October 14, 2021
If you have a new bandsaw, you might not be thinking of purchasing a new bandsaw blade. Yet, time will surely come when its blade will become dull. By then, you will need to replace its blade. When that time comes, you will indeed be asking yourself which bandsaw blade would be best to buy. And if you have not yet tried replacing a bandsaw blade, you might find yourself scratching your head in utter confusion as to which blade you will choose for a replacement.
Of course, the market is awash with different types of bandsaw blades, all claiming to be the best. But to be appropriately guided when choosing a blade replacement, it will be best to know the different classifications of bandsaw blades.
Bandsaw Blade Classifications
When buying a blade replacement for your bandsaw, you will find yourself confronted with an array of bandsaw blades that may seem almost the same in features. But as you look closer, you will discover subtle differences among them. Thus, to facilitate the choosing process for you, it will be best to be cognizant of the following classifications of bandsaw blades based on the following criteria:
Classifying by Tooth Per Inch (TPI)
One significant consideration when choosing a bandsaw blade is the tooth per inch or TPI. It is one factor that can spell out the quality of the cut. As you look at the bandsaw blade, you can divide it into inches. Each inch has a certain number of teeth which is the TPI of the saw blade.
When selecting a saw blade according to TPI, you need to strike a balance between feed rate and finish. It will be good to note that the more TPI, the smoother the cut will be. Yet, the feed rate is slower since the teeth are smaller. On the other hand, blades with more TPI can cut faster. But the finish is rougher than if you are using a saw blade with more TPI.
When aiming for a precision cut, it will help keep a minimum of three teeth in the materials during the cutting process. In this way, you can maintain more accuracy and stability during the cutting process.
It will be best to use blades with coarse teeth with at least three TPI if you are cutting thicker materials. If you cut a wood block with a thickness of three-quarters of an inch, you can use a saw blade with 4 TPI when engaged in fast cutting and at least 14 TPI when aiming for a smoother cut with a slower feed rate.
However, if you want a general-purpose blade, go for a saw blade with six to eight TPI. And if you are cutting thinner metals as well as plastics below a quarter of an inch in thickness, you can go for a blade range between 18 to 32 TPI.
Classifying by Fine or Course Blades
Another significant classification is between fine and coarse blades. This classification is based on the teeth number found in the saw blade. If the saw blade comes with lower TPI, it gets classified as a rough or coarse blade.
Unrefined or coarse blades come with two to six TPI. You can use them for cutting soft materials. These blades will also produce more significant cuts. Yet, since they have a lower number of teeth, the cuts they make are less precise.
On the other hand, fine blades come with higher TPI, ranging from 14 to 24 TPI. These blades can cut precisely and accurately. You can use fine blades for cutting metals and other more rigid materials. You can also use them for cutting thin sheets.
Nevertheless, the use of more delicate saw blades comes with some downsides. First, you can never cut faster with finer teeth. Plus, you can’t make significant cuts. Moreover, the teeth can dull faster as compared to more prominent teeth. As a woodworker, it’ll be best to have both blades that you can use whenever you need a specific cut.
Classification by Blade Material
You can also classify bandsaw blades based on materials. Bandsaw blades come in different make, and some materials are appropriate for certain cuts. The following are the different materials that constitute bandsaw blades:
You will find bandsaw blades made of bi-metal. Around 95% of bandsaws in use nowadays belong to this group of bandsaws. Bi-metal bandsaw blades can cut structural steel, tool steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, die steel, pipes/steel, pipes/tubing, angles, mixed metal, and flat stock materials.
Carbon steel bandsaw blades come in two types: carbon hardback and carbon flex back. These two types of carbon steel blades can cut materials like mild steel, wood, plastic, copper, cast iron, lead, brass, cork, resawing projects, lead, furniture, zinc, bronze, non-ferrous, and fiberglass materials.
However, the carbon hardback blades distinguish themselves by their teeth, with the blade’s backer being heat-treated. Thus, they can provide you with stronger beam strength. On the other hand, the carbon flex-back only has heat-treated teeth for better flexibility when engaging in curve or contour cutting.
Carbide Saw Blades
You can use the carbide saw blades in cutting both carbon steel and bi-metal blades. These blades feature exceptional toughness and wear resistance, especially when cutting materials like spring steel, case hardened steels, nickel-based steels, high-speed steels, high-nickel alloys, composite graphite, titanium, and other exotic metals.
By Tooth Designs
Bandsaw blades can also be categorized according to tooth designs, and the following are the tooth designs of bandsaw blades:
Regular Tooth Blades
The regular tooth blade includes the standard bandsaw blades. These blades are for general purposes and applications. Moreover, they come with straight-faced teeth with deep gullets. Their teeth likewise are evenly spaced and come with zero rake angles.
