Blade Maintenance for Bandsaw Mills

Pros discuss the selection, care and feeding of bandsaw mill blades. August 31, 2005

I am getting ready to purchase new blades and am curious what bandmill blades you use and what sharpening service you have had luck with.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
Wood-Mizer blades, and I let them do the sharpening. For 6.50, it's a no-brainer.

We use nothing but Lenox blades. We've tried about all the other brands, but the Lenox blades hold up the best.

Check your phone book for local saw sharpening shops. Many of these will (can) also cut and weld blades, in addition to sharpening them. The price is very reasonable and they hold up well.

We use Wood-Mizer blades and own an LT70. We sharpen and set our own. This is the only way to go for us.

It's hard to say "the price is reasonable and they hold up well" when you really don't know if such a shop exists in that area. I've seen posts from sawyers who say they are too busy sawing to sharpen blades... but not too busy to play on the internet? We buy Wood-Mizer double hard blades by the four pack (60 blades) - that cuts the price and saves on shipping. It also allows us to have enough blades on hand to help out sawyers who run short. (That cuts costs also - this is a business, not a crusade.)

As for sending the blades out for sharpening... Good in theory, but since so many of the problems you will encounter sawing will come back to blade problems, it's a little risky. With customer service on a downward spiral these days, the time you'd have to spend hunting lost blades or trying to fix a problem would be counter productive.

The reality is you need sharp blades, enough to work all day, and a couple of extras in case you hit nails. They need to be set right and on hand. You can hope somebody else will take care of it the way you'd do it or you can just take the time to learn to do a good job sharpening them yourself.

I agree with the previous poster. Find yourself a good, local, reliable saw shop. I have tried several makes, including Wood-Mizer. I don't know the manufacturer of the ones he supplies, but I am satisfied with blade life. I had one bad weld, which was replaced. Next, buy yourself the best sharpener and setter you can afford. They are not cheap, but are just part of the milling business. Learn to sharpen your own blades. This way you can make minor adjustments for rake, set, etc, depending on the wood you are cutting. In my case, it is frozen some of the year.

A lot depends on how much you plan to saw and, to some extent, what you saw (log type). If you are a weekend warrior and go through 8 blades a month, buy 20 blades and see if you can find a good, local sharpening service or send out to someone like WM re-sharp.

If you are like me and do 20+ blades a week, then find a re-sharp service that can take care of you and do a very good job on the blades as well. I use WM Re-sharp and have a deal where a bad blade or worn out blade is replaced one at a time, so my inventory of blades remains the same. I have over 80 0.045 10 degree blades and at any time 30 to 40 are in the system of going to get sharpened or on the way back. I keep no less then a 2 week supply of sharp blades on hand.

If you get to where you need some special cutting blades and have lots of different sizes, then getting your own equipment makes sense. But to spend 3 grand to sharpen and set 50 blades a year makes no sense.

Keeping your blades all the same brand and style makes your life easier. Different brands work different on each mill. My mill did not perform well with Simmions, but the blades were good blades. I tried some el-cheapo blades for $10 that were to be throw-aways, but the cut was not always good and life was poor and cost soon exceeded the cost of WM blades, which I have grown used to using. My blade cost last year was less then $0.02 a bdft using WM blades and Re-sharp. How easy it is to use the service and how well the blades perform are key to me. If I have time to sharpen blades, then I have time to saw and make money making sawdust. All sawing and no play make me a dull boy any day.

Go with Lenox B blades .042 with 1 inch tooth spacing - they are the best for all species

We use Simmons red streak blades from Cooks - 15.35/blade. We use them mostly for resawing heart pine. At that price, we quit resharpening - just buy new ones. We got a bunch that have never been re-sharpened.