Playing with hook angles
Experimenting with hook angles when sawing softwood. March 20, 2001
Has anyone experimented with the hook angle? I cut softwood and use a 12 degree hook. Can I use more of a hook angle, like 16, 20, or 30 degrees?
The larger the hook, the more the tooth wants to dig into the wood.
Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor
I cut a lot of softwoods also and have experimented with the hook. There are so many variables between logs that I found I reached a point of diminishing returns at 14 degrees. My blades are ground as close to 13 as I can get them and it seems to work for most logs. I will still get "chatter" on occasion, but nothing I can't live with. Too much hook on hardwoods will cause a lot of trouble.
I have tried different hook angles and found that 10 degrees for softwood and 8-9 degrees for hardwood works the best. I had run up to 20 degrees in softwood. At 15-20 degrees the blade actually seemed to be pulled front, away from the guides. Also the lumber surface had a washboard look. And with hardwood, the blade will rise up at the start of the cut and leave a crown on the log side if you have too much hook.
Simmond Red Streek blades have hook angles of 10 and 15 degrees. I have used their 15 degree hook with 1 inch tooth spacing on fir with good results. It is the fastest cutting blade I have tried, but will not work on hardwoods.
The amount of hook in your saw is undoubtedly the most important factor to be considered in sawing lumber. As a general rule, softwoods will require more hook, while hardwoods need less, but let's not overlook feed rate. If you increase your hook, you are going to take a bigger bite. This will pull your saw and fill your gullets faster, therefore you will need to increase your feed rate to meet your hook. In sawing high density hardwood, I will go with less hook. The slower feed rate requires this. The biggest reason is to keep the tooth sharper. I've tried to increase the hook angle on dense hardwood. It works on smaller logs, but on the bigger ones the saw gets dull much faster.