View Full Version : Band saw blades?

06-28-2011, 05:47 PM
So, I am about to set up this little saw here:


I didn't want to buy Craftsman products anymore, but this one seems to get decent reviews and I only need it to cut small blocks or boards into handle blanks, so I hope it will do. But I also heard I should get better blades, and these seen to have an awkward size. So, can anybody recommend brands and/or a place to buy blades? And what would you recommend in terms of blades. I was thinking 1/2" with something like 12tpi? I am hoping to avoid frequent blade changes and find something that will get me through woods of different hardness and maybe even an occasional stabilized block.



Dave Martell
06-28-2011, 06:48 PM
I have the 12" version of that saw, not bad for the money, but like you noticed the blade sizes are non-standard. I went through a ton of regular blades before stepping up to bi-metal (on Butch's recommendation) and the life span difference is H_U_G_E! I've been using the M-42 Bi-Metal Magnate blades (http://www.magnate.net/index.cfm?event=showCategory&theID=238) in 1/2" width with 6-10 variable TPI. Sometimes I'd like a wider width to keep the twist down and other times I'd like a narrower width for scrolling around. If you are only going to cut straight lines then maybe consider going even wider than 1/2".

Oh and I cut all sorts of stuff with these blades, plastics, copper, aluminum, micarta, G10, and all the woods I've used (stabilized) for handles.

06-28-2011, 07:30 PM
Thanks Dave, exactly what I was hoping for - evidence-based recommendations :) The small saw only takes up to 1/2" wide as far as I know, but I will double check. I have no idea about how long such a blade will last - should I order 2 while I am at it?


06-28-2011, 08:13 PM
I've cut lots of iron and steel on band saws. You definitely want bi-metal blades.


Marko Tsourkan
06-28-2011, 09:11 PM
I use Lenox carbide-tipped blades on my 11" Shopsmith bandsaw, and bimetal on my Milwaukee hand-held band saw. You would be surprised, how much you can get done on the Milwaukee.

With the Shopsmith I don't cut much materials besides wood, but it terms of longevity, carbide tipped will outlast bi-metal and carbon blades combined. I sometimes use it for 6 month straight and I cut a variety of wood, from domestic hardwoods to tropical hardwoods. And carbide-tipped will give you a cleanest cut - not insignificant thing if you make sayas, as you have less to sand to get both pieces flat (and sometimes one of the pieces is 3/16 thick). Unless you have a drum sander, you watch your finger tips getting shorter every time you sand while holding wood by hand.

l r harner
06-28-2011, 09:42 PM
ok heres the dealy O we like to use stablized woods iron woood and G10 all are hard on blades dont even bother with anythingk other then Bi metal (les you want a wide kerf ccarbide tipp blade

wood saaws are not steel saws tho in a pinchj you can cut wood on a metal saw (its painful slow)

word of warning G10 will spark on a wood saw and kill the teeth of even a bimetal blade (sparks are bad in a wood tool OOOOKKKK ) so be smart about what your cutting and what tool you use (G10 is much nicer to cut on a metal saw )

my "mycarta" works fine in a wood saw but cuts slower and works the teethe down faster ( fabric is hard on edges )

06-28-2011, 09:54 PM
If you want the best blades, search for stellite tipped teeth. (I hope I spelled that correctly.) They are almost as hard as carbide but less costly. All Bi Metal means is the teeth are a harder metal than the softer body metal. And, yes buy two or more. The shipping is about the same and you are less likely to be left out on the cold waiting on a new blade if one breaks. I keep 3 spares handy.

Don't worry to much about the Craftsman name, all Sears does is relabel their tools. That saw is a Rikon.

