Every workshop should have an irreplaceable machine called a bandsaw. It helps the owner rip lumber swiftly, create veneers, cut boards and so forth.
Fig 1: Timber wolf bandsaw blade
However, having a good bandsaw may not be enough unless you know how to use the right bandsaw blades for different situations. In fact, it is the most important factor in the whole bandsaw operation that could decide the outcome of your work. One thing that I’ve learned after years of using bandsaws is an “ok” bandsaw will cut very well with a great blade but a great bandsaw is not going to make your works easy if it has the wrong blade.
Furthermore, aspects such as blade thickness, teeth per inch (TPI), blade width, and blade material are important for getting the best results but they seem confusing at first. Now, old Jack has looked at all these factors in coming up with a list of the best bandsaw blades. There is a buying guide explaining these and more factors. It is accompanied by a review of the best products to buy, just to make your shopping experience easier.
- HERE ARE OUR PICKS OF 10 BEST BANDSAW BLADES
- Woodcutting Bandsaw Blades
- Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blades
- DEWALT DW3986C 14/18 TPI Portable Bandsaw Blade, 3-Pack
- Makita B-40559 Compact Portable Bandsaw Blade, 32-7/8″, 18TPI, 5/pk
- Olson Saw BM82264BL BI-Metal Bandsaw Blade, 1/2 by .025-Inch, 14/18 VARI 64-1/2-Inch
- Imachinist S6412121418 Bi-metal Bandsaw Blades 64-1/2″ X 1/2″ X 14/18tpi for Cutting Soft Metal
- Multipurpose Bandsaw Blades
- BUYING GUIDE FOR BEST BANDSAW BLADES
HERE ARE OUR PICKS OF 10 BEST BANDSAW BLADES
In reviewing the following ten best bandsaw blades, we placed the products in three categories namely Woodcutting Blades, Metal Cutting Blades, and Multipurpose Blades to accommodate the versatility of your bandsaws.
Woodcutting Bandsaw Blades
Timber Wolf Bandsaw Blade 3/4″ x 93-1/2″, 3 TPI
Timber Wolf Blade is a worthy feature in this list because of its superior quality based in trials and views of other users. It specifically suits re-sawing perfectly with its low carbide high silicon steel. It has all the desirable features of an excellent woodcutting blade- round design gullet, low width, narrow kerf, etc. While the blade is durable and runs cooler, Timber Wolf sells it at a very affordable price. Some users may find the tensioning steps a bit unclear though.
Olson Saw FB23105DB 1/2 by 0.025 by 105-Inch HEFB Band 3 TPI Hook Saw Blade
It is another highly rated blade ideal for non-ferrous metal, mild steel, plastic, and hard/softwood. Durability and dependability of the blades is a standout, especially for users who are interested in accuracy and high cutting speed. It is a top choice for artisans in the DIY, industrial and professional categories. One negative identified by users is the inability to resaw lumber well.
Laguna ProKing Bandsaw Blade 115″ x .75″ x Variable TPI – Best for Resawing
If you are looking for one of the best bandsaw blades for resawing, consider this one from Laguna as it is my favorite resaw blade. I use it for cutting highly figured planks into veneer. Although its price is on the higher side, this excellent blade is perfect in handling pricey veneer grade woods, it will outlast a carbon-steel blade 25 to 1 and a bimetal blade 10 to 1. It is created with a good finish so the needed sanding is minimal. With its carbide teeth, variable TPI and Swedish silicon steel backing, this blade works with minimal waste.
Vermont American 31267 1/2-Inch by 6TPI by 80-Inch Stationary Hard Wood Cutting Bandsaw Blade
Closing this list of the best bands saw blades for woodworking is a Vermont American product that can cut all types of wood. It is heavy duty and made of carbon steel, so it cuts through hardwood easily. Cut using a superior laser-cutting device, this blade is made using accurate specifications. The advanced micro-view inspection system that is employed by the manufacturer guarantees consistent quality. Although the blade is not very sharp, the above features come at an affordable price.
