We have 2 band saw blade materials suitable for wood cutting, they are:
Flexback Carbon – Made from high carbon steel with hardened tooth tips. The unhardened flexible back makes these blades more resistant to fatigue from the stress of curve cutting. Most popular for wood cutting, these blades also work for aluminum and other non-ferrous metals. They are an inexpensive blade with a low cost per cut in wood.
Hardback Carbon – Similar to the Flexback carbon, however these blades are stiffer due to the hardened and tempered back. This makes these blades ideal in situations where straighter cuts or heavier feed pressure are required. This general purpose material is effective in; wood, plastic, cork, composition board, plywood, low-alloy ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals.
Here are some common applications along with appropriate blade selection to help guide you:
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A bandsaw is a versatile machine that uses a long continuous saw blade to cut material.
What can the bandsaw cut?
Bandsaws are used to cut a variety of materials, but most commonly wood, metals and raw lumber.
Is a bandsaw better than a table saw?
It really depends on the application. One major benefit to using a bandsaw over a table saw is that you're able to cut curves and shapes with a bandsaw.
Can you rip wood on a bandsaw?
Yes! Depending on the blade you're using, you can use a bandsaw for both curve cutting and straight ripping.
Choosing the best blade comes down to what you want to use the bandsaw for. Are you wanting to cut shapes out of wood? Perhaps you want to cut through 1/8" steel pipe. Knowing what you want to use the blade for is the first step!
What blade do I use to cut curves and shapes in wood?
For general woodworking, the recommended blade is the Carbon Flexback. It's the most flexible blade as only the teeth have been hardened. The band itself is quite flexible so it can cut curves without causing much fatigue.
What's the best blade for ripping?
The Carbon Hardback. It's very similar to the Flexback, except the band has also gone through the same hardening process as the teeth. This makes the Carbon Hardback blade more rigid and therefore provides a straighter cut.
What is the best metal cutting blade?
For regular steel, the Bi-Metal Matrix is the best choice. If you want to cut stainless steel and other high-alloy metals however, the M42 will be the best choice. The M42 is a harder blade so it can handle the stronger metals, but it does fatigue a little quicker because of that.
The most common bandsaws on the market are the standard wood-cutting saws, metal cutting saws, saw mills and what we affectionately refer to as “hobby saws” - the benchtop bandsaws.
Can you use a bandsaw to cut steel?
Not all bandsaws will cut steel effectively. You want a metal cutting bandsaw, or at the very least, a variable speed saw.
Why is a variable speed important for cutting steel?
A standard wood-cutting bandsaw runs at roughly 3000 surface feet per minute. This is the ideal speed at which you cut wood. Conversely, to cut steel safely, you want to be running at around 300 surface feet per minute - around 1/10 the speed of a regular bandsaw. This gives the used teeth enough time to “cool down” before taking another pass at the steel. You also want to be using a coolant for the best result.
Can you cut wood on a metal bandsaw?
Yes! Since a metal bandsaw has a variable speed, you can cut wood on it by setting it to proper wood cutting speeds.
Can you cut aluminum on a wood bandsaw?
Yes, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals can be cut at wood cutting speeds, but it’s highly recommended that you use a coolant while doing so.
Can a benchtop saw cut steel?
Yes, but not for long and it will likely damage the blade you use. If you plan on doing a lot of steel and metal cutting, a benchtop saw is probably not the right choice. Using a full variable speed saw will be the best for larger runs of steel cutting.
The 2 most reliable ways to find the measurement of a bandsaw blade are to either measure an old blade, or measure the saw itself.
How do you measure an old bandsaw blade?
Starting at the weld, place the end of your measuring tape so it lands right on the weld making sure the teeth are pointing away from the direction you are about to go. You don’t need to keep the end of the tape on the weld as long as you never lose contact between the blade and the measuring tape. Keep moving over the blade about a foot at a time until you come back to the weld. The measurement when you get back to the weld will be the length for your bandsaw.
How do you measure a bandsaw?
Set your bandsaw wheels in working position and either wrap masking tape or tie a string around the loop where the blade will go. Make sure it is nice and tight. Remove the tape or string, cut it and lay it out flat to measure the length.