Band Saw-Use these Accessories to Improve Performance

The band saw rank among the best workshop tool in this century after table saws. Although professionals and DIYers tend to overlook their usefulness and versatility. However, their uniqueness lies in their simplicity and structure, making people classify it as a common tool.
Numerous bandsaw accessories have hit the market, and they all contribute to the efficiency of the saw. Bandsaw accessories include the following; riser block, tension-release lever, bearing-style guides, and saw table.
Generally, succeeding paragraphs of this article will examine the upgrades and bandsaw accessories that drive improved performance.

Figure 1: A Typical Bandsaw
A Typical Bandsaw

Section 1: Band Saw — Choose an Upgrade or Accessorize?

In this article, the improvement process falls under two broad categories: upgrade and accessories. Specifically, upgrades refer to the complete replacement of machine parts or structures of the bandsaw. Upgrades will involve the removal of a manufacturer’s original and standard parts. For instance, replacing a chain drive with a belt-drive involves substituting sprockets for pulleys and chain for belts. On the other hand, bandsaw accessories involve replacing worn-out parts with new ones. Additionally, it also includes swapping of non-wearing parts as well as supplementary parts for optimum performance.

Section 2: Blade Selection May be the Most Important Section.

The blade remains one of the most important bandsaw accessories. It determines how the bandsaw itself will perform and its accuracy of cut. Besides, if you run a large workshop with a wide range of operations, you would require various styles of blades. The nature of the workpiece will determine the style of blade and other bandsaw accessories needed for cutting.

Figure 2: Close-up Image of Bandsaw Blades
Close-up Image of Bandsaw Blades

2.1 How to Choose the Right Blade for your Band Saw?

The factors to consider when choosing blades are enumerated below with a detailed explanation:

Blade Width

Here, the focus is on the least radius you intend to cut and your bandsaw’s maximum capacity. Firstly, you must understand that different sawing styles require different blade width. Secondly, resawing and cut-off sawing requires the maximum blade width for a clean cut. Lastly, contour sawing requires a narrow width of the blade to cut any desired radius

The general chart below shows the relationship between the blade width and the least radius it can cut.

Blade Width

Blade Thickness

Currently, adopting the appropriate thickness of a blade is by far pertinent to longevity and performance. Now, blade thickness varies with the diameter of the bandsaw wheel as well as the intended work. Meanwhile, the thicker the blade, the more stress and the strain it can withstand during operation. Just be sure to choose the right thickness that corresponds to your bandsaw as listed below:

Blade Thickness

Blade Tooth Styles and Sets

Blades come in three tooth styles: regular, skip, and hook. Also, there are three basic tooth set: rake, alternate, and wavy.

Just like the name implies, a Regular tooth has equally spaced teeth, which are ideal for general cutting. Hence, they give a fine finish when used for cutting thin materials.

Skip tooth blades have their teeth spaced at zero-degree rake angle. Specifically, this tooth style minimizes clogging during the cutting of wood, plastics, and non-ferrous metals.

Hook tooth blades have deeper gullets with larger teeth with a positive ten-degree rake angle. With these teeth configurations, they have a high cutting rate and are more aggressive in advancing into the workpiece.

The raker tooth set is oriented to face the left and right direction and a straight one for the tooth set. Simultaneously, this straight tooth sometimes refers to as the unset teeth or raker.

The alternate tooth set has two left-right combinations of the tooth without a raker.

The wavy tooth set has teeth to the left, right, and separated by a straight tooth in the middle. The wavy tooth set blade is most suited for cutting light metals, pipes, thin sheets, etc.

Figure 3: Skip Tooth Blade.
Skip Tooth Blade.

Surface Feet Per Minute (SFM)

Knowing your bandsaw SFM helps you select the best speed suitable for your workpiece. Usually, each manufacturer outlines the SFM rating of their blades in the user manual. However, if you desire to calculate it yourself, you can use this formula:

SFM = Drive Wheel RPM x Drive Wheel Diameter x 0.262

2.2 What size Blade is the Right One?

The overall performance of your bandsaw also depends on the blade size used. Although the manufacturer’s guide always states the correct size. In the absence of a guide or manual, follow these steps to calculate the size you need:

  • Position the pulleys or wheels correctly.
  • Measure the distance, C, from the center of one pulley to the other.
  • Measure the radius of both wheels or pulleys as (R1 and R2), respectively.
  • Apply this formula: Blade length= (R1 X 3.146) + (R2 X 3.146) + (2 X C).

Section 3: Choose the Most Popular Upgrade Plans for your Band Saw to Get Better.

Highlighted below are the four most prominent upgrades you should consider for your bandsaw. Once added to your saw, they help you up your game to derive satisfaction.

3.1 Riser Bloc

Due to the 14″ bandsaws’ limitation to resaw boards up to 6″ wide, a riser block becomes necessary. Subsequently, the riser block is a cast-iron spacer fitted between the bandsaw’s upper and lower casting. After doing this, your bandsaw can now resaw boards up to 12″. Nevertheless, it would help if you had a longer blade, a new guard, and a post, which usually comes with the riser block kit.

