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Unfortunately there is no such thing as one blade that will cut everything and it is very important to match the correct blade to the type of cutting that you are doing. There are general purpose blades available that are ok for a lot of cutting but if you want to radius cut, veneer cut, cut thick stock or green stock etc then picking the correct blade will make a big difference.
The right bandsaw blade depends on a number of factors including: material being cut; thickness of material being cut; type of cutting (straight or radius) and importance of finish.
The first and most important thing to remember about bandsaw blades is to only use a good quality blade. A good quality blade makes a world of difference and can transform your machine.
The blades that come with a new bandsaw machine are generally poor quality, cheap blades that don’t perform very well and a lot of new bandsaw users think that it’s the machine at fault, not the blade. Changing to a good quality blade will vastly improve the cutting experience.
Not only is the quality of the steel important but also the way that a blade is manufactured will make a huge difference in the performance of the blade.
All the blades sold on this website are made from the highest quality steel, with ground, induction hardened teeth using the latest state of the art technology. This ensures that all the blades are of consistent quality and you can be sure of an accurate, clean cut from a blade that will give excellent value for money and a long blade life.
The width of the blade determines the type of cutting that you can do. Generally, narrow blades are used for radius cutting and wider blades for straight cutting. The narrower the blade, the tighter the radius that can be cut.
1/8” and 3/16” blades tend to be used for cutting very tight radiuses and 1/4" blades are the most common width for radius cutting as most machines are set up as standard to take a 1/4" blade as the narrowest blade that it can use. Generally adjustments to the guides will have to made to run anything narrower than 1/4".
3/8” blades are very popular for cutting bowl blanks and with instrument makers for radius cutting thick stock etc as a 3/8” blade will have more beam strength than narrower blades so will cope better with thicker stock.
2 1/2” (63mm)
A common misconception is that to cut thick stock, you need the widest blade possible that will fit on your machine, but this is not always the case.
Most bandsaws will struggle to tension the widest blade that the manufacturer claims will fit on their machine so you either have to use a narrower blade or one of the SuperTuff Premium, SuperTuff Sabrecut or Fastcut blades which are made from thinner material. (In the Sabrecut range the 1/2" is standard thickness but the 5/8” and 3/4" are made from thinner material than standard blades).
Even though a wide blade will seem to fit ok, the machine can struggle to tension the blade sufficiently for optimum performance.
Because the SuperTuff Premium, SuperTuff Fascut and wider SuperTuff Sabrecut blades are made from thinner material than standard blades, this will eliminate the tensioning issue – standard 5/8” blades are made from .032” thick material, whereas the SuperTuff Premium and SuperTuff Fastcut are made from .022” thick material, which is thinner than a standard 1/2” blade. The wider SuperTuff Sabrecut blades are made from .025” thick material.
I have been running 5/8” SuperTuff Premium, SuperTuff Sabrecut and Fastcut blades on machines that take 73” and 82 1/2” blades with no problems.
For straight cutting 1/2" and wider blades tend to be used.
It is very important to have the correct tooth pitch for the type of cutting that you are doing and the thickness of the material that you are cutting. The tooth pitch will also determine the finish produced, a coarse tooth pitch will leave a rougher finish with a faster cut while a fine tooth will produce a better finish but with a slower cut.
The general rule of thumb is to have at least 3 teeth in the cut at all times.
3tpi (teeth per inch) is used for fast cutting thick stock where the finish isn’t too important.
4tpi is again used for cutting thick stock, but with a better finish/slower cut and 4tpi won’t be able to cut stock as thick as a 3tpi blade.
6tpi and 10tpi are great general purpose tooth pitches that will cope with most materials leaving a decent finish.
14tpi and above are generally used for cutting thin stock, getting a fine finish or for cutting plastics, non ferrous metals etc.
Here is a chart to determine the minimum thickness material that a tooth pitch will cut:
Minimum Material Thickness It Can Cut
The SuperTuff Fastcut is 3tpi blade but with a smaller unset tooth in-between the cutting teeth that helps clear the debris and maintains a nice clean fast cut. The set on the teeth is kept to a minimum as it is designed for keeping waste to a minimum.
