Real Smooth Shave

Gave the first new bandsaw blade a quick workout today – the 1/2″ 3TPI bimetal blade.

It has a regular tooth set, and slices beautifully.  When resawing, it vastly out-performed my current 1″ carbon resaw blade – it is obviously significantly sharper – not surprising given how easily carbon blades dull off.

So not only it is superbly sharp, because it is bimetal it will hold that edge for longer.  I guess I have found my new “standard” blade – the one that will stay on the bandsaw by default, so whenever I want to do a quick cut without going to the trouble of changing blades, this is the one that is a jack of all trades. So yes, very happy with this first blade, and looking forward to testing the others.

The general rule is to have as few teeth in the cut as possible.  Too many, and the gullets fill and clog and the blade cannot cut well.  Too few teeth, and the cut is rougher than is necessary.  Having a range of blades, sizes, tooth configurations, tooth numbers will mean you will have the best blade for the job.

Straight-faced tooth with deep gullet to remove shavings.

Deep gullet and 10o undercut face which digs in more, and tends to curl the shavings.  Good for harder woods.  I would imagine though, that it is likely to dull off quicker, given there is less material backing the tooth edge up.

Similar to Hook Tooth, but has the teeth at 90o . Chips rather than shaves – good for materials that would otherwise clog up the blade.  Effectively increases the gullet (which clears the formed chips out of the cut), without having to increase the overall tooth size.

Has a combination of teeth closer together for a finer finish, with some teeth having large gullets for chip clearance.

Lidwig Claw

For those who have been waiting patiently for these to come in (and for those who didn’t in the past, but now want one), I can now reliably say that the Lidwig Claw is back in stock – contact www.lidwig.com.au to get your hands on some.

The extra ones that I was looking for, for use in various jobs around the shed (bandsaw blades, extension cords, temporary trunking runs etc) have arrived.  They are still $A8, so it is definitely an affordable proposition if you feel you need to have a few.  I might look at getting a few more for inside the house – such as storing the vacuum cleaner hose, more extension cords, Xmas lights…the list can go on and on.

Lidwig Claw

Lidwig Claw

For some examples of the claw in use around the shop, I have some photos here in an earlier post. (Of one in the old colour scheme fwiw)

To give an idea of scale – you can get the clamp around a 4″ (100mm) dust hose.  The real smarts in the design is in the lever mechanism below the hook – the heavier the load, the more the 2 sides of the claw are pulled together by a scissor action.  I think they are rated for about 30kg of cable, so it is rather unlikely that you’ll overload te clamp before managing to fill the claw completely!

Bandsaw Blade Storage

Up until now, I’ve been storing my bandsaw blades coiled, then taped with a bit of electrical tape, then hung on a hook.

I was moving the blades out of the way today, and happened to go to put them on the same hook as I store electrical extension cords, and it dawned on me that the holder I use for the cords would work very well in storing the bandsaw blades as well.

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It is perhaps not ideal, and if I come across a better solution I’ll be sure to post it here, but I quite like this one, at least it is better than what I was doing. Some of these blades have particularly large teeth, and you wouldn’t want them uncoiling accidentally.

Whether this hanger is good for bandsaw blades or not, it is excellent for storing extension cords. (You’ll see them being used in the background of a few photos and videos, the latest being in the photo for Episode 20).

Work-in-progress Dinosaur #3

Thought I’d post a pic of the dino that I’ve been working on. Currently at the test-assembly stage. You can still see the remains of the pattern from the plans I photocopied, then stuck to the prepared timber. The timber was originally 19mm stock that I resawed on the bandsaw, then ran through the thicknesser until it was the required 6mm thick.

The next step is to sand each part, and glue the sculpture together, followed by a coat of stone-effects paint (for that fossil look).

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It is strange, changing from one bandsaw to another. Wouldn’t have thought I’d notice much difference, and it was subtle, but there. (This is between the Triton 12″, and a Jet 14″, both running a 1/8″ blade). Thinking about it, I’m not sure if one doesn’t have finer teeth than the other, that may make some difference. I don’t think that either stood out as being particularly superior to the other, just that it was a different feel between the two machines.

Another big day at the office

Spent a lot of today at Mitre 10 Mega, demonstrating (ok, playing with) all the new tools (ok again, toys) from Triton.

Rather tired by the end of it – ended up being from about 8:30 to 5:30 straight-through, by the time we had set up, done the day, packed and cleaned up.  Was good fun though – played a lot with the big thicknesser, and the moulding blades.  Changed my first set, so that was a bit of an experience.  Pretty easy in the end, but you just imagine the whirling dervish inside, and take a lot of extra care while tightening everything down.  I put in the largest blades available, so if it survived me doing that, I guess the smaller ones will be a cake-walk!