Metal Cutting Bandsaw Blades
DEWALT DW3986C 14/18 TPI Portable Bandsaw Blade, 3-Pack
It is not a coincidence that this product appears first on this list. Made of premium steel, this blade annihilates the toughest steel within seconds. The designers added 8% Cobalt to enhance durability and wear resistance. Tooth hardness is of the Rc 65-67 level, so the item is expected to last long. It is free of fatigue resistance, thanks to the alloy steel backer. Some users have found the blades pricey.
Makita B-40559 Compact Portable Bandsaw Blade, 32-7/8″, 18TPI, 5/pk
Makita does not disappoint, whether you talk about the blades or the bandsaw itself. Regarding the 32-7/8″, 18TPI, 5/pk bandsaw blade, every user seems to have agreed that it offers unmatched quality. This blade can cut through non-ferrous metal and various forms of steel including stainless steel, mild steel, and cast steel. The reason it is durable is the bi-metal design and superior welding process. Wavy tooth set promotes clean cutting in pipes, sheets, and tubes.
Olson Saw BM82264BL BI-Metal Bandsaw Blade, 1/2 by .025-Inch, 14/18 VARI 64-1/2-Inch
Another bi-metal design comes in the form of this Olson Saw product manufactured in the USA. As a blade meant for cutting tough Ferrous/Non-Ferrous Metal, the Olson Saw BM82264BL features teeth with varying teeth gullet depth, size, and set. These variations make sure that teeth approach work at varying angles, thus enhancing smooth and quiet metal cutting. The blade is designed to withstand abrasion and shock. However, some users have reported some teeth breaking near the welds.
Imachinist S6412121418 Bi-metal Bandsaw Blades 64-1/2″ X 1/2″ X 14/18tpi for Cutting Soft Metal
When you are cutting soft metal, you want a blade that is precise to overcome tolerance issues. These blades are designed for such works, especially in cutting large pieces of soft metal such as aluminum. Users have liked them for fast and smooth cutting capability. The blades can cut thin profiles in tubes, thanks to their 18tpi design. To crown it all, they are compatible with a wide range of bandsaws.
Multipurpose Bandsaw Blades
Bosch BS6412-24M 64-1/2-Inch by 1/2-Inch by 24TPI Metal Bandsaw Blade
Built for both wood and metal cutting, the Bosch brand bandsaw blades feature premium-grade steel construction, which is resistive to heat buildup. To cater for different types of cuts, the blades have unique tooth geometry. The best results come when cutting softwood or metal if the reviews of previous buyers are anything to go by. Fast cutting and reliable angle cutting are some of the other positives found.
POWERTEC 13131 High Carbon Bandsaw Blade 62” x 1/4” x .014 x 6tpi | For Non Ferrous Metal, Woodworking and Plastic, 1 Pack
POWERTEC bandsaw blades are often inexpensive, but they have superior design and quality. The 13131X is no different; built from tough steel alloy that is capable of cutting through a wide range of non-ferrous metals, wood, and plastics. Even at high cutting speeds, the blades provide seamless results thanks to the geometric tooth design. Compatible with several bandsaw options like Craftsman and Harbor Freight, POWERTEC 13131 minimizes the number of machines you need.
Fig 2: POWERTEC 13131 Blades
Olson Saw WB55362BL 62-Inch by 1/4 wide by 6 Teeth Per Inch Bandsaw Blade
Olson Saw bandsaw blades are also very affordable, but they offer excellent quality for general-purpose cutting. The blades specifically earn a place on this list because of their durability and superior combination of high cutting speed and high-quality finish. They apply for the medium finish; general-purpose contour cutting; and fast cuts. The teeth are hook styled, meaning that the blades are able to make long cuts. Few complaints about the blades are snapping and formation of rugged edges.
BUYING GUIDE FOR BEST BANDSAW BLADES
In order to take advantage of the versatility of your bandsaw, you will need to learn how to change your blades, how to pick the right blades from wide to narrow or from few teeth to many. Many good bandsaw blades are available in a wide range of materials, widths, and tooth designs and so on as each type is best for a certain kind of cutting. We explain how to consider these factors when you are buying this component.
