Picking the Right Bandsaw Blade for the Job
What are the different types of band saw blades and when should you use each?
These band saw blades are the old school standard - they've been around forever, are modestly priced, and can get through a variety of common materials. They are made from a carbon steel and usually appear black in color. Use them to cut wood, plastics and soft metals like aluminum and brass. They can ocassionally be used to cut thin steel, but we recommend upgrading to a bimetal blade for longer life when cutting steel or large amounts of aluminum and brass.
Bimetal band saw blades are aptly named because they are made from 2 different metals - a flexible carbon steel backer and a much harder tooth edge which is attached to the backer. Usually this tooth edge is made from M42 Cobalt steel which is why you will often hear the term M42 Saw blades in reference to bimetal. The harder tooth edge is excellent for cutting carbon steels and stainless steels. It also will last much longer in aluminum than standard flexback saw blades. As a general rule bimetal blades will cost about 2.5x a standard flex-back blade and last about 3-4x longer in metals, saving time and money.
Note: Remember to always use either a quality metal cutting fluid or, if you are not running fluid, use a Metal Cutting Compound . Never use household items such as WD-40 or motor oil because they often lessen the life of the blade.
Carbide Tipped Band Saw Blades
Carbide tipped saw blade teeth are very hard and often used to cut exotic alloys and metals including inconel and titanium. They are also popular when cutting large aluminum or fiberglass cross sections to save time and prolong blade life. Because carbide tipped blades usually have a wide tooth spacing they are only designed to cut fairly large solids(3"+ min. diameter). Trying to cut very thin material with a carbide tipped blade can cause teeth to snag and rip off. Carbide tipped blades can also be used to resaw large sections of wood.
These blades feature the cutting edge as a carbide grit instead of a tooth shape. The grit edge literally grinds away at the material. The cutting process will be slower than a traditional tooth blade, but it allows very hard materials to be cut without fear of stripping teeth. Popular uses for carbide grit blades are on graphite, case hardened steels, Hastelloy and Inconel.
Diamond Grit Band Saw Blades
Although diamond grit edge is not suitable for cutting metals, it is excellent for cutting carbon fiber, masonry, ceramics, silicone and quartz. A diamond grit band saw blade will cost about 2-3 times the price of a carbide grit blade but will last about 5-10 times longer on the correct applications.
Band saw blades for cutting meat are generally made of carbon steel with a precision ground tooth edge designed to cut meat, fish and poultry. Toothed band saw blades are preferred to bone-in and frozen meat cutting, while knife edge band saw blades can be used on boneless meat to create nearly 0 material loss.
Have a question or want us to recommend the best band saw blade for the job?
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