How to Choose the Best Band Saw Blade

Band saw blades from Online Supply are all custom made to your specific requirements, so you can get the best possible blade for your particular application. If you already know what you need, then head on over to our Custom Welded Bandsaws page and fill out the custom blade form. If you are not sure, then keep reading and we will help you figure out what would work best for you!

Bandsaw Blade Length – The 1st thing you will need to know and the first entry on our custom bandsaw blade page is the length of the band. Often times you can find the required length printed right on the saw, usually on a plate with the make and model number of your saw. If this is not available you have a few options:

Measure an old bandsaw blade – You can do this by cutting the blade and laying it out flat to lay your measuring tape beside. If you want to keep this blade for future use you can measure it while it is still welded, but this is a little trickier. 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. Holding the tape tight to the blade, move your hands down the blade about a foot or so. 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.

Use a string – Another method for determing the length of your blade is to set your bandsaw wheels in working position and tie a string around the loop where the blade will go. Make sure it is nice and tight. Remove the string, cut it and lay it out flat to measure the length.

Calculate the blade length –  If you love math, then here is the mathematical method for calculating bandsaw blade length

  1. Set the pullys or wheels in working position
  2. Measure the distance from the centre of the hub on the upper and lower wheels (C)
  3. Determine the radius of both the upper (R1) and lower (R2) wheels (they may be different)
  4. Apply this formula: (R1 x 3.1416) + (R2 x 3.146) + (2 x C) = length

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Bandsaw Blade Width – The next selection is for how wide of a blade you need. Keep in mind that you can “mix and match” so you can select several different width and tooth combinations to cover your needs. For most metal cutting saws, especially the horizontal/verticle style, you will be best to run the maximum blade width the saw is designed for as you are just cutting straight. For all other saws, your width selection will depend on the capacity of your saw along with how tight a curve you want to be able to cut. As a general rule, you will want to select the widest blade that can still make the curve cut you require. Below is a chart indicating the tightest radius for each width of bandsaw blade.

 

Bandsaw Blade Material – At this point you will notice that the blade materials showing at the bottom of the page are sorted into categories; Flexback Carbon, Hardback Carbon, Specialty, Bi-Metal Matrix and Bi-Metal M42. First we will discuss the differences of these materials and then we will get into TPI selection.

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.

Specialty – We have 3 “Specialty” blades listed in our selection:

Furniture Band – Designed specifically for the furniture industry, these blades have an aggressive tooth design for fast cutting and long life. This .032” thick blade is slightly heavier than standard bands offering better precision and contour control.

Meat Blade – Blades designed specifically for meat cutting saws in butcher shops.

Quicksilver Wood Mill – For stationary and portable woodmill and re-saw machines. Resharpenable hardened teeth offer a low cost per blade and low cost per cut when milling wood.

Bi-Metal Matrix – Popular in maintenance and small fabricating shops, the matrix blades are for general purpose cutting of materials with easy to moderate machinability. For small to medium size bandsaws.

Bi-Metal M42 – The workhorses of the metal cutting industry, these blades are a combination of hardened M42 teeth and tool steel in combination with a fatigue resistant backer. Excellent on difficult to machine solids and heavy walled structures. For medium to heavy production machines.

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Tooth Per Inch (TPI) Selection – Picking the right TPI for your application can be the trickiest part of ordering a bandsaw blade so use this guide to help you get started and then experiment to find out what works best for you. The chart below indicates the “minimum” material thickness that you should cut with each TPI selection. Keep in mind that this is just the minimum and not necessarily the ideal selection for your application. So, as you increase the TPI from the minimum, you improve the quality of the cut and reduce the blades ability to clear the material removed from the cutting process.

Here are some common applications along with appropriate blade selection to help guide you:

  • Wood or plywood up to 1” thick – use 6 TPI
  • Wood 2” to 4” thick – use 3 TPI or 4 TPI
  • Wood 6” to 12” thick – use 2 TPI, .75 TPI (3/4” tooth pitch), .875 TPI (7/8” tooth pitch) or 1TPI
  • Aluminum Sheet – use 8 TPI to 10 TPI
  • Aluminum Pipe – use 6 TPI or 8 TPI
  • Aluminum Solid – use 6 TPI or coarser depending on thickness
  • Steel cutting on small or portable bandsaw – use 10-14 variable pitch
  • Steel Tube – use 6-10, 8-12, 10-14 variable pitch
  • Steel Solid – use 6-10, 5-8, 4-6 variable pitch
  • Steel Sheet – use 8-12 or 10-14 variable pitch

Using those examples as a starting point, pick blades that seem to suit your application best. Keeping in mind that bandsaw blades do wear out and will break eventually we reccomend you keep at least a couple of spares so that you don’t have to put an abrupt end to your production while you wait for new blades.

Saving Money Buying Bandsaw Blades in Bulk – Our system is designed to allow you to “mix and match” different length, width and TPI selections to obtain the best possible pricing. The discounts applied to your blades are based on cumulative pricing at the “Price before discount” level. So as you add blades to the cart the system keeps track of the cumulative total and applies discounts when you reach $100 and a further discount at $250. The $250 level also qualifies for Free Shipping!

Ready to buy? Click Here to go to the Bandsaw Blade page

Note on 3 Wheel Bandsaws – The blades we manufacture are not guaranteed for use on a 3 wheel bandsaw. They do work, however the smaller wheels on the 3 wheel saw puts more stress on the weld and material and makes them more prone to breakage. Therefore we do not gurantee the weld or the material when used on a 3 wheel saw. The recommended material for 3 wheel saws is thinner (.014”) than what we have available.

Robert McDonald Posted by Robert McDonald
Skookum Tools Ltd. © 2018