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fryovanni

Bandsaw Blade Performance Test

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The topic of which bandsaw blades work best, which saw performs well and so forth comes up a lot. I figured I would start a topic that I and hopefully others could use to do some real world performance testing.

In order to make the results more meaningful I am going to start each test run with a fresh blade. Tune my bandsaw (18" Steel City). Then run it until it has a cutting issue and either needs adjustment, or the blade shows signs of dulling (causing cutting problems).

First run is a Lennox Trimaster, 1" 2/3 TPI Carbide.

So far I am a have run a hundred and some odd soundboards, around 40 back and side sets, and around 20 drop tops, plus a handful of misc veneers, fretboards, bridge blanks and such. Somewhere between 400-500 cuts. The blade has yet to show any sign of dulling (tips of the teeth are still extreamly sharp to the touch)

DSC_0003-1.jpg

I will update as I keep cutting. I hope some of you other re-sawers jump in and add some testing. I have a timberwolf, woodslicer, woodmasterCT, and an allpro lined up and waiting for their turn to test.

Peace,Rich

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Thank you Thank you Thank you, Very cool Rich. My next puchase will be a bandsaw thats big enuff to do re-saws. I look foward to following this thread. -Vinny

I'm losing 1/8'' to sawdust to make a 1/8'' cut on the table saw now. Its killing me.

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I'm not even sure I have enough wood (right now) to make that many cuts. At least, not enough wood earmarked for intensive resawing.

And I have quite a bit of wood!

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Thank you Thank you Thank you, Very cool Rich. My next puchase will be a bandsaw thats big enuff to do re-saws. I look foward to following this thread. -Vinny

I'm losing 1/8'' to sawdust to make a 1/8'' cut on the table saw now. Its killing me.

Vinny,

You can get your losses down to about 1/16" per. cut with a bandsaw. That is about the best you cand do. You have a few blades you can choose from, some produce a smoother cut(lower surfacing losses), some have a reduced tooth set (less offset v.s. the blades thickness, which increases how touchy the blade is), and reduced thickness of the actual blade (Woodmasters blade is .025" steel, most blades up to 1" are .035" steel, larger blades are .042"). Reduced thickness does relate to generally a lower beam strength, but that is usually managable. My conservative blades(leaning tward reliability, and tolerant to clearing) take between .050 and .055" total kerf. My higher risk, lower loss blades take between .035 and .042". As long as you can hold the accuracy of the cut low loss blades can give you extra pieces from valuable timbers, however if your blade forces you to make a thicker cut to ensure the blade will not cut too thin(generally due to blade traveling poorly) then the thinner kerf is not worth it. You have to strike that happy medium between risk, loss and of course speed of cutting (if that is an issue).

Mattia,

I am trying to clear some space on my cutting shelves (didn't do much cutting over the last few months), and make room. I have more Spruce, Cocobolo cants, Maple, Redwood, Walnut, Koa and such looking for a little space so they can get in line for slicing. Funny thing is no matter how close I get to clearing those shelves, more wood seems to keep showing up (must be that WAS thing you and I seem to have :D:D ).

Peace,Rich

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I've had to very seriously reign in my WAS (although....I came back from the US with some heavy boards of wood) on pain of death. Must finish some guitars, pronto, so as to be allowed to go forth and buy more, clearly.

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I envy you for having all that wood sitting around. Ahh if only I had the money! :D

Danielle,

You would choke if you saw the load of wood I just unloaded(full size bed on my chevy packed) in my cutting area(AKA my garage :D ). I have a path to my bandsaw, full shelves and a stacks of wood on either side of that path. I have about a week and a half to get it out of the way for a load of Cocobolo (Large cants). We will see if I can kill that Trimaster.

Mattia,

Good to hear you have better control than me(for the moment :D ). Sorry if I made your luggage a bit heavier on the trip home. Now at least I can say I have never filled my suitcase with timbers, maybe you are not too in control of that WAS B) .

Peace,Rich

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Well the Trimaster test has come to a close for the moment. I started running wet Sitka bolts and I am just tired of wiping the blade. The problem is that a Trimaster gums up in the gullet and against the teeth. The Woodmaster with 1.3 TPI and much larger gullets does not have this problem to near this extent (although you still have to clean it off and on). The Trimaster is still deadly sharp, it actually drew blood when I was hanging it. I will put it back on when I switch to Cocobolo.

So for now I made it through about squaring about 30 raw bolts, cutting 15 archtop sets, 12 or so soundboards. So the trimasters reign stops around 600 cuts, however it will be back for more and had no actual tracking issues.

