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Band Saw Blades


CrazyManAndy
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We're picking up a bandsaw (the Grizzly 1HP 14") and I want to get a good blade for it. This blade won't be used for resawing. I want something that can handle between 3/4" and 2" thick material, and manage a relatively tight radius when necessary. I'm thinking maybe a 3/8" or so. I have no idea how much TPI I need.

What's the deal? Is there a guide I can use that tells me how to match a blade to my application?

CMA

Edited by CrazyManAndy
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I use a 1/4" lenox flexback, 6 tpi for normal cutting operations (bodies, neck blanks, I've cut up to 4-5 inches with it). Works for me.

I'm a bit useless in terms of info on skip vs variable vs whatever tooth pattern; a call to someone like Lou Iturra (Google Iturra Design) and you'll get more information than you ever wanted about blades and the like. I just said 'I want something general purpose as well as some cheap resaw blades', and he set me up with woodslicers (for resawing, cost 30-something dollars for the 145" length my bandsaw needs) and several of the lenox flexback 1/4" blades for general purpose sawing.

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We're picking up a bandsaw (the Grizzly 1HP 14") and I want to get a good blade for it. This blade won't be used for resawing. I want something that can handle between 3/4" and 2" thick material, and manage a relatively tight radius when necessary. I'm thinking maybe a 3/8" or so. I have no idea how much TPI I need.

What's the deal? Is there a guide I can use that tells me how to match a blade to my application?

CMA

Andy,

I have the grizzly 14" ultimate with a riser. I have found that the timber wolf 10tpi 1/4" works Very, very well with my saw. I can resaw up to 11" and still do tight radius as well. I've tried others including the the TW 1/2" 3 tpi for resawing, but have found the 1/4" 10tpi works wonders on mine. Just my experience with it, so take that for what's worth and the grain of salt as well.

Mike

Edited by MiKro
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We're picking up a bandsaw (the Grizzly 1HP 14") and I want to get a good blade for it. This blade won't be used for resawing. I want something that can handle between 3/4" and 2" thick material, and manage a relatively tight radius when necessary. I'm thinking maybe a 3/8" or so. I have no idea how much TPI I need.

What's the deal? Is there a guide I can use that tells me how to match a blade to my application?

CMA

Andy,

I have the grizzly 14" ultimate with a riser. I have found that the timber wolf 10tpi 1/4" works Very, very well with my saw. I can resaw up to 11" and still do tight radius as well. I've tried others including the the TW 1/2" 3 tpi for resawing, but have found the 1/4" 10tpi works wonders on mine. Just my experience with it, so take that for what's worth and the grain of salt as well.

Mike

Mike, You seriously pull off 11" re-saws with a 10TPI blade and have no issues with clearing? Do you slow way down to allow the cut to clear?

Andy, 1/4" blade 10 TPI(high carbon should be fine) sounds like a good choice for the cutting you mentioned. If you get into re-sawing I would suggest a very different blade (TPI, tooth set, rake and type of tip).

Peace,Rich

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If you are buying direct from Grizzly check to see if they still offer a Timberwolf with a bandsaw purchase. I got mine mid-late last year and it came with a free timberwolf blade. Sadly, it was backordered so I had to wait a few weeks for it to arrive, which was fine as I didn't have the room to setup the saw yet anyway. The blade the saw came with was so-so. The Timberwolf they sent was just a general all purpose cutter, I think a 3/8" blade lower tpi, using the positive claw design. I'd really have to search my emails to get the exact specs on it or go out and inspect it, but really it has worked wonderfully on everything I've used it on from cutting my zebrawood body to slicing off some veneers from 4" jatoba and bubinga very well. I would had preferred a thinner blade if I had the choice at the time as I can't cut that tight of radius with a 3/8" vs. a 1/4" but it works fine and sure does cut very straight lines no problem. Check out some of the other bandsaw threads here through the search, there is some great information on setup and proper tensioning and more, this can make a big difference in your cuts in my opinion. And remember to make a habit out of releasing the blade tension release handle when you are done cutting.

