My Favorite Band Saw Blades

I received this question in episode 3 of the Ask Brian Boggs Show:

What’s your favorite band saw blade?

We have three band saws in the shop, and when I started out I had a 14-inch … Actually, I started out with a 14-inch nickel machinery from Harbor Freight, which has probably found it’s place in the recycling bin by now. I upgraded to a Delta 14-inch, and started experimenting with different blades then, and really got to like the wood slicers. The Timber Wolf, Haven Hardware sells them. It’s a really good blade for re-sawing with a saw that size. In fact, I don’t know if there’s a better blade for saws of that size, and power. And the reason I say size and power, larger saws that run with more horsepower, at higher speeds, you won’t get the benefit from that blade. I’ve found I don’t get a benefit until I go up to a carbide. A 30-inch band saw performs beautifully with a Resaw King. These are the Laguna blades. They’re expensive, but you’ll get performance from the saw that you never got before.

It’s a waste of money if you haven’t tuned your saw up. The first thing to do is make sure the tool is tuned, as well as it can be, so that the feedback you’re getting about the cutting quality from the blade is feedback that’s just from the blade, not from a saw issue. But with a 30-inch I find that a Resaw King is the best re-sawing for that. Then from a 36-inch, which runs about 100 mph with the blade, and has 15 horses, the Wood Master CT from Laguna, excuse me from Lenox, is my favorite there by far in terms of feed rate, quality of cut. If you’re cutting curves Lenox makes some great blades. They use a Morse blade. Curves are not quite as critical.

I like a Skip Tooth blade. We use, almost exclusively now, 1/2″ x 4″ skip blades on 30-inch that’s American. That’s because of what specifically we’re doing on that saw. We’re only cutting gentle curves of about five, or six, inches radius at the tightest. Mostly we cut much more gentle curves, and straight lines, with that. We don’t generally cut real thick stock with that saw. We don’t need a coarser too. If we’re cutting real thick stock, and re-sawing, then we’ll go to the big 36-inch saw. If we’re cutting tighter radius’s we’ll go to the 14-inch saw. We’re using different blades for each saw based on what we’re using the saw for, and what the saw is. Band saw blade selection is specific to all of the variable. A 1/2″ x 4″ skip is probably the most versatile blade that I use. It’s quite possible with a well tuned saw to get a glue joint quality cut from that.

I have cut tenons on my saw with that. I get … It’s possible to get tolerances of a thousandth of an inch, and surfaces that need no further refinement before being glued. That blade is not an expensive one either from Lenox, or from Morse Wood Tool. We’ve experimented with a whole lot of blades. The most important thing is not the blade, but everything else about the saw. With a well tuned saw, guides that are tuned up well, you’ll get the best performance from whatever blade is on there. That’s going to be your key.