How to Choose Bandsaw Blades
A bandsaw will make many cuts with precision and speed—when equipped with the right blade for the application. But which blade for which task? Before we answer, you need to know how different attributes of a bandsaw blade affect the cut.
Bandsaw blades differ in thickness, width, length, and tooth configuration. Length varies by machine, but the size of your saw’s wheels typically determines thickness and width: Smaller machines (9–12" wheels) need thinner blades to prevent breaking the welds. They also accept only narrow blades, often 1⁄2 " or less. Larger saws usually can handle thicker and wider blades with no issues.
Blades come primarily in the four tooth configurations shown below. And the number of teeth per inch (tpi) matters as well, because larger gullets (the space between teeth) allow for better debris removal; but more closely spaced teeth deliver a smoother cut. Choosing a blade’s tooth count and pattern depends on the type of cut and the material you’re cutting.
Here’s a quick rundown to cover most tasks:
■ For cutting tight curves (less than 5⁄8 " radius) and delicate, thin materials, use a 1⁄8 " or 3⁄16 " 10–14-tpi standard-tooth blade.
■ To cut curves greater than 5⁄8 " radius, or when cut quality matters more than speed, use a 1⁄4 " 6-tpi standard- or skip-tooth blade.
■ For general ripping and crosscutting, use a 1⁄2 " 3-tpi standard- or hook-tooth blade.
■ For resawing, use the widest 3-tpi skip- or variable-tooth blade your saw accepts. Typically, the wider the blade, the straighter it cuts.
■ Cutting green (undried) wood requires the widest 2–3-tpi skip-tooth blade your saw accepts.
■ Dense, abrasive exotic wood species cut best with a carbide-tooth blade. It will stay sharp longer than a steel or bi-metal blade.
So, is there a combo-blade equivalent for bandsaws? We say “yes.” (Purists, shudder now!) A 3⁄8
" 4-tpi standard-tooth blade will cut all but the tightest curves, while also ripping, crosscutting, and resawing respectably.
Yes, you can make most cuts with one blade
So, is there a combo-blade equivalent for bandsaws? We say “yes.” (Purists, shudder now!) A 3⁄8 " 4-tpi standard-tooth blade will cut all but the tightest curves, while also ripping, crosscutting, and resawing respectably.