Cheap vs Expensive Band Saw Blades

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Ken Scharabok, Aug 21, 2004.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I have been getting my bandsaw blades (standard size) from Northern Tools. They have two price ranges, about $10 each and about $20 each. I have been buying the more expensive ones thinking if they last twice as long as the cheap ones it is the same. If they last longer than twice you are money ahead. For those who have tried both qualities, is there a noticeable difference?

    Ken Scharabok
     
  2. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I ordered a Northern Tool bandsaw/meat grinder combo and an extra blade. Both blades were junk, no kerf. They wandered and binded in meat.

    What I have always done, starting when I was a machinist, is make my own blades. Order a 100 foot roll of good quality band saw blade. Cut to length and silver solder together. I can tell my easy method for getting the ends to join. In 15 years, I've had two blades come apart, out of hundreds of blades made.
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Please tell us more.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Does anyone have a source for good qualify bandsaw blades are a reasonable price?

    Ed: Interested in making up some for sale? I use 6-10 teeth per inch blades as I normally cut stock thicker than 3/16". 64 1/2" x 1/2".

    Ken Scharabok
     
  5. daeve

    daeve Well-Known Member

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    Please tell us. I've got both a handheld and horz/vert bandsaw that I need to buy or make blades for and the ones for sale locally are a "bit" overpriced for the quality you get.
     
  6. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's easy to do. We'll see how easy it is to explain.

    My soldering jig is made with 2 pieces of 2" angle iron about 8" long. Cut a slot about 1" wide, centered on one piece, from the edge to the center. I mean lay the piece on the saw table, cut in to the upright leg, back out, move over an inch, cut in again. then get that middle chunk cut out any way you can. I used a mill for this step but a saw or grinder or chopsaw works.

    Now put the two pieces together with the cutout on top and facing you and the vertical legs facing down. Lower the piece with the cutout about a quarter inch. Now the solid piece is higher. Weld them together on the bottom of the vertical legs. Now you have a work surface with a cutout facing you and a ledge behind the cutout. From the side it looks like a slightly lopsided T.

    Measure from the wall out into your shop the length of your saw blade. Scratch the concrete there. Roll out some saw blade material, jam the end against the wall and cut it off at the mark. I usually make batches of blades at a time. I cut the blade with tin snips.

    Grab a piece and put the two ends together, facing the same direction, with the teeth on the same side. It is in a teardrop shape now, not a circle. Go over to your belt sander, which I prefer, or grinder. Grind one end at about a 5-10 degree angle which will leave a 3/16" to 1/4" grind. Now hold it in the teardrop shape like before and grind the other end the same way on the same side, and match the angle so both look the same. If you form a circle with the blade now, the two grinds should mate with each other and fit close. Don't touch the ground areas after grinding. You're gonna silver solder them and skin oil spells doom. Grind them then solder them.

    Clamp the vertical leg of your solder jig in the vise so your work area sticks up off the vise top as high as possible. Dip each end of the balde in your silver solder flux. Lay one end of the blade in from one side, with the back against the ledge, and the end is over your cutout. Use a little 2" C clamp or a set of needle nose vise grips to clamp it there, flat against the ledge. It might help to put a small block of scrap steel or anything on top of the blade and clamp there. If the grind is facing up, give the blade a slight bend upwards. Bend the other end the opposite way. Lay it down from the other side and match the grind areas. Clamp it, too. The two slight bends serve to keep the ends pressed together tightly. The ledge keeps the back of the blade ends lined up.

    Take your coil of silver solder wire and hammer the end out as flat and thin as you can on a clean steel surface with a clean hammer. Snap off the end as wide as your blade is and stick it between the two blade ends, right in the flux. Fire up your little propane torch, just the regular little torch. You don't need a cutting torch outfit. Hold the flame under the cutout in the angle iron and the blade will redden quickly and the solder will melt and flow.

    Remove the flame and let it cool a few seconds. Unclamp. Tap it a few times with a light hammer and alot of the flux will chip off. Or don't use too much to begin with. Now grind the black stuff and flux off on the belt sander or grinder. You can also polish the sides up with a Dremel tool and a sanding bob or other tool. Also make sure the joint at the back is smooth so it doesn't go bump every time it passes the saw guides. Done.

    One possible problem is making the joint thicker than the rest of the blade. A solution is to leave a barely visible line of grind showing on the joint. That makes the joint very slightly thinner.

    You can make blind saw cuts if needed by drilling a hole, running the blade end thru, making your joint then making the saw cut. Then cut the blade at a different spot and let them figure out how you made that fancy cut in the middle of the piece. You can join one blade many times if you need to.

    And to fold the blades like a pro, with one foot step on it at 6 oclock with the teeth facing forward. grab it at 2 and 10 with your palms forward and thumbs out. Roll both thumbs in at the same time so three circles are made and they will suddenly all nestle together.

    MSC Industrial supply has always been a good place to get the 100' or 250' rolls of blade.

    Alot of saws have several inches of tension adjustment and if you are real cheap, you can figure out the bare minimum length of blade needed to function. You might get one or two extra blades out of each roll.
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Even as simple as you make it sound, I suspect it is still beyond my capability beyond making the jig (which I can make for someone if they want one).

    Ed: Would you consider making me up blades? Will be willing to pay for material, your time and shipping. I need the standard 64 1/2", 1/2" .025 with 6-10 teeth per inch. Perfer the highest quality blade stock available. On pricing, cheap carbon blades are about $10.00 each. The better qualify bimetal variable tooth ones are about $20.00 each. Grizzly is a bit cheaper than Northern Tools. Interested in at least a dozen.

    Perhaps you should consider a small part-time business offering blades on eBay.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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