Carbide Blades on a Bandsaw Mill

Sawyers discuss whether it's worth the extra cost to use carbide blades. February 4, 2011

I'm going to be doing a lot of re-sawing of kiln dry domestic woods on my Wood-Mizer. Does anyone know if I can run a Lenox Carbide tipped blade on it? I think Lenox calls it the Tri-master. I'm wondering if the wheels are too small in diameter, and I'll start cracking the back (beam) of the blade.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
I ran carbide tipped blades from a company in California a few years back, at $175.00 each they lasted for four hours and cracked or broke. I send all five; I bought, back for a refund after running all of them. I can buy more than 11 blades for the price of one of these blades. I do sharpen my own blades too, which would have meant that I could not sharpen these blades.

My resaw is a Morgan single cut. It cuts just like both of my sawmills. You just have to change blades about every hour. That would be cutting 1500 LF of 8 wide boards.

From the original questioner:
Well, I do believe that Lenox has always stated that their carbide tipped Tri-master should mount on a 24" wheel minimum. That's probably why yours cracked. That does not mean they were faulty or poor blades. That means improper use.

I also think I've heard, that as of a year or so ago, Lenox changed how they make the Tri-Master, and it can now be recommended on smaller wheels like what are on the Wood-Mizer. However I do not know that for sure.

From contributor A:

Wood-Mizer has a carbide blade now. I tried one and it was tough and cut well. The cost is a bit high. For what you are wanting to do I would try a four degree blade. They saw the hard stuff better and give a good smooth cut. If you run the Lenox blade back off your pressure some. They always stretched on me till I could not hold pressure. They do well at around 1800 psi on my LT40.

From the original questioner:
I know you do re-sawing on your Mizer, too. I plan on locking my head in place, build up a flat bed, and then feed my boards thru the blade using a small stock feeder with variable speed. I really want a smooth finish (as much as possible) to save on waste with planing. I've used the Tri-Master on my MM24 vertical bandsaw, and loved the cut. Maybe I'll be happy with the four degree too. It should work, right?

From contributor G:
I ran some Lenox blades that had 3 or 4 tpi. They gave a smoother finish, blade was about fifty bucks. I did not think it was worth it. If smooth is need then planing is a must, messing with the saw is not going to take care of that; the difference is about 1/32".

From the original questioner:
I think I'll give the Wood-Mizer Silver Tip blade a shot. Seven degree is the smallest degree they have for my LT10.

From contributor K:
I have been running Lenox tri-masters on my LT40 super hyd. for over 15 years. They do extremely well on exotic woods (teak, ebony, Brazilan cherry) or when I don't want to sand large timbers in Doug fir or pine. Kind of speedy so make sure there is no bark or hardware present.

From the original questioner:
My understanding is the Tri-Master is made to cut metal. So, if that's a fact, then dirty bark will do no harm or even an occasional nail. What's the diameter of the wheels of the LT40? I'm considering putting it on an LT10.

From contributor K:
The tri-master was developed to cut titanium at twice the cutting speed of a Wood-Mizer with oil based lubricant. Yes you can cut metal with it, however a nick or some sort of tooth distortion, while still cutting metal fine, will leave score marks on wood negating the extra cost to have a finishing cutting blade. Anytime abrasive material (bark or hardware) is introduced to a cutting edge, regardless of the tool it will dull to some degree faster than if it was not present.