I am using my old Woodmaster CT for now. It comes to the plate with about 150 soundboards, maybe 50 drop tops, 50-80 acoustic sets, half a dozen archtop sets, squaring a bunch of raw bolts, 30-50 fretboards, a load of veneers, maybe 400 to 500 binding strips. I am sure it has well over 500-600 good cuts under it's belt, and is sharp to the touch. Lets see how it does on the wet Sitka.

Peace,Rich

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Put another 150 cuts on the Woodmaster CT(8-10" x 24-28" wet Sitka). Woodmaster CT is hands down the way to go with wet softwoods. The Trimaster just has too many teeth per inch and not enough gullet capacity. That puts the tally in the 650 to 750 cut range, and still sticky sharp.

I am going to go out on a limb and say these carbide blades, are pretty much life time blades for the occasional user. For heavy re-sawers they are certainly top notch. I am not sure at what point a carbide blade will wear out, because I have never actually dulled one. I have dulled woodslicers(several), timberwolfs(several), all pro(a couple). So I know testing those blades will not take as long, under heavy use I can dull any of them within 50-200 cuts. I think a woodmaster in the $125(depending on length) range, and the Trimaster in the $180 (again depending on length) range are absolutely bargains for heavy resaw.

After cutting all that messy Sitka, I though a quick note on how I clean blades might be helpful info to pass on. I have a stiff wire brush, that I hold against each side of the blade and spin the wheel backwards, then wrap a rag soaked with naptha on the blade and spin the wheels backwards again( use care when doing this, the blades are sharp). While you are wiping the blade you will be able to feel any lumps or buildup on the sides of the blade, I use a razor to clear these(if the whole blade is grungy on the sides, carefully hold the razor against the sides, spin the blade backwards taking care to avoid the teeth and gullets). If you ever think you have a dull blade, clean it, good chance it is just dirty. When you clean the blade it is a good time to look for any damaged teeth. By the time I wear out a blade it will usually have several rounded or broken teeth (easy to see the wear coming on). Also check your guides for buildup, and clean them if needed.

Peace,Rich

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I posted this up over at the OLF, but thought I would add it to this thread also.

I took some pictures as examples of how a couple of my different blades perform. It seemed like there were a lot of posts asking what blade was best, or why some blades were giving people problems.

This is a woodslicer. Made one cut on an 8" Honduran Rosewood back(22" long).

WSLafterHondRW.jpg

I cleaned the blade, and made a second cut on the same billet.

Picture

I cleaned it again, and this time sliced a 10" Sapele Billet(24" long), This is the result.

picture

I had about enough cleaning so I switch over to a Woodmaster. This is a pic of the Woodmaster(1.3 TPI), Woodslicer(3/4 TPI), and a Trimaster(3 TPI). Note the gullets, and teeth. The Woodslicer is most prone to buildup, Trimaster is next, the Woodslicer is almost immune to buildup.

picture

This is the Woodmaster after 2 cuts of Honduran RW, 9 cuts of Sapele, 10 cuts of Koa, and 40 cuts of Cocobolo. All back billets.

picture

When any of the blades clog or build up problems start. The Trimaster and Woodmaster can deal with more buildup without having significant cutting problems because they have a bit wider set, but the Woodslicer gets real touchy with buildup, and is most prone to buildup.

Next post I will show some pictures of how I clean a blade. Cleaning blades is a must. Often people confuse dirty clogged blades for dull blades.

Peace,Rich

CLEANING

This is the process I use to clean my blades. It takes about 1-2 minutes. I should note, up plug the Bandsaw, only spin the blade backwards by hand. I used the Woodslicer after taking 1 slice off a Honduran RW billet for these pics.

picture

First I use a wire brush held against each side of the blade as I spin it backwards to clear most of the gunk from the gullets. If you let the gunk set up or cook on you need to take a blade to each gullet and scrape it clean(painfully time consuming, so try to keep up with the cleaning).

picture

After brushing.

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Next I scrape the sides with a blade by holding it against the sides and spinning(careful not to grab a tooth)

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After scraping

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Next I use a sanding pad to knock off any bits that might be hanging in there.

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After sanding. Looking pretty good.

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I finish up with Mineral Spirits.

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One more cut of Honduran RW, and lets do it all over again :D . I have little patience for Woodslicers on Rosewood :D .

picture

Peace,Rich

As for the cut counts.

Trimaster- I used it for some Limba, Figured Maple, Douglas Fir, and Myrtle. About another 100 or so cuts. Approaching 1K cuts (still cutting well)

Woodmaster- Cocobolo, Koa, Redwood, Honduran RW, Quilted Sapele, Quilted Maple. About another 200 or so cuts. Approaching 1K cuts (still cutting well)

and the Woodslicer jumped in for a few cuts.