Some of the M42 blades are available in a vari-tooth format, for example the 1/2" x 6/10 Vari-Tooth blade will have sections of 6tpi and 10tpi on the same blade. The advantage of vari-tooth blades is that one blade is capable of coping with a wider variety of thicknesses and the vari-tooth design reduces blade resonance so they tend to give a better finish than a straight tpi blade.
When choosing the tooth pitch, please remember:
The blade thickness is generally determined by the blade width and the wider the blade, then the thicker the material that it’s made from.
If your bandsaw is a small 3 wheeled one, then you have to use hobby/thin gauge material which are made from .014” thick material. This material is required as it’s the only material that has enough flexibility to fit around the 3 wheels. Larger 3 wheeled bandsaws can also use SuperTuff Premium blades.
SuperTuff Carbon Blade Thickness:
SuperTuff Premium & SuperTuff Fastcut Blade Thickness:
.020 (0.50mm) & .022” (0.55mm)
.020 (0.50mm) & .022” (0.55mm)
.020 (0.50mm) & .022” (0.55mm)
.022” (0.55mm) & .028” (0.70mm)
.023” (0.60mm) & .025” (0.65mm)
The SuperTuff Premium and Fastcut blades are made from thinner material than standard blades and the main advantage of this is that a wider blade can be run on machines that usually struggle to run a wide blade. There’s also less waste and the blade is capable of running with more tension, which makes it a lot easier getting nice straight cuts. Another advantage of increasing the tension is that it improves the beam strength of the blade, which again makes straight cutting and setting up the bandsaw a lot easier.
M42 blades require more tension than other blades and not all machines will be able to tension a wide M42 blade sufficiently for it to run correctly. The 1/4", 3/8” and 1/2" M42 blades on sale on the web site are .025” thick so will run fine on most machines and when tensioning them it’s advised to add more tension than normal to get the best from the blade. For example a 1/4" M42 blade should be tensioned to the same amount as a standard 3/8”.
These are made from the finest high carbon steel with hardened teeth. These blades are made from .014” (.35mm) thick material and designed for use on small two wheel bandsaws and three wheeled bandsaws. Small two wheeled bandsaws can also run the SuperTuff Premium blades.
These blades are made from premium quality carbon steel with induction hardened teeth. They are made from thinner material than standard blades and are suitable for cutting a variety of materials. Due to quality of the steel used and the manufacturing process these blades maintain a sharp edge longer than similar carbon blades and work out very economical to run.1/4” and 3/8” SuperTuff Premium blades can also be run on small two wheeled bandsaws and will give a lot more stability when cutting compared to the Hobby/Thin Gauge material.
Premium is a new blade that has sections of 3tpi and 4tpi on the same blade and is a brilliant new addition to the line up. The vari-tooth design reduces blade resonance and means that the blade can cope with wood from 20mm thick up to the maximum depth that the bandsaw can cope with. The blade is an amazingly versatile blade being able to cope with a wide variety of thicknesses and ideal for re-sawing etc.
Made from the finest high carbon steel with hardened teeth, these blades can be used to cut a variety of materials including wood, plastic, ferrous & non ferrous metals (depending on the tooth pitch and cutting speed used). The SuperTuff Carbon range tends to have the widest choice of tooth pitches out of all the blade ranges. Due to quality of the steel used and the manufacturing process, these blades offer a great blade life and work out very economical to run no matter what’s being cut.
A specialist carbon steel blade with hardened teeth, these blades have an aggressive tooth design so that they can cope with very thick stock. These blades will cut all types of wood but are especially suitable for cutting green wood due to the deep gullets and tooth set. These blades have heavier set on the teeth to create extra clearance when cutting. The extra set reduces or eliminates problems caused by resin and improves blade life. The extra set also makes radius cutting a lot easier in thicker stock.
Due to the aggressive tooth design and tooth set, these blades will leave a rougher finish than other blades, but if you want to cut really thick stock (even on a low powered bandsaw) then these are the blades to use!
Made from triple tempered M42 cobalt high speed steel with hardened teeth, these blades will last on average around 5 - 10 times longer than other blades. Another advantage of the M42 blades is that they will cut through the occasional nail without damaging the blade or causing the blade to go blunt. M42 blades are especially popular for cutting re-claimed timber and hardwoods where the extra blade life means that these blades are very economical to run.
