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Selecting, Using, and Maintaining Wood-Mizer sawmill blades for optimal results
Why Wood-Mizer Blades?
Bandsaw sawmill users in more than 100 countries rely successfully on Wood-Mizer’s dependable and wide range of blades. What makes them special?
Wood-Mizer has been producing blades specifically for sawmill applications since 1987, and is still the only sawmill manufacturer in the world to produce its own blades. Quality has always been a high priority. In 2003, Wood-Mizer’s blade production was ISO 9001 certified. At each stage of production, quality control systems are used, from the ordering of the raw steel through to final packaging. Wood-Mizer’s blade quality laboratory is busy throughout each shift as blade quality is constantly monitored and tested.
There are many different kinds of wood that sawmillers encounter, and different specialized blades are needed for the best cutting performance. Wood-Mizer’s variety of blade brands and profiles have been developed to successfully overcome even the most difficult sawmilling challenges. Blade testing teams work across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, sending back data for improvements and new profiles.
Whether you are the owner of a large wood production company or a hobby sawmill owner, Wood-Mizer’s variety of blades is designed to make the right blade affordable for your purposes. A dependable blade can also be affordable.Due to the volume of blades produced, Wood-Mizer buys steel at the best prices and is able to pass those savings along to customers without sacrificing quality.
A short introduction to basic blade geometry will help you understand how blade geometry directly affects cutting performance.
A. Tooth Spacing – distance between teeth.
B. Gullet – empty area between teeth.Removes sawdust from the cut.
C. Tooth Height – distance from the lowest point of the gullet to the tip of the tooth.
D. Hook Angle – the number of degrees that the tooth face leans forward of 90 degrees. Higher angles are more aggressive and pull the blade quickly through softwoods, while lower angles allow for hardwood cutting.
E. Tooth Set – distance the tooth is bent beyond the body of the blade.Creates clearance for the blade to cut through the timber.
Sawmilling conditions and challenges differ greatly from customer to customer, which is why Wood-Mizer has developed several specific blade brands to better meetthose needs. Each of these blade types can be ordered in standard Wood-Mizer lengths or custom lengths to fit other brands of sawmilling equipment.
This blade has been designed specifically for resawing applications. A standard, very flexible base material is used to maximise flex-life, and then the teeth are induction hardened. This combines exceptional sharp life with maximum flex life in our SilverTIP blades for the secondary processing environment.
This blade has been Wood-Mizer’s most popular standard blade for over a decade. It is affordable and dependable for general sawing conditions. Higher quality steel is used, and the teeth are induction hardened. This blade is used successfully by large businesses and mobile sawyers alike.
Introduced in 2013, this new blade features premium quality steel, chosen by Wood-Mizer to outperform competitors and maximise performance for sawmill customers. The specialized alloy provides longer blade flex life and increased durability. This premium quality blade will provide sawmill operators high performance results at an exceptional value. Currently available in the 10/30 profile.
Also introduced in 2013, this new blade is designed for high performance in industrial production environments. The high-alloy backing material of the blades offer a combination of durability and fatigue resistance, resulting in longer sharp life than MaxFLEX or DoubleHARD. Currently available in the 10/30 profile.
This blade is tipped with Stellite® teeth, and is specifically designed for extreme hardwood cutting, although many customers use it for longer sharp life in normal cutting circumstances as well.
Each blade type can be used to cut different logs of varying density. Not all profiles are available for every size and width, and your local Wood-Mizer representative can help you with specific recommendations. Choosing the right blade will not only give you the best quality lumber, it will also last longer.
Sawmilling with Wood-Mizer Blades will result in straight, consistent lumber;however, there are some factors that can result poor performance. Regular maintenance, general knowledge of proper usage, and attention while cutting will help avoid blade breakage and poor quality cutting.
Sawing dirty logs will quickly dull the blade and lead to poor cutting. Always clean the wood with a wire brush or use the Debarker option on the sawmill.
Always enter the cut slowly and smoothly, and then speed up as necessary.Sawing feed rates should be as fast as possible while maintaining straight cuts. Understand how tree density relates to cutting speed. Softwoods are inconsistent and require careful speed monitoring. Hardwood density is usually more consistent and allows steadier speeds.
Be attentive to the accumulation of pitch on the blade during sawmilling. Use ample lubrication, and adding a small amount of liquid soap to the water will help keep the blade clean. After sawing, always release the blade tension.
The proper alignment and condition of several sawmill components should be checked regularly, according to the procedures detailed in the sawmill manual.
- Blade guide rollers should roll freely, should not have flat areas. The clearance between the back of the blade and the back of the roller should not exceed 3mm, neither should it be rubbing together, which will results in cracks along the back of the blade. Over time, rollers can wear and become tapered, which will result in wavy cutting, and they should be replaced.