Woodslicer-Curly Mahogany, little Sapele, and Honuran RW- about 20 cuts, and I was tired of cleaning. 20 cuts (still sharp)

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You the The Man Rich.....

I was cutting a bunch of cocobolo fretboards this weekend, and my Woodslicer experience is exactly the same as yours on the gunk-up factor.

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You the The Man Rich.....

I was cutting a bunch of cocobolo fretboards this weekend, and my Woodslicer experience is exactly the same as yours on the gunk-up factor.

Fretboards are in that tricky range for me. Sometimes you need that low loss to get a full three boards from a 4/4 board(skinny ones). If it is a solid 1" I use my Trimaster or Woodmaster whichever is on the machine(Snakewood, Blackwood and PI being exceptions). I hacked up some 8-1/4" x 5.25" Cocobolo I while ago. That was 100% Woodmaster. Tried the Trimaster and it performed miserably(gunked up). If I had to have one blade only it would be a Woodmaster CT, if I could have two I would add a Woodslicer, and my third addition would be a Trimaster. One Woodmaster CT will produce a HUGE number of cuts, and doesn't blink at the hardest or oilest woods. Only downside is when the wood is expensive and you NEED that extra yeild (then you don't worry about spending some time cleaning the blade).

Peace,Rich

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Dang, Rich.... If you have the time and money to do all this, I gotta ask: What do you do for a living?

On a self serving note: What would I have to do to get a 1/4" cocobolo drop top out of you? Alternatively, as I do other small woodworking projects, I'd be more than willing to make arrnagements for any pieces (cutoff or otherwise) you may have that aren't suitable size for guitars. PM me if you're willing to work something out.

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Ouch Avenger you just missed your best opportunity to get some wood, lol. Over at OLF there is a swapmeet or sorts every so often and one just ended or is about to end. I'm looking forward to trying one of these blades out soon. From everything that I've heard from a number people, sounds like they are well worth the money, well at least some of them. Its always nice to get some experiment results from people to get an inside look at how the comparison in products turned out. Very helpful when one is trying to figure out what to purchase and whether the product is suitable for the intended work. I'm curious to see how the timberwolf turns out, first starting out I had heard good things about them, then bad things, but I ended up with one that was a bonus for buying my saw, a general one wood cutting blade. And it seems nice for now, we'll see down the line, though I can say it was much better than whatever blade that came on the saw itself. J

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What the deuce!? The trimasters are ALMOST double the price of the woodmaster CT!?

Chris

Well, yes, one's got a significantly thinner kerf (band's similar), and far fewer teeth (less carbide, wider tooth spacing). All that being said, with the dollar as low as it is, and me having a bit to spend, I've gone off and bought myself three 'lifetime' blades, as Rich puts it: a 1/2" Trimaster, 3/4" Aluminum Master and a 1" Woodmaster CT, each to be used depending on the expensiveness of the wood to be used (ie, how much waste?).

Just did my first serious resawing last weekend using a Bladerunner from Iturra design, sliced up a billet of Sapele (back side sets, 2" stock), came out a little too thin on a few cuts because I wasn't feeding optimally) and then ran two sets of back/side billets in Claro Walnut through it, which came out lovely and gorgeous (looks stunning with a quick lacquer thinner wipe, straight off the saw...Rich has the bookmatch to this board, got it from Gilmer a good 2 years ago now or something like that), but the blade's now officially dull, leads off about 10 degrees from straight. Good solution for pricey wood that I want maximum yield on (got 5 full-thickness sets plus an extra slice out of the second billet, 4.7mm thick per slice, 4 full sets plus a smaller set (too thin at the edge) out of the other).

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Mattia, if you sand it to *just* remove the saw marks and then calculate the percentage of thickness lost as waste, how does it look on the Claro?

I'm finding that with a Woodslicer I can do no better than about 60% yield (40% waste) on easy-to-cut backs & sides (i.e. non-oily woods) starting from true 4/4 or 8/4. With oily stuff I'm more at 50% because of blade wander during gunk-up (even cleaning the blade between every cut).

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I figure out of the optimally sawn billet (the other one was me screwing up a little, letting my attention wander), I got 11 slices out of a roughsawn 8/4 billet. Only skimmed one face clean, as it was almost dead flat anyway (within a few mils over the entire length). So we're looking at roughly 54 mm thick to start with, 11 slices, cleaned of sawmarks, puts the slices at 3mm (conservative estimate - haven't actually bothered thickness sanding all 10 sets yet), so 33 mm of wood from 54 - roughly 60-40 like you say. I'll check when I actually get around to thicknessing the sets down, but it's probably somthing like 70/30 at best, under ideal conditions.

