How do I tell the difference between metal-cutting and wood-cutting band saw blades?
A common question among all fellow woodworkers, it gets us scratching our heads!
There are many types of saw blades that are used for different types of handiwork and craftsmanship.
There is also variation within the same blade type, as in the case of wood-cutting and metal-cutting band saw blades.
While they are similar and can do similar things, it is still important to tell them apart/ Sometimes, a metal-cutting band saw cannot do what a wood-cutting band saw does, and vis versa.
So, let’s look at the differences between these band saw blades.
The Versatility of Band Saws
Band saws are cool, versatile machines that automatically cuts through different types of materials.
Wood-cutting band saws are usually used for lumbering and woodworking while metal-cutting band saws are used to cut metal for various uses.
It is common to see a metal-cutting band saw in metalworking shops, but sometimes you need to cut wood.
Metal-cutting band saws can handle the durable wood material, but sometimes the fibers can get stuck in the blades.
So it is often advised not to interchange the uses of these band saws.
Metal-cutting band saw
Metal-cutting band saws cut metal, steel, and other aggressive, hard materials.
They are often available in horizontal and vertical designs, giving you precise and intricate cuts.
Because the machine deals with heavy-duty materials, metal-cutting band saws are much sturdier than wood-cutting band saws.
One of the features of metal band saws is that they can control the blade’s speed. This is important when cutting hard materials, as you need slower speeds.
A wood-cutting band saw does not have this important function.
(cutting steel using a metal band saw)
Wood-cutting band saw
Wood-cutting band saws are commonly used to cut wood and lumber.
You get different stationary units with a vertical design with adjustable features, such as a rip fence (guides or secures the wood) and a miter gauge.
This is helpful when looking for the best saw for miter cuts only.
The blades can easily cut through wood without leaving any fibers.
Usually, wood band saws do not have speed controls, so they are one general speed which is very fast.
This is best for cutting wood, plastic, and soft metals like brass and bronze.
What’s The Difference Between Wood and Metal Bandsaws?
Now, let’s look at the most noted differences between these bandsaws.
Cutting power and speed
This is the most noted difference between the bandsaws.
While they are made specifically to cut different materials, they also need different power and speed controls.
Metal bandsaws need higher power output and work at higher speeds.
You can often adjust the speed when needed. Wood bandsaws don’t need such a high-power output and work at a lower blade speed. You cannot alter the speed.
(friction from cutting metal)
Blade material and teeth
Metal bandsaws use high-speed steel or carbide blades, best suited for the heat created when cutting something.
You may see different types of blade materials on the market. Metal-cutting blades have fine teeth that give out precise cuts.
Wood-cutting blades are usually made out of carbon steel and have very coarse teeth.
They have many teeth per inch, which is best for softer materials and gives you the best cut.
The size and weight
Metal bandsaws are bigger than wood bandsaws because they need more power to cut through harder materials.
This means that a metal bandsaw will weigh more because it is bigger.
The wood bandsaw is used to cut wood and soft materials, so it is typically lighter.
Metal bandsaws also need to be stable to function properly, further contributing to their weight.
Cooling and lubrication
Wood bandsaws do not need any cooling or lubrication systems, as they only cut soft materials and do not produce so much heat.
On the other hand, metal bandsaws have great use for these systems, as it prevents overheating and reduces friction.
Besides saving your project, it also saves your bandsaw!
We have seen that metal and wood-cutting band saw blades have their uses and benefits depending on what you use them for.
They are essential tools that help you in completing any project you’re doing.
Now that you know the differences, you can carry on with ease. As with any power tool, take the proper safety precautions.