I just checked out the site and didn't see the deal anywhere for the free timberwolf, but ask them see if they'll do it, say you thought they had that deal, maybe they'll still honor it. With that in mind I really want to try some of the blades mentioned here like the woodslicers and such, but I would have no issues buying some more general purpose timberwolf blades. FYI, I grabbed the 14"extreme version and am very happy with it. It was tough to decide between the ultimate and extreme due to cash flow issues, but the bit extra hp, the 6" tall fence, the light, the heavier, bulkier base and cast iron wheels vs cast aluminum were the deciding factors I believe. Of course for each step up you can justify the price increase, it just boils down to what you can go with, I had to save a couple extra months to go with the extreme but I'm glad I did. Oh yeah the extreme base is also a cabinet which is cool place to store guitar building stuff, lol. Best of luck. J

Edited by jmrentis
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We're picking up a bandsaw (the Grizzly 1HP 14") and I want to get a good blade for it. This blade won't be used for resawing. I want something that can handle between 3/4" and 2" thick material, and manage a relatively tight radius when necessary. I'm thinking maybe a 3/8" or so. I have no idea how much TPI I need.

What's the deal? Is there a guide I can use that tells me how to match a blade to my application?

CMA

Andy,

I have the grizzly 14" ultimate with a riser. I have found that the timber wolf 10tpi 1/4" works Very, very well with my saw. I can resaw up to 11" and still do tight radius as well. I've tried others including the the TW 1/2" 3 tpi for resawing, but have found the 1/4" 10tpi works wonders on mine. Just my experience with it, so take that for what's worth and the grain of salt as well.

Mike

Mike, You seriously pull off 11" re-saws with a 10TPI blade and have no issues with clearing? Do you slow way down to allow the cut to clear?

Andy, 1/4" blade 10 TPI(high carbon should be fine) sounds like a good choice for the cutting you mentioned. If you get into re-sawing I would suggest a very different blade (TPI, tooth set, rake and type of tip).

Peace,Rich

Yes I do Andy!!!, actually I have 1/2" and 3/4" blades for my saw, but they just don't seem to work as well, and yes I do know how to tune a bandsaw up. I have found that my particular saw likes this blade, so I stick with it. It's kinda like some of my rifles. They like a certain round and they are very accurate, change from that and then the accuracy suffers? Yes I have to feed a little slower but That's ok with me as I have less waste in the end.

MIke

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If you are buying direct from Grizzly check to see if they still offer a Timberwolf with a bandsaw purchase.

I just bought the same saw last month after reading the 'bandsaw showdown' in Fine Woodworking (?), and it didn't come with a Timberwolf :D

Andy: I think a 3/8" 6 TPI hook blade is a good all-purpose blade like what you're looking for, but at $10-12 a pop, they're cheap enough that I'd pick up a variety from 1/4" - 1/2"

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Yes I do Andy!!!, actually I have 1/2" and 3/4" blades for my saw, but they just don't seem to work as well, and yes I do know how to tune a bandsaw up. I have found that my particular saw likes this blade, so I stick with it. It's kinda like some of my rifles. They like a certain round and they are very accurate, change from that and then the accuracy suffers? Yes I have to feed a little slower but That's ok with me as I have less waste in the end.

MIke

That was me asking Mike. I have had better luck with fewer TPI for re-sawing. I run a 5/8"timberwolf?(4TPI) and a 3/4"woodslicer(3/4 TPI) on my 14" for re-sawing, and 3/4" woodslicer(3/4TPI), 1" Triamster(2/3TPI) or 1" WoodmasterCT(1.3TPI) on my 18" for re-sawing. I have a 3/16", 1/4", 1/2" with higher TPI that I use on the 14" for general and pattern cutting(all general purpose high carbon blades). I have actually found I have to slow down a bit with very oily woods(such as Cocobolo) when re-sawing(even with the Woodmaster CT @1.3TPI). Re-sawing is definately a game of feed rate and tuning, so everyone will be able to make different blades work well for them :D .

Peace,Rich

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Yes I do Andy!!!, actually I have 1/2" and 3/4" blades for my saw, but they just don't seem to work as well, and yes I do know how to tune a bandsaw up. I have found that my particular saw likes this blade, so I stick with it. It's kinda like some of my rifles. They like a certain round and they are very accurate, change from that and then the accuracy suffers? Yes I have to feed a little slower but That's ok with me as I have less waste in the end.

