We’ve all been there. Sawing along, carefully fine tuning your cuts, and all of the sudden, SNAP. Lying before you is another broken blade. The one thing keeping you from completing your project. Why does this keep happening, and how? Let’s help put your frustrations at ease with some of the following information.
Why Does My Bandsaw Blade Keep Breaking? In most cases it has simply reached the end of its life. As with everything in life sooner or later equipment gives out as it is used. However there are potentially other factors at play here. If your blade is brand new and still breaking, then read on to discover some other causes.
End Of Its Life
As I stated before, sometimes failure is just part of life. Depending on usage this can sometimes vary. There are typical signs one could look for to tell if a blade is reaching the end of its usefulness. Before we dive into that however, first we should answer what exactly is the typical lifespan of a blade anyway?
Lifespan of Blades
Typical lifespan of bandsaw blades can vary as stated before, but there are some ways of getting a general idea. In general applications a blade could last anywhere from six months to any number of years. Really it comes down to what you are cutting and if it is under proper working conditions. Such as well maintained equipment, proper usage, and other factors.
This is helpful to keep in mind because if your blades are not reaching somewhere within this average lifespan then it could be one of the problems we will get to later on in this post. For now here are some common signs your blade has reached the end of its life:
- Teeth are stripping
- Noisy and/or squeaky
- Hairline cracks begin to appear
- Blades consistency is not the same
Anyone of the above reasons are a good, well rounded, general guidelines to follow, not only with bandsaw blades but any blade in general if you think about it.Now that we know what the lifespan should be let’s dive back into what to do when it has reached the end of its life.
You’ve inspected your bandsaw blade and have unfortunately found some defects. You also remember it has been around a year since you last changed it anyway. At this point really all you need to do is replace the blade with a new one. Here are a few tips when buying a new blade, just in case it has been awhile:
- Insure the blade is the proper size for your equipment
- Buy a quality bandsaw blade from a reputable company
- Inspect for any defects that may have been missed prior to you
- Install properly and follow any other manufacturer instructions to increase the blades lifespan
Once you do replace the blade, and you followed all the above tips, then everything should be working just fine again. You will be on your way to finishing your projects, however if this doesn’t sound like your situation, then I encourage you to read on and perhaps discover some more reasons your bandsaw blade is always breaking.
Break’n It In
Both new and old woodworkers can forget about this step, which could cost you numerous blades until you figure it out. Just like a good pair of work boots, new blades need a “break in” period. Failure to do so as previously mentioned could cost you.
The reason behind this is the new teeth could be too sharp. Some might think this is a good thing, but cutting before it is broken in can cause it to defect at the ends resulting in premature blade failure. By “breaking it in” you are removing these sharp edges, allowing the blade to retain it’s edge, and cut longer.
All manufacturers will require this break in before you’re able to properly use your blade. The internet is full of good advice in this area and there are good videos out there to explain it more in depth as well. If you want to read further on the information I listed here then check out this guide made by Vermont American. It has some additional troubleshooting ideas you can do when breaking your blades in.
Now we all know you’re using your blade exactly as you should be, but for article and troubleshooting sake it is worth mentioning nonetheless. Improper usage could span multiple categories with your bandsaw blades. Some of those may be:
- Blade installed improperly
- Cutting improper material
- Using the wrong size blade
- Cutting to fast and/or to slow
Any one of those could cause those bandsaw blades to fail a whole lot sooner than what they normally would. Again we don’t doubt you, just something to keep in mind, before revving the ole’ saw up. Even if you did happen to have one of these happen to you, it’s not the end of the world just try to remember next time and also remember we all make mistakes.
Another factor could be the quality of bandsaw blades you’re buying. That old saying “quality over quantity” really applies here. In the next section we will go over ensuring you’re buying the best, or as much of the best that is within your budget of course.
Just like you wouldn’t want to be running a 5k in your grandfather’s old walmart running shoes, quality really does mean a lot. Not to knock Walmart’s shoes by any means there are just certain brands that do it better then others, and in my personal opinion, at least in running shoes, they are not at Walmart.
Popular brands such as Dewalt and Milwaukle both make bandsaw blades which you can pick up in big box stores. As well as several others, what is the most important is to do your research. Tons of people have been here before you, so let their trial and errors guide you to quality blades. The best way to do this is read reviews. With so many brands there is a blade that will work for you and your budget out there.
Another area to look out for is your equipment. If your bandsaw is as old as some of the first models ever created it is worth your time to inspect that as well.
What Is The Best Bandsaw Blade?
There are many different brands to choose from when looking at bandsaw blades. I’ve tried blades from big box stores and various online retailers. Over the years, I find myself coming back to blades made by Timber Wolf. You can pick them up on Amazon (Link) for a very reasonable price. Timber Wolf blades always seem to last longer in my shop and are slower to dull. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve bought any other brand.
Just like your blades overtime your equipment can wear out too. It is important to do regular inspections on all of your equipment. Any number of factors could go wrong with the machine which consequently can affect your blades.
Be sure to follow your bandsaw’s guidelines and instructions to proper maintenance. Doing so will insure a long life not only for your saw but your blades as well. Buying bandsaw blades over and over may not seem so bad to some, but having to replace and/or repair equipment all the time can become costly. Keeping your equipment in top shape will keep whatever projects you happen to be doing in top shape as well.
Can You Fix A Broken Blade?
After all the topics we covered, one might wonder if you could just fix your old blade. This could really help save you money in the long run as it would eliminate the need to keep buying blades. However repairing a blade multiple times is probably not the best idea, repairing it after a break is possible.
There are a lot of tutorials and how-to guides out there on how to solder your blade back together. Personally I would seek out Youtube for this as it would be more helpful watching someone else do this rather than read about it. The nice thing is knowing you can fix them, especially if you’re one of those that are good at stuff like this.
The best video that I’ve found showing you how to solder a blade back together can be found here:
Why Does Your Bandsaw Blade Keep Breaking? Well as we just explored there are a few different ways this could happen. Some of it can seem pretty obvious while other things not so much, but through our lifetimes we all tend to forget the basics so it is important to be reminded of them from time to time.
Bandsaws play an important role in woodworking, and can provide a great way to make the cuts needed to build and finish whatever projects you happen to be doing. As important as all of this is, it is equally important to enjoy what you’re doing. This could be hard if your blades keep breaking.
Using our guide as your roadmap, could help you solve the issue and help you keep long lasting blades for quite some time. I have even heard of some people being able to use the same set of blades for over three years before. Of course this won’t be the case in all circumstances and any one of the factors above could play a role, but it is nice knowing that with proper care, bandsaw blades can last for quite some time.
Good luck in all your woodworking projects, and have fun.