Bandsaw Blades

How to choose the correct bandsaw blades.

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bandsaw blade vocabulary

In order to choose the correct blade you will need to know some vocabulary.

TPI refers to the number of teeth per inch.

The gullet is the area between the teeth.

Kerf is the width of the saw cut, e.g. the amount of material removed by the band saw blade when it cuts.

The set of a bandsaw blade is the bend of the teeth, that is the amount (if any) of the offset of the teeth from the body of the blade.

Rake angle refers to the angle at which the teeth cut the material.

Tooth form refers to the shape of the tooth and the gullet. There are three common forms:

The standard tooth form of blade has a zero degree rake angle, meaning that the tooth is perpendicular to the back of the blade.

Skip tooth forms are similar to standard tooth, but they have fewer TPI for a similar width blade, giving it a bigger gullet than the standard tooth blade.

Hook tooth blades also have fewer tpi than standard band saw blades, but they also have a different rake angle.

Resawing wood means ripping it through it's width, for example when making veneer.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that you need to keep in mind what you want to do with the blade before picking one out.

When choosing a bandsaw blade there are three main characteristics to keep in mind: width, tpi and tooth form.

The width of the blade determines how tight a radius can be cut. The narrower the blade the tighter the radius. An 1/8th" blade can make an 1/8" radius cut, while a 1/2" blade can cut around 5" radius.

TPI and blade form will also influence the cut.

The greater the TPI the smoother the cut, however that doesn't mean that more is always better. It's good to have at least three teeth in the cut, but having too many teeth can clog things up.

If you are working with thick material it will be harder for the blade to carry away the sawdust that collects during the cut. This means that you want a blade with a larger gullet, so a skip or hook tooth would probably be a better choice.

Hook tooth blades are a good choice for resawing, because the large gullet can carry away the sawdust and the set of the blade helps make it a more aggressive cut.

A narrow standard tooth blade would be good for making tight turns in wood that isn't too thick. A narrow skip tooth blade might be better if the cuts were getting bogged down.

As you can see, choosing a blade is often a matter of compromising between various characteristics to get the blade that works best for your particular project.

If you are making bandsaw boxes the blade you choose will depend on the material you are using and how tight a radius you need.

There are also specialty blades available that can do everything from cutting metal to fiberglass, but that discussion is for another time and place.

Click here to learn how to make a bandsaw boxes.

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