Bandsaw Blades and Cut Quality

Blade characteristics go a long way toward explaining the smoothness of bandsaw cuts. December 1, 2005

I just purchased a 14" Powermatic band saw (1 1/2 HP). Its current cutting quality is not very good. It is leaving a cut surface riddled with thin vertical ridges one after another about 1/32" or so apart. Part of the problem may be that I am currently using the inexpensive stamped 3/8" blade that came with the machine. I am worried, however, that the problem may also relate to the relatively low tension that the Powermatic is rated for (9,600 psi). I've cranked the tension spring as far as it will go to increase tension but it didn't help. Does anyone have any ideas? By the way, I am cutting hardwood.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A:
Try a different blade. Keep in mind that bandsaw cuts are rough anyway.

From contributor B:
The usual cause of saw marks is that some teeth have more "set" than others. This can be rectified to some extent by carefully side dressing the teeth while it is running by lightly applying a grinding stone to each side of the blade. Make sure your saw guides are correctly adjusted to eliminate any wavering of the blade or the exercise will be pointless. Large bandmills for cutting logs sometimes have a device fitted to the up-running side of the blade to do this.

From contributor C:
Thatís about as good as it gets. If you want a glass smooth finish you need to use a scroll saw. Highland Hardware sells a bandsaw blade called the Wood slicer, cuts smoother than any other blade I have used but it is not available in narrow widths (1/2", 3/4").

From contributor D:
Rob, 1/2" is the width that Highland usually sells in the Wood slicer. That blade is absolutely amazing. I didn't know a bandsaw could cut that well.

From contributor E:
While doing a search this week for band saw blades for resawing, I found a fellow who gets .01" of surface roughness using a narrow kerf carbide tipped blade. He has pictures of his set up on his site. He charges $60/hr. I cannot do that well. I should have saved the link.

From contributor F:
I get a fantastic smooth surface on my bandsaw, when using the Lenox Carbide Blade (Trimaster). The marks left on the wood from the teeth, are very, very slight, if any at all. The Highland Hardware blade is too thin for my use. It moves too much, due to its thinness, and it can't take much pressure. In addition, it dulls quickly in hard woods. The Lenox Trimaster was designed for metal, so stays sharp for a very, very long time in wood. In addition, it's made to take a tremendous amount of tension, and it runs very true.

From contributor G:
There are different blade tooth configurations available on band saw blades. A hook tooth blade will give you a very aggressive cut but leave a rougher surface. A skip tooth blade I believe will give a smoother but less aggressive cut. A regular tooth blade should give you the least aggressive but smoothest cut. For many years now I've only used hook tooth blades on our two bandsaws. As such I am stating the skip tooth and regular tooth results from a less then perfect memory.

The tooth spacing will also affect the aggressiveness and finish of the blade. For our aggressive cuts I like a 6 tpi 1/4" blade on our 14" Delta with riser block and a 2 tpi 1" blade on our resaw bandsaw. You should also see much better results by just simply replacing the blade that came with the saw. A higher quality blade like Lenox or Timberwolf from Suffolk Machinery should show significant improvement.