Band Saw Blade

I was due to replenish my band saw blades form the last purchase I made.  I have always used the highland woodworking wood slicer saw blades.  As it was primarily to resaw or rip, I took a pretty large blade (3/4″) blade.

My band saw is a Lagune LT3000 16″ band saw and the length of the band is 132″.  granted that there are longer blades then that, it was still pretty significant blade, specially with the 3-4 skip tooth configuration

 Looking around for new blades

Not that I disliked the blades, they gave very good results.  But being in Canada, last time I ordered 2 blades, the shipping was nearly as much as the value of the 2 blades.  I also added the exchange rate, being in Canada.  

This is not a complaint, don’t get me wrong, but I was interested to see if there was not an alternative closer to home which would give me comparable performance but cheaper in price.  

After looking around for different alternative, I found the Tuff Tooth web site through research of other blades.  Price were pretty reasonable and they are a Canadian company, even better.  Shipping cost were pretty minimal also. 

Dimensions

I have been running 3/4″ blades since I own the saw, about 5 years ago.  I have been pretty satisfied with this dimension, but sometimes, having a smaller blade would of been appreciated.  

So I decided to go with a 1/2″ and 1 3/4″ blade to try out and see how would compare.  I also went  with the 3 tpi which is pretty agressive cut. For what I do, the band saw blade is not the last blade to touch the wood so have a not so finish surface is ok with me.  There will always be another tool that will pass after to better the surface, being either a plane, other saw or sand paper.  

I should be able to test out the new blades pretty soon and report back for results. 

Tool Use : Band Saw

The band saw in a shop can see multiple use where many see resaw and cutting curves.  It is true that those function are some core operations that can be done with this saw, but ripping can also be done, specially on rough sawn boards.  And by the nature on how the saw operates, is probobly one of the safest to do ripping cuts with.

My main saw in my shop is the band saw that i baught about 3 years ago. I ultimatly baught a Laguna Tools LT16 3000 Series 16″ band saw.

Now when I say that it is my main saw in the shop, is that I do not currently have a table saw, which in many shops, is the centerpiece of the shop. Now this was a concious decision.  I did own a table saw before making this move and made sure I could operate without it.

So here is how I do a few operations :

Ripping

Most of my ripping activities are done on the Band saw, either with rough stock or to bring to close dimensions.

  • I have to agree here that this not the best tool for a finish quality cut.  For the time being, something I can live with as I can clean up the edge very quickly with a hand plane.

So far, with the 3 hp motor, ripping most of the woods have been a breeze.  I do adjust with the cut, but with a coarse blade and the motor, ripping has been pretty easy so far.

Resaw

Well, this is an easy one, where choosing the 16″ helped the process as this was one of the reason that I baught a “larger” bandsaw, was the ability to resaw lumber and not loose too much to planer/jointer dust.  Capacity has not been too much of an issue as most of the boards do fit within the resaw capacity.

Get a sharp coarse blade and you should be golden to do re-sawing. This will do most of the work.  The larger gullets will get the dust out and this is the main secret for better cut quality.

Quite Frankly, this is the reason why I got a bandsaw so that I could buy thicker boards and slice to the proper thickness needed for a project.  Rather plan to reuse the wood for something else (up to a point) versus seeing the same wood going into dust.

Dust Collection

Dust collection on the model I chose is pretty good, offering 2 x 4″ dust ports to collect the  dust.  One if right under the table and the other is right at the bottom of the bottom compartment.  It does a pretty good job and getting most of the dust out.

Guides and adjustment

Laguna has been pretty notorious for there guides and block.  The installed them on both the top and bottom doing a pretty good job at support the blade where it is needed.

Adjusting for the drift is pretty easy with the adjustment knobs to center the top wheel.  I sit on the side of adjusting the drift based on keeping the resaw guide parallel to the slots on the table and adjusting the camber of the wheel on top until all is cutting straight.

I put a pretty large blade (3/4″), again mainly for resaw and rips.  I don’t do my detail work on the bandsaw, at least on this bandsaw.  I can’t saw that I have had to do a lot of work with detail work or curved work yet that would require to put a smaller blade.  So far, I’ve been proficient with a jigsaw with a fine blade and faring the curve with sand paper.  This could change in the future, but so far, I have not seen the need.

Other

As I mentioned, this pretty much became my biggest stationary saw in the shop.  I did sell my table saw in the process and I do miss some of the function, mainly for longer rips with a finish cut right off the saw.  I don’t get this in a “one step” pass on one tool.

Joinery operation is limited, or at least I can’t do as many operation on one single tool.  This is why I looked if I had other means to do the operations and I had an answer for pretty much all the questions.

 

All in all I am very happy with my choice and really don’t regreat it.

Resawing lumber and more

I had originally bought a band saw to resaw lumber from thicker boards and not waste as much wood into the dust collector.  Don’t get me wrong, the dust collector serves it’s function well, but I’d rather have the wood on projects then in the dust bin.

At the time, the budget only permitted a 14″ bandsaw, which served it’s purpose, but did not cover the resaw capacity I really needed for the board I was able to get.  I’ve had been looking at the bigger boys bandsaw in the 14″ or 16″ range of wheel capacity but the price range was still out of my reach.

This is when the taught process of maybe, just maybe selling my contractor table saw and some other tools that I seldom used to help finance the purchase of the bandsaw.  Now don’t get me wrong, I used my table saw quite a lot since I purchased it and the main concern of letting it go was how could I do the common tasks I did with the tool, could I do it with the new saw or with other tools to accomplish the same tasks.

I had to list of the pros and cons of make the move and then take a decision.  Here are a few of the items I considered and addressed.

– The resaw of taller lumber is a definite winner here is is the main reason that I even considered the move in the first place

– Ripping lumber : Not really a concern here, at least from a space perspective

– Crosscut : Well yes this one is somewhat of a concern for the because of the table size of the bandsaw, but got a SCMS for narrower boards an for glued up panels, it was somewhat an issue on the tablesaw for longer panels.  Smaller panels, the clear winner is the table saw.

– Dados : Yes I had a dado stack and this one of the tasks that the band saw does not do, but this is where another tool comes to the rescue.  This is where the router/router table comes to mind from the realm of the power tools.  I also now got a hand tool alternative to address this portion.

– Angled cuts : To me, it was pretty rare that the saw blade tilted on the table saw.  This portion was less an issue and for the rare cases that a 45 degree cut was needed, or any other angle cut is needed, well will address in time.

 

One thing I must admit is the saw cut quality off the saw itself.  I did buy a good saw blade that has great review in the WoodSlicer blade from Highland Woodworking.  It does a really good job at resawing and ripping wood, but the cut needs a little work after the cut, nothing that a plane pass or jointer/planer pass can’t fix depending on the situation.  I agree that this is an extra step that is required to get a better result for the cuts.  But this is something I am willing to live with.

So I ended up buying the Laguna 16″ SUV bandsaw and did sell my table saw in the process.  There is now more space in the small shop that is mine.  I now have tackled most of the jobs that I used to do on the table saw with another way/procedure.  Would I get another table saw in the shop, most probably, maybe in a bigger shop but for the time being, I am very pleased with the combination I got now.

[singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=]

There are a few items that are not settled yet, but maybe soon enough, they will be addressed.

Stay tuned.