I've used wood and phenolic too, but the ceramics are especially handy when
cutting turning blanks, where all the pressure is against the inside guides.
They _don't_ wear, which is what I like. Soft ones are too fussy for such
Several years ago a magazine editor touted high tension as the wayyo
go. Shops were greeted with bearing replacement work and editor
reportedly was pounding pavement. I tried the ealier version
Woodslicer on the Rockwell 14" that needed high tension, read about
the fad the editor caused and tried Suffolk and haven't looked
On Thu, 03 Jun 2004 02:35:12 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Adrian Mariano)
I don't own a table saw, so my band saw gets a lot of use. Below is what
I've gathered from reading too much and using my saw. As you have found,
there is a lot of conflicting information on this group and the web about
I've never tried them, but the Woodslicers are supposed to be really good
because they have a really thin kerf and uneven spacing of teeth, which
reduces vibration. As a result, they are good if you are resawing highly
prized woods. At $30 a pop, I would definitely not start with them as a
newbie, especially since I would expect it to wear like a carbon steel
I also haven't tried carbide, but I would not try that as a newbie, either.
They are very expensive and relatively fragile (carbide chips easily).
Unlike a table saw, you end up changing band saw blades relatively
frequently, which can lead to damage with each change. I think carbide only
makes sense if you have a dedicated saw that you can leave the blade on all
the time and you have a really powerful motor. The carbide blades have a
much wider kerf than standard blades, so it takes a lot more energy to cut
through the wood. (Note that also means you turn a lot more wood into saw
As far as carbon steel (or silicon steel), either Lenox or Timberwolf should
work fine. I have used both and I think the differences between them are
mostly in marketing. Timberwolfs are highly promoted, relatively easy to
find, and their website has a lot of information on it about band saw
blades. Lenox blades are more difficult to find and their website sucks.
You can order Lenox blades online at carbide.com. As I said, I've used both
and they seem to perform the same to me.
If you are using a carbon steel blade for resawing, then you need to be
really careful about not overheating the blade. Once you overheat it, which
is not that difficult to do when resawing, the teeth will loose their temper
and the blade will be worthless. The blade is dull if a) it starts drifting
really badly, b) the speed at which you can cut slows down significantly, or
c) you get a lot of burning when you are making straight cuts.
Another option is bi-metal blades. They cost about 3x as much as carbon
steel and are supposed to last 10x as long. I have a Lenox, bi-metal, 1/2",
4 tpi (Lenox Pro II) that I've been using as the main blade in my saw for
about 9 months and it's still going strong. That includes resawing a lot of
hard maple. I would prefer to have a bi-metal, 1/2", 3 tpi, but Lenox
doesn't make one and I had a lot of trouble finding any other source for
bi-metal blades. Of the blades that I've used, it seems to work the best
for resawing. You don't have to worry about overheating the bi-metal blade.
Also, since it dulls much more slowly than carbon steel, you end up
adjusting for blade drift much less.
If I were you, I'd order a either a carbon steel, 1/2", 3 tpi blade or a
bi-metal, 1/2", 4 tpi blade, depending on your budget. If you go with
carbon steel, then when it gets dull, you can decide if you want to spend
the extra money on a bi-metal blade for the next one or just buy another
carbon steel blade.
A much wider kerf? What is the kerf of a standard blade? This seems
like information that is generally not supplied. The Woodslicer
claims 1/32" = 0.031 inches. The Lenox carbide is 0.056 inches
according to the review web page I cited. (The actual band is 0.025"
thick, the same as everybody else.) I could not determine the kerf on
the Timberwolf blades from their web page (except for the AS-S at
.048"). Nor could I determine the kerf of the lenox bi-metal blades.
Now the review I referred to made it sound like the carbide blade
opened up a whole new world for the reviewer even though he had a
small 14" saw like mine. In other words, he felt like he could do
stuff he couldn't do with the regular blades he'd tried before---not
that the carbide blade merely lasted longer. On thing that seemed
noteworthy was the claim that because the blade stays sharp it cuts
straight for a long time whereas other blades quickly start to cut
less straight as they dull. If true, this may be very useful for
veneer cutting, say, especially in abrasive woods. There's also this
in between blade, the carbide "impregnated" blade made by Supercut
that Lee Valley sells (for about $50). Somebody who posted to this
group liked this blade, but it doesn't seem to have been much talked
1/2" and it is relatively thin. The (spring) pressure required for a given
tension (psi) is a proportional to the cross section of the blade. Since the
cross section is *thin* x 1/2" applying adequate tension should not be a
problem since your saw should theoretically be able to tension a normal
gauge 3/4" blade.
Buy the WS.
Sadly, I trashed my WS by hitting a nail in a reclaimed beam. I will be
replacing it eventually, when the TW blades just won't do.
I have a Wooodslicer. I hardly ever take it off my saw (a 16" MiniMax)
unless I need to go down to 1/4" for tight curves. I have several
Timberwolf blades as well (that I bought after using the WS), and I
don't like them. Thicker kerf, they don't cut as fast (or as clean),
they don't track as well, and they make about 3 times as much noise as
Adrian Mariano wrote:
PSHAW. My MiniMax is probably strong enough to snap the dang blade, but
I normally use low-to-moderate tension and it works great. I might
crank it up a bit if I'm resawing something tall, but nothing your saw
shouldn't be able to manage (especially after an Iturra upgrade). As
long as you get it tracking correctly, it shouldn't need significantly
more tension than any other blade.
Yeah, probably a good idea. Not because the WS requires it for general
purpose use, but for resawing something taller than 6" it would help
with most any blade you use.
One more PSHAW again. I've had my WS for almost 2 years now and it
still cuts great. I'm not a high-volume user, and I have no idea how
many board feet I've pushed through the saw, but enough to know that the
claim of a very short life span is false.
I considered going with a carbide blade at one time, but not since
getting the WoodSlicer. Even the MiniMax reps advised against it,
especially on the smaller saws (less than 18"). The blades are
necessarily thicker to provide support for the carbide, and the stress
of spinning a thick, tight-radius blade at high tension can cause the
welds to fail and the carbide tips start popping off. Not something you
want to have happen on such a high-dollar item.
Free bad advice available here.
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