Regardless of the quality of the engineering of any sawmill, it won’t be much use if the blades aren’t at their optimum quality. There are two important factors at play when it comes to longevity of your bandsaw blade; the kind of blades you use and how well you maintain them. If you want continuous smooth cuts and prolonged blade life, good blade maintenance is imperative. Blades should be changed at least every two hours of operation while many sawmill professionals change their blades even more frequently, often up to 6 times per day. Below are 7 key tips for prolonging the working life of your sawmill blades, whether you’re a hobbyist or sawmill veteran:
- It’s critical to store your sawmill blades away from excess humidity or moisture. Keeping your blades in a cool, dry place will reduce the likelihood of the blades rusting or pitting.
- It may sound obvious, but don’t get lazy when it comes to keeping your blades clean. Any sap, pitch, sawdust or general dirt will dull the blade of your sawmill which will in turn lead to more push-through force required leading to increased levels of heat through friction which will damage the blade and potentially burn the timber it’s cutting.
- If you choose to manually clean your blades, never use a wire brush as they can do serious damage to the blade itself. Instead, consider using a nylon or brass brush. Many sawmill professionals will use products such as ammonia to clean their blades and keep them in prime condition.
- When cutting hardwood, pay attention not to keep the blade too low as it may lead to the blade overheating. This can damage the blade by creating a thermal crack in the carbide itself but more worryingly it can cause fragments of the blade flying back at speed in the direction of the sawmill operator which could cause serious injury.
- Avoid resting saw blades on hard surfaces such as steel or concrete. The friction of blades rubbing on these surfaces can dull the blades by chipping the top grind. If you must set blades down, ensure they’re placed on softer materials such as plywood or plastic.
- When transporting or shipping blades, ensure that they are padded to avoid rubbing against each other or they may chip. Cardboard, thick paper or even light plywood between the blades will suffice.
- Keep drive belts tight to maintain drive belt tension when cutting. This will push more power to the blades of your sawmill and is especially important for new belts as they will need more frequent tightening.
Hardwood Mills is one of the leading suppliers of sawmills, blades and accessories in Australia. To discuss your sawmill needs, give us a call or send through an email today for a friendly chat with one of our sawmill experts!