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Blade questions from a band saw noob

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Forum topic by AlecLong posted 07-13-2015 05:57 PM 1235 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


07-13-2015 05:57 PM

G’day, fellas. Just picked up my first band saw, and she’s a beaut: An older model Delta 14”. Heavy, quite used, but runs like a tank.

It came with a very thin blade with lots of teeth (not sure how many teeth, but it easily sliced and scrolled its way through some 1/2” scrap red oak I had laying around), and the guy I got it from threw in an unused Bosch 18tpi metal blade.

Question is: What blades do I need for woodworking? I want to be able to resaw, cut patterns for spoon blanks and templates, and all manner of other band sawy things.

So first, what blades do I need (number of tpi, carbide, etc…) for various jobs?

Second, what brands are your favorites?

Thanks in advance!

—Alec


21 replies so far

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#1 posted 07-13-2015 06:00 PM

Oh, and I searched the forums for some of this info, but couldn’t find much in the way of a basic overview of blade specs for specific cutting tasks. If such a post exists, please help a brother out and point the way? Thanks!

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ElChe

630 posts in 801 days


#2 posted 07-13-2015 06:40 PM

In terms of research, most blade sellers have recommendations on their website and describe how many teeth, hook v rake, etc.

For me, on a 17” Grizzly, I use a 3/8” general purpose blade, a Lenox. It’s a carbon blade. I can rip stuff, do some contouring, etc. For resawing I got a 5/8” resaw blade from Spectrum Supply – it worked great until I twisted the heck out of it doing something stupid. So I need to order another one. I also have a shiny new 1/4” many many tooth blade that I never use (more teeth than a piranha). I think I bought it for contour cutting in thin pieces but I haven’t used it.

I used to have a Delta 14” bandsaw. It drove me nuts until JUST BEFORE I SOLD IT when I figured out the tension spring was shot. I replaced it and it worked great provided I didn’t try to push wood through it. On my Delta, I used a 1/2” resaw blade 3/4 TPI and a 3/8” general purpose blade. I didn’t have very thin blades because I don’t pseudo-scroll on my bandsaw. Mine had a 1 h.p. open drip proof motor. Some time ago I listed some blades that I still have around for sale. No one was interested. They are for a 93.5” stock Delta (that is without riser). If you are interested, take a look. I’ll make you a deal. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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splintergroup

829 posts in 687 days


#3 posted 07-13-2015 07:01 PM

I just got through resawing some logs from the neighbors dead apricot and Russian olive trees. 1-1/4” Lennox blade with 1 tooth per inch, cut like warm butta on my Minimax.

For your Delta, you can get a lot of resaw work done with a good quality 1/2” blade. maybe 4-6 teeth per inch. As I’m sure you have surmised, a narrower blade allows you to cut a tighter radius (make tighter turns). 90% of your other-than-resawing tasks can be handled with a 1/4” to 3/8” 10 TPI blade.

These Deltas love to be accessorized, first on my list would be a nice set of ceramic guides.

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#4 posted 07-13-2015 07:08 PM

Thanks for the replies and info. Keep ‘em coming!

splintergroup, you said a 4-6 tpi blade for resawing…what about the Wood Slicer 3 tpi skip tooth blade from Highland Woodworking? Found that one after posting my original question. Any experience with that blade?

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splintergroup

829 posts in 687 days


#5 posted 07-13-2015 07:22 PM

Yes, the HH Woodslicer is my go-to blade for general resawing when I’m not slabbing out logs.

I think every bandsaw owner should have one on hand.

Timberwolf Is another popular brand that has a fan base. I have tried their coarser blades but had them dull rather quickly.

Carbide teeth are great for longevity and sawing “difficult” woods, but their price puts them out of reach for most casual woodworking.

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Bill White

4455 posts in 3425 days


#6 posted 07-13-2015 08:14 PM

1/2” 3 tpi, 3/8” 6 tpi, 1/4” 8 tpi. You’re set. Pass on a carbide blade for a 14” saw. Not rigid enough to support the tension need for that blade.
The Wood Slicer 1/2” is a great blade, but some say that they dull rather quickly. I have not experienced that dulling.
Lots of good blades out there. Timberwolf is one of them.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Fred Hargis

3942 posts in 1958 days


#7 posted 07-13-2015 08:17 PM

The Woodslicer is a great blade, I’ve used one on my Delta 14”. You can get the same blade from Louis Iturra (Iturra Design, 904 642 2802), he calls his “Blade Runner” and will save you a little money. Apparently HH has the name Woodslicer copyrighted, so Louis had to call it something else. Don’t go over 1/2” for the Woodslicer (or Blade Runner), and for scrolling get a 1/4” 6-10 tetooth blade (pick one). If you do order a blade from Iturra, be sure to try and get a copy of his catalog. It’s a veritable bible for these saws, and he has a lot of improved parts available that make them even better. Congrats!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#8 posted 07-13-2015 08:19 PM

Thanks for the replies—you guys are awesome.

Bill—can you elaborate just a bit on your suggestions? I understand from some of the other comments that the 1/2” 3tpi would be for resawing, but why the 3/8” 6tpi and 1/4” 8tpi?

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AHuxley

493 posts in 2786 days


#9 posted 07-13-2015 08:50 PM

In this thread you will find my primer on bandsaw blades: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/86482

I prefer Lennox blades to any others except for resawing which I prefer the Laguna Resaw King. I do use other brands for very specialized tasks but generally Lennox has a blade that works.

