sorry if this comes through twice, my first post hasn't showed up yet.
I finally found a benchtop band saw with slow speeds for cutting
non-ferrous metal and am pleased with it. However, the harbor freight
blades are barely usable. I've ordered a couple of Starrett blades in
1/8" and 1/16" from Enco. Unfortunately, they don't come in the size
to fit this small saw, so I'll have to cut them to fit. I've never done
this before and need information:
Can I overlap the ends, matching up the tooth pattern and silver-solder
the ends together, then grind them down to thickness? Or butt-joint? Or
do I need to weld them? I have an oxy/acetylene jeweler's torch.
How do I go about tempering the blade after joining the ends?
If the torch I have won't work for this, does anyone know if I can get
1/8" x 36.125" blades somewhere? I need 20-24 tpi.
Any help would be appreciated.
Every town has a place that makes up bandsaw blades. They usually also sharpen
blades and may sell tool parts too. If you find the business near you, they can
weld you up any blade in any length.
You can certainly silver-solder blades together. Most guys scarf the joints to
maximize the contact, and make a jig to hold the blade while soldering. I don't
know if you need to anneal after soldering, have never done that. There was an
article in Home Shop Machinist some years ago that covered home silver soldering
of bandsaw blades in detail. I have a little blade welder that butt-welds and
yes, afterwards they need to be annealed. Just heat to red then let cool, then
heat to not quite red and let cool, then heat to barely-still-black and let
cool. Easy with a blade welder that has an anneal button.
Your bandsaw surely doesn't need a blade length to 5 significant figures. I bet
it would take a 36" blade or maybe 35" or 37" also.
If your saw uses the 64 inch blade you had better stock up! I think HF is
discontiuning those, the ones with 3 blade wheels. I have been cutting
thinwall brass tube for many years using a HF saw and a standard fine tooth
I weld my blades with an electric butt welder, home-built and described
in HSM some years ago. (late '90, I think).
I found the annealing-after-welding to be quite critical; after a few
( I-know-what-i'm-doing-i-need-no-steeenking-instructions) I actually
read what's written on the bulk blade container. It said, "anneal weld
at lowest heat-only faint red colour should be seen in shaded light".
This for DOALL Dart bandsaw blades.
After digesting that enlightning bit of prose I rarely have blade
failures. One more thing, and this is rarely written anywhere: After
grinding the weld stress relieve the weld area to blue colour by
putting it back into the welder and giving it brief shots of "anneal"
Sure, you can silver-braze them using a scarf joint. A jig can be made
up out of some small aluminum angle and some bulldog clips or you can
get one, complete with braze, from HF and other dealers. If you see
the catalog picture, I'm sure you can probably come up with a home-made
unit that will satisfy. The drill is to give one end a half-twist, pair
the ends up and grind the scarf at the same time on a grinder to get
the angles identical. Degrease, flux, clamp in unit and braze.
File/sand off excess braze afterwards to fit your guides. No tempering
needed for brazing.
36" is a mighty small blade, it's going to have to be pretty thin to go
around the small wheels that unit must have.
Just contact DoAll, they'll make a blade of just about any size, any
tooth pattern, out of every imaginable saw blade material that's
available. I think they even guarantee their welds. Prices have always
been better than any of the local tool houses, just order over the
phone and they arrive in a day or two via UPS. If you have a nice set
up for making your own blades that's great (I used to make a lot of em
for a shop many years ago) but don't waste your time with Mickey Mouse
methods. The right stuff to make them is fairly expensive and not worth
it for a small time user. Spend your time working on the things you
like to do in your shop, let someone else make the saw blade.
> sorry if this comes through twice, my first post hasn't showed up yet. >
> I finally found a benchtop band saw with slow speeds for cutting
> non-ferrous metal and am pleased with it. However, the harbor freight
> blades are barely usable. I've ordered a couple of Starrett blades in
> 1/8" and 1/16" from Enco. Unfortunately, they don't come in the size
> to fit this small saw, so I'll have to cut them to fit. I've never done
> this before and need information:
> Can I overlap the ends, matching up the tooth pattern and silver-solder
> the ends together, then grind them down to thickness? Or butt-joint? Or
> do I need to weld them? I have an oxy/acetylene jeweler's torch. >
> How do I go about tempering the blade after joining the ends?
> If the torch I have won't work for this, does anyone know if I can get
> 1/8" x 36.125" blades somewhere? I need 20-24 tpi.
> Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks to all who wrote to help me figure out what I need to learn to
size my small band saw blades. The wide range of experience on this
group is a great resource which I appreciate. I'll check in with Enco
and see if they can order the correct size for me, and in the meantime
I will experiment with silver soldering the blades that I have ordered.
John, you are right, the wheels are quite small, I don't have the saw
in front of me right now, but they can't be much more than 5" in
diameter. This saw also comes with a diamond blade and a sump for
running wet and probably doesn't weigh more than 25 lbs. The blade
tracks well and it seems to be engineered adequately for my light duty
needs, sawing 16 ga. sterling sheet. I'll be interested to see what
kind of radius I can cut with the 1/16" blade.
My first project is to throw together some kind of soldering jig to
keep the blades straight and flat.