3.2 Tension -release Lever

This upgrade makes adjusting the tension of the blade effortless however you desire. The usual process of tensioning can prove tough and herculean, hence the need for this upgrade. It helps to engage and disengage the blade fast and easy. To install this upgrade, start by removing the top wheel, the housing, and the tension assembly. Afterward, drill some part of the upper casting to bolt in place the lever’s gear mechanism. Thus, re-assemble all component such that the lever can control the tensioning of the blade instantly.

3.3 Bearing-style Guides

The bearing-style guides help eliminate friction and noise generated from the blade rubbing against the metal guide block. Even the guides come in an upper and lower set and do not require any disassembly to install. Finally, they consist of roller bearing that reduces friction and noise as well as improve blade handling.

3.4 Saw Table

Like a table saw, the saw table will help you create more room for placing lengthy workpiece positioning. Some table comes with added features such as T-tracks, inset miter slots, a rip fence, etc. A typical saw table measure 24″ x 24″, which is almost triple the bandsaw’s usual stock table.

Figure 4: Bandsaw Showing its Table.
Bandsaw Showing its Table.

Section 4: Not all your Improvements to the Band Saw Involves Machine Replacement.

If you are not carrying out machine replacement, bandsaw accessories come into play as an alternative for performance enhancement. Also, accessorizing involves taking out old or worn-out parts for new ones. The importance of all these bandsaw accessories cannot be over-emphasized.

4.1 Urethane Tires

Urethane tires run smoother, quieter, and last longer in service than the typical rubber tire. Unlike rubber tires that get hard over time, urethane tires remain soft and flexible. Indeed, a soft tire allows the blade to sit well in place. Before installing, soften the urethane tire in hot water, dry off, and stretch into the wheels.

4.2 Cool Blocks

It is one of the amazing bandsaw accessories which acts in place of the metal guides. Here, the cool blocks of graphite impregnated phenolic material allow for easy slippage into place. Remember that graphite is known for its low-friction, which improves blade handling, reduces heat, and guarantees durability.

4.3 Tension Crank

This accessory helps you to turn the adjustment knob properly. Hence, with this crank, you can turn the knob at any position; on the bandsaw.

4.4 Rip Fences

Without bandsaw accessories like a rip fence, getting a straight cut might be difficult on the bandsaw. Currently, this fence comes with features like a knob, setscrew, or wrench for adjustment. Consequently, whenever drift occurs with the blade of your saw, the ability to adjust the fence compensates for the offset.

Figure 5: Rip Fence Guiding Cutting.
Rip Fence Guiding Cutting.

4.5 Resaw Guides

Usually, all resawing tasks require adequate support and guidance for a fine finish. To illustrate, a special feature of the resaw guide over the rip fence is adjusting the feed angle. However, they can function independently or in conjunction with a rip fence.

4.6 Tension Gauges

With this gauge, you can be sure of not under-tensioning or over-tensioning your blade. Neither over tensioning or under-tensioning is good for your blade or workpiece. Else, you stand the risk of snapping your blade when over-tensioned or having tracking issues when under-tensioned.

4.7 Digital Angle Guide

This guide becomes exceedingly necessary when you desire perfection and precision. Therefore, the bandsaw comes with an angular scale, which often gives inaccurate measurements. Consequently, the digital angle guide measures accurately and precisely and easy to install in just two steps.

4.8 Duplicating Pin

This pin helps to attach a template to the workpiece for multiple repetitive cuts. Thus, it ranks as one of the best bandsaw accessories that make your work easier and faster.

4.9 Task Light

For adequate and good visibility when cutting, you need this task light added as part of the bandsaw accessories. Also, the task light comes with a clip or a magnetic base to fit in place.

4.10 Band Saw — Mobile Base

The removable base allows you to move the band saw. Besides, you might need more space away from your workshop, and a mobile base helps you achieve that. Moreover, if you have limited workspace and an enormous workpiece, a mobile base can always save the day.

4.11 Band Saw — Dust Collection Port

As a safety precaution, fine dust given off during cutting should immediately be evacuated and not released into the environment. Accordingly, a dust collection port helps you maintain a cleaner and safe working environment during and after cutting.

4.12 Band Saw — Saw Welder

If you ever decide not to purchase a blade, you would need a saw welder to make yours. Meanwhile, for this purpose, there is no need for filler materials but just heat and force.

In summary, these are bandsaw accessories that help you to produce custom-made blades to your preferred length and style.

Section 5: Is Tracking a Necessary Factor Affecting Band Saw Performance?

Truly, when putting in place band saw accessories, the most important factor to look out for remains the blade tracking. Blade tracking determines if a drift will occur or not, i.e., if your cut will be straight or not. Furthermore, to ensure proper blade tracking, both the upper and lower wheels must all align. Again, the tooth of the blade should always align with the wheel’s centerline.

Section 6: Maintenance of the Band Saw.

  • Lubricate all the bearings periodically.
  • Keep all adjustment screws clean and lubricated.
  • Tighten set screws from time to time.
  • Be quick to replace the blade if you suspect poor cutting.
  • Inspect tires for deficiencies.

Summary

In conclusion, you should have learned the difference between an upgrade and bandsaw accessories and various functions. Hence, this knowledge will culminate in guiding you in efficiently using the bandsaw for all your cutting purpose. At NCCuttingtools, we provide all types of saw blades, customized services, and added customer service. Never hesitate to reach out to us for all your cutting problems and solutions; we will be glad to help.

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