I am so new to band saws and I want to have a back up for my Ryobi band saw. It uses 62" blades and that Part I get good. When buying they all say something like 62" X 1/8 or 3/8" X 6/14 TPI. The main thing I get confused over is that middle number. If it says 1/8" or 3/8" etc. is that how wide the blade is? I am almost certain but not sure. Because what if the 1/8" means thickness? 3/8" would be pretty thick so I think that would be width. What is a good general blade width. And what would be a good TPI. I was thinking 6 sounded good, even though 14 would be more fine. But would is the recommended TPI otherwise? I am just doing wood cutting. Last thing is with installing the blade. How much "flex" should the blade have when I adjust that tension. I heard you should be able to take your finger and pull the blade back 1/8". That be all for now.Thanks
The main thing I get confused over is that middle number. If it says 1/8" or 3/8" etc. is that how wide the blade is?
You are correct. The middle number is the width of the blade. Thinner blades are better at cutting tighter curves, but are harder to use to cut straight lines. Wider blades are good for things like resawing, where you are always aiming for a straighter cut.
And what would be a good TPI. I was thinking 6 sounded good
What teeth-per-inch (TPI) you want to use depends on what kind of cut you are trying to make and how clean you want it to come out, similar to all other saw blades. A blade with something like 3-5 TPI is good for resawing and rip cutting. Just like with saw blades for other tools, fewer number of teeth means larger gullets, which clear out wood chips easier at the expense of how fine a cut you get. A blade with 14-16 TPI works well for a finer cut.
If you're looking for one blade, your guess of 6 TPI is probably reasonable. You could probably go as high as 10 TPI for a general purpose blade -- sometimes finding an exact TPI is difficult or impossible, but generally something in the same range works fine. For a general purpose blade, 6-10 TPI is probably the range you're looking at.
If you aspire to have multiple blades, I'd suggest a wide one, as close to 3/4" as your saw will support, with 3 TPI for resawing and rip cuts. You always want these cuts to be straight, so the wide blade is useful for this. A narrow blade, perhaps 1/4" wide with around 14 TPI is useful to make fine cuts. These are the two blades I almost always go between on my band saw.
What is a good general blade width.
In my estimation, 3/8" to 1/2" is a good general blade width. The thinner blade will go around curves that are a bit tighter, while the wider will be easier to make straight cuts with, so it sort of depends on how you plan on using it. Note that blades are limited in how much of a curve they'll cut, and attempting to push past the limit just makes the blade drift. So if you envision yourself cutting curved parts or templates, I'd go with the smaller one.
How much "flex" should the blade have when I adjust that tension. I heard you should be able to take your finger and pull the blade back 1/8".
That sounds reasonable to me.