Bandsaw Blades - Bad welds, Carbon vs. Swedish steel.

I needed a 105" 3/16" 4TPI bandsaw blade ASAP, and bought a Sterling by Diamond Saw blade from Highland Hardware. Mounted it up, adjusted tension, tracking, and guides and cut up a fresh UHDMP insert. Powered up the saw, confirmed alignment and proceeded to gently cut through an old 2" scrap. BAM - the blade broke 2" into the cut. Hmmm....
Inspection of the blade confirmed that the butt weld had broken. Annoyed about losing an hour, I drove back and they cheerfully replaced the blade, and I bought an extra - just in case. Remounted the new blade, adjusted it up again, let it run for a few minutes, and gently cut up some scrap to condition the blade. Proceeded to cut a scrolling pattern in 4.5" thick material, and managed to complete the task. Went to cut a small wooden shim from a 2" piece of scrap and BAM! - The blade broke again - at the weld.
Now maybe I'm a moron, but I *think* I know how to set up a blade in a bandsaw properly and even have fancy measuring instruments that no one else uses for those 'difficult' situations. I have new urethane tires which, incidentally, are *much* better than the OEM units.
Closely examining the welds at the store revealed that they look poorly done. Like some guy in his garage had welded these things up and used a die grinder to cut off the slag. Some of them even had cracks beginning to appear in the weld while hanging on the shelf.
According to the MFG's site, they package their sized blades in a protective covering - these blades are simply coiled with a tag, and held with a wire tie. Could it be that a local welder is buying bulk rolls of blade material and welding them, and placing a Diamond Tag on them?
Why are scarf joints not used on blades? Why are they but welded with poor quality welds? Are Carbon Steel blades really this bad?
How much better are the Suffolk blades? Do the welds break this easily?
I *really* had not invisioned adding $15 for a new blade to the cost of every project...
Thanks,
Greg G.
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go up the chain of command at highland hardware a few notches. explain the problem and the amount of time and aggravation it has cost you. I'd bet they will thank you for bringing it to their attention and make it right.     Bridger
On Sun, 28 Dec 2003 09:09:42 -0500, Greg G. wrote:

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Bridger said:

Actually, I talked to the owner while I was there the first time. For those who are unaware, H.H is located in Atlanta in an old wooden framed building, probably built in the 30s. Rooms lead off into other rooms as the building was added to over the years. The upstairs area has an open are that overlooks the lower floor - quite a quaint place. It is in the 'artsy' part of old Highland Park - and a real PITA to get in and out of when the strip is busy. People park illegally in their lot, due to the scarcity of parking in that area, and sometimes you can't find a space - but the store will have 3 customers inside.
Anyway, while I was attempting to talk to the owner, a customer butted in repeatedly, advising me to go to KeenEdge to buy my blades and other trivia. Personally, I would have tossed him out. <g> But the end result was that I was unable to communicate the problem - this was after the FIRST blade - I thought I got a bum blade, and didn't know it was going to become a repeat problem. I'm sure I will communicate further with them in the future to resolve this problem.
But I'm not sure that the carbon steel blades are worth the effort, after reading up on Suffolk's blades. Still waiting on more input from the peanut gallery...
Greg G.
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It doesn't sound to me like your problem has anything to do with the fact that the blades are carbon vs. silicon steel. They are just poorly welded. I got some no-name carbon steel blades locally that were welded on-site. The weld looked terrible and wasn't very well aligned. Even those welds held up just fine.
After trying Timberwolf, I've had better luck with Lenox blades. They are much less expensive than Timberwolf and seem to stay sharp just as long. I think this "thin kerf, low tension silicon steel" label is just marketing. The kerf doesn't seem any smaller than any other blade I've used. The tension seems to be about the same as any other blade. I have no idea why they think silicon helps. There's not some kind of magic steel that the Swedes discovered that makes Timberwolf blades a lot better than everybody else. What Timberwolf has done is made ordering blades easy. They also provide a lot of information on the web about using those blades.
Here's a price comparison for Timberwolf (from suffolkmachinery.com) versus Lenox (from carbide.com): Timberwolf 105" 1/2" 3tpi - $17.42 Lenox 105" 1/2" 3tpi - $10.72 It's amazing how much hype costs. A Timberwolf blade will definitely not last 63% longer than a Lenox blade. In fact, in my experience, the Timberwolf blades dull pretty quickly. In terms of the quality of the cut, they seem to be the same.
You can get Lenox blades from carbide.com or Iturra Design. Be warned that the carbide.com site is a little buggy, but I got my shipment very quickly.
Mark
Disclaimer: I'm not associated with any of these companies, but I am tired of everybody describing Timberwolf blades as a huge gift to Humanity.
Greg G. wrote in message

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Mark Wells said:

That's what I thought as well - poor welds. I can't say anything about the blade's actual lifespan, 'cause they break too easily!

Suffolk's web site IS informative, but I agree that much of what a manufacturer presents in oftentimes marketing B.S. Never having used one, voicing this option was based upon the many recommendations here in the Wreck.

Attractive Prices!

Well, another option thrown into the ring. Maybe I'll order some of each type and draw my own conclusions.
Thanks for the info!
Greg G.
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I have used Suffolk blades (TimberWolf) since setting up my saw 2 years ago. Never had one break anywhere. I did kink one while stupidly trying to cut a round limb that turned.
Greg, G. wrote:

--

Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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You can silver solder bandsaw blades yourself. See <http://tinyurl.com/34lnd .
--
--
Steve

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Steve Dunbar said:

Thanks, I'll have to try that - if there is one thing I don't have a shortage of, it's soldering equipment and torches. It couldn't be any worse than the existing welds. I am surprised that even silver solder would hold up...
But I may still order a few Suffolk blades and try them out.
Greg G.
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Greg, G. wrote:

The Suffolk Timberwolf blades are guaranteed NOT to break at the weld.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Nova said:

Thanks, that sound like the ticket. I am surprised at having this trouble, H.H. is generally good about selling quality products.
Greg G.
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You just got hold of some bad blades / welding thing. Maybe check the tension of the bandsaw. I tension mine by sound, i.e.: plucking the blade with the guides not set to the blade Furthest away from the guides to my left. |<---| ................The blade should have a high pitched ring tone. Sing ,....like tone. Jack up the tension a little ,run the blade for a few mins. then jack up more tension.
<Greg G.> wrote in message

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FOW said:

I've not had any problem with other blades, just these. I, too, pluck the blade and watch blade flutter to tension blades with guide released. And I check before each 'run'. I think it's just a case of extremely crappy blades. Thanks, D
Greg G.
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At the risk of splitting hairs my guess is that the problem might not actually be with the weld but with the annealing of the joint after the welding process. Pesonally I've welded Lenox blades on factory equipment and I can tell you that on a 3/16" blade the weld is like glass until it is annealed. If the guy doing the welding doesn't have the anneal settings dialed in right the first time then he is just as likely to screw 'em up the second time.
Right after the blade is butt welded there is quite a bit of flash that must be ground off the weld. The physical appearance of the finished weld tells you something about the operator skill and/or equipment used. As long as the ground area isn't more than a coupla' thou thinner than the blade it should be okay but a poorly finished weld might be a hint that guy doing the welding isn't up to snuff.
Bottom line is even a perfect looking weld that isn't annealed can snap if you just look at it the wrong way. If you want to do a little post mortem investigating you can compare the hardness of the weld area to the rest of the blade by testing with a file.
Steve P.
<Greg G.> wrote in message

from
Sing
mins.
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