MIke

That was me asking Mike. I have had better luck with fewer TPI for re-sawing. I run a 5/8"timberwolf?(4TPI) and a 3/4"woodslicer(3/4 TPI) on my 14" for re-sawing, and 3/4" woodslicer(3/4TPI), 1" Triamster(2/3TPI) or 1" WoodmasterCT(1.3TPI) on my 18" for re-sawing. I have a 3/16", 1/4", 1/2" with higher TPI that I use on the 14" for general and pattern cutting(all general purpose high carbon blades). I have actually found I have to slow down a bit with very oily woods(such as Cocobolo) when re-sawing(even with the Woodmaster CT @1.3TPI). Re-sawing is definately a game of feed rate and tuning, so everyone will be able to make different blades work well for them :D .

Peace,Rich

Sorry Rich,

And yes I agree that feed rate and tuning make the difference. Like I said the 1/4" TW 10tpi works great on my saw. Not saying that another would work any better for me or not. Just after trying the one's I have it fits my saw and my style. :D

Take Care !!

MK

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Thanks for the tips guys! I hear the optimum is to have 8 teeth (IIRC) in the material at all times. Is it worse to have too few or too many teeth in the material?

jmrentis: I decided against the Extreme, given that I didn't feel like the price difference was worth it (the Rikon is only a little bit more). I told my Dad (he is the one paying for it), if he does not want to cut more than 6", then go with the Grizzly Ultimate 14". If he does want to cut more than 6", go with Rikon 14" Deluxe. Great price (no shipping since I can get it locally, and my woodcraft is having a sell on band saws), great quality (has cast iron wheels for one), it has a great track record, and you avoid any possible complications with using a riser kit.

CMA

Edited by CrazyManAndy
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Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools and I looked them up and really liked them. I had never previously heard of them and I really liked their products. I would have definitely looked at that Rikon if had a bit more to spend, though like I said, I may have looked at the Steel city saws. All very nice.

I went back and forth on so many machines, I looked at the rikon, jets, even the craftsmans looked alright for the money. The extreme was about the most the saw I could get with the money I had. I really like those rikon/jets especially like the one you are getting with the tall resaw, but it was out of my price range really, the ultimate was really the most I wanted, but the improvements on the extreme seemed well worth it for me, it had the nice 6" tall fence(very helpful), the light, cast iron wheels, bulkier, heavier and more stable base, extra hp and more. So far I'm very happy with my purchase and it takes care of everything I've thrown at it with no problems, I've gotten it very accurate to my surprise.

There are a few good bandsaw threads here, when you get your saw going post your feelings and thoughts on them because all those posts are what helped me and others figure out what to get and whats good, its super helpful information for people researching. Also, if you don't have some already grab some johnsons paste wax for the tables, makes them like butter. I actually found it at home depot for a couple bucks, its well worth it for the protection of the table for that and all your other tables. Best of luck and let me know how you like the saw, it looks like a killer machine. J

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Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools >snip<

Just for everyones info the steel city is good equipment and has gotten good ratings. The problem is the service on parts and service in general. I've heard from Woodcraft that they no longer will order steel city because of the backorder and service. I hear alsoi that Steel city is working on this problem as they did not expect the initial influx of orders and hopefully will have this resolved soon.

Just what I've heard through the Grapevine!!!!!!!!!1 :D

mk

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Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools >snip<

Just for everyones info the steel city is good equipment and has gotten good ratings. The problem is the service on parts and service in general. I've heard from Woodcraft that they no longer will order steel city because of the backorder and service. I hear alsoi that Steel city is working on this problem as they did not expect the initial influx of orders and hopefully will have this resolved soon.

Just what I've heard through the Grapevine!!!!!!!!!1 :D

mk

That is interesting, and good to know. I have never had to deal with Steel City customer service, but I could see how a company that is really taking off pretty fast could have bumps in the road. I was at Woodcraft last weekend and they were all thumbs up on Steel City, however Woodcraft in my area doesn't carry most of the Steel City line(just a couple items). Woodcrafters is another shop in my area that does carry most of the line, and they have nothing but wonderful things to say about them and their products.

I think Steel City has a cool aproach to their line of tools (that means they put a bullsey on my demographic LOL). I think they are still worth keeping in the running if you are looking for a new tool. When you put their offering up against Jets, Rikons, Grizzly, Delta and so forth they usually hold their own very well. When you really look at how they are assembled you start to notice favorable differences, and extra reinforcements here and there(those differences become VERY appearant in daily use). I hope they keep making their tools that way and don't do what most other companies seem to do (just focusing on being able to say "we have all the features the other guys have"). If they go the way of many other companies when new management takes over, at least I will have that "when they built them well" tool.

