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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

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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.

  • How easily would the 1/8" blade break if I wear to make some mistake? I heard that the bands can go flying straight out of the machine. That scares me. And thank you much for the info. I will defiantly get some variety in blades. more likely staying in that 10 TPI since I will more than likely not be doing any rip cutting. – Ljk2000 Jan 9 '17 at 17:13
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    When blades have broken on me, I've never had it come flying out. They tend to get caught up on the wheels and guides. It's not exactly a pleasant experience, and it is startling. I'm not saying it can't happen, and like all power tools it's important to be cognizant of the failure modes that can happen when you're using it, including that one, and be careful of your hands, where you're standing, etc. But it generally seems about the same as when the blade slips off the wheels when the tracking isn't properly aligned. – Charlie Kilian Jan 9 '17 at 17:22
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    New blades don't usually break fast, even if you make a mistake. Instead the cut tends to drift. You'll notice the drifting and stop the cut before you break the blade. At least, that's what's always happened to me. On my very first 9" bandsaw, I did manage to get a thicker blade to bind one time, and even then the motor stalled out before the blade broke. Granted, it was a wasn't a very powerful saw, and I think that was a 5/8" blade. Still, that tells you something about how strong the blades are. – Charlie Kilian Jan 9 '17 at 17:27
  • Also, just pointing out, that Ryobi bandsaw that home depot sells is not even worth the time it takes to unpack it from the box. You may run into a lot of "issues" that aren't your fault but simply because the tool is total junk. – cathode Jan 10 '17 at 22:09

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