- Blade wheel belts should be without defects and of uniform thickness. To ensure that both belts wear evenly, it is recommended to switch the belts from the drive side to the idle side, and from the idle side to the drive side regularly (once a week, or more often when running multiple shifts).
- Sawmill alignment should be confirmed on a regular basis.
- Blade drive wheel alignment checks should be also performed from time to time.
- Improper blade tension, or a faulty tension system will result in unreliable cutting. Ensure that the blade tension matches the manual’s recommendation.
The proper care of blades will ensure they stay sharp longer and can be sharpened multiple times. Wood-Mizer recommends to allow your blades up to one day to rest before they are placed back on the sawmill. This allows the metal to relax, and generally provides longer life.
Sharpening your own blades
Wood-Mizer supplies several blade sharpeners that are scaled toward different budgets and requirements so that you can confidently sharpen blades yourself.All Wood-Mizer sharpeners use the highest quality CBN grinding wheels that sharpen the full gullet each time, and come ready to sharpen.
Blade Sharpening Equipment
The BMS250 is ideal for the sawyer looking to invest in a high quality, automatic sharpener. It features an auto-shutoff, and has a heavy-duty hood to enclose the blade during sharpening that includes an exhaust vent. The BMS250 uses 127mm grinding wheels, which come in various profiles. A scraper deburrs each blade automatically.
The BMS500 is designed for industrial blade sharpening. The 203mm CBN grinding wheels provide a higher quality grind at higher speeds, increasing efficiency. The user-friendly control station includes a tooth counter display, variable grinding speed and can be quickly configured to stop after a custom number of teeth. A scraper deburrs each blade automatically.
The Sharpening Process
Step 1: Blade cleaning
Beforeremoving the dulled blade from the sawmill, run the blade for 15 seconds, flooding it with lubrication to remove as much sap as possible. If this is insufficient to clean the blade, clean it with a wire brush.
Step 2: Sharpening
Grinding sharpens the tooth again and squares up each tooth face with the body of the blade. Wood-Mizer recommends only using CBN full profile blade sharpening. If you are sharpening with a standard grinding wheel, check that the full tooth profile is being evenly ground, and adjust the wheel profile or sharpener cam as needed.Full profile grinding is important, as cracks will form if an area is missed. Two sharpening cycles for each blade results in the best performance, and grinding should not be done too hard.
Step 3: Removing metal burrs
De-burring removes the small bits of extra metal left over from the grinding process. Wood-Mizer’s BMS250 and BMS500 do this automatically, but for older sharpeners, it may be necessary to do it manually by scraping the inside of the blade with a wooden block.It is most important to remove the grinding burr from the top of the tooth, for accurate setting
Step 4: Setting the teeth
Restoring set after sharpening is very important for ensuring continued blade performance. The set point should not be too low or too high, only the top 1/3 of the tooth should be set.
Setting your own blades
The pattern and amount of tooth set is very important for quality sawing performance. The offset teeth clear a path for the blade to pass smoothly through the wood. More set is required in fibrous softwoods than in hardwoods. Frozen wood requires a smaller kerf.
Too much set results in inefficient cutting with poor surface quality. Too little set results in too much sawdust that is unable to escape the cut, which heats up the blade. Generally, sawdust should be slightly warm and chip-like.
The BMT100 allows you to affordably maintain consistent tooth set on your blade. Operated by a hand crank, the BMT100 is a simple setter that sets all teeth consistently.
The BMT200 or BMT250 is an ideal dual toothsetter that quickly sets blade teeth with a manual or automatic configuration.
The computerised pneumatic BMT300 toothsetter is designed for industrial tooth setting.
Although maintaining your own blades can provide faster turnaround, Wood-Mizer’s ReSharp is a very popular service, returning blades to factory conditions by washing, grinding, and setting on the same equipment used to manufacture them initially. ReSharp is affordable and allows you to spend more time sawing. Contact your local Wood-Mizer representative for details.
Common Issues to Troubleshoot
For troubleshooting broken blades or poor cutting performance, reference this checklist of possible causes.
1. Improper blade for the wood type
2. Improper cutting
- Blade is dull
- Cutting speed is too slow
- Pitch build up on blade
- Logs are dirty
- Incorrect blade tension
- Wheel belt issue
- Blade guide roller issue
3. Improper Sharpening
- Tooth base radius is too sharp
- Inconsistent gullet grind
- Faulty sharpener
- Bad grinding wheel
- Teeth are too tall or short
- Improper hook angle
4. Improper Setting
- Incorrect set (bend) point
- Overset or too little set
- One tooth is overset, causing rough wood surface.
If you are interested in more details about Wood-Mizer's products or services mentioned in this article, you may:
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