Peace,Rich

P.S. Hey Mike, What are you running for guides on your machine(is it a dual skateboard sized bearings like Carters?)? I have been thinking about upgrading my Carters on my 14" with a single wide bearing, and ditching the smaller bearings. I made this change on my 18" and man what a difference.

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Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools >snip<

>snip<

>Snip<

Peace,Rich

P.S. Hey Mike, What are you running for guides on your machine(is it a dual skateboard sized bearings like Carters?)? I have been thinking about upgrading my Carters on my 14" with a single wide bearing, and ditching the smaller bearings. I made this change on my 18" and man what a difference.

Rich,

I'm still running the bearings that came with it. Carter does not make a replacement for it yet. I wish they did. and yes I agree that wider bearings would be more effective.

MK

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The Grizzly arrived today. Got it all out of the box, did everything up too the blade setup. I'm going to wait until I get the new blade before I go any further. So far I'm very happy with it though. Everything went together nicely, and the manual is very easy to follow. Lot's of good info in there as well. I'll report back when I get the blade.

Thanks for the tip on the paste wax, I'll see if I can find it. I read that a lot of folks use Penetrol before they apply the wax for better rust protection in humid locations. I may look into that as well.

I know Timber Wolf is pretty much king when it comes to band saw blades, but I was looking at the Olson All-Pro blades and they appear to be pretty nice. They're about $10 cheaper as well. Have you guys tried them out? Their 1/4" blade in my size is only 6 TPI though, rather than 10. I don't mind paying the extra if it's worth it, I'm only curious.

CMA

Edited by CrazyManAndy
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I am pretty particular about my resaw blades, but for more common cutting I use Olson All Pro, or a couple other regular high carbon steel blades. You can look into slightly more expensive bi-metal, but for regular use you will notice little extra benifit. All bets are off when you start going for wider resaws on tuff to cut woods.

Peace,Rich

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Thanks for tip Rich. In the end I went with a Timber Wolf. I figured, what the hay, if I were getting more than one, I'd probably get the Olson's for the better price.

So I got the blade installed and did a test run. No weird noises, but I am getting a fair amount of vibration. It's not enough to mess me up if I'm trying to cut something, but it's more than I expected. Most of the vibration is in the upper half of the band saw, and it travels into the table from there. In the lower half (and the stand) it's pretty minimal, if any at all, but I expect that since it has the most mass. In any case, not really sure what's causing it.

And I'm having a bit of trouble tensioning the blade properly. I'm supposed to release the tension until it starts to flutter, but I darn near de-tensioned it as far as it would let me and didn't notice much of a difference. It was definitely getting looser (I would turn it off occasionally and feel the blade itself), but I didn't see much in the way of flutter. I was tired though (and irritated, lol), so I'll go back out there tomorrow and take another look at it.

:D

CMA

Edited by CrazyManAndy
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I tighten my blades by feel as Mattia does. It really depends on the blade, some achive good beam strength easily, some need more tension. As far as the noise, check your guides and make sure your blade or guides are free of build up. If your guides are touching the blade or worse deflecting it that will cause noise. Be sure your guides are square to the blade, and are just clear of the blade(run tight, but not touching).

As far as vibration. Be sure to check all nuts and bolts (especially the upper frames main bolt). Check your pulleys, keys and such. A 14" saw is light and generally will be more prone to vibration, but it should not be excessive. If you havent checked yet, make sure your wheels are aligned. Don't forget to double check the motor and pulleys are all aligned and secure.

On a bandsaw related side note;

I just re-tuned my 18" yesterday, and dropped a fresh trimaster(I usually run a wood master for soundboards, but thought I would give the trimaster a go on the spruce) on it. Man there is nothing like a fresh blade and a fresh tune. I ran 50 acoustic sound board sets through it one cut after then next smooth as silk. I am going to see if I can give it a real run today(I have about another 100 soundboard sets to cut then we start the back and sides), and see how long it takes before something messes with the settings.

Peace,Rich

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Well, I tensioned it to what appeared to be a good amount. I set up the guides and did some cutting. Looks good, no blade lead out and it cuts very smoothly. If I did improperly tension it, what would be the likely result?

I had to back off one of the bearing guides, as it would make a squealing noise whenever I cut something. The manual says the bearings should make light contact with the blade but still spin freely. So I assume the blade should cause them to spin (even just a little bit) when the machine is on and nothing is being cut? Whenever I get the bearing that close, it squeals when I start feeding the blade. I'm going to attempt a little more fine tuning and see what happens, but it seems to be ok like it is.

