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Thread: What a Difference a Blade Makes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    What a Difference a Blade Makes

    A couple of weeks ago I was back at home in my shop in LA for a much-needed wood fix. I pulled a pretty large dry sycamore turning blank out of the woodpile, and wanted to trim off a couple of cracked portions. Easy enough...I've got a decent bandsaw.

    I've known for a while that the blade on the saw was about used up, but I decided to see if I could get a couple more cuts out of it before putting a new blade on the saw. I figured I'd post these pics to show what a bandsaw cut should NOT look like.

    After making the first cut, I saw that I had two major problems. First, the saw refused to cut in a straight line. It was pulling so hard to the right that I had the kerf pointed nearly 45º off line in my attempts to steer the cut. The other problem was that the cut was cupped. Both of these problems are apparent in the photos below.

    Here's a look at the part I was cutting off. As the wood is positioned in this photo, the cut was started at the lower right corner, and I was attempting to run parallel to the crack you can see to the left of the cut. (The straight edge on this piece is from the chainsaw when I processed the blank a few years ago.) Obviously, the saw didn't want to cooperate.

    And here's a shot that shows the cupping. Here again, this pic is of the offcut. You can also see the burn marks from the blade.

    Another similar shot...very aerodynamic , but not what I wanted:

    I tried trimming the blank a bit more with equally horrible results. I was finally convinced the blade was toast - it had been on the saw for a couple of years, although one of those years it got very little use. I grabbed a new blade (I had 4 or 5 of this size in stock) and put it on the saw. Took all of about 3 minutes, including the time to walk over to the cabinet to get the new blade. With essentially no adjustment to the saw itself, the new blade sliced through the 11" blank straight in all directions. I thought I had taken a photo, but if I did, I can't find it on my phone.

    Of course, letting a bandsaw blade get dull to this point before replacing it is stupid. You end up forcing the cut, whuch can damage the saw, or even worse, damage you. However, if I was just cutting 3/4" material I might not have even realized just how bad it really was. Pretty quick fix for about $8.00*.

    * I refuse to pay over $20 for a "name brand" blade that's no better (and maybe not as good) than the ones I get from Ellis Saw for about $8 or so. I'm looking at you, Timberwolf.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Vaughn, I did the exact same thing a few weeks ago. Thanks to you and a few others here I had extra blads on hand that I ordered from Ellis and sure cuts like butter. SWEET!
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    It was the first lesson I learned with a bandsaw. Mine came with a well-used ¼" blade that gave me highly polished scorched wood as it slowly ground its way through my test cuts. The new blade went through wood like butter.

    Hey! You could make this thread into a song:

    What a difference a blade makes,
    Just 24 little teeth...

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    I hear ya. Just did the same exact thing, trying to get the last little bit out of that blade...and there's a box of six new ones just a step away... 'cept I was just cutting kindling for the fireplace. I do the same thing with sand paper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Tulk View Post
    It was the first lesson I learned with a bandsaw. Mine came with a well-used ¼" blade that gave me highly polished scorched wood as it slowly ground its way through my test cuts.
    Yeah but think of the sanding you saved since it was already polished As a bonus no wood burning equipment was needed to add decorative striping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    A good lesson for us all. Blades are not that expensive when compared to what you are cutting (if it gets turned to spoil).
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    A good man may be hard to find.
    A good blade is easy to find---just ask Vaughn.


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Dennison, MN
    I think everyone is guilty of letting blades go to far, and you don't realize the difference until you change it out.

    Same with wiper blades.
    "Do, or do not. There is no try."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    I can relate to this thread sadly

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Yup, found the same results a few years back when I finally changed my 10 year old BS blade. New blade took absolutely no effort compared to pushing work into the old one.

    Realized last night that my miter saw blade is shot when I went to cut a piece of popular and it was work to cut it.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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