In my travels all over the country, I talk to hundreds of fabricators and shop owners every month. One thing I find when I am looking at their band saws is that there is a wide range of blades and many different ways people will run new band saw blades. One of the most common questions – and frustrations – they have is “why do I go through so many band saw blades?”
Is there a correct way to break in a band saw blade? And is there a way to make your band saw blade last longer? The answer to both is “yes!” There is actually a very simple technique that does both and can be implemented immediately with your current band saw without buying anything new or spending more money on different blades. It’s all about the first five or so cuts you make on a new blade after you have installed it.
Once you have tightened your new blade and ready to make your first cut, stop and grab the most solid piece of material you can find in your shop. An ideal piece of material would be a small piece of solid round bar (if possible, avoid using angle iron, channel, or I-beam for this procedure). You are only going to be cutting a small “wafer” of material, perhaps 1/8” thick.
Clamp your piece of solid round bar in the saw and get your saw ready to cut with the down feed (if applicable) to zero, so it’s not moving. If your saw is manual, make sure your saw is all the way up and not able to go down on the material. Now turn on your saw so the blade is moving, and then move your down feed or adjust your hydraulic ram to start moving down to the material. The idea is to start cutting the material as slowly as possible going down. You want it to cut so slowly that if someone took a quick glance at it, it would appear as if the spinning blade was just sitting on the material rather than moving through it. Once you have made your first such cut, you want to repeat that same process four or so more times, so you have at least 5 “wafers” of material when you are done.
Following this procedure will accomplish a few things: 1) this will debur your blade, by smoothing it and removing any minor imperfections; 2) this will actually harden the blade by tempering or heat treating it, which will result in longer blade life; 3) both of the above also allow the blade to stay sharper longer, increasing the consistency of your cuts.
Does this sound too simple? I challenge you to try this on your next saw blade – I’m confident you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. A number of my customers applied this method and reported getting an average of 5 times more life on their blades.
Just try it – I predict you will become a believer too.
Call JMT today for your Next Band Saw at (855)773-7727