Bandsaw breaking

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Forum topic by thos posted 06-01-2016 11:21 PM 1003 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View thos's profile


2 posts in 899 days

06-01-2016 11:21 PM

I’m hoping someone can help me! I’m new to bandsawing. I’m using a105” 3/16” 10tpi Timberwolf blade to make bandsaw boxes on my 14” Powermatic bandsaw with a Carter stabilizer guide. I just broke my second blade in about two weeks. I’ve used you tube videos by Alex S. from Carter to set my saw up. It’s getting frustrating and expensive! Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

15 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3887 days

#1 posted 06-01-2016 11:28 PM

Hmmm, two things leap to mind; one insufficient blade tension causing the blade to kink and then break or turning too tight of a radius twisting the blade and breaking. There are probably other reasons why of course.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1076 days

#2 posted 06-02-2016 01:26 AM

wow conifer, that was the first post ever by that lumberjock member. I am sure he feels welcome here now.
Is this the kind of bullying that is allowed on this forum?

View Aj2's profile


1792 posts in 1972 days

#3 posted 06-02-2016 01:32 AM

Maybe he asking the forum because we freely give away info that’s been freely given.We can’t keep what we have unless it’s given for free.
I don’t make bandsaw boxes but I only use 10tpi blades on very thin wood.1/2 inch or less.

-- Aj

View wncguy's profile


407 posts in 2486 days

#4 posted 06-02-2016 01:37 AM

Where are the blades breaking… at the weld?

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

View onoitsmatt's profile


395 posts in 1350 days

#5 posted 06-02-2016 01:58 AM

Welcome to LJs Tom! I don’t know the answer to your question but sounds like conifur’s mommy may be a great source of useful information.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1414 posts in 1904 days

#6 posted 06-02-2016 02:07 AM

Thos, ten tpi is too many teeth. Try a 4 tpi blade. If they are breaking at random places, then it’s a bad batch of blade stock. Breaking at the weld, then the person making the blades didn’t follow the proper steps of making blades.

If you live in a town with a blade sharpening service, go there to get your blades. They are cheaper in price with a better quality blade material. That’s been my experience for almost 40 years.

My sentiments exactly on some of the topics that start here. Just shake my head and wonder. This one isn’t that bad. ......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4070 days

#7 posted 06-02-2016 02:51 AM

This – I’m sorry that your first post was answered so rudely from conifur. His comment is not indicative of most of the LJ’s here.

Please post all your questions at any time – most of us will give you a good answer or direct you where to find it. Most of us also recognize that not all of us are Google champions – I fit that category. The vast majority of us who read the posts simply pass by the ones that may annoy our sensibilities and sensitivities and don’t post snarky comments on those same posts.

As for the bandsaw blades – I agree with Jerry – 4 tip is probably a better choice. It’s generally what I use for my bandsaw boxes. The blade tension and radius of cut are probably the main culprit in the breaking.

All in all – welcome to LJs!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View wuddoc's profile


318 posts in 3892 days

#8 posted 06-02-2016 03:16 AM

Th LJ’s have got you started and here are some technical points. Some have been mentioned.
Tension too low
Tension too high
Wheel diameter too small
Blade rubbing against wheel flange
Guides set incorrectly, worn, or frozen in place.
Feed rate too fast
Chips stuck in guides
To many teeth in wood causing excessive chip load in gullets stressing blade body
Internal stress in wood pinching blade (Wood not dried properly, can be determined by Wood Prong Test)
To severe a turn compared to blade size (including width and thickness) 3/16” blade = 1/2” radius + or – 1/16”

-- Wuddoc

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1094 days

#9 posted 06-02-2016 03:32 AM


I am by no means a bandsaw expert. Therefore I checked the Powermatic on-line manual for the PWBS-14CS 14” bandsaw, made some guesses, and drew some conclusions; for that may be worth.

Powermatic states the common reasons for premature blade breakage are…

1. Misalignment of the blade guides.
2. Feeding workpiece too quickly.
3. Using a wide blade to cut a tight radius curve.
4. Excessive tension.
5. Teeth are dull or improperly set.
6. Upper guides are set too high off the workpiece.
7. Faulty weld on blade.

