The factors that affect the performance of the band saw blade
- Machine operator – training and experience is important for the machine operator since any change in the band saw blade performance requires an evaluation of the operating procedure. Manufacturers of band saws usually provide the owner’s manual to ensure that you are following the instructions in the proper use and troubleshooting of the powerful tool.
- Types of band saw – band saws are manufactured for specific applications, for woodworking, for hobbyists and for industrial and commercial applications. It is important that the right machine is used for an application which means that a bench top model cannot be used for cutting solid and hard steel alloy parts.
- Condition of the machine – in many instances, the performance of such blades can be attributed to the operating condition of the band saw machine. For example, worn-out belts, leaking cylinders, air leaks and fatigued springs can impact on the performance of the blades. Before changing the blades, it is important to check the operating conditions of the machine since any excess movement can impact on the blade’s useful life.
- Band saw wheels – can also impact on the performance of the blades. Wheels of a relatively small diameter of less than 25” generally work best with thinner blades measuring .035”of the hard-edge type. On wheels with large diameters, the operator has the option to use thinner blades or thicker blades as well as the hard-back or the specialty types. Wheels are either made of rubber or rubber covered but its surface must always be smooth and free from lumps or cracks. If there is poor wheel alignment or there is evident wheel wear, it will affect the performance of the blades.
- Condition of the saw guide – the saw guide should support the blade during the cutting process but it should not maintain constant contact with the saw as this will generate heat and premature failure. Side guides whether block or roller should have no more than .003” clearance. Back guides should be at least 1/32” or 1/64” away from the back of the bandsaw blades. If there is constant blade contact with the back guide, it may result into problems like back edge mushrooming, back cracks and deviations in the cut. If the saw guides require adjustments, it makes sense to refer to the owner’s manual that details the proper methods that must be followed.