As I daily consult with customers who own sawmills, I enjoy helping customers improve their sawing. I have found that there is a solution to every problem that arises from using thin kerf band blades. I have found that there are 6 basic rules to follow to solve all sawing problems that sawyers deal with daily.
As many of you who follow my writings know that when I find new information I share it. I have been saying 5 rules and now I am adding 1 more rule. Of course it is not me who controls the rules, it is our Great Creator, our God in Heaven. We can only discover his rules and apply them correctly and be successful. If we misapply his rules we find that we are less successful or maybe completely failing. I find that God’s rules of physics are truth and everything else is
false. To saw daily with success we must use truth. I have concentrated on making the understanding of these truths easy to understand. Some of the rules are simple and are what we call no-brainers, but several of the rules are sometimes rejected because a person may not understand them. Never the less, the rules do not become false because a person does not understand them, they are still truth and truth does not change. I praise God because he has supplied us with physical rules that do not change. We are not powerful enough to change the physical rules of the earth. I find that just because we do not understand a rule or if we are too stubborn to comprehend it, this still does not change it. Use it or lose it; that sounds simple, but it is true. We will have to use the rules that are put before us, if not we will be stubborn losers.
If a sawmill is built incorrectly without using these correct truths, what do you have? I say often “It is just scrap iron!!” If a company builds a sawmill that will not adjust to these rules, they are building scrap iron, they are selling scrap iron, and the person who buys it is paying good money for scrap iron. I don’t say this to insult anyone, but to cause you to think. If I purchase a portable sawmill that will not saw straight, I have just spent my hard earned money to get scrap iron. Money is too hard to earn to just loose it. Lumber that is not sawn straight is equal to sawdust or just rotting trees. No one wants to build with lumber that is not sawn straight.
Many people can weld steel, and hold a square, but if they don’t build a sawmill that is adjustable to accommodate the bandsaw blade, they are just selling scrap iron that looks like a mill. I will tell you that looks don’t saw anything. But a bandsaw blade held properly, directed and driven properly, will saw straight through the hardest knots in the hardest trees. It is simple - the teeth (on a quality Super Sharp™) are Rockwell 62 which is much harder than the hardest wood. When the tooth is driven correctly it will cut right through without hesitation. I know and agree that the harder woods will dull the tooth at a faster pace. That is one of Gods physical rules. Still, if the bandsaw blade is directed in the correct path it will saw straight
While consulting I find that many people battle bandsaw blades that even after sharpening, will rise upon entering the log or they rise when hitting a knot. They except this as the way that bandsaws work. I do not except this. It can be corrected if the machine is built right. When a blade enters the log it should saw straight in and continue straight. If a blade hits a knot it should not deviate up or down. It should saw straight through. Anything less than straight is unacceptable. It is easy to saw straight IF (here is the big IF word) you follow the rules.
These are the 6 proven rules that have been used with success by thousands of customers all over the world:
#1 The blade must be sharp (No brainer)
#2 The blade must be set enough to clear the body and does not have to be perfect, just has to be enough. A little extra is better than not enough. This is not as critical as most sawyers think. Spend more time perfecting #3 and #5 and less time making perfect set.
#3 The blade must be flat. If it is not flat you must us a band roller to flatten the blade. Never assume that a new blade is perfect for your mill.
#4 The guides should hold the blade straight away, never leading up or down; just straight away. Many people adjust the guide to aim the blade up or down when really they need to adjust band wheel alignment (rule #5). If the guides are holding the blade straight away, that is all they can do and the problem will not be corrected by tilting them up or down. It might help a little when desperate, but it is not the solution. The solution is with #3 and #5 most of the time.
#5 The vertical alignment of the band wheels must be correct to have correct pressure points to saw straight away. NOTE:( I am speaking of a horizontal mill and the rules are the same for a vertical mill, just rotate what I am saying 90 degrees). Just remember the band wheels control the delivery and the pull of the blade as it passes through the log or cant. So the tilt is very important and must not be overlooked and is worth the time to perfect.
#6 Band speed is important. Too fast produces too much friction, making the band body weak. Slower is better than fast when problems arise. What slowing does is it allows the tooth to get a larger tooth bite size and the dust will stay in the gullet better because it is larger. With the dust going out of the cut the blades will remain cool, therefore cutting stronger than eve r before. A good summer range is around 5500 ft per minute. For winter it is important to slow down to 4800 to 5000 feet per minute.
There are very few conditions that allow blade speed faster than 6000 ft per minute with good success. So I suggest if you have problems slow the blade down. Horsepower is of consideration also. Low torque demands switching to a slower ratio to slow the band speed and give more torque. If you have plenty of hp then you can run at the higher speed in the 6000 fpm range.
Follow these six rules and I assure your sawing efficiency will improve and your headaches will be lessened. In addition to the six rules you must have the right equipment to start with. That is where we come in. We can provide you with the quality equipment to begin with so that when the six rules are applied, life is good.
Take our sharpening equipment for example. Our sharpening system includes the best sharpener and setter built today. “Why,” you might ask? Because we are abiding by the rules to sharpen the tooth with the correct angles. Our setter restores the set accurately using the right pressures applied at the correct place on the tooth. Then, our Band Roller applies pressure using the correct shape to restore and maintain the correct flatness on your blade for your mill with your specific and unique setup. Satisfaction Guaranteed! It’s amazing how simple some things can be by just following the rules.
Follow the Rules! Don’t have scrap iron, or scrap wood.
Until Next Time,
aka... the "Saw Doctor"
Leaders in Bandsaw Technology!