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Bandsaw minimum blade width

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dh7892

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With all of the recent talk of bandsaw boxes (some very nice projects by the way), I thought I'd get some new blades for my AWBB and see if I can have a go during a spare morning.

According to the instructions, the minimum blade width for my bandsaw is 6mm (1/4 inch). I have read that 1/8th inch is a good idea for the tighter curves often required for boxes.

The thing is: I can't really see what would prevent me from putting a 1/8th inch blade on my saw. Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't do this? Perhaps the crowning on the wheels will not work? Or perhaps it's the way the guide bearings work?

I'm tempted to get one anyway and see if it works.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks.
 

monkeybiter

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I think [but am not sure] that you need to look at the way the blade guides handle the blade and if they would interfere with the teeth.
 

dh7892

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I thought that might be it. I've ordered a 1/4 inch one for now anyway and I'll have a look at how that fits and if I might be able to get away with a smaller one on there. Failing that, I might be able to modify the guide assembly to use wooden block guides just for a small blade.
 

Jacob

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I have 1/8" for my Startrite 352. No prob. There's plenty of adjustment for the guides - you can also run the blade towards the back or the front of the wheels if necessary.
 

dh7892

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Thanks, might well be worth giving it a go then.

I'll see how the 1/4 inch works and go from there. (I've already ordered that one so it makes sense to wait for it and see how I get on).
 

iajon69

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What stops most bandsaws taking a 1/8” or 3/16” blade are the guides – if the blade is too narrow then it’s easy to strip the teeth on the blade if the guides can’t be adjusted enough.

Pretty much any bandsaw can be made to run really narrow blades, but it varies from machine to machine as to how much modification is required.
If the bandsaw has solid guides, then it can be a simple job of making some new guides from some scrap hardwood – if you use some hardwood, then the guide can cover the blade and the teeth will cut a groove in the wood and the guides will support the whole blade.

Ian
 

Steve Maskery

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Indeed, and if your machine has the modern bearing-style guides you can face them with thin MDF (like backing board) and then you don't have to worry about contacting the teeth. The teeth will quickly wear the guides, but only up to a point, whereafter the blade is fully supported and not wearing the guides at all. It's easy, cheap and effective. I successfully support 1/16" blades for cutting dovetails this way.
S
 

dh7892

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Thanks, that's all good advice.

The design of the rollers for the bearings seems a bit odd on this saw, they are mounted parallel to the blade rather than perpendicular (tangential to the circumference). This means that you have to make sure the only the part of the bearing forward of the centre could make contact with the blade or it won't spin.

It seems like it would make more sense to mount them tangential so that they would roll better. That seems to be how all of the newer version are done so perhaps this was a bit of a design peculiarity that they have since revised.

This does mean that the scope for smaller blades would be less without modification.

I think the idea of using wooden bearings blocks would work well and I intend to give it a try.

I found that using a thin piece of ply as a zero-clearance insert on the table had a positive effect on making the blade track better too and that's working in the same way.
 

woodpig

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I'm new to bandsaw technology but I've found out there's two schools of thought on (ball race) bearings as blade guides, one "European" and the other "American". One says having the bearings side ways on supports more of the blade and the other says bearings aren't designed to handle loads that way so mount them as conventional wisdom would suggest. I can see both points of view but the American "logic" makes more sense to me - I think ... :? If in doubt use wood? :lol:
 

dh7892

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I can see that argument but why not just have wider bearings if it's not supporting the blade enough?
 

Jonzjob

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As far as making boxes on a bandsaw. I have been making them for about 15 years and have always used a 1/4 6 skip blade and found no problems at all cutting diameters of 1" and slightly under. I found that if you have a diamond whet stone then you just need to carefully use it to take the very corner off of the back of the blade, both sides, and it cuts smal diameters really well.



I have a Startrite 301S and the only blades I ever use are 1/4". I do have a 1/2" blade somewhere, but the last time I saw it there was some rust on it :oops: I think it is the blade that came with the saw?

Bandsaw boxes are good fun and your imagination is the only limit



Mouse moneybox. The ear comes off to retrieve the savings :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
 

dh7892

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Nice boxes!

I'm looking forward to giving them a try. A Willow tree got killed off in our garden from the heave snow last winter and I think I'll try to use some of that for a box at some point but it's probably still a little wet for my to try it.

I think my first one will be made from laminations.

Under pressure from the missus to finish off the coffee table that I've been taking an age to make before I get to play with boxes though.
 

kirkpoore1

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woodpig":3ala7daf said:
I'm new to bandsaw technology but I've found out there's two schools of thought on (ball race) bearings as blade guides, one "European" and the other "American". One says having the bearings side ways on supports more of the blade and the other says bearings aren't designed to handle loads that way so mount them as conventional wisdom would suggest. I can see both points of view but the American "logic" makes more sense to me - I think ... :? If in doubt use wood? :lol:
The issue I've heard with bearings supporting blade sides is that they tend to compress sawdust onto the blades, leaving a nice resinous coating.

Kirk
 

dh7892

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Well,

I got my new blades from Tuff saws last night. Put the 1/4 inch one in and I'm staggered. I got used to the performance with the Axcalibre blades that I had before but this is like a different tool. I can slice through 4cm thick oak with barely any resistance. I can't believe what I've been missing out on.

I'm sure there are plenty of other good blade suppliers out there too but I don't understand why there's such a difference in performance.

Can't wait to try cutting all sorts of stuff now!

I had previously been cutting tenons by hand because I couldn't stop the bandsaw from drifting but I think I will now be making a whole lot more use of Mr. B Andsaw.
 

Jonzjob

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My little Startrite 301S has solid block guides and in t he 14 or 15 years I have had it I have had to dress them a couple of times. I don't know what they are made of but they have always done their job really well. I have not used any other band saw, so no comparison. I too have Ians blade fitted at the moment and it is good!!
 

kross

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Steve Maskery":33rx307q said:
Indeed, and if your machine has the modern bearing-style guides you can face them with thin MDF (like backing board) and then you don't have to worry about contacting the teeth. The teeth will quickly wear the guides, but only up to a point, whereafter the blade is fully supported and not wearing the guides at all. It's easy, cheap and effective. I successfully support 1/16" blades for cutting dovetails this way.
S
hi steve,

what do you use to glue the mdf on?
 
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