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Band Saw Blade Recommendation and Setup

Old 12-20-2016, 12:19 PM
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pappy35
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Question Band Saw Blade Recommendation and Setup

Band saw neophyte here. I recently bought a Craftsman 10" saw and am having some trouble getting smooth cuts.

I have zero experience setting one up so, as we all seem to do these days, I trolled YouTube and watched a bunch of set up videos (movie analogy, Matrix, Trinity: "Tank, I need a pilot program for a B212 helicopter."). My eyelids fluttered, and I figured I was all set to go. Videos like Carter's Alex Snodgrass for example was really good.

No dice. I've tried 6TPI, 18TPI raker, and 24TPI 1/4" blades, set the guide bearings just so, and regardless I'm still getting uneven cuts. I've cut all kinds of wood like 1x4 pine, 1/4 5-ply birch, 1x2 cedar, 1/8" lite-ply, balsa. I've varied the feed pressure (speed). I'm kinda at wits end. Seems like no matter what I do I get fine striations through the thickness that are 1/64" - 1/32" deep and about 1/32" wide (or long)

I was really hoping to get table-saw-like cut quality in these thin materials we use but so far these striations are kicking my butt.

Before I go out and get another blade (or throw the thing out the window), what do you folks recommend for either a blade, a setup spec, or both? I still have a couple of more blades to try but I'm reluctant to install them as I'm starting to believe the problem is either me or the saw.
Old 12-20-2016, 02:14 PM
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dbacque
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You may not be happy with the answer but a band saw will never make cuts as smooth as a table saw. I use my band saw all the time but the usual technique is to cut just a hair large and then sand down to the line with a disk sander and/or drum sander. There is no magic bullet.

Dave
Old 12-20-2016, 02:48 PM
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pappy35
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I appreciate your response. At least I'll stop tweaking for perfection. I can get one of those drum sanders at Harbor Freight for next to nothing. I might have to rethink my strategy though and maybe get ride of the band saw in favor of a new scroll saw and a drum/disk sander.

Anyone want to buy an almost brand new Craftsman Band saw?
Old 12-20-2016, 03:55 PM
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I use a band saw for most of my cuts but the trick is to take the kerf off the blade. Do this with a whetstone against the side of the blade on each side. The only draw back is on plywood or bass wood the blade likes to wander some. Just leave your line and sand to it on those items.
Frank
Old 12-20-2016, 06:38 PM
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pappy35
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Here's what I'm getting (pretty typical for all the blades I've tried:



This cut was with another new blade installed, a 3/16" 14TPI Raker. This cut is better and for me is close enough that I can just kiss (maybe french kiss...haha) it with sandpaper on a block and go. I was kinda surprised as I wasn't expecting a coarser pitch blade to make a better cut. All the other blades though seemed to have kinks in them around the welds where as this one runs really true so maybe that has something to do with it. There aren't a lot of high-quality blades (ie. Timberwolf et. al.) that come in higher tooth counts in a 70 1/2" length. This blade, like most of the others are Magnate sourced from Amazon, two others were Powertec.



I will try dressing the teeth a touch but this is absolutely workable like it is. Thanks for the ideas fellas...
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Last edited by pappy35; 12-20-2016 at 06:40 PM.
Old 12-21-2016, 09:07 AM
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I have to agree with Dave on pretty much all of what he said.
Now, as to switching to a scroll saw, you may not like the results you get with that either. While a scroll will give you a smoother cut, it's not going to be anywhere close to what you will get with a table saw using a high quality fine tooth blade. The problem with a scroll saw is that, unlike the band or table saw, the blade reciprocates as it cuts. This means the blade can tear up the wood on the up stroke after cutting on the down. The finer scroll blade also means that straight lines are harder to cut as well as the blade being more fragile.
All saws have trade-offs. It's just a matter of figuring out which saw will work the best for a given project. Let me cover the three saws with, as I see it, the pros and cons:
BAND SAW: This normally has the roughest cut. Curves can be cut, radius determined by depth of blade. Width of cut is limited on the throat side of the blade by the saw design. This saw can be dangerous in that it can easily remove body parts before operator knows what's happening
SCROLL SAW: This has a smooth to medium cut. Straight cuts can be a challenge, curves are easily done. Saw design limits depth of cut and it does require periodic lubrication to ensure smooth operation. This is the safest type of saw in that the blade, while it can cut you, will not remove body parts without considerable effort to do so by operator
TABLE SAW: Has smooth to rough cut, depending on blade and material being cut. This saw only cuts straight lines unless equipped with extra jigs or fences. Cut is limited by material size and how material is supported. This saw can throw material back at operator as well as quickly remove body parts so extreme caution is needed with one of these