This is only a rough guide as build quality can vary immensely with bandsaws and some medium size bandsaws are able to run wider blades than some of the bigger ones – if you need any advice on picking the best blades, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you are still not sure of the correct blade that you require please contact me and I will only be too glad to recommend the correct blade for you.
Occasionally you will find that there are quite a few blades suitable for the cutting that you are doing and the best blade can depend on budget, versatility of the different blades and other factors, so I am only too happy to discuss the pros and cons of all the blades available on the web site.
For this type of cutting, narrow blades are used with 1/8”, 3/16” and 1/4" being the most popular. Most bandsaws are set up to run 1/4" as the narrowest blade so please check your bandsaw specification before ordering narrower blades.
The main reason that a lot of bandsaws have difficulty running 1/8” and 3/16” blades is down to the amount of adjustment on the guides – most bandsaws can be modified to run the narrower blades and this can be as simple as fitting a thin piece of sacrificial wood over the current guides.
If the side guides are not set correctly they can damage the set on teeth which will then cause the blade to wander when cutting.
Cutting tight shapes on a bandsaw does take a bit of practice to get the method correct and from personal experience; I tend to run the narrow blades in the centre of the top wheel or just behind the centre of the wheel as I find this gives me more control and stability. 1/8” blades can be a little more difficult to set up correctly for new users and a lot of customers will start with a 3/16” or 1/4" blade initially and then, once comfortable using them, they will progress onto the 1/8” blades.
The best tooth pitch will depend on the thickness of the material being cut and importance of the finish.
14tpi will give the best finish and is the better option for thinner material (wood, plastic, acrylic etc). 14tpi will cut thicker stock but with a slower cut – a lot of bandsaw boxes have intricate curves and a fine tooth pitch such as 14tpi will minimise the amount of finishing required.
6tpi and 10tpi are great general purpose tooth pitches and 4tpi is ideal for thicker stock where the finish is not so important or the material will be sanded afterwards. 4tpi can allow a tighter radius/curve to be cut as it creates a little more kerf giving the blade more room when turning.
Some people round the back of the blade using a diamond file and this can stop the blade catching the material as it’s turning but usually this isn’t necessary and if this is an issue switching to a narrower blade will eliminate the problem.
The 1/8” and 3/16” blades are available from the SuperTuff Carbon range and the 1/4" from the SuperTuff Carbon, SuperTuff Premium or M42 ranges. In 1/4", the Premium blades tend to work better on smaller bandsaws (up to around 1715mm blade length) and above this length the Carbon or the M42 tend to be a better option with the M42 lasting around 5 – 10 times longer.
For ripping/re-sawing thicker stock a coarse tooth pitch is generally used with 1.3tpi, 2tpi and 3tpi being the most popular.
The 1.3tpi and 2tpi are very aggressive blades so are only suitable for very thick stock and for bandsaws that can cope with the amount of tension they require. 1.3tpi is suitable for cutting wood from 100mm thick and above, 2tpi for wood from 50mm thick and above and 3tpi from 25mm thick and above.
For straight cutting, wider blades are usually used but if your bandsaw struggles to tension wide blades, narrower ones can also be used and there’s no reason why a properly tensioned 3/8” blade won’t give accurate straight cuts in thick stock.
For seasoned wood the SuperTuff Fastcut and SuperTuff Premium Vari-Tooth can also be used with the advantage of producing less waste than other coarse tooth pitched blades. For cutting green and seasoned wood the following ranges are suitable: SuperTuff Sabrecut, SuperTuff Premium, SuperTuff Carbon, M42. For cutting seasoned wood the following ranges are suitable: SuperTuff Sabrecut, SuperTuff Premium, SuperTuff Carbon, M42, SuperTuff Fastcut.
For this type of cutting the two most popular blades are the SuperTuff Fastcut and the SuperTuff 3/4 Vari-Tooth from the Premium range.
Both blades have a special tooth design with minimum set on the teeth to minimise waste with the Fastcut being suitable for cutting wood from 25mm thick and above and the Vari-Tooth suitable for cutting wood from 10mm thick and above.
The Vari-Tooth leaves a slightly better finish but the Fastcut will give a faster speed of cut especially on very thick stock.
There isn’t one blade that can be classed as a perfect general purpose blade as people’s definitions of general purpose cutting can vary. Usually tooth pitches between 4tpi and 10tpi are used for general purpose cutting in either 3/8” or 1/2".