Did quite a bit on the 12″ bandsaw as well, giving those new blades a good workout.  Verdict? Very happy – the blades are the right length (that’s a good start!), cut well, and it is a good collection of sizes.  Still haven’t tried the 1/16″, but they are very much a specialty item, so will deal with that one separately.  Tried a little on the 8″, but I have not been (and still are not) a fan of such a small bandsaw.  (Given that fact, I better not ever try a 16″ or a 20″, I may never be able to go back!)

Pity I didn’t take all the rest of the latest dinosaur (scrollsaw pattern) that I am working on – the 1/8″ blade made very short work of the pieces I had still to do – could have had the whole thing cut today in a very short amount of time.  Sanded the pieces up on the spindle sander, which again, it is nice having the right tool for the job.  Not much more to do for the pattern anyway, and soon my Tyrannosaurus will have something to eat…..

Bandsaw Blades

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A collection of new blades, from 1/16″ to 5/8″. Not sure if the 1/16″ blade will work or not – getting it to stay on the wheels proved a bit tricky today during a quick test run, but I didn’t have time to fine-tune things. It is narrower than the stated minimum blade width for the Triton 12″ bandsaw, but I don’t see why it couldn’t work. The bandsaw itself runs smooth enough to potentially take the blade as far as I can tell. The tyres on the wheels might need some flattening to help stabilise the blade, but I’ll need to investigate further. (Bandsaw tyres typically have a camber as part of the design to help keep the blade running true.)

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Closeup of a pretty mean-looking 5/8″ 3TPI resaw blade. Note the apparently heat-treated tips of the blade – hardened to stay sharper for longer. This heat treating is not done to the whole blade, otherwise it would become too brittle, and wouldn’t survive the fatigue of being flexed around the 2 wheels of the bandsaw for long.

Unless you only use the bandsaw for one job, you really need a collection of different blades, and be prepared to change the blade based on what the job at-hand is. This collection gives me blades for scrollwork, general purpose sawing, circle and curve cutting, as well as resawing – splitting a log into boards, or splitting a board into two (or more). Even so, the 5/8″ is on the small size – the gullet isn’t particularly large, so feed rate will play a part in ensuring a quality finish.

These blades were sourced from

C & S Saw Service
17 Stewart St Mt Waverley
VIC 3149
ph: (03) 9802 1040

Cost was about $80 for the four blades, including GST and delivery (courier).

Update: This has come up in conversation a few times in the past couple of days: bandsaw blades, particularly ordering from places such as C & S Saw Service are generally not ready-made, so it doesn’t matter what bandsaw you have. When you order the blade, you let them know what length of blade you need for your saw, the blade width you want, how many teeth per inch (TPI), and you can even (sometimes) specify what shape of tooth, how the blade is made (such as bimetal, case hardened, carbide tipped etc) how aggressively the teeth are set etc. They then go to their coil stock, and cut and weld the blade for you.  If you don’t know how long the blade should be, measure one that you already have that fits – either make a mark on the blade as the start/finish point, or measure from, at to the weld.  (If you have one that has broken, that task is even easier 😉 )

If (when) a blade breaks, don’t throw it away. Depending on how much work the blade has done (and therefore how much fatigue cracking has developed), the blade can be rewelded for a fraction of the cost of a new one. One way to assess whether the blade is repairable, is looking at where it has broken – was it at the weld, or elsewhere on the blade? If it is at the weld, it is probably repairable. If elsewhere, (and you didn’t do something stupid to cause the break (been there, done that!)), then it is possible the blade has reached end-of-life. If in doubt, the blade suppliers will be able to give a pretty informed recommendation.

Triton BBQ and other stories

Was down at the Triton factory earlier (yeah, ok – I’m obsessed!) getting ready for this weekend. For those that don’t know (and are local(ish), I’m going to be at Chelsea Heights Mitre 10 Mega on Saturday from 10 till 4 with a collection of the new Triton tools.

We will have:

13″ Thicknesser
15″ Thicknesser
12″ Bandsaw
Wet & Dry Sharpener
Belt & Disk Sander
3 in 1 Sander
Spindle Sander

and other bits ‘n’ pieces.

Saw one amusing thing in one of the backroom workshops at Triton – a Workcentre 2000 that has been converted into a gas BBQ.  What every one-eyed Triton supporter needs in their workshop at home 😀

Ordered some new bandsaw blades for the 12″ bandsaw yesterday. A new (and local) supplier for me, so will be interesting to see how the blades compare to my old supplier.  I was able to get a 1/16″ blade so am very interested in seeing just how fine that blade is, and how it performs (and how long it lasts!).  A blade that fine is for light scrollwork only – in the past I’ve been using 1/8″ blades for this sort of work.  I’m partway through making another dinosaur to add to my collection, and such a fine blade will definitely make life easier.  So what is coming is: 1/16″ 24 TPI, 1/8″ 14 TPI, 1/4″ 6 TPI, and 5/8″ 3 TPI.  Will give a more detailed report on the blades, and how they perform when they arrive.

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