Choosing the right band saw blades for cutting wood can be easy when you follow these tips.
Band Saw Blade Types for Wood
The most common wood cutting band saw blade is the carbon steel blades because of their economical price. If you are cutting basics woods this is most likely your best option. Starrett, Lenox, and Simonds all offer great quality carbon steel blades for cutting wood. If your cuts are high in quantity it will most likely be worth while to try the bi-metal blades for a longer cut. In most cases, the higher cost of the blade will balance out your downtime changing blades. If you are cutting hard & abrasive woods, such as most exotic woods, your best option will be the carbide tipped band saw blades. Although high in price, you may only get a few good cuts with a carbon steel blade and will spend most of your time changing blades.
Band Saw Blade Widths for Wood
Most wood cutting band saws have the ability to use multiple options for blade width. Before you try a new blade width, make sure your saw will accept it. For re-sawing a wider bandsaw blade will help with straighter cuts. For contour cutting, your desired turning capability will decide what band saw blade width is best. A smaller width blade will have a small minimum circle diameter.
Band Saw Blade TPI for Wood
Choosing tooth per inch for wood cutting band saw blades is fairly straight forward. The TPI will affect your feed rate and the type of finish on the cut. In general, the thought is fewer teeth per inch provide a faster, but rougher cut where more teeth per inch (higher TPI) gives a smoother, but also slower cut. If you are having a hard time cutting through the wood try using a lower TPI.
Blade Thickness for Wood
The diameter of your saw wheels will tell you how thick you want your blade. Thicker blades can withstand more strain, but will also break easily from bending action. This happens when a blade is too thick for a small wheel. If your cutting work is light, than a thinner blade is recommended. A general rule is smaller wheel diameters should use a thinner blade.
Other Wood Cutting Blade Tips
Check your Tooth Set
The standard tooth set is .025 with a 10 degree hook angle unless otherwise stated. It is important to make sure your blade still has a tooth set as it will go down to 0 as you continue cutting. Carbon steel band saw blades can be resharpened and the tooth set reset. If you are starting to get wavy cuts or having a hard time cutting you may have lost the tooth set on your blade.
Check your Blade Tension
The tension on the blade will also affect how straight your cuts are. Be careful the way you measure the tension on your blade as many types of measurements have been known to be wrong. Typically wood cutting band saw blades (carbon steel blades) can be tensioned from 15,000 psi to 20,000 psi. A rule of thumb is if you bend your blade it should be slightly less than 1/4 inch.