I'm sure most would already know all of this but, for the few that don't, the above can save you from injury or death by being aware of the dangers each type of saw creates.

Last edited by Hydro Junkie; 12-21-2016 at 09:24 AM.
Old 12-21-2016, 01:23 PM
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dbacque
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Pappy, don't ditch the band saw! It's one of the two most useful tools in my shop, right up there with the drill press. I've got a great table saw and a good scroll saw but for model building, I use the band saw the most, unless there's an internal cut like on a former, then I make all the outer cuts on the bandsaw, followed by the internal cuts on the scroll saw.

The band saw definitely has a learning (ahem) curve. Finer teeth give better cuts but require slower feed. A combination drum/disk sander is a great addition and almost a necessity. Combined with the band saw, you will get perfect results.

Dave
Old 12-21-2016, 01:58 PM
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I've found this little gem to be better and more versatile than any other sander in my garage. The belt assembly oscillates and, with a quick reconfiguration, it becomes an oscillating drum sander with sizes ranging from .5 up to 2".
Old 12-21-2016, 08:19 PM
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pappy35
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I like that sander and will have to put it on the list.

Not ditching the bandsaw now. Check this out.
These were both cut from the same piece of wood with no other adjustments. Pretty conclusive proof that dressing the blade ever so lightly with a sharpening stone works better than I thought it would!

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Old 12-28-2016, 06:48 AM
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A big ole' PLUS 1 on the sander. I too have the same one, to complement my horizontal belt sander. Love the large table to move things around. Just bought a 1 gallon shop vac ($20.00 at Tru Value) to keep some of the dust down.
Old 01-01-2017, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RACE 66 View Post
A big ole' PLUS 1 on the sander. I too have the same one, to complement my horizontal belt sander. Love the large table to move things around. Just bought a 1 gallon shop vac ($20.00 at Tru Value) to keep some of the dust down.
One thing I found, with that sander, is that a dust collector doesn't have the suction to remove sanding dust. It really does require a shop vac of some sort to remove the sanding dust. A sanding belt cleaning stick is also a godsend. I've run belts and sleeves for years just by cleaning them occasionally with one.
Old 01-03-2017, 04:29 PM
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pappy35
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So, this saw didn't come with a built-in light so I spent $15 at IKEA and just built one in for myself...

Pic1: I bought two lamps. This is what it looks like set up as intended.

Pic2: I ditched the base, drilled two holes in the frame, and added some plywood (there were stand-offs for installation to the base that I didn't want to take the time to remove).

Pic3: The work area illuminated. Not bad for 15 and 15 (dollars and minutes).

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Old 01-05-2017, 07:01 PM
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Tom Nied
 
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I never shop at IKEA. I should make a visit. Didn't even realize there's stuff for modelers.
Old 01-05-2017, 08:32 PM
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pappy35
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They don't have stuff for modelers per se but they do have a bunch of nice desks/tables we could use and this one little lamp. 8-)
Old 01-19-2017, 04:17 PM
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Adjust the blade so the gullet of the blade (the notch between the teeth) runs on the center of the top wheel. This supports the FRONT of the blade where the cutting takes place. I also have the same saw you have. I get very good cuts from it but not with the craftsman blades. My current blade is a Timberwolf 1/4" X 8RK 140BRK). While the cut is not table saw smooth it is very acceptable. On 1/8 ply only a few swipes of a sanding block will get rid of the saw marks. Follow the instructions on their website for setting the tension as it is a bit different than most.

