When you have some free time, desire and a bit of experience, you would like to save your money and weld your own bandsaw blades from coil stock. Most common material is carbon-steel coil stock. You should buy the 100 ft. rolls, and by welding the blades by yourself, you would be able to cut the cost of your bandsaw blades by half of the normal prices. This method is especially useful if you are already on a budget after buying your bandsaw.
From my experience, you should only weld carbon steel blades that are 1/2 in. or less in width. Since we know that the spring steel used in the bodies of bimetal and carbide blades is difficult to weld, we should leave the job of welding them to professionals.
When you have gotten the know-how of welding bandsaw blades, it’ll get easier for you. Your work is much smoother now that you know how to fix your blades when it’s getting dull. Sometimes, when you want to make an interior cut on a stock that is too thick for a jigsaw, you can thread the blade through a hole in the stock, weld the blade ends together and make the cut with your bandsaw.
2 ways to weld bandsaw blades
There are 2 ways you can weld a bandsaw blade in your own shop. You can buy a resistance welder that is similar to the one saw shops use or you can braze the blades with a torch and silver brazing solder.
How to weld bandsaw blades by using a resistance welder
This method is faster the welder is not cheap or rather expensive. Brazing, on the other hand, is cheaper as the cost of a brazing kit is not that much, it is, however, more time consuming and requires you to have a bit of experience than resistance method.
A resistance welder uses electrical energy to create extreme heat to fuse the blade ends together. The welding process leaves the joint brittle, so it must be annealed by being reheated and cooled slowly. Here are 8 steps to weld a blade with a resistance welder. I learn this method by reading The Band Saw book, in fact, most of my knowledge of bandsaw was from the book.
- Cut the blade to length. Most bandsaws will accept blades that are 1 in. or so longer than the specified length. I always cut a new blade the maximum length the saw will accept. This gives me an extra try at welding if the first attempt fails.
- Check the ends of the cut for squareness. If they are not 90 degrees, use a grinder to make them so.
- Clamp the blade ends within the electrodes of the welder. The ends of the blade should touch.
- Set the pressure control. The setting is determined by the width of the blade.
- Press the weld button. Hold the button until the weld has competed. During welding, the blade ends will turn bright orange and quickly return to normal color at the completion of the weld. The entire process takes three or four seconds.
- Annealing. Reposition the blade at the front edge of the electrode clamp, then jog the annealing button until the steel at the weld is cherry red in color. Give the blade a few minutes to cool down.
- Grinding the flash. Once you’ve annealed the weld, grind away the flash around the joint so that the blade will run smoothly through the saw guides. Be careful not to grind the blade or teeth as grinding into the blade body weakens it. You should grind the flash slowly so you overheat your bandsaw blade.
- Final annealing. After grinding, anneal the blade once more, then allow the blade to cool for a few minutes before using it.
Once you have your blade ready, learn how to change your bandsaw blade here.
This video below explains perfectly the method of how to weld your bandsaw blades by using resistance welder.
This method is much cheaper than using a resistance welder. You can easily get a brazing kit easily from your local woodworking shop. You will need to buy a torch that burns propane, butane or Mapp gas along with a jar of flux and silver brazing alloy.
Here are 7 steps to braze a bandsaw blade from The Band Saw Book, it is an amazing book about bandsaw that you should have.
- Bevel the blade ends. The ends of the blade must be filed or ground to a bevel. The width of the bevel should be three times the blade thickness and the ends of the bevel must be 90 degrees. To ensure a uniform bevel, you will need to clamp the blade ends. I use a piece of angle iron held in a vise and bulldog clips to hold the blade to the angle iron.
- Clean the blade ends. Remove any trace of a burr from filing or griding, then clean the blade ends with mineral spirits to remove any oil that may prevent the alloy from flowing. Afterward, wipe the ends dry.
- Clamp the blade ends in the fixture. Proper alignment is crucial for a strong braze. The bevels should overlap and the backs should be flush.
- Spread the flux. Spread the flux about 1/2 in. up from the blade ends. It is important to get flux on the bevels as well. To do this, I push the lower bevel downward, which allows me to get the bristles of the flux brush into the joint.
- Brazing. This is the most difficult part of the procedure. The goal is to evenly heat the blade ends to the point that the alloy flows into the joint. The flux and the blade end provide an indication of when you have reached the proper temperature. When the temperature is right, the flux will be clear, the blade will be almost white and the edges will be dull red. Next, place the end of the alloy onto the joint while continuing to apply heat with the torch. As the alloy is touched to the hot steel, it will be drawn into the joint by capillary action and create a strong bond.
- Remove excess alloy. After allowing the blade to cool, remove any excess alloy from the joint. First, clean off the flux with a rag, then smooth the joint with a mill file, careful not to dull the teeth.
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