Q & A with Stewart Norman of EPS Services and Tooling archive

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Q and As with Stewart Norman, Sales Support Manager for EPS Services and Tooling

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Q and As with Stewart Norman, Sales Support Manager for EPS Services and Tooling

Stewart has been with EPS for two years and previously worked as a cabinet maker for 14 years.

Q: How do I select the correct blade width for my bandsaw?

Stewart says: "As always, safety is paramount. A blunt blade is incredibly dangerous. A bandsaw does not gradually lose its edge - it is sharp, sharp, sharp then blunt. It can go from being useable to dangerous in a very short time. We have noticed through the downturn how businesses and individuals have sometimes tried to extend the life of their bandsaw blades and not replaced them as frequently as they should. This is a very dangerous as worn blades can crack or break. Choosing the correct bandsaw very much depends on what you are intending to do with it. For cut-off sawing the blade should be as wide as the machine will allow. The wider the band is, the straighter the cut will be. For more complex operations such as contour sawing the blade should be as wide as the machine allows, but still narrow enough so that it can cut the desired shape.

Blade width is measured from the tips of the teeth to the back edge of the blade. Always follow the instructions provided with the particular machine being used.

If you are not sure what blade is suitable the best all-rounder is half inch by 6 TPI, it fits most machines and is very versatile."

Q: There are so many different tooth styles - how do I select the right style and set?

Stewart says: "There are a number of different tooth styles. The most commonly used is the Regular Tooth - ideally suited for both cut-off and contour sawing of most materials or for cutting thin materials where a fine cut is required. Skip Tooth blades feature widely spaced teeth with a 0º rake angle to prevent clogging when cutting soft, non-ferrous metals, plastics and wood. The Hook Tooth features a positive 10º rake angle which helps to "dig-in", resulting in a higher cutting rate, recommended for long cuts into thicker wood, plastic and metal. The Raker Set tooth consists of one to the left, one to the right and one tooth (raker) is unset. This set is used for cutting thick, solid metal sections on horizontal cut-off machines. It is also used for contour cutting and resawing on vertical

band machines. The Modified Raker Set tooth pattern is left, right, left, right, and straight (unset or raker for cutting wood on any two-wheel vertical stationary bandsaw.)

The Alternate Set or double alternate plus raker set blades are designed for cutting wood and provide faster, smoother cuts.

Finally, the Wavy Set pattern has groups of teeth set to the left and to the right, separated by unset raker teeth. It is made primarily with small teeth and is recommended for cutting thinner sections - tubes, pipes, thin sheets and other small shapes."

Q: What difference does the number of teeth per inch make to the job?

Stewart says: "There is an industry formula you can use which is very complex but personally I would never have more than three TPI in the timber. Always go for the most aggressive blade possible with the fewest teeth. Many home hobbyists tend to run their blades too long.

The number of teeth per inch (TPI) is important in obtaining the finish desired and the proper feed rate. A coarse tooth blade (2, 3 TPI) should be used for resawing wood and cutting thicker stock up to 8in. A fine-toothed blade (18-32 TPI) should be used for thinner

metals and plastics under 1/4in. For general cutting of 3/4in wood 4 TPI will provide a fast cut and 14 TPI will cut slow but leave a smoother finish.

The thing to remember is that the higher the TPI the smoother but slower cut. Fewer TPI allow a faster cut with a slightly rougher finish."

And there we have it - to find about more about EPS Services & Tooling, based in both Somerset and Fife, visit www.eps-services.co.uk

Woodworkers Institute

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bandsaw , EPS