In the world of woodworking band saw blades, you have regular-guy blades (the carbon steel blades used for everything under the sun), you can upgrade to a silicon steel blade , at about double the price , that has undergone induction heating (much like the teeth on a Japanese hand saw) or you have the opportunity to purchase carbide-tipped blades that usually cost four to five times more. The less-expensive blades do the job and last an OK length of time provided you don’t hit a rogue steel fragment buried in your timber. The carbide-tip blades last longer, cut faster and will polish off a few errant gun shot slugs without problems. What do you do?
If you are that regular guy, you stop by the local woodworking store or home center and shop price. Job done. But if you’re more like a band saw fanatic, chances are you’re going after a tipped blade and spending the extra cash.
We have another option. How about a carbide impregnated band saw blade. These blades ring up for only a few dollars more than the silicon steel blades do, and they last longer. But what is carbide impregnated? Well it’s not like a carbide toothed blade where the extra piece of carbide is brazed to each tooth (now you understand why carbide-tip band saw blades cost so much more). These photos clearly show the difference between the tipped blades and the impregnated blades. The first photo shows a tooth on a carbide tip band saw blade , you can clearly see the added piece of carbide that’s brazed in place. The second photo is the carbide impregnated blade.
We picked up a Premium Gold blade from Supercut Bandsaw Co., Inc. These blades are designed for vertical woodcutting band saws. The teeth are precision ground, not punched or milled like traditional band saw blades. During the manufacture of these blades, the teeth are impregnated with the carbide particles , a process the company discovered while developing the Woodsaver Thin-Kerf Carbide Resaw blades. In addition, the Premium Gold blades feature razor-sharp teeth that have an aggressive hook and set, rounded backs, and polished sides. Polishing the sides and rounding the back of band saw blades allows for quicker feeding rates and sharper turns without building excessive heat and chatter. (Chatter is vibration due to improper feed pressure that quickly ruins your blades.)
If you look closely at the teeth on the Premium Gold blade, you notice a bit of blackening at each tooth which would lead you to believe that these blades had been through induction heating. But when you get in close for a better look , I used a jeweler’s loupe , you see that small deposits on the teeth are the cause of the coloration. That’s the carbide impregnating. As I understand the process, the thicker the coating, the more roughness you’ll have at the end and the longer the life of the blade. To keep a smooth, clean and cool cut, the coating on the teeth on a band saw blade cannot be extremely thick , certainly not as thick as the pieces of carbide in tipped blades. When I get more information about Supercut’s industry-exclusive carbide impregnation process, I’ll update this post.
About this time you’re wondering about the cut of these blades, right?. Here’s my problem. When you decide it’s time to change your band saw blade, the blade coming off the saw is older and dull. A new blade, right from the packaging, is sharp and much, much better as it cuts. So does carbide impregnating make this blade cut better. That’s something that only time will tell. I can say that the cut is clean and relatively smooth, but it’s not the cut achieved when using a carbide tip blade.
If you’re interested in band saws and how to make band saws sing:
- Visit the Supercut Bandsaw Co., Inc. web site and download a free copy of the company catalog. It’s full of great information about blades and techniques.
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