These blades can cut thin and soft materials with accuracy. Hence, these blades are perfect for cutting wood, thin sheets, and metals. You can also use these blades for cutting curves.
Skip Tooth Blades
The skip tooth blade features zero rake angle with widely spaced teeth. These blades also come with shallow gullets. These saw blades can cut different materials ranging from wood to plastics and non-ferrous metals.
You can use them, therefore, in many of your woodworking tasks. They may not cut precisely like the regular tooth blades. Yet, they offer smoother and faster cuts. They can also cut many materials sans clogging or binding.
Hook Tooth Blades
The hook tooth blades come with large and widely spaced teeth with deep gullets. They also feature an undercut face with a rake angle at positive 10 degrees. You can use them for cutting tougher materials like hardwood, plastic, non-ferrous metals, and cast iron.
They also cut faster and provide longer and coarser cuts. They could not make, however, accurate small cuts.
Variable Tooth Blades
The variable tooth blades also get called broach-tooth blades. They are characterized by fewer vibrations which makes the bandsaw last longer. Moreover, these blades don’t create much noise pollution. Plus, they can produce better results.
Classification based on Pitch and Tooth Form
The tooth and pitch form are another crucial consideration when classifying bandsaw blades. The tooth form and pitch of bandsaw blades depend on the work type you will engage in. You will find bandsaw blades with skip forms with three TPI, four TPI, six TPI, ten TPI, and 14, 24, and 32 TPI.
Three TPI (Skip Form)
You can use the blades with 3 TPI for deep cutting, mostly with rip cuts. These bandsaw blades will produce a rough finish. The high tension and slow-feed rate, however, will enhance your cuts.
Four TPI (Skip Form)
These blades are perfect for general applications. You can use these saw blades when cutting with the grain and across the grain at a certain angle. You can achieve a good finish using good tension and a slower finish.
Six TPI (Skip Form)
These blades are ideal for general purposes and applications. These blades are perfect for making crosscuts on 150-mm thick materials. It is also perfect for ripping 50-mm thick sections using a slow feed rate.
These saw blades can cut MDF and plywood well. They can also cut plastic and non-ferrous metals. You’ll get a good finish out of them, but you need to maintain a slow feed rate and should only cut below 50-mm thick materials. When you cut metals, you should lessen the speed as much as possible, especially when cutting cast iron and non-ferrous metals.
Fourteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two (regular)
With these blades, you can get very clean cuts on plastics, MDF, and plywood. They may be excellent for cutting natural timbers, but you can’t use them unless you cut very thin sections with a thickness of 25mm or below.
These blades are perfect at slow speeds when engaged in cutting non-ferrous metals. Moreover, it will be good to note that you should never go beyond the slow speed rate when using blades like these.
Classification By Cutting Material
You will use a bandsaw for cutting different material types. The materials you will cut include the following:
Bandsaw Blade for Cutting Metal Materials
You will surely deal with metal using a bandsaw. As such, you need to choose saw blades that are best for cutting metals. Bandsaw blades, perfect for cutting metals, come with horizontal form and hook tooth style. These blades, however, might not be the best for achieving accurate cuts.
Nevertheless, they are durable and robust to deal with different metals sans dulling. However, it will be good to note that you can use both horizontal and vertical bandsaw blades for cutting metal if they have hook teeth.
But if you want a good finish using a bandsaw, you can forgo the hook tooth blade and go for the skip tooth blade. These blades may not be as strong as the hook tooth blades. But you should use them depending on the metal thickness. Besides, you can use these blades for non-ferrous metal and steel as well.
Woodworking Bandsaw Blades
You will more often use your bandsaw to cut wood, and when cutting wood, you need bandsaw blades meant for cutting wood. If you need accurate cuts on wood, you can use regular saw blades with more teeth.
But if you want speed and power, you can use a saw blade with a lower TPI. You should likewise use hook tooth blades. With these blades, you can cut more hardwood and softwood.
Once you know the different categories by which bandsaw blades get classified, you are now better positioned to choose the appropriate bandsaw blades for your cutting needs. Equipped with this knowledge, you can quickly facilitate the choosing process and zero in on the right bandsaw blade.
Bandsaw, of course, is a powerful tool for cutting curves, straight and irregular lines, and profiles. If you equip it with the appropriate blade, you can surely enhance its performance and maximize its usage. Thus, you must be cognizant of the classifications of blades based on the abovementioned categories to zero in on the appropriate blade for your needs.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.