Ask the Staff
I have a standard 14" bandsaw blade, I think it is Woodslicer, 3tp x 3/4" wide. Can this blade be sharpened?
The short answer to your question is no; the Wood Slicer is not a blade you would have sharpened when it becomes dull.
Below is the long answer:
The Wood Slicer blade excels at resawing kiln-dried North American hardwoods and softwoods. It has a very minimal tooth set so the kerf is small, keeping waste to a minimum. It leaves a nice surface finish than more aggressive cutting blades that can also work for resawing.
We've only sold the 3/4" wide Wood Slicer for the past few years. The 1/2" Wood Slicer has been the blade our customers have used quite happily for close to 20 years. The 3/4" band became available and we offer it as a choice to our customers with larger capacity saws who kept requesting a wider Wood Slicer band for their machines. The 1/2” & 3/4” bands are identical in every respect except for width.
Our tests on a Delta 14" saw with a riser kit showed that the 3/4" Wood Slicer performed exactly the same as the 1/2" wide Wood Slicer. You can spend more money on the wider Wood Slicer, but you may find the 1/2" works just as well as the 3/4”. If the Wood Slicer is new to you, whether it is the 1/2” or 3/4” wide band, after you’ve used it and it becomes time to replace it, you could consider switching to the other width as a trial. You can then compare how your saw cut with the new width blade, versus the history of previous width blade. This benchmark for your own saw will help you determine which band width to stick with. For those who haven’t yet purchased a Wood Slicer, you may want to start with the 1/2” width band (hey, it costs less) and once dull, splurge on the 3/4” and note if the extra cost translates into a worthwhile increase in cutting performance on your saw.
The majority of our customers have 14” diameter consumer grade saws (or smaller). While some of these saws can mount a 3/4” wide band, that width somewhat pushes the envelope of capacity for those saws (in our opinion). For larger capacity saws this is not the case, though running a wider blade (of any ilk) does not automatically mean your saw will cut better when resawing. Blade width cannot make up for a poor tuned saw or an unsuitable blade tooth configuration for the cutting task.
As far as other blades for your saw, if you need to cut tight curves or thin material, narrower blades with a higher tooth count per inch are blades that perform these tasks well. As a band saw owner, you should have a selection of blades on-hand to meet the differing needs of the material and tasks you are performing. Changing blades takes some time, but the more you do it on your saw, the easier it becomes and the better you get at setting up your band saw for optimal cutting results.
In our opinion, there is no one perfect general purpose blade for the band saw. You can get by with just one blade if you are cutting only one type of material, in one particular fashion, and nothing else.
With many exotics, you have to deal with very abrasive and dulling woods when using standard steel blades (versus a carbide tipped blade). To resaw exotics with a Wood Slicer, the blade may dull quickly and the performance will diminish. This is in part to the rigors of the resawing process and the fact that the set on the blade's teeth is so scant (this very slight tooth set is what enables the blade to leave a smooth finish). With this slight set, when the blade dulls it becomes harder to track well in the cut. To spend $30 on a blade that has a short life cutting exotics has to be weighed against spending less on a standard 3-TPI 1/2" blade that will resaw OK and have greater blade longevity, but gives a rougher finish than a Wood Slicer. You could go with a carbide tipped blade that will have a long life and a large kerf, but may cost well over $100 (we don't sell carbide tipped blades). The cost of a carbide-tipped band saw blade could make it worth the cost of having it sharpened. The cost for a sharpening service to sharpen a Wood Slicer would be so close to replacement cost, it is not economically viable and with the small set to the teeth, unlikely the sharpen job could match the performance of a new blade.
We suggest to our Wood Slicer customers that when they are finished resawing, take the blade off the saw and hang it on the wall. Save the sharpness of the blade for the rigors of resawing and use a less expensive blade general purpose blade for your daily cutting of stock in the shop.
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