VT
Premium Resaw Bandsaw Blades
Premium Resaw Bandsaw Blades
Straight-cutting blades that won't let you down.
by Dave Munkittrick
A bandsaw is an amazing machine. It’s capable of making extremely precise cuts; from slicing sheets of thin veneer to cutting intricate curves. Yet many of us think of our bandsaws as being for rough work only. Why? Probably because our first attempts at precision work, like resawing, were thwarted by ordinary blades. It’s probably not your saw or your technique, it’s your blade that’s the problem. Take a premium bandsaw blade for a spin and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
Most bandsaws come with ordinary carbon-steel or spring-steel blades. These blades are okay for general bandsaw work but the untreated metal is not designed to withstand the rigors of resawing. Resawing wood is essentially rip cutting a board across its width (Photo 1). There’s a tremendous amount of wood to remove and the heat and abrasion caused by resawing will quickly wear out an ordinary blade.
Premium blades have hardened teeth, and they far outlast ordinary blades. There are three basic types of premium blades; flex-back, hard-back and bi-metal (see Fig. A, below).
Shopping for bandsaw blades is like trying to pick a long distance phone company. There are so many variations and confusing terminology its hard to know what you’re getting. For starters, you’ve got silicon steel, tungsten steel, carbon manganese spring steel, or, my personal favorite, cobalt/molybdenum high-speed steel.
The real question is “How do the blades perform?” That’s what we looked at in this test.
Resawing is by far the most demanding job asked of a bandsaw blade. A straight, even cut that doesn’t require a great deal of clean up was our gold standard. We tested all the premium resaw blades we could find that can safely be used on a 14-in. bandsaw (see “Blade Thickness,” below, for more on this topic). The test itself was straightforward. We cut 1/8-in.-thick veneer from 8 in. x 24-in. slabs of 8/4 maple, oak and pine. After each cut we ran the cut face of the slab over a jointer set to take a 1/32-in. cut. If the saw marks cleaned up in a single pass (Photo 2), the blade was declared a winner and was included in our chart below. If at first the blade did not succeed, we tried again; adjusting the tension or altering the feed rate.
If you only resaw on occasion and want a blade primarily for general-purpose work, a flex-back or hard-back blade is your best choice. For hard-core resawing, the hard-back or bi-metal hook-tooth blades with three tpi did the best overall job. A bi-metal blade is considerably more expensive but it will far outlast a hard-back blade because of the extra-hard, high-speed steel used to form the teeth (Fig. A, below).
Let’s look at the features that make up a premium bandsaw blade (...