4tpi is suitable for cutting wood from 20mm thick and above with a fairly decent finish, 6tpi for cutting wood from around 10mm thick and above and will leave a better finish than the 4tpi or 10tpi is suitable for cutting wood from around 6mm thick and above with a pretty good finish but with a slow speed of cut on thicker stock. The 1/2” x 6/10 M42 is a very popular general purpose blade as it has sections of 6tpi and 10tpi which makes it a very versatile blade with a great blade life. Another very popular blade for general purpose cutting is the SuperTuff Premium 3/4 Vari-Tooth which has sections of 3tpi and 4tpi. This blade gives a nice clean cut and is suitable for cutting wood from around 10mm thick up to the maximum thickness that the bandsaw can cope with but with a similar finish to a 6tpi blade.
Usually coarse tooth pitched blades are used for this type of cutting with the SuperTuff Sabrecut being very popular as it will cope with green and seasoned wood. 3/8” is very popular for radius cutting or wider blades for straight cutting.
SuperTuff Carbon, Premium and M42 are also popular choices for this type of cutting with 3tpi being the most popular tooth pitch or 4tpi and 6tpi for thin stock.
When cutting metal on a bandsaw the two important factors are the cutting speed and the tooth pitch.
A lot of wood cutting bandsaws come with 2 speeds and the slower speed is sometimes listed as being for metal cutting - this is sort of true as the slower speed can be used for non ferrous metals (brass, aluminium etc) but is no good for ferrous metal (mild, stainless steel etc).
If the cutting speed is too fast then this will put too much heat into the teeth of the blade and will either cause them to go blunt really fast or the teeth will strip off the blade completely.
Generally the harder the steel, the slower the cutting speed and the following speeds are a rough guide:
There can be a wide range with the speeds as the quality and thickness of the steel, whether it’s solid or tubed will all make a difference.
When cutting metal with a new blade, it’s important to run the blade in – when a blade is new, the teeth are very sharp but for best results when metal cutting the tip of the tooth needs to be slightly rounded. This is achieved by using a slow feed rate for the first 5 – 10 minutes of cutting, by doing this you will improve blade life and cutting performance.
Another way to improve blade life and cutting performance when cutting metal is to use a cutting fluid, although not all bandsaws have the facility to use cutting fluid and you can cut metal dry, but you will always get better results from using a cutting fluid.
A cutting wax can also be used and can be especially good on non-ferrous metal.
Carbon and M42 are the most popular blades for metal cutting with the M42 being the better option. They are more expensive but will last around 5 – 10 times longer and will work out a lot cheaper in the long term. Another advantage of the M42 is that they are available in a vari-tooth format where it has 2 different tooth pitches. The vari-tooth format improves cutting performance and will also help in coping with different thicknesses etc.
Similar to wood cutting, the thicker the material being cut, the coarser the tooth pitch required and the thinner the material, the finer the tooth pitch. With metal cutting, the tooth pitch can also vary depending on whether the material being cut is solid, tubed and the wall thickness if tubed.
For general cutting either the 10/14 or 9/11 from the M42 range or 14tpi from the Carbon range are ideal – these blades will cope with the widest variety of thicknesses and types of metal but here is a chart to help pick the best tooth pitch:
120 to 400mm
80 to 150m
12 to 20mm
10 to 80mm
6 to 12mm
35mm to 80mm
25mm to 60mm
3 to 6mm
20 to 50mm
1.5 to 3mm
0.5mm to 30mm
0.5mm to 5mm
0.5mm to 30mm
0.5mm to 5mm
Up to 15mm
120 to 250mm
80 to 120m
10 to 20mm
50 to 80mm
5 to 10mm
30mm to 50mm
4 to 6mm
15mm to 30mm
1.5mm to 3mm
Up to 30mm
Up to 8mm
Up to 20mm
Up to 3mm
Up to 8mm
Up to 1mm
Up to 6mm
Again this is only a guide and it’s not to say that you can’t use a blade for cutting outside of the ranges above. The above ranges will give the best performance for that tooth pitch but if for example you’ve got a 10/14 Vari-Tooth on your bandsaw and you wanted to cut 50mm solid, the blade will do it, just at a slower cut than an 8/12.