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Author Topic: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades  (Read 3292 times)

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Offline Arkyrick

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Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« on: February 13, 2017, 08:28:05 AM »
I am curious ??? I use lots of blades on my WM mill (lots of blades) how long do circle saw blades last?
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Offline Bert

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2017, 08:35:19 AM »
The blade itself will last indefinitely. Ive never had one "wear out". The bits and shanks are replaceable. A set of bits (about $160) for my saw will usually last 100-150 thousand BF of lumber sawn and thats with no debarker. About 5000 ft between light sharpenings.
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Offline paul case

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2017, 08:40:02 AM »
They have changeable teeth. The blade can last a long time but the teeth must be kept sharp just as with bands. A friend of mine who probably cuts 15000 feet a day on his circle saw sharpens it before he starts and at lunch break.

That is a 48'' circle blade. I am not sure how much mileage you would get on a lucas blade or other smaller circular blades.

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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2017, 12:55:14 PM »
Depends on what you hit.  I had ones last a really long time, but sometimes things happen that will wreck a saw.  Nails usually aren't a big thing.  1/4" galvanized is a big thing.  If you rip off a shoulder, they can weld on a new one.  Bottom line is that if you're rough on your saw, it won't last as long.  But, I have heard of guys getting 20 MMbf on those saws.  A lot depends on what you saw.  I only wrecked 1 saw in over 50MMbf on the above mentioned 1/4" strap steel. 

There is periodic maintenance that does need to be done.  I always changed shanks once a year, usually before things froze up.  Shanks will get thin, and they can be sharpened.   Shanks run about $7-8 apiece, and you should get about 2 MMbf on them sawing hardwoods.  You'll also need to get periodic hammerings on the saw.  Generally runs about $100 and I did mine when I had the shanks replaced or needed to get a repair due to trash metal. 

I haven't bought teeth in a long time.  I thought a box of bits was $150, and I could replace the saw bits twice on that box.  I only got about 50-75 Mbf on a set of bits before my production started to drop when the teeth got too short.  For me, it was cheaper to put in new bits than to spend more time sawing.   I generally sharpened at quitting time and at lunch time.  Sometimes you would have to sharpen in between, depending on what you were sawing and the time of year.

I ran a cost of sawing on a band mill vs sawing on a circle mill a long time ago.  It seemed that the $/Mbf was much higher on the band mills than on the circle mills.  Saw costs were less than $2/Mbf.  That included buying a new saw and all the bits, shanks and hammerings that went into it. 
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 01:31:56 PM »
On my old LT40, I saw about 1,500 bf per sharpening. But you have to understand that I saw mostly blue Pondarosa pine and the bark is knocked off very easily. I sharpen and set my own bands so sharpening costs are very low for me. I buy a box of 15 double hard bands for about $340.00 I average 12 sharpenings per band. 1,500 bf X 15 bands X 12 sharpenings = 270,000 bf per $340 box.  Of course you have to figure in bands ruined if I hit iron, but that doesn't happen often.
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Offline Percy

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 02:54:37 PM »
When I was working my lt70 alongside my sons 10 inch Peterson swing blade, my blade costs were higher than his. Can't remember the numbers but if either of us didn't hit any steel or nuggets, the savings for the Peterson was significant.
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 03:01:35 PM »
Percy, were you sharpening your own or paying to get them sharpened?  Most sawyers on circle mills sharpen their own and most band mill sawyers send theirs out. So this is also something that has to be factored in.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 03:30:16 PM »
Even sharpening your own bands has a cost. You need a band sharpener, and you spend "work" time doing it.

On a swing blade you sharpen on the mill in a few minutes. Comparable time to swapping out a band? It's actually a nice break to sit down under the mill and touch up the blade after a couple of hours work.  :D Drink of water and a sandwich, and you are back into it.

If you hit metal, then bad things do tend to happen, just like a band mill. Depends exactly what you hit, sometimes there is almost no damage, other times it can be sharpened, or you are only down one tooth. Worst case is that you shatter all the carbides. Then it's blade swap time, put a spare on, and get that one re-tipped. It's hard to wreck a blade completely because you are pushing it by hand. Even if you hit a rock or porcelain insulator that stops you dead, it's obvious that something has gone wrong, and you back out. You don't have the momentum of the log and carriage like a large circle mill, driving the rock and blade into each other.  You might mutter some bad words, but it's not a disaster. Cost is comparable to hitting the same rock with a band and ruining the band.