Then again, I find Walnut's very easy to mill and cut. The blade had it tougher with Sapele (a little, anyway) and it was sharper when it went through it. But the Sapele's cheap (ends up at abour 5-8 dollars/set compared to 50-60 dollars per set on the Claro that had to be shipped from Oregon to the Netherlands...)

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Dang, Rich.... If you have the time and money to do all this, I gotta ask: What do you do for a living?

On a self serving note: What would I have to do to get a 1/4" cocobolo drop top out of you? Alternatively, as I do other small woodworking projects, I'd be more than willing to make arrnagements for any pieces (cutoff or otherwise) you may have that aren't suitable size for guitars. PM me if you're willing to work something out.

I do electrical work for a living. I am just rapping up the swap at the OLF today, and will be taking a break for a while(very busy week that swap meet). I have been thinking about posting up some wood for solid bodies in the buy/sell/ trade section again. I used to offer wood for solid bodies, but it became too time consuming and it was hard to justify the effort. Maybe we could get a bunch of people together and con Brian into a short "swap meet" for solid bodies. If it is like a week long event, it is much easier to handle.

Mattia, I have checked the kerf on my Woodmaster and Trimaster, both are very close(both are 1" blades though). I am not sure what the deal is with the aluminum master? I understood it was supposed to be more flexable and better for smaller wheels, but that was before the newer trimasters came out(more flexable). The main feature I like about the Woodmaster is that it is made to cut wood specifically, and I feel like it does a better job getting through the material. The trimaster is designed to be a jack of all trades, and does handle most woods acceptably. I am not sure about a blade designed for cutting Aluminum though? You will have to give me your opinion after you rip through some timber with that baby. Oh, and the curl on that Walnut is really something isn't it :D .

Rich

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Published kerf specs are close, but every little bit matters! I figure if folks like Larry Davis and Bob Cefalu (both of whom cut more wood in a month than I even own, most like, and I own a fair amount of wood) swear by the Alum Master, I should at least give it a shot. Add the strong euro/weak dollar situation, a bit of disposable income, and the fact a 1/2" Trimaster (thinnest kerf of the carbide tipped blades I found) can be used as an all-rounder for a lot of things, and I figured: why not give it a shot?

I also found a US-based remailer that has very, very reasonable rates on shipping (for shipments over 155 lbs in weight - easy enough if we're talking wood - 5-7 day delivery with air freight and invoices and all the trimmings comes to about 2 bucks 50 per lb shipped to the Netherlands). Now I just need to convince my girlfriend that I really do need more of that shiny pretty wood from the US of A and start raiding Gilmer's website and the like.

And the Walnut is really stunning. Wiped on some thinner, and wow! Gorgeous colour and figure there. Almost a shame I didn't save some for a carved top, but really it's too expensive/pretty for that. Rather build 10 acoustics with it than 2 carved top electrics (and maybe 4 acoustics).

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Published kerf specs are close, but every little bit matters! I figure if folks like Larry Davis and Bob Cefalu (both of whom cut more wood in a month than I even own, most like, and I own a fair amount of wood) swear by the Alum Master, I should at least give it a shot. Add the strong euro/weak dollar situation, a bit of disposable income, and the fact a 1/2" Trimaster (thinnest kerf of the carbide tipped blades I found) can be used as an all-rounder for a lot of things, and I figured: why not give it a shot?

I also found a US-based remailer that has very, very reasonable rates on shipping (for shipments over 155 lbs in weight - easy enough if we're talking wood - 5-7 day delivery with air freight and invoices and all the trimmings comes to about 2 bucks 50 per lb shipped to the Netherlands). Now I just need to convince my girlfriend that I really do need more of that shiny pretty wood from the US of A and start raiding Gilmer's website and the like.

And the Walnut is really stunning. Wiped on some thinner, and wow! Gorgeous colour and figure there. Almost a shame I didn't save some for a carved top, but really it's too expensive/pretty for that. Rather build 10 acoustics with it than 2 carved top electrics (and maybe 4 acoustics).

Hmm.. Not sure if Uncle Bob is still all over the aluminum master or not. Last time we traded messages I thought he had tried it based on Larry's recommendation, but I think the advantage in the past was because the trimaster had a different alloy for the blade(which has been improved). Bob responded that he was not too happy with the Woodmaster CT's performance either, then I believe he tried it again and changed his opinion. Either way, you will love the blades, they are all really nice. If I were you I would gamble on a 1" Woodmaster CT(not sure what length your blades are, but they should fall in the $100-$125 range). The large gullets and TPI count as well as tooth configuration are specifically designed for wood cutting, and from experience it shows in the performance on wide resaws(especially oily or wet woods).

Agreed, the figure on that Walnut is really something :D

Rich

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