Straight-cutting blades that won't let you down

Jk bandsaw is an amazing machine. It's capable of making #"%extremely precise cuts; from slicing sheets of thin veneer to cutting intricate curves. Yet many of us think of our band-saws as being for rough work only. Why? Probably because our first attempts at precision work, like resawing, were thwarted by ordinary blades. It's probably not your saw or your technique, it's your blade that's the problem. Take a premium bandsaw blade for a spin and you'll be amazed at the difference.

Most bandsaws come with ordinary carbon-steel or spring-steel blades. These blades are okay for general bandsaw work but the untreated metal is not designed to withstand the rigors of resawing. Resawing wood is essentially rip cutting a board across its width (Photo 1). There's a tremendous amount of wood to remove and the heat and abrasion caused by resawing will quickly wear out an ordinary blade.

Premium blades have hardened teeth, and they far outlast ordinary blades. There are three basic types of premium blades; flex-back, hard-back and bi-metal (see Fig. A, page 104).

Shopping for bandsaw blades is like trying to pick a long distance phone company. There are so many variations and confusing terminology its hard to know what you're getting. For starters, you've got silicon steel, tungsten steel, carbon manganese spring steel, or, my personal favorite, cobalt/molybdenum high-speed steel.

The real question is "How do the blades perform?" That's what we looked at in this test.

Premium Resaw Bai

TIP: Keep a new premium resaw blade on hand to use when maximum performance is critical. Like that best suit in your closet, use it only for special occasions.

IResawing wood is tough on bandsaw blades.

Only premium bandsaw blades with hardened teeth can hold their edge and produce straight, smooth cuts in wide stock like this.

TIP: Keep a new premium resaw blade on hand to use when maximum performance is critical. Like that best suit in your closet, use it only for special occasions.

We resawed l/8-in. veneer from 8/4 slabs of maple to test the blades.The sawn surface of the slab was then passed over a jointer set for a l/32-in.-deep cut. If a single pass cleaned up all the saw marks, the blade made it onto our chart on page I 10.

The Test

Resawing is by far the most demanding job asked of a bandsaw blade. A straight, even cut that doesn't require a great deal of clean up was our gold standard. We tested all the premium resaw blades we could find that can safely be used on a 14-in. bandsaw (see "Blade Thickness," page 106, for more on this topic).

The test itself was straightforward. We cut l/8-in.-thick veneer from 8 in. x 24-in. slabs of 8/4 maple, oak and pine. After each cut we ran the cut face of the slab over a jointer set to take a 1/32-in. cut. If the saw marks cleaned up in a single pass (Photo 2), the blade was declared a winner and was included in our chart on page 110. If at first the blade did not succeed, we tried again; adjusting the tension or altering the feed rate.


If you only resaw on occasion and want a blade primarily for general-purpose work, a flex-back or hard-back blade is your best choice. For hard-core resawing, the hardback or bi-metal hook-tooth blades with three tpi did the best overall job. A bi-metal blade is considerably more expensive but it will far outlast a hard-back blade because of the extra-hard, high-speed steel used to form the teeth (Fig. A).

The key to a dean cut is a slow; even feed rate and a premium blade.

Fig. A Premium Bandsaw Blades

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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