Several of these can probably be ruled out as causes for blade breakage in your case. These are teeth that are dull, eliminated because these were new blades. Since I assume the upper guides are set fairly close to the work piece, this cause can probably be ruled out. A 3/16” blade should cut a pretty small radius, so this cause can also probably be eliminated. Since TimberWolf is a well-regarded blade, the welds, tooth set, and blade stock on the two broken blades were probably ok.

I have not used a 3/16” blade. But I would think setting the blade guides just right on a narrow blade could be tedious. Likewise setting blade tension especially on a narrow blade is a tricky thing. I have difficulty determining whether I observe a 1/8” movement of the blade by tapping it with my finger, as recommended by Mr. Snodgrass for tensioning a blade. If the blade is left tensioned at the end of the day, this could compound an over-tensioned blade problem. I have no way of knowing your feed rate of stock through the blade. In my case I am way slower than the feed rate I have seen during bandsaw demonstrations, where demonstrators probably use new blades in soft woods that are frequently changed and hence have less chance of breaking.

While sorting out this problem working with a cheaper 3/16” blade (or two) could save a little money. Setting the blade tension according to the blade tensioning scale on the machine and ensuring the blade is de-tensioned when not in use seem like good things to try. Some fining tuning of the blade tension may be required to enhance performance, but then no further fiddling with blade tension may be required. Once the less expensive blades are working without breaking, installing a TimberWolf blade would leave you more confident that blade will perform without prematurely breaking.

Since a 4 tpi blade has more steal that a 10 tpi blade and could make the blade a little stronger, following Nubsnstubs’ and Betsy’s (who makes bandsaw boxes) sounds like good advice to me.

View BurlyBob's profile


5936 posts in 2440 days

#10 posted 06-02-2016 04:33 AM

I agree with there’s that conifer is out of line.

I’ve had some experience with 3/16” blades a few months back. I was cutting band saw boxes and was cutting tight turns. I’ve learned that you can only cut tight turns for so long before friction and tension catches up with you. The blades I broke all broke at the weld. I’m certain it was from racking the blade, putting to much stress on the weld. Another other factor was most certainly pilot error.

Also welcome to Lumber jocks. You’ll enjoy the company, well except for the occasional odd sort.

View thos's profile


2 posts in 899 days

#11 posted 06-02-2016 10:38 AM

Thanks for all the help. I didn’t expect such a fast response from so many people on my first post. As for Conifur…..well you know what you can do.

View Redoak49's profile


3596 posts in 2163 days

#12 posted 06-02-2016 10:54 AM

It always helps if you can figure out if they broke at the weld.

A factor in this is the Carter Stabilizer as it allows you to cut tighter corners than normally. This will result in more stress on the blade and increased breakage.

View Clarkie's profile


462 posts in 2015 days

#13 posted 06-02-2016 10:54 AM

Welcome to LJ’s thos. If you want to cut tighter curves try using a good 1/8” blade. I have been using 3/16” blades with 10 to 15 tpi for years now. I make wooden toys, or many have said collectors items, lol. The speed with which you are trying to cut may need to be slowed down a bit also. The thing about the number of teeth is that with more teeth the less you have to sand and they do a fine job once you master your technique. Also the thickness of the blade should be no less than .025 then the blade can stand up to a curve much healthier. As for asking any question whether here or else where, a question is always worth a look. I think most ask in here by habit, seeing so many questions answered and there is a trust that you’ll be helped just about every time. We sometimes forget that not everyone is at the same level of understanding and skill. When you run into someone with a very limited amount of patience, just think they may have been kicked in the head by a pigeon when they were young. Have fun, make some dust.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2620 days

#14 posted 06-02-2016 11:33 AM

Could you use 1/4” blades instead of 3/16”?
If you could move up to a wider blade and still manage those tight curves, do so.
The 3/16” and 1/8” blades break often, at least more often than 1/4”, another thought is as others mentioned ,it could be that both blades that broke on you are from the same batch and probably had bad happens often enough to many of us so don’t blame yourself.
Try 1/4” blade of a different brand , let us know how it goes, and BTW, welcome to the forum.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View KellyB's profile


77 posts in 1356 days

#15 posted 06-02-2016 12:19 PM

Call Timber Wolf or where you bought it from, they may have info on others with the same issues and a bad batch. I just for the life of me cant figure out why people like you post a problem here to just get freaking opinions and guess work. Or what should I buy, or do I need this? Maybe call your mommy!!!

- conifur

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