Understanding the Different Types of Bandsaw Blades and Their Uses


A lot of woodworkers say if they can only have one saw, it would be the bandsaw. The explanation is that it does so many jobs. It can rip, cross cut, and excels at cutting curves and re-sawing. Nevertheless, knowing your options for bandsaw blades makes all the difference in tackling different materials.
Let’s start with material – you’ve mainly got carbon steel, bi-metal, and carbide options.
Carbon steel: We’re all used to the old-fashioned carbon steel blades. They’re affordable and get the lighter duty jobs done for sure. You can use them on wood, plastic, and non-ferrous metal. We can further categorise carbon blades into flexback (flexible blades) and hardback (harder blades). Flexback is your go-to for softwoods and such. Hardbacks can do hardwood and excel at making tighter straight cuts.
Bi-metal: The bi-metal blade is basically your everyday blade. Typically, the cutting edge is high-speed steel with a softer backing material. High-speed steel means it lasts way longer than carbon, up to 5-10 times with quality lubricant. In addition, bi-metal blades slice through ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and also wood.
Carbide: These blades are for the seriously tough material.The tungsten carbide edge makes them tougher than bi-metal blades. Concrete, nickel alloys, stone – nothing stops carbide blades. It’s true that they cost pretty much. But sometimes you just need that dedicated abrasion resistant edge. Plus, these blades have excellent cut finish.
Other than that, you may want to consider tooth patterns and widths for your application too.
Tooth configuration is mostly for Bi-metal blades – it has alternating sets. Higher tpi (teeth per inch) means finer cuts but it can slow you down.And don’t forget types like skip vs. standard tooth patterns. Skip lets you resaw without fall-through but regular is better for curves and details.
Now widths come in all sizes but generally you’ll see anything from 1/8″ for small work up to 1″ or more for resawing big chunks. Wider means it can clear more wood but turns tighter radii.
So in summary – know your bandsaw blade materials, tooth configuration, width, and uses. You pick the right one and your cutting days will be a breeze!