Not much to say here, you need to purchase a bandsaw blade that fit your saw.
Number of teeth
This is often referred to as tooth pitch, given as teeth per inch (TPI). A lower pitch characterizes an aggressive bandsaw blade that produces a rough but faster cut. A higher pitch is for a smoother and slower cut.
The pitch can be either constant or variable. In a constant pitch, all the teeth space evenly and present a rake angle and a gullet depth. In the variable pitch type, the gullet size and the depth are irregular. That is why these blades have minimal vibration and noise.
Pitch determines the speed at which the blade will cut through the stock and the smoothness of the cut surface. Blades with a fine pitch have more TPI of blade length than those with a coarse pitch. Which means that a fine pitch blade has smaller teeth, take smaller bite and leaves the surface smoother. It also reduces the size of the gullets since small gullets can not haul away dust quickly, fine pitch blades cut slower and tend to get hotter than coarser blades. Finer pitch blades are recommended to cut thinner stock,
On the other hand, coarse pitch blades have larger teeth and larger gullets resulting in greater amount of wood after each tooth bites. The larger gullets of coarse pitch blades can also easily remove the sawdust from the kerf.
The bottom line is, if you cut mostly ¾″ stock, choose a blade that has 8 to 14 TPI. But if your work deals more with material that is thicker than 1″, go with blades that have a courser pitch — 3 to 6 TPI.
The width of a bandsaw blade can vary from 1/8th of an inch to 1 inch. The wider blades suit tough straight cuts where the tightness of curves and accuracy of cuts are not crucial. If you are cutting a tight curve, you will want to go for a narrower blade. For instance, a curve of a minimum radius of 5/16 inches is best generated using a 3/16 inches blade.
Blade width is important when resawing as the process require a wide blade, the wider your blade is, the better for resawing as a wider blade provide faster and more precise cut because of its greater beam strength resists bending under load. However, most midsize bandsaws used to not be able to properly tension a wide blade such as a 3/4-in. resaw blade. In this situation, use a high-performance 1/2-in or a 3/8-in. blade.
Wider blades also have greater beam strength and stiffness. A wider blade needs more force to reach recommend tension, which means you should only use wide blades on bandsaws that have strong frames to provide required tension. Wide blades also have a minimum wheel diameter that they can bend and move around without breaking.
Q: What is beam strength? Beam strength refers to the fact that a bandsaw blade supported between two sets of guides acts as a beam when the workpiece is fed into the blade. The wider the blade, the stiffer it is will be.
Note: do not try to use a blade that has a larger width than your bandsaw can handle, it’ll break your saw as the blade will not be tensioned properly and resulted in distorting the frame beyond repair. The excessive tension also places damaging forces on the saw’s wheels, shafts, and bearings.
Tip: Always choose the widest blade possible for any task, even when cutting curves. Want more precise and smoother cut? Choose wider blades as they wander less than narrow blades. Resawing? Choose the widest blade that your saw can handle. Now, you should watch your bandsaw’s ability to tension a blade as many entry saws cannot tension a wider blade.
This is yet another essential parameter because it determines how well you cut materials such as green wood, veneer, and soft metals. You do not want a situation where the blade is perpetually flexing, as this will eventually lead to blade failure. While thick blades are tough when making straight cuts, they are not particularly effective for curves; they break easier than thinner blades do.
Note: a thinner and flexible blade is more suitable for three-wheel bandsaws due to their smaller wheels as blades can easily break when they have to be worked tightly around small-diameter wheels.
Tooth Form or Style
Tooth style options come in the form of hook, regular or skip. Often referred to as the design of the tooth and gullet, tooth form is the most important factor in choosing your bandsaw blades as it determines how well your blades cut in certain situations.
Large teeth that have +10- degree rake angle characterize hook tooth geometry. This aggressive geometry produces fast cuts for a faster feed rate with little resistance. It is my choice for resawing and ripping, especially in hardwoods.
