While I do most of my work by hand, there are two machines that I refuse to do without: a thickness planer and an old Delta 14” band saw. These two machines remove the drudgery from reducing boards in thickness and long rips.
So I baby these two machines.
When it comes to band saw blades, I prefer carbide-tipped ones from Lenox. Lonnie Bird turned me onto these many years ago. They are ghastly expensive ($100 to $200 each depending on the configuration). But they have three advantages:
1. They last about 10 times as long as a typical band saw blade and are worth re-welding if they break.
2. They cut much faster than regular steel blades.
3. They leave a finish that rivals that of a table saw, even when resawing.
Those three things make it worth the upgrade for me. Oh, and there’s one more advantage I forgot to tell you about: Because they are so expensive I seem to always remember to de-tension my saw at the end of the day, which is good for the saw and good for the blade.
My favorite blade configuration is the 3/8” TriMaster blade with a 3/4 variable tooth configuration. It’s smooth and quick. I order this blade from BandSawBladesDirect.com.
I’d rather put a $200 blade on a solid used $300 band saw than a $7 blade on a $3,000 Laguna. The blade counts. Want to learn more about band saws? Mark Duginske’s book on the machine is an excellent reference: “The New Complete Guide to the Band Saw.”
— Christopher Schwarz
The Smythe Disclaimer: I paid full retail. I don’t know anyone at Lenox. I just ordered it like a regular customer. Plus, to make sure that they didn’t figure out who I was, I used my drag queen name: Elsie Wedgewood.
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