Maintaining Your Band Saw Blades

There are many different aspects when it comes to getting the longest life out of your band saw blades.  Let’s take a look at what most experts say are the most important.

Perform Regular Maintenance on the Band Saw Itself

First of all, it is extremely important to perform regular maintenance on your entire band saw and not just the blades.  If you are in the middle of a project when a belt breaks, it is likely to break your blade as well.  Luckily, it is easy to perform regular maintenance on your band saw.

Remove the cover on your band saw.  With the cover removed, check the bearings to ensure they are able to move freely.  Spray on vegetable oil can be used to lubricate the bearings if they are not moving freely.  Once the bearings have been taken care of, check the belts for a secure fit and for signs of wear.  Then, using an air compressor, blow out all of the sawdust that has fallen inside the band saw. 

The Break-In Period

Now that you have taken care of the maintenance of the saw itself, it is important to know how to take care of the blades.  The most important thing to know is that when you have a new blade you need to wear it down a bit before using it.  This is one of the most common over looked aspects of caring for your band saw blades.  The consequences can be broken teeth.  In order to avoid having to replace your brand new blade, it is important to perform a “break-in” action.  This can be done by reducing the speed to half of what is normal.  Reduce the feed quantity and cut about 50 square inches of material.  This will wear down the extra sharpness of the teeth, making the blade more durable.

Lubrication Is Key

When it comes to cutting metal with your band saw, lubrication is a must.  Using one measure of High Adhesion Chain Saw Bar oil mixed with a half measure of kerosene or diesel.  Apply the lubricant to both sides of the blade.  While running your band saw, apply the lubricant approximately every 4 minutes until the cutting sound has been quieted by at least 50 percent.  Lubricant will not need to be reapplied until the cutting sounds increases again. 

A great lubricant to use on your blade when cutting wood is spray on vegetable shortening.  When used sparingly, it will not stain your wood.  No matter what type of material you are cutting, never use water as a lubricant.

Release Blade Tension

When you have finished with your project, it is utterly vital to release the tension from your blade.  When cutting materials, your blade heats up.  As it heats, it stretches.  As it cools, it shrinks.  This shrinking can cause tiny cracks in your blade if it is still under tension. 

Sharpen Your Blade

To get the most out of your blade, it is important to sharpen it periodically.  With your band saw off, gently rub a sharpening stone along both sides of the blade.  You will also need to take care of the gullet by running the stone around the bottom of the gullet.