What is the best type of band saw blade?
There are different types of band saw blades Canada from carbon, bi-metal and carbide. Most band saws come with carbon steel or spring steel blades which can be used for general purpose cutting. Carbon steel blades have flexible backs and hardened cutting edges which make them highly economical for crosscutting of wood and sawing plastics and mild steel. The most expensive is the carbide-tipped blades that are essential in cutting hard metals, composite materials and abrasive hardwoods. Bi-metal are expensive types of blades required for unique applications like cutting graphite and other exotic materials. Of the three types, the choice for the best depends on achieving the lowest cost per cut without compromising quality and smoothness of finish.
How to select the right number of teeth per inch (TPI)
The number of teeth is important in achieving the desired finish and the proper feed rate. A coarse tooth blade that is 2 to 3 TPI is ideal for re-sawing wood and for cutting thick stock of up to 8”. A fine toothed band saw blade of 18 to 32 TPI is used for thinner metal and plastics that are under ¼”. For general cutting of wood that is about ¾” a 4 TPI will provide a fast cut while a 14 TPI will cut slow but with a smoother finish. Band saw blades usually provide a chart to help decide on the right TPI for the material being cut.
Making a choice for tooth set
The raker set is the normal choice for general purpose cutting of thick and solid metal sections. If you will look closely, the raker set, it has one tooth that bends slightly to the right followed by a straight tooth and another tooth set slightly to the left. The wavy tooth set is ideal for cutting tubing and sheet metal. It has a group of teeth set left and right in a curving pattern. In the skip tooth pattern, there is an open space between teeth which makes it less prone to clogs. The skip tooth style is ideal for soft non-ferrous metals that have the tendency to clog the blades. The hook tooth style uses a chipping action instead of a scraping cut which quickly clears waste materials away. The wide-spaced teeth and deep gullets help to dig in and take a good cut with the gullets curling the chips. Variable tooth can be found only on bi-metal blades. It has varying set angles and gullet depths with a variable tooth cutting edge that will reduce vibration because the back absorbs the impact of cutting. This is the best tooth set style for production work in machine shops.