This is the best tune up video I've found and is what I used to set up my saw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbZqWac0jU

Ken
Old 01-19-2017, 05:09 PM
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Good one Ken, regarding the U Tube vid. Thanks
Old 03-11-2017, 05:56 PM
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Personally, I no longer have any use for a band saw when working with hobby sized woods.
I had a band saw and never really used it. My table saw was better at ripping and straight cuts, my scroll saw was much better at detail cuts. With scroll saw I could easily make "inside" cuts, just drill a small hole and feed scroll saw blade through material and cut away. Comes in real handy when cutting lightening holes in light ply fuselage side and make servo trays.
Old 03-28-2017, 03:41 PM
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I have just been cutting through the side of the part I'm making and then insert and glue a sliver of ply in the slot left by the blade. I do cut at a large angle into the piece I'm making the hole in. You get a lot more surface area to glue to. Kind of like making a scarf joint.

Ken
Old 03-29-2017, 02:16 AM
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.....

Last edited by TomCrump; 03-31-2017 at 08:50 AM.
Old 03-30-2017, 09:16 PM
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Cutting through the side is not a very professional looking way of doing things. I realize you do this because you have band saw, and I understand you are using what you have, but if you had equipment better suited for hobby use, like a scroll saw you would not have to cut through the side and you would be able to make more intricate cuts. Like I said before in previous post, a band saw does not rip as well as a table saw and does not do inside cuts at all nor does it do as intricate cuts as well as a scroll saw. It's all about having the right tools to do the right job. If I were cutting 3/4" thick pine and oak boards for my model airplane builds I would probably use a band saw. But since I cut 1/2" balsa, 3/8" plywood and other hobby size wood the scroll saw is IMHO is the better choice. Oh, and you can buy different sized scroll saw blades for different jobs, wider blades for better ripping and smaller width blades for better intricate cuts, and the blades are very easy to change. Yes Tom and I agree to disagree on this.

Last edited by 2 Piece; 03-31-2017 at 05:11 AM. Reason: rewording
Old 03-31-2017, 08:22 AM
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.....

Last edited by TomCrump; 03-31-2017 at 08:49 AM.
Old 03-31-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TomCrump View Post
Ken. I think that we were just called sloppy builders.

Ya ,well...... I had a scroll saw at one point in my life and was frustrated at how slow it cut. Sold if and bought a Dremal table saw. Great for all things table saws do in model size stuff. Sold that and for years did everything the hard way.

I "Saw the light" and bought a band saw. It cuts fast and straight after a proper tune up. in my opinion a band saw is the most versatile. And yes I also can agree to disagree.

Ken
Old 04-01-2017, 12:37 AM
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The OP's post was about the best blade for bandsaw use . Without debating over which is a better method of cutting , table saw ,scroll saw, etc , I will simply anwer his question.The smoothest cuts I have been able to make with a bandsaw have been from using a "Resaw " type blade . Low vibration means smoother cuts .
The resaw blade is designed to make smooth cuts.

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/w...aw-blades.aspx
Old 04-03-2017, 07:13 AM
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Those are only available in 1/2" and 3/4" widths which are too wide for the 10" Craftsman/Rikon saw. I know they claim to take up to 1/2" but that's the width of the tire and in my opinion just isn't workable. I'm still using the same 3/16" x 14TPI raker I posted about earlier and it is still making smooth cuts through whatever I put through it. I agree that a scroll saw can do some things better (sharp turns, inside cuts, etc.) but this bandsaw is my go-to tool of choice mainly for the mitre slot and fence.
Old 04-04-2017, 04:32 PM
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I've always wanted a band saw and have been following this forum. What are the best benefits a band saw has over other saws? I must have missed something. I have a Dewalt Scroll saw and a Ryobi table saw.

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