I also lowered the speed. After that, and setting the guides, it seems to have less vibration now.

Thanks for all your help so far guys! Much appreciated!

CMA

Edited by CrazyManAndy
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Andy,

A couple things I have found about bearing guides.. What you noticed when the bearings are in full contact has held true with my machines also. The thing that becomes problematic is that you will get pitch or other junk that builds on the blade. When the bearings touch they will clog so to speak, and get quite noisy with the slightest buildup. You need to really look close at bearings and make sure they are as perfectly parallel to the blade in its natural position as possible. If they are not, and you stand them off slightly(allow for a tiny bit of clearance, which is best), the bearings will turn the blade as pitch of junk builds on the blade. Guides are like a double edge sword, they can keep the blade in check when some odd happening tries to force the blade out of its natural travel, or they can force the blade to mis-track if they are not aligned correctly. I have found that small bearings, even my carters(the skateboard size ones), have play and will not fair well when they are forcing the blade into position (resisting pressure from one direction or the other). With proper beam strength, and if your blade is cutting and clearing well, you can run a bandsaw with no guides at all (I have done this with no issues on my 18" saw, my 14" is more suseptable to getting out of true, but it works fine also *just much more risky). So think of your guides as insurance against little deflections, if you are running on them all the time you have a set up, blade or clearing issue.

Clean your blade and bearings frequently. A wipe down with pitch remover or mineral spirits is good, just use a rag, pinch it around the blade and spin the upper wheel in the reverse direction till things look clean(if you feel any bumps that do not clear scrape them off with a razor blade), just kinda spin the bearings and give them a good look over(junk building on bearings is really bad for tracking).

Smaller bandsaws are just touchy by nature. They are built lighter, have smaller wheels moving faster, blades are smaller and dull quicker as well as run hotter, bearings and guides are smaller/ built lighter, tensioning spring is softer, lower HP generally. We ask a lot from them, and push their limits with hot rod parts. Because of that they require more attension and dilligence to keep them running well. I would never give up my 14" bandsaw though, it is still one of my favorite tools.

Peace,Rich

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  • 1 month later...
Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools >snip<

Just for everyones info the steel city is good equipment and has gotten good ratings. The problem is the service on parts and service in general. I've heard from Woodcraft that they no longer will order steel city because of the backorder and service. I hear alsoi that Steel city is working on this problem as they did not expect the initial influx of orders and hopefully will have this resolved soon.

Just what I've heard through the Grapevine!!!!!!!!!1 :Dmk

Just an update, I actually ran into a problem with my Steel City Bandsaw. One side of the fences locking mehanism actually cracked, now for what it is worth a I drive that fence very hard with large lumber and stiff clamping (so I was not shocked when this happened). I picked up the phone, called customer service, they transfered me to the parts dept. The machine is under its five year warrenty. They are shipping the part today and I should have it by the end of the week. Very pleasant to deal with, very fast responce. I don't often have to deal with customer service, but Steel City seemed to perform in this area as well as could be hoped for.

Thought it was worth mentioning,

Rich

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Yeah, the Rikons look very nice, though shortly after getting my machine I heard Rich refer to Steel City tools >snip<

Just for everyones info the steel city is good equipment and has gotten good ratings. The problem is the service on parts and service in general. I've heard from Woodcraft that they no longer will order steel city because of the backorder and service. I hear alsoi that Steel city is working on this problem as they did not expect the initial influx of orders and hopefully will have this resolved soon.

Just what I've heard through the Grapevine!!!!!!!!!1 :Dmk

Just an update, I actually ran into a problem with my Steel City Bandsaw. One side of the fences locking mehanism actually cracked, now for what it is worth a I drive that fence very hard with large lumber and stiff clamping (so I was not shocked when this happened). I picked up the phone, called customer service, they transfered me to the parts dept. The machine is under its five year warrenty. They are shipping the part today and I should have it by the end of the week. Very pleasant to deal with, very fast responce. I don't often have to deal with customer service, but Steel City seemed to perform in this area as well as could be hoped for.

Thought it was worth mentioning,

Rich

Rich,

I'm happy to hear you are getting a good response from them. Like I said at first they were having some issues with Customer service so I hope they have since fixed that issue. Good luck :D

Mike

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