Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Band Saws and Band Saw Blades

Back in the Winter of 2013/14 the band saw blade on the band saw I have been using for years finally broke, so I decided to try and find a replacement blade for it.

After all band saws are extremely useful for cutting any kind of wood for DIY projects (using a thin blade band saws can even be used like a jig saw, making intricate curving cuts in the wood).

But when it came to finding a replacement blade I discovered that my lowly "hobby band saw" was so small that many stores did not sell band saw replacement blades in that size.

So instead I ended up buying a brand new band saw, and purchased one that had a more standard size blade (62 inches), which meant that if the new one ever breaks I just have to go buy new replacement blades and never have to worry about whether they have them in the correct size, because they are a standard size that are really popular.

The brand I purchased last winter was Ryobi (specifically a Ryobi 9" Band Saw - the 9 inches measures something else on the band saw, not the blade itself). Here is a photo of what it looks like on the right.

Asides from the noise (it is fine cutting through softwood but it screams like a dying cat when you cut hardwood) I am quite happy with this band saw.

As a tool, it does everything I expect it to do for my needs. Easy to use, operate, clean, etc. It is even easy to replace the blades.

Today, the band saw blade that came with it finally broke. I should note in broke because I was rushing through the cut too fast, possibly combined with normal wear and tear. So I need to go purchase replacement blades.

So I check Home Depot (where I purchase the Ryobi last winter) for the prices of band saw blades. I see a variety of blades, different sizes and widths. I double check the length of the blade I need: 62 inches, and I see right at the top two blades that suit my needs by a company called AvantiPro, available in 62 x 3/16ths and 62 x 1/4.

So I think I will buy 1 of each. That way the next time a band saw blade breaks I will be able to just open the packaging for the other one - or I can swap for the thinner blade when doing detailed cuts, or use the thicker blade when cutting through harder/thicker wood.

So now I am patting myself on the back for my wise purchase last winter, wondering why I didn't buy replacement blades at the time, and also fuming at myself for rushing through the cut that broke it in the first place. So reasons to be both happy for the product I purchased, but unhappy about my lack of foresight. That is my fault however, not the band saw's fault.

If you are looking to get someone a gift this xmas, consider getting them a band saw if they don't have one already. Also buy replacement blades while you are at it.

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