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A collection of stories and articles about Wood-Mizer sawmills in use around the world, new business ideas, and available market niches in the wood industry

Update on RazorTip

Update on RazorTip RazorTip is a Stellite-tipped blade designed for cutting hard and difficult timber, and is the most recent addition to the range of narrow bandsaw blades manufactured by Wood-Mizer.

In developing the blade, Wood-Mizer wanted to ensure that it was as easy to maintain as the DoubleHard and SilverTip blades, using the company's existing sharpening and setting machines. As a result, RazorTip is different from other types of Stellite-tipped bandsaw blade on the market.

The traditional method is to apply Stellite to 'straight' or 'unset' teeth using one of two processes: either Stellite rod is welded to the tip of each tooth and then parted from the rod, after which the blade must be further processed on a side grinder to achieve the correct tooth width and a profile grinder to shape the tooth top and face; or the Stellite is 'melted' onto the tooth tip using a water-cooled mould to achieve a shape close to the final profile and width, which reduces the amount of subsequent grinding required. In both cases, it is the width of the Stellite itself that creates the kerf of the blade.

These methods require expertise and expensive equipment for applying the Stellite and grinding and resharpening the teeth.

With RazorTip, the Stellite is also applied to the tip of the tooth, but the teeth are then spring-set in exactly the same way as DoubleHard and SilverTip blades. This means that less Stellite has to be used since it is the set of the teeth that provides the kerf rather than the thickness of the Stellite, which keeps the cost down. It also means that blades are easily sharpened and reset using Wood-Mizer's equipment.

RazorTip has already proved a success in all markets of the world, for use both on Wood-Mizer sawmills and on other makes of bandsaw and resaw. User feedback has included a number of frequently asked questions, a selection of which appear below.

Which blade is used as the base for RazorTip?
DoubleHard material is the base for blades of 32mm and 38mm width and SilverTip material is used for 45mm, 50mm and 75mm wide blades.

Are the teeth of the base blade hardened before application of Stellite so that the blade can be used as a 'normal' blade when the Stellite has been completely ground away?
No, this is not possible with the set pattern being applied. Enough quantity of Stellite is applied to allow the blade to be sharpened several times. When the Stellite is worn away, some customers do keep the blades to use on logs that are likely to be contaminated with metal, to avoid the risk of damaging their normal blades. Where the Stellite has been applied to DoubleHard base material, the blades can be used in normal cutting operations and are equivalent to Wood-Mizer's 'professional' (non-hardened) range, which has served many customers very well for many years.

Is the kerf of RazorTip blades greater than the kerf of DoubleHard and SilverTip blades because of the thickness of Stellite on teeth?
The Stellite overhangs the side of the tooth by approximately 0.3mm, but the kerf is the same as standard blades. The sides of the Stellite are ground straight to allow the customer to re-set the teeth and maintain the kerf.

This is a great advantage over blades where the Stellite is applied to unset teeth and the Stellite itself is shaped to provide the kerf width, because this type of blade loses performance after the first sharpening since the kerf is reduced, and in addition the teeth can only be sharpened perhaps three times at best.

With RazorTip the quantity of Stellite applied is enough to allow the teeth to be resharpened several times. In tests Wood-Mizer has resharpened blades six times and the Stellite on the tooth was still healthy. It could be possible to resharpen up to 10 times, depending on application and provided, as always, that the blade is maintained and used correctly.
As a result, users of other types of Stellite-tipped blades should achieve an overall reduction in the cost of blades if they switch to RazorTip.

What is the average cost of sharpening RazorTip compared with the cost of sharpening other makes of Stellite-tipped narrow bandsaw blade?
The only difference is that users of RazorTip will need to re-set the blade between uses, but it is believed that the additional number of times the blade can be sharpened will offset any additional cost of setting.

An important feature of RazorTip is that it is easily maintained using Wood-Mizer's setting machine and sharpening machine. Because the Rockwell Hardness of Stellite is 48, it is possible to use a vitrified grinding wheel - although Wood-Mizer recommends CBN wheels.

What is the purchase price of RazorTip compared with the purchase price of other makes of Stellite-tipped narrow bandsaw blade?
That is difficult to answer because it varies significantly in different parts of the world. In addition, some other blade manufacturers use variable tooth spacing, which is difficult to maintain. In general it is believed that RazorTip is up to 40% cheaper than competitor blades in the USA - however, manufacturers have not been able to price the Stellite at an affordable enough level to really penetrate the market. In Europe, where Stellite has larger market penetration, the price difference is smaller.

What is the average cutting time between resharpenings of RazorTip compared with other makes of Stellite-tipped narrow bandsaw blade?
Because Stellite has high wear-resistance it cuts for longer before it loses sharpness. When using wide bandsaw blades, a benefit of using Stellite-tipped teeth for normal softwood or hardwood is that cutting times can be extended to last for one or more complete shifts, so production does not have to be stopped mid-shift for blade changes.

Narrow blades are used in a different way and will not be run for an eight-hour shift before changing. RazorTip is not therefore intended for normal hardwood or softwood applications but for extremely dry and hard timber and difficult cutting applications. For some sawing applications, Stellite-tipped blades are the only blades that will cut successfully, and many customers would benefit from having a few blades for use in such circumstances.

What is the average cutting time between resharpenings of RazorTip compared with other Wood-Mizer blades?
It really depends on the application. Generally speaking, it is believed that on average the blade will cut for three times longer than DoubleHard or SilverTip blades before it needs re-sharpening.

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

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