Burl Source
06-28-2011, 09:57 PM
For cutting blocks and scales I use a Jet 14 inch bandsaw with the 1hp motor.
I added a resaw fence and use 3/4" bi metal blades. I think they are 6tpi.
I use it on wood up to 6 inches thick without bogging down.
If you go with Jet, be sure to get the resaw fence for an extra $100 or so.
The saw is very easy to work with and make adjustments.
I am very very fond of Jet tools.
I have been abusing my Jet Bandsaw for 4 years now with no problems.
I also use a Jet/Performax Drum Sander which works great as well.

l r harner
06-28-2011, 10:18 PM
and yes i use name brand blades im jsut lucky that i can order them custom at a local shop so i dont worru about shipping (they weld them on site ) and have more then a few tooth count and sets to pick fromm

06-29-2011, 06:25 AM
I should have known that this is more complicated and there will be lots of experiences. I looked at the Lenox blades - they are $99 per blade for some of them? That's crazy talk... I read up a bit more and still think Dave's recommendation might be my best bet right now. Maybe I look for a carbide tipped one in the future. But I have survived 3 years without a band saw, and the thickest piece I have is a 3 1/2" high koa block, so I don't think I need more than that. Of course, larger saw with even better blades would be great (btw, most of my other tools are also Jet), but for occasional cutting I hope I will be fine. I don't see myself cutting metal right now. The last set of metal spacers I had just ordered as small square pieces for a few cents extra per piece - cheaper than my time and a blade to do it myself. Stabilized handle blocks and something like a 1 1/4" thick ironwood piece is probably the biggest challenge this saw will ever see.

But thanks, never had a band saw, just more to learn.


Marko Tsourkan
06-29-2011, 08:53 AM
I pay about $75 before shipping per 6' blade in 1/2"x.025"x3T Lenox Trimaster carbide-tipped blade. I usually order 2 at a time. A cut is very smooth and requires very little sanding. Cutting tropical hardwoods is pretty effortless, and mind you, I cut up to 3" tall blocks sometimes. The motor (1/2HP) can barely handle, but the blade is fine.

Over the years, I have used a variety of brands and types, before I switched to carbide tipped blades. It will save you money (and time, as setting and tuning up a bandsaw with each blade takes time) in a long and possibly a short run. Particularly if you plan on cutting dense material, as stabilized wood is.

Recently I went back and used bimetal (Starret brand I think) blade. It dulled quickly, compared to a carbide tipped, so I almost considered it a waste of money.

Another thing, you might want to upgrade the blade guides on your band saw. This will give you a smoother cut. I got mine from Carter Products (not that Carter :) ).



07-21-2012, 08:26 PM
Has anyone purchased blades from www.sawblade.com
There prices are so low I am suspect of the quality.

07-23-2012, 08:06 AM
See if you can slow down the speed some - maybe some adjustable pulleys. It will cut metal better and your blades will last longer. I have a 16" Delta three wheel band saw that I converted to metal and it cuts very well. I cut Tele bridge plates, aluminum, copper and other steel up to 1/4" on it without complaint.

07-23-2012, 09:01 AM
The Lenox bi-metal (I use the Diemaster 2) is really hard to beat for an overall blade. My big saw is set up with a 1/2" 3tpi .035 and I use it for green wood and for crosscutting and ripping dry wood. I also have a Trimaster carbide blade for this saw, but it sees very little use.

My smaller saw is set up with a 1/4" 6tpi for smaller curves, smaller material.

I've had good luck with these folks www.bandsawbladesdirect.com and you can get any width, thickness, length, etc.

07-23-2012, 10:17 AM
When I was woodworking I had my powermatic 14" - great saw, now in storage. A little OT, but I found that rather than any resaw fences or gadgets, all you had to do is track the blade: saw some wood with a line on it, freehand, and see whether following the line requires an angle to the feed to following the line. Once you know how the blade tracks you can angle a fence so that you are not fighting with the tracking. I found that wide blades were not necessary and I could resaw 6-7" deep for bookmatching with a 3/8" blade. This came from a book by a guy named James Krenov who did beautiful little cabinets and tables - worth the read. I think he wrote 2 or 3 books so you have to find the right one where he talks more about techniques. He is all about the efficiency, not power. A properly adjusted, properly sharpened tool doesn't need the brute force.