For regular style, the teeth have proportional spaces between them, so they suit general-purpose cutting. Regular tooth form bandsaw blades are preferred for their ability of being able to precisely cutting curves smoothly. You have to be careful with regular tooth form as the gullets fill sawdust quickly making it difficult to cut thick stock, the blade also heating fast and it needs a slower feed rate.
When it comes to skip teeth geometry, the teeth have wide spaces and 0-degree rake angle. Skip teeth are suitable for clean cuts, resawing and ripping thick stock. Skip teeth, however, doesn’t cut as smoothly as regular-tooth blades.
Variable tooth form is also gaining popularity lately as this tooth form is used with moderate feed rate and can provide a very smooth cut due to having little vibration.
Rake angle is one of the three angles that add up to 90 degrees in a bandsaw blade. The other two are clearance angle and nose angle. Rake angle should be wide if you are cutting wood.
Wheel diameter and blades
Pay attention to the diameter of the wheels of your bandsaws. Bandsaw blades manufacturers recommend that their blades not to be used on wheels with diameters or less than 12″. “The common knowledge is that the larger the diameter of the wheel is, the less likely the blade can get brittle and work-hardened by the severe flexing it undergoes as it spins around a small-diameter wheel” – The bandsaw book.
Bandsaw Blades Material
- Carbon Steel
- Spring Steel
You need to know which cuts you are going to make to choose the right blade
Bandsaw blades are designed for cutting various materials and cuts. I find it convenient to choose my blades based on the type of cuts that I am planning to make. Here is my list of cuts that I make regularly so I can pick my bandsaw blades base on the width, pitch, thickness, and tooth form:
-Curves in furniture parts
-Ripping thick and heavy hardwood
-Sawing small, figured logs
Note: More than other bandsaw operation, resawing requires high demanding work and the right blade, I prefer a variable-pitch hook tooth blade. It is recommended to pick a blade with a positive rake angle as it creates far less feed resistance than a blade with a rake angle of 0º.
Take care of your bandsaw blades properly
Image from lumberjocks
When sawing, the blade heats up and make pitch and gum to build up on the surfaces of the teeth and in the gullets. Your blades got dull when teeth and gullets covered with gunk making it difficult for you to continue your work. Cleaning bandsaw blades is easy and you should do it often to get the most out of your tools and keep the blade in the best condition.
Now, most stores sell blade-cleaning liquid. Amazon, in particular, has a variety of cleaning liquid that you can choose. To use it, you simply remove the blade, spray it with cleaner and wipe off the residue.
Remember that bandsaw blade teeth can be easily damaged, especially carbide teeth as those are brittle and fragile. Treat it with care when maintaining these kinds of blades. After cleaning the pitch of bandsaw blades, you can enjoy its improve performance just like a new one.
Wide blades are not for benchtop bandsaws
For obvious reasons, benchtop bandsaws are designed for small and delicate cuts. The frames of the saws are not stiff enough to properly tension a wide blade. Picking a blade with the right width is always need to be done with consideration.
Now you see why choosing the best bandsaw blades can be tricky- there are almost as many bandsaw brands as there are opinions. However, if you have your cutting requirements right, you will have it easy determining the blade width, blade thickness and so forth.
What bandsaw do I have? I own a ¼″ 4 or 6 TPI skip tooth blade for general-regular work. With this setup, I don’t have to change my blade often as I can make most of normal cut easily. I also own a 1/8″ and a 1/16” blade on hand for detail work and a Laguna Blade variable tooth blade for resawing.
I hope with small article, you should be ready to buy. Our guide will be valuable, whether you are buying one of the items on this list or choosing any other bandsaw blade.
For further knowledge of using bandsaw blades, checkout our bandsaw section for how to weld bandsaw blades, how to coil and uncoil a bandsaw blade, how to change bandsaw blades, and how to clean your blade. Before working with your bandsaw, make sure to check our bandsaw safety guide for proper sawing operation and when needs for mobility arise, you can buy a suitable portable bandsaw.