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How to ensure the bandsaw blade life

Proper blade maintenance and attention to the applications which are recommended for certain profiles can ensure the longest bandsaw blade life possible. They also lead to the most accurate cuts.

It is important to discuss the different selections with a Wood-Mizer blade specialist. Together, we'll find the right blade for the job.

Few problems slow down your wood-processing operation more than premature blade breakage. Fortunately, most causes for this are preventable.

The first step is to always make sure the blade is properly sharpened and set. If you buy Wood-Mizer's DoubleHard or SilverTip blades and use our Re-Sharp service, you probably won't experience premature blade breakage. This is because we use state-of-the-art equipment, including our own CBN wheel grinder and our computerised setter. Many of the problems below are not common concerns for customers who choose Wood-Mizer blades.

However, here are some of those problems:

- Too slow feed rate during cutting
- Not enough or too much hook angle
- Not enough/too much set in the teeth
- Teeth too tall
- Too sharp a radius at base of tooth
- Inconsistent gullet
- Severe pitch build-up on teeth
- Grinding wheel maintenance; dressing the grinding wheel incorrectly changes the angles and contours that make up the blade profile, which in turn, changes a blade’s cutting characteristics
- Set point too low on tooth –– if the bend point (where the setter pushes the tooth) is too low, the band will become bent instead of the tooth, resulting in wavy cuts, reduced cutting speeds and premature blade breakage.

Ten ways to increase your blade's life expectancy
1. Take advantage of Wood-Mizer's Re-Sharp service. We specialise in thin-kerf, narrow band blade manufacturing and sharpening. No one can match our experience or attention to detail.

2. Pay attention to detail. The sawyer has control over many of the cutting conditions that affect the blade. Monitor wood cleanliness, blade tension, feed rate, blade guide position, etc. and cut as fast as possible while still maintaining a straight cut.

3. Use larger logs. Smaller logs have value and can be cut at a faster rate of speed, but will use more blade flex life to produce the same volume of wood as a larger log. Logs ranging from40 to 90 mm in diameter will increase the total board length which a single blade can produce.

4. Understand different wood species. Trees vary in density. Softwoods have inconsistent densities (growth rings, knots) and require careful monitoring of feed speeds. Hardwoods usually have a more consistent density (except in low grade logs) and will allow faster and steadier cutting speeds.

Some examples of wood densities:
- Extremely Soft: Balsam, Aspen, Cotton wood, Poplar,
- Medium to Hard: Red Oak, Yellow Poplar, most Pines and Spruces, Beech
- Extremely Hard: White Oak, Osage Orange, White Ash, Hickory, Sugar Maple, Eucalypt, Acacia

5. Beware moisture content. Wood density changes as the log dries, requiring different cutting speeds. In some species, an extremely soft wood that has dried will cut like an extremely hard wood. Dry wood is more abrasive, too, causing the blade to dull quickly.

6. Clean the wood. Dirt, rocks, sand, and other foreign material that may be in the log will wear down the teeth faster than the wood you are cutting. Dull blades require slower cutting speeds. One common and effective solution is the Wood-Mizer debarker.

7. Measure blade tension. Proper tension is critical for maximum blade performance and cutting speeds.

8. Examine blade wheel belts. The blade wheel belts must be in good condition. Worn belts (less than 1mm clearance) can allow the blade to contact the metal blade wheel, resulting in early blade breakage. The belts must also be of uniform thickness. Non-uniform belt thickness causes additional stress to a blade, resulting in mill vibration and reduced blade life. It is also important to keep the belts free of sawdust build-up.

9. High feed rate. Feed rates should be as fast as possible while still maintaining a straight cut. Cutting at slower speeds reduces overall blade life.

10. Examine blade guide position. The blade guides must be positively aligned to provide blade stability and allow maximum cutting speeds. If the blade guides are tipped upward or downward, they will cause the blade to cut in the same direction.

If you are interested in more details about Wood-Mizer's products or services mentioned in this article, you may:

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