Bandsaws, the most versatile machine in your workshop - Part 1


Your bandsaw is the most versatile sawing machine in your workshop. And to maximise the versatility and performance of your bandsaw, there are only three things that you really need to worry about - blades, tuning and accessories.

To assist you in maximising the versatility and performance of your bandsaw, Timbecon have prepared a three-part blog series on bandsaws covering each of these three key aspects.

Please enjoy Part 1 – Choosing a Bandsaw Blade.

Choosing a Bandsaw Blade

Choosing the perfect blade for your project is based on a combination of several factors as discussed below. Most woodworkers will keep several bandsaw blades to suit a range of tasks, swapping them out when required. To help you decide what blades you need, we have prepared this short article for your convenience.

Interpreting a bandsaw blade label

All bandsaw blades listed on the Timbecon website drop down menus have a typical three-part descriptive format. As an example, see bandsaw blade SKU BS-18300604. The descriptive format is:

Bandsaw Blade 1830 x 6mm 4 TPI

Part 1 – Length of the blade

The first number is 1830 (BS-18300604). This is the length of the blade measured in millimetres. This number determines whether the blade will fit on your bandsaw. Visit your Sherwood bandsaws web page to see what blades fit on your saw.

Otherwise, your bandsaw manual should tell you what blade length your bandsaw accepts. If not, you can measure the length of blade required by using a length of string. Stretch the string around the two wheels of your bandsaw until one end touches the other. Use a piece of tape to mark the position. Stretch out the string and measure the length. This dimension is how long your bandsaw blade should be. Your bandsaw may not match exactly the lengths of blades available. Bandsaws upper wheels are adjustable so a blade length of plus or minus 15mm will usually fit your machine.

Part 2 – Width of the blade

The second number is 6mm (BS-18300604). This is the width of the blade. From the tip of the blade tooth to the back of the blade.

The width of the blade in part determines the application of the blade. The general rules of thumb:

  • Blades 9mm or less, are great for sawing detailed and curved work
  • Blades over 20mm in width are great for straight sawing such as deep or long edge ripping
  • Blades 10 to 20mm are general purpose, suited for a range of tasks based on personal preference

It is important to know what the maximum width of blade your bandsaw can accept. Generally, the maximum width of blade usable is equal the width of your bandsaw flywheels. Otherwise, refer to your model bandsaws specifications tab listed on the Timbecon website.

Part 3 – The TPI

The third part, 4 TPI (BS-18300604) - details the number of teeth per inch (TPI) this blade features. This blade has 4 teeth per inch. All bandsaw blades are classified by a TPI.

The TPI has a major impact on blade performance and application of the blade. The general rules of thumb:

  • A blade with a TPI of 4 or less is designed for deep ripping thick stock. The finish on the sawn surface is reasonably rough and requires re-finishing if necessary
  • A blade with a TPI of 6 to 10 is designed for general purpose sawing of medium and thin stock. The finish on the sawn surface is smooth
  • A blade with a TPI of 12 or more is designed for sawing dense materials such as Ebony. Blades with a high TPI are also useful for sawing composite materials such as plastic and laminates

Choosing the perfect blade for your project is based on a combination of all these factors. If you are new to woodworking it is good to experiment with various blades until you find the right fit for you. To get started, you can’t go wrong with a 6mm 4 TPI, a 10mm 6 TPI and a 20mm 4 TPI set of blades. With experience you will find out for yourself what is the best combination of blades for your work.

Look out for Part 2 Tuning Your Bandsaw. Until then – get sawing!

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