Timberwolf has been mentioned and many people swear by their blades, the only thing to keep in mind is the Silicon or “Swedish” steel blades have a Rc of about 60 compared to even a standard carbon blade which will be about Rc 64 so they will dull quicker (but are sharper to begin with) if you don’t use them much you may not notice but in the end they are more expensive initially and certainly in the long run compared to standard carbon blades, they are useful IF you need a very sharp blade for a specific task. They also claim they work at lower tension but don’t provide any science to support it and at least one of the main bandsaw gurus finds it dubious, as do I.

The Woodslicer from Highland is also a niche blade and is excellent if you understand and need that niche filled. They are impulse hardened spring steel blades (Rc ~50) so they in bandsaw blade terms are VERY soft and dull quickly. They have been borrowed from the meat cutting industry. Despite their shortcomings they have three advantages. 1. they are extremely sharp initially and give a better finish than all but the best carbide resaw blades and they basically match them. 2. They can be had in very thin kerf varieties and can be useful when resawing expensive or rare pieces 3. the thin backer allows a smaller and less rigid bandsaw (like the OP’s Delta) to tension a wider blade which is nice for resawing BUT still leaves the beam strength rather low for serios resawing. The other important note is the same bandstock can be gotten from Iturra (as the Blade Runner) for less money and Spectrum Supply (as the Kerf Master) for significantly less money.

I would not suggest you consider carbide blades and no bi-metal blades wider than 1/4” (even that is pushing it) the 14” Delta just can’t provide the needed tension.

I suggest you start with two blades for that saw and buy others as you gain experience and find the need for other blades:

A 1/4” 6 TPI skip tooth Lennox Flexback (The Lennox is just a suggestion, tons of manufacturers make this configuration)

A 5/8” x .016” 3/4 TPI (variable) Kerfmaster (Highland does not stock this spec) this gives a wide blade for resawing but the extra thin backer allows the 14” cast saws to tension it properly, if you choose to go with Highland or Iturra stay with 1/2” (I don’t think Louis (Iturra) stocks the 5/8” either)

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#10 posted 07-13-2015 08:59 PM

Very detailed, AHuxley. Thanks! Lots of reading and decision making to do now.

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AHuxley

493 posts in 2786 days


#11 posted 07-13-2015 09:18 PM

Forgot to mention the Ittura Designs catalog, you can request it but it seems about 50/50 whether you get one or now. Here is a scanned copy:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/25128636/Iturra_Design_catalogue_2010.pdf

Be careful about getting caught up in adding too many accessories to the Delta, I have seen many people add so much stuff to one of these cast 14” saws that they spent more money than they would have just buying a larger more capable saw instead, because at the end of the day no matter what you do you still have a 14” saw with limited rigidity. Now, I don’t want to sound “down” on the Delta 14” cast saws, they are the most used bandsaw (including the clones) in hobby shops for decades after all. They also make an excellent second saw if you ever decide to get a larger saw.

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#12 posted 07-13-2015 09:23 PM

My plan at the moment is just to get three new blades (resawing, general purpose and “scrolling”) and start using the thing. Upgraded guides might be nice, but probably not right away. Once I start getting into using the saw more, I’ll upgrade only if I notice myself bumping up against any limitations.

Thanks for the catalog scan, BTW—it’s always a good day when I can download some porn off the internet. ;)

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AHuxley

493 posts in 2786 days


#13 posted 07-13-2015 09:42 PM



My plan at the moment is just to get three new blades (resawing, general purpose and “scrolling”) and start using the thing. Upgraded guides might be nice, but probably not right away. Once I start getting into using the saw more, I ll upgrade only if I notice myself bumping up against any limitations.

Thanks for the catalog scan, BTW—it s always a good day when I can download some porn off the internet. ;)

- AlecLong

Which guides did it come with, I assume they are block guides since you mentioned it was older, though older is relative.

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AlecLong

25 posts in 862 days


#14 posted 07-13-2015 10:02 PM

Well, being a noob I can only assume they’re the stock guides. They’re two blocks of metal, so I guess that means block guides.

Man I need new blades, though…just ran some 1” walnut through it to make spoon blanks. Made some pretty good smoke and black sawdust with the 1/4” 14tpi blade that came with it.

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AHuxley

493 posts in 2786 days


#15 posted 07-13-2015 10:32 PM

Yep, new blades are in order…

As for the guides there is really nothing wrong with block guides, in many ways they are better than bearing guides. Most woodworkers replace the metal guides, though there is nothing really wrong with them BUT they are a pain to dress (getting them back to flat) and they require one to be VERY careful in setup since if the teeth get pushed back into them they will destroy a blade in a heartbeat. You can replace them with oil soaked hardwood (maple works well) or some of the really hard exotics like Lignum Vitae. Cool blocks also work well, they are a graphite impregnated phenolic material as well as the ceramic blocks Space Age sells.

If you plan to do a lot of tight curves and use blades smaller than 1/4” then I would suggest considering adding a Carter Stabilzer to your arsenal. They are absolutely the best way to manage a blade with scrolling type work on a bandsaw.

In a general sense I would not suggest spending the money to replace the guides with bearing guides, “upgrading” the material from steel can have benefits though.

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