Professionals and Amateurs Together

Bandsaw Blades


Do the benefits of a carbide tooth bandsaw blade outweigh the costs of purchasing several good standard blades? I’ll use Laguna and Lenox Carbide Tip Blades as an example, 93 1/2˝ L by 1/2˝ W blade is about $150, a comparable WoodSlicer Blade is $29?—Cam Morin


Richard Oedel replies: It is really a question of how often you use it. We have both at our shop. We seldom use the carbide and the Woodslicer (or any variable skip tooth design) is our normal blade. If you are running thousands of feet of resaw a month I’d get the carbide. For less, I’d stick with the Woodslicer or equivalent.

Bob Couch replies: Other than for scroll or tight work, there is a WoodSlicer blade on both of my bandsaws. I use my saws quite often for cutting “shop made” veneers and for me, it’s hard to beat the WoodSlicer’s smoothness of cut and small kerf. Carbide tipped blades tend to be thicker and you lose more material and I’ve not found they produce as smooth a cut.

Jon Siegel replies: Carbide tipped band saw blades are thicker (wider kerf) than regular blades, so they require more power to run. This might be a problem for some bandsaws. You probably don’t need a carbide blade unless you are sawing very abrasive material like teak or other exotic woods. If you are not happy with your carbon steel blades, consider a bi-metal blade as an intermediate solution.

Garrett Hack replies: I would say no. I get a lot of life out of standard blades and then resharpen them for even more. It’s easy to swap in a fresh blade as needed, plus I like the thinner kerf of standard blades.

Phil Kinsler replies: This question depends on how often, and for what, you use your bandsaw. Commercial shop, operating it many hours a day—probably worth it. Hobbyist or semi-pro, no way. My WoodSlicer is incredible and lives on my bandsaw most of the time. It does excellent rips in addition to re-sawing.

Bill Taylor replies: I once purchased a Lenox carbide blade for resawing and thought I wrecked my Laguna saw. What happened you say? Well the blade had a huge tendency to self feed the wood, just yanked the wood out of my fingers and the blade literally wound into a knot which ruined the ceramic saw guides. My tensioning gauge was set for a half inch band. I contacted the seller and he sent another blade with the same result.

I ultimately ended up with some bimetal blades from the seller which I have never used. As an analogy think climb cutting with your router blade. Here is what I think.

The grind on the teeth of the Lenox blade was very much a chop rather than a sheering cut which created the climb cut simulation. I have read great things about the Laguna carbide blade but have not gone there because I am completely satisfied with the Laguna silicon steel (I believe) blades. They outlast the wood slicers and the welds are always nice. These blades are from Norway or Sweden (I forget) and about 40 bucks a pop. Maybe the WoodSlicer cut is a shade smoother but it will never approach what I call smooth. I break the wood slicers quite often and frequently at the weld. I resaw a ton and wood species that are not blade friendly just in case you are wondering? Isn’t it nice to just wear out a blade rather than breaking it?

Tags: Bandsaw