There are a few different kinds of bandsaw blades based on their tooth configuration, the material they are made from, and their different dimensions. To a beginning bandsaw user, picking the right one can be intimidating at the start.
As such, you’ll find this article helpful if you are just starting out as we will go through all these factors that go into finding the right type of bandsaw blade for the job.
4 Common Bandsaw Blade Types by Tooth Configuration
Let’s start by looking at the different tooth configurations that a bandsaw blade can have. Each of the configurations is ideal for different uses.
Standard-tooth bandsaw blades, much like the name implies, are common and the most well-known types on the market today.
These bandsaw blades display evenly spaced straight-faced teeth with deep gullets. Many standard-tooth bandsaw blades will use a straight rake and can be used for most general-purpose cuts in thinner material.
These types of blades are plenty tough and they can get through most wood and thin metals with not too much wear and tear.
These blades use wider-spaced teeth and a shallow gullet and typically have a right-angled tooth and straight, zero-degree angled rake. Its sharper angle at its tooth gullet lets the chips come out easily as well.
Skip bandsaw blades can be used on all kinds of DIY projects, namely when you are using materials like plastics, softer metals, or softwoods that would normally gum your blade up.
For variable-tooth blades, their specialty is to reduce vibrations. Using a deep gullet and various types of angles, variable-tooth blades can reduce some of the vibrations that happen when using a bandsaw.
There is another type of variable blade called the variable pitch blade as well. The most notable difference from its counterpart is its size. The pitch blade is larger than the variable-tooth blade.
These bandsaw blades use a deeper gullet and have large teeth spaced widely apart. Usually, they will have an undercut face and a ten-degree rake angle.
These features can help produce more coarse cuts faster in materials like metal, plastic, thick pieces of wood, and hardwoods. Hook tooth blades can also be used to make long cuts as its rake angle and deep gullet help get already cut materials away from your workspace.
What Materials Are Bandsaw Blades Made From?
Below, we talk about the four most common materials that are used to make bandsaw blades.
Carbon steel bandsaw blades are the oldest. They have been used by many professionals for a long time, are inexpensive, and can work through a variety of different materials.
They typically are black colored and you can use them to cut plastics, soft metals like brass and aluminum, or wood. Carbon steel blades can sometimes cut thin metals as well but it is a better idea to use a different kind of blade so this type of blade will last longer without too much wear and tear.
These types of blades are made using two different kinds of metals, which are: carbon steel as their backer and cobalt steel for the tooth edges. This rather hard tooth edge is perfect for cutting through stainless steel and carbon steel.
Bi-metal blades usually are very durable and will last a while but can be expensive because of this. These types are more of an investment and you don’t expect to replace them very often.
There are both carbide grit as well as carbide-tipped bandsaw blades.
The carbide grit edges will grind away at the material and the process of cutting can be slow. However, you can cut particularly hard material without worrying about stripping teeth.
Carbide-tipped bandsaw blade teeth are especially hard and usually are used so you can cut exotic metals and alloys like titanium. These blades are popular when it comes to cutting large fiberglass or aluminum cross-sections. They have wider tooth spacing, so they should only be used to cut large materials. Cutting thinner materials may cause its teeth to snag which can rip them right off the blade.
You can’t use diamond blades to cut metals but they are perfect to cut carbon fiber, ceramics, quartz, and silicone.
Diamond grit bandsaw blades are very expensive but will last much longer and are among the most durable kinds of blades you can put on a bandsaw.
Bandsaw Blade Size: Which Dimensions Matter?
Finally, let’s take a look at the issue of bandsaw blade sizes since there is a wide variety of types from this aspect too.
If you look in the manual for your bandsaw, you will usually find the right length you will need to buy. The more length to your blade, the larger and thicker materials you can cut.
Also, if you don’t have your user’s manual or you can’t find the length just measure the distance between the drive wheels and centers. Then, measure the lower and upper drive wheel radiuses.
Once you get these numbers you can use this formula to calculate it: Blade Length = (Upper radius x 3.1) + (Lower Radius x 3.1) + (2 x distance between drive wheels and centers)
When it comes to width, this determines the bandsaw’s maximum capacity it can hold and the minimum radius that you can cut.
If you plan to do any re-sawing or cut-off sawing, use the bandsaw’s maximum width for the blade and keep your cuts straight. You will also get a quality feed rate and not have to worry about breaking the blades.
Conversely, if you are performing contour sawing, find a blade that has a more narrow width to cut your desired radius. There are charts you can find with some research that will show you exactly the smallest radius you can cut with different blade widths.
It’s important to pick the right thickness for a bandsaw blade as well because continued heating, cooling, and flexing will cause thinner blades to wear down more quickly.
The blade’s thickness will depend on its wheel’s diameter and what material you want to cut through. Thicker blades can withstand larger strains from cutting straight cuts but will break easily from any twisting or bending.
Meanwhile, thin blades do well for light work and are much more flexible if they need to bend or make and twisting cuts.
Hopefully, you have now learned all you need to know about choosing the right type of bandsaw blade. It can be a tough process with a lot of different things to take into account. However, once you have some experience and knowledge under your belt, you will be able to complete new tasks easier and easier because it makes a huge difference when you have the right blade for the job.
Of course, keep in mind to always be safe with these power tools as they can be incredibly dangerous if they are used the wrong way. And, keep in mind that part of being safe is choosing the right blade for the job and you have already taken the first steps to get that done right now!
If you are new to bandsaws, you should learn about other parts of the tool as well.