Saw bands vary depending on blade type and also differ based on ability to resist heat and shock when entering and exiting the cut. These are important considerations when cutting structural, pipe, and tubing.
An economical choice are the standard carbon steel blades with flexible backs and hardened cutting edges. They are used primarily for crosscutting wood and sawing brass, plastic, and mild steel.
More expensive carbide-tipped blades are the essential tool for cutting harder metals, composite materials, and abrasive hardwoods such as teak.
Bi-metal blades require more blade tension than most consumer-level machines can provide.
A bandsaw blade’s resistance to flexing depends on its beam strength — the result of blade tension. As a blade’s width increases, more tension is needed to provide adequate beam strength.
Consumer machines often do not provide enough tension to properly run a carbon steel blade of more than a 1/2″ wide.
Industrial-quality bandsaw blades with bi-metal construction require much higher tension settings than carbon steel blades.
Carbon steel may tension at 15,000 PSI, and bi-metal blades with high-speed steel edges and alloy steel backs may require 30,000 PSI for adequate beam strength.
Spring steel and carbide-tipped blades also run at higher tension settings than carbon steel.
An explanation of the various types of blade teeth sets.
Raker Set — regular tooth style with a raker set — for general purpose metal sawing. Raker patterns set or bend a tooth slightly to the left, followed by a straight raker tooth, and a tooth set slightly to the right.
Wavy set — with groups of teeth set left and right in a curving pattern, are best for cutting tubing and sheet metal.
Skip-tooth — pattern with an open space between the teeth are less prone to clogs.
Hook tooth — pattern uses a chipping rather than scraping cut and will quickly clear away waste material.
Blade width — using consumer-grade machines, the usual blade widths range from .25″ to .75″.
Industrial machines may extend that range to 1.25″ with re-sawing bandsaws commonly using blades from 1″ to 2″ wide.
Prior to Ordering
Consider what is required for the cut materials and how many of the different types of material will be cut on a regular basis. Take into consideration the light or heavy workload consistency as well.
The toughness of a particular metal will affect machine-ability.
Some materials are much harder to cut than others. Material hardness will affect cut performance — an example being that annealed metals cut easier than hardened metals.
Structural materials and solids tend to be harder on a bandsaw blade.
Decide whether most cuts will be one-dimensional, or if a larger, more diverse variety of dimensions is involved, and on what basis: daily or at random.
Saw blades are designed with either a general purpose or unique cut in mind as well as for certain types of materials. Some saw blades work well on a variety of material types while others fail to produce a precise and smooth cut.
Note, too, that most bandsaw machine models are designed for different or unique cutting applications. It is always advised that the bandsaw operator consult the owner’s manual and discover the machine’s basic functions, unique capabilities, and whether it is designed with the shop’s cutting needs in mind.