Sawmill Bandsaw Blade Basics 4 - Blade Thickness

Sawmill Bandsaw Blade Basics 4 - Blade Thickness

Posted by Admin on Oct 23rd 2023

Good morning this is Stephen Cook with Cooks Saw Manufacturing again and I wanted to bring you a video this morning and talk a little bit about the thickness of thin kerf band saw blades.

Thickness is very important according to what situation you're in but the whole idea of the thin kerf industry was about saving sawdust or gaining boards.

If you're an average sawyer and maybe not in the grade lumber cutting situation that's not the biggest deal in the world but we used to use circle saw blades that were a quarter of an inch thick and they'd have carbide tips that'd be quarter of an inch thick. That setup removes a lot of sawdust and thus results in lost boards. Well, with thin kerf blades we’re now only dealing with a thickness of 0.035. to 0.055.

If you're in a resaw situation where you are cutting thin boards this is even more critical as the thinner kerf will yield additional boards per cant being sawn. For example, there was as man making a high volume of fencing and after switching over to a portable sawmill and bandsaw blade setup he was saving a board per cant, and for him that was a big deal.

When it comes to portable sawmills the thinnest you’ll want to run is 0.035 kerf. On average most hobbyist sawyers run 1-1/4 x .042 up to 2” x .055 blades. This will vary depending on your horsepower and band wheel size.

If you get a 1-1/2” x .055 blade for example on a 19 inch band wheel there is going to be more stress on that blade going around that wheel as compared to a 1-1/4” .042 blade going around the same wheel. I'm not saying you can't run a thicker blade on smaller wheels if you're wanting to cut some production and you may need it to cut really straight. However, you may sacrifice the blade for production and it's all about that point of diminishing returns.

For the sawmills we sell the thicker the blade then the larger diameter of wheels we use. For example, we run 26 inch diameter wheels on our AC36’s and on our MP32 we use 19 inch wheels. We’ll run 1-1/4” blades on the MP32 and up to 2” on our AC36.

The whole idea of having thicker and wider blades is just sawing a little bit faster because you have more beam strength which is a result of the blade width and thickness. Ultimately, it is a matter preference. Experiment with some different widths and thicknesses and you’ll find what works for your situation.