Tuffsaw bandsaw blade type advice

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Richard_C

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I've got an Axminster 1950*, small hobby bandsaw, and after some messing about to get it to cut straight its been working fine for a few months. I use a 1/4 inch 6 tpi blade for turning blanks or other things with radii, but mostly use a tuffsaw 3/8 "supertuff premium" 4 tpi for resawing all sorts to the sizes I want for projects and for recovering/recycling wood. As long as you go slow it's fine, but recently its been harder work so I reckon the blade needs replacing.

The easy answer is to get the same again and I would be happy with that, but tuffsaws also do an M42 blade for about 2x the cost and a sabrecut blade for similar money to the supertuff premium.

  • Does anyone have experience with the M42 and is it worth the extra? The description says it needs more tension which might be difficult on my machine, maybe I should get a 1/4 inch M42 instread of 3/8 inch and use it for everything?
  • Any thoughts on the sabrecut?
  • Do I stick with the supertuff premium?
It's not about upfront cost, it's about 'value for money' which isn't the same thing.

* although it will take a 1/2 inch blade 'in theory', I reckon 3/8 is the max you can sensibly tension. It will also cut a 5 inch cross section - in theory but probably not in reality. I'm nowhere near that apart from the odd green log-to-blank conversion.
 

Sandyn

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I have a Record BS 350 and now always use the M42 blades from Tuff Saws I use a 1/2" 4tpi. It's the only blade I use now, a good general purpose blade for the type of work I do. My bandsaw usage varies a lot, so it's difficult to gauge the life of the blades.

I initially tried the super tuff carbon. That lasted about 2 months, which I thought was a bit short for what I was doing at the time.
The first M42 lasted 5 months, the second M42 lasted 14 months. I have just replaced the blade last week.
I probably use the saw most days for general stuff I'm working on. I'm not sure what volume I cut, probably typical DIY usage, even the occasional nail.
There are times when the 1/2 inch blade probably isn't the best choice, but I can't be bothered changing blades, even though it only takes 10 min.
I would say give a 3/8 M42 a try and see. I don't think you will be disappointed, it is a really good blade.
 

Alli

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If you are using recycled wood and the super tuff are working okay, would it be better to have 2 cheaper blades for the price of M42 blade, then if you do hit a nail or similar at least you're not ruining an expensive blade.
 

deema

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I only use M42 blades after first ensuring the blade width / TPI mets my needs by trying it out in Carbon Steel to begin with. They do indeed last a lot longer than a standard carbon steel blade, and I have cut through the odd nail which hasn’t affected the blades performance / damaged teeth etc.

M42 blades need approximately 50% more tension than a Carbon steel blade, which is a lot! Most bandsaw blade tension guides are very inaccurate, so you really need a blade tension meter to verify you are actually tensioning it up correctly regardless of the material. I’ve recently posted a thread about blade guides which you might find useful, and Sideways posted a thread recently in refurbishing a SCM bandsaw which I posted the theory of calculating spring tension and what to look out for which again I think will help.

Tuffsaws are really nice people, helpful and knowledgeable, I always contact them for advise on the best blade for something new.


 
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Richard_C

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Thanks all. Slightly delayed reply as my wife's heart doesn't seem to be working properly so got distracted. Tests and more tests in the weeks to come.

Good to hear real world experience of M42 lasting well. I will read all of the above - I normally read most things and learn a lot as they drift on and off topic, but didn't dip into the SCM overhaul one. I concur with the comment on accuracy of tension guides. On my Axi I saw that thate the tension arrow/lever was bottoming out in its slot and preventing further travel well before proper tension was reached so I took it off. I now (top door open) push the blade towards the cabinet edge and sense how much it deflects.

Chances are I will order 2 or 3 blades and see how I go. From their website, Tuffsaws look to be on pause for a couple of weeks so will leave it till then.
 

Spectric

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I use the M42 blades on ply and man made boards because they do not dull and work well, I use a half inch 10 - 14 vari which works well on both 12 & 18 mm ply and 22mm MDF . This is on a Record BS400.
 

sometimewoodworker

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I've got an Axminster 1950*, small hobby bandsaw, and after some messing about to get it to cut straight its been working fine for a few months. I use a 1/4 inch 6 tpi blade for turning blanks or other things with radii, but mostly use a tuffsaw 3/8 "supertuff premium" 4 tpi for resawing all sorts to the sizes I want for projects and for recovering/recycling wood. As long as you go slow it's fine, but recently its been harder work so I reckon the blade needs replacing.
The 4 tpi blade is a little fine IMHO. but if it’s getting a little blunt then it’s worth spending 20 minutes sharpening it. It only takes a second or so per tooth and is far easier than you may imagine. This is the method I’ve used


but you can always try the one under if you have a suitable tool
 

Richard_C

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All good information here. Thanks.

I had a go at sharpening while waiting for the order to be sent - they were having a week off. It helped and I might repeat of I am short of ££. I did it on the saw, using a diamond file across the bit of the tooth suggested in the first video. The diamond file was one of those double sided ones with a c. 1mm plastic core so it was dead easy to align and the tip of the tooth above contacted the plastic in the sandwich. I did think of a proper triangular saw file but that would have blunted as many as it sharpened. Took about 15 minutes to go all the way round, 4 strokes each way counting in my head 1-2-3-4 in a zen like calm.

I decided that as the machine was perhaps of marginal power for what I was doing the right answer is to have the exact right blade for the job and get good at changing them quickly. I suspect on a chunkier machine you would get away with a universal soulution. So I ordered a replacement super-tuff 3/8 4 tpi for many things, a 1/4 M42 4 tpi hoping I will get enough tension on it and it will do well for preparing circular blanks and other things from tough stuff, and a 3/8 3tpi sabercut. Today I mounted the sabrecut to get on with ripping some old door frames and the difference is huge. Finish a little rough but cutting so much faster than the old blade.
 
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