Bandsaw blades are, as their name suggests, literally a band of metal with saw teeth along one edge. Made from high tensile steel they are both flexible enough to run in a continuous loop whilst also being rigid enough to cut through a variety of materials. Wheels, or rollers, aligned on the same plane will usually rotate the band saw in a vertical direction, with the material to be cut being passed through the sawing blade, normally on a flat and horizontal platform. The mechanism for the movement of bandsaw blades today is typically an electric motor.
You can use bandsaws and bandsaw blades for a variety of tasks on a variety of materials. Being driven by an electric motor, whose speed can be controlled, bandsaw blades have a highly regulated cutting action. When buying bandsaw blades ensuring you’re buying a quality product with evenly spaced teeth will also help to produce a neat and faultless straight cut.
Depending on how wide the band saw blade is they can be used for cutting thick or thin materials. However, using a narrow band saw blade, especially on a thin piece of material, allows a skilled operator to use bandsaws just like a manual jig saw.
Types of Blades
The different types of bandsaw blades available are all designed for cutting through different materials. There are particularly fine toothed band saw blades that are used to cut meat, mainly at slaughter houses. These blades will have been tempered to certain conditions making them also suitable for cutting plastics and laminates.
Band saws are also frequently employed at quarries and by stone masons to obtain a clean and straight cut through rocks and minerals. To cut through rocks and minerals diamond tipped blades are used, often in the form of a diamond covered cable, giving the impression of cutting through the substance with a cheese wire. Although not common you can also get metal cutting band saws, which again will have diamond or tungsten tipped teeth.
Bandsaws cutting through both rock/mineral and metals need special cutting lubricating fluids, to prevent overheating and damage to the band saw blade. The commonest form of the band saw is for cutting timber. Dependant on the timber to be cut and the complexity of the shape to be cut out, the band saw blade could be operating at anything from 30 to 3000 feet per minute.
Saw Band Tooth Arrangements
There are three common arrangements for the teeth on band saws. Precision – this gives the operator the highest degree of control over the cutting operation and produces highly precise cutting and a smooth finish. Buttress – used to cut large loads, as the tooth arrangement works best at high speeds. However, this can produce a rough edge to the cut. Claw Tooth – this is ideal for soft materials simply requiring a straight cut without a high degree of precision.
Large band saws can be used in place of circular saws in timber mills. Large band saws have an advantage over circular saws in that they can be built to accommodate larger diameter logs, than would be economical to build a circular saw to fit. A large band saw blade can be over 1/10th of an inch thick, 4 inches wide and over 60 feet long.