In normal sawing you get dozens of sharpens (at minimal time/cost) before the cutters are worn down. Then you are up for a re-tip, costing similar to a new band,

The blades are relatively expensive, but you should get years of service out of them.
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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 10:26:17 PM »
Costs me $99 incl tax to retip and hammer a Lucas blade which includes freight costs. I could braise them on myself for 1/3 that but I'd rather saw more log and let a sawdoctor do it.
Costs me $550 incl tax to retip and hammer one of the 42" saws, including freight costs.
Sharpening either we do in house... Maybe 5 minutes for the Lucas and 20 for the 42". We mostly run TCT but there's a couple species where I'll swing to stellite.  I got plenty spare blades for both.
Insert teeth have never been popular here.

The maths here is real simple. When you compare apples with apples the kerf saving on a thin band bandmill only makes more money if your cutting "highly valuable black walnut" or similar species in 4/4 or thinner thickness. In species where log cost is lower, or in the premium species if cut at 8/4 or thicker, the extra recovery mostly gets eaten up by the band maintenance costs. In short its more profitable to make more sawdust with a circle saw and put the money saved on bands towards buying more logs. Circle mills ( remembering apples with apples) will mostly run rings around a comparable bandmill with regard production per man day which is a big part of that equation.

In premium species that all goes out the door.

A lot depends on cut patterns etc but backsawing I never fret the kerf loss. Any "gain" a band would make except in real big logs comes as low value pith or shorts, and its negligible.
Quarter cutting I lose around 15% in real world recovery with the circles compared to a band which does give me pause for thought: I've been tossing around either a band resaw or sash gang resaw for a while.
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2017, 10:01:08 PM »
I love my circle saw.  I hate my bandmill.

The kerf argument is only important to bandmill guy trying to sell a job.   

I can cut circles (nice pun huh? lol!) around a bandmill.   popcorn_smiley

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 11:45:31 PM »
I think scale of operation is a big factor in that.

Sometimes I'll sit for a month running  nominally quartersawn flooring stock. We run circle headsaw and circle resaw like most Australian hardwood mills.
Flitches hit the resaw unsized, and you carve off inch boards till there's not enough left for an inch board and get left with a "dog board". If its thick enough we take a 3/4" board that goes for panelling stock, otherwise it feeds to chipper.

Thing is you don't need to be a mathmaical genius to hold a 3/4 board in your hand and know that after 5 cuts the kerf difference between circle and band would have turned it into a full board, or hold a 1/2 piece in your hand and know it could have made paneling.
2 flitches like that to the log, average 7 boards per flitch. So 14 boards recovered where there could have been 16, or about 13%.

Recover 100 ton and it could have been 113 ton. At $1600 per ton roughsawn KD ex mill thats $20k sent to the chipper which for me is borderline viable given band costs and equipment prices because I'd need a serious band resaw and they aren't cheap.

If I double my output in those species bands become quite profitable. And when we're in the high value rainforest species that sell at double that my sawdust pile starts to look real expensive.

I'm convinced that for me at least adding a band resaw is a smart move. No way I'd ever use anything but circle headsaws though.
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Offline quilbilly

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2017, 11:50:27 PM »
When i was milling on an Lt 70 we usually only got a few touch ups before the band broke at the weld. I must say we were pushing for production though and weren't slow once we hit a spot where we could push it. I've also though a twin blade like an MD or mighty mite mahoe etc followed by a band resaw or sash gang would really be best. If you were stationary that is. I think logosol makes a mobile sash gang though.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2017, 05:34:49 AM »
I've always taken time to be a factor.  Time is a non-renewable resource.  If recovery means that you have to take more time to get the extra board, then it probably won't pay off unless in high value wood. 
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2017, 05:51:38 AM »

 Longtime Lurker

 (I think scale of operation is a big factor)

 You hit the nail on the head, I run my bandmill by myself when sawing at home and it keeps me plenty busy, with a circle mill you need 3 to 5 employees to get the most out of it.  Steve
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Offline killamplanes

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 07:33:10 AM »
Operational size is a real biggy. And value of logs. My pea size brain, in a perfect world would go with circle for break down of log. Slabbing down with a circle mill, then resaw thru a band. If you went around here and looked at the sawdust pile from the primary circle mill. Then went to the gang saw shed and looked at the sawdust pile it is absolutely huge. Expecially if you were making 5/8 thick pallet boards or something.  But there again if your buying logs for a quarter a bdft. The sawdust pile doesn't hurt to bad, at a 1.50 a ft I would be a nervous wreck ;D
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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2017, 09:02:50 PM »
Right at the moment this entire kerf issue is rolling around my head a lot, mostly because I have to expand capacity in the near future... Say 12 months. My circle resaw is just about wore out, and either needs replacement or a major refit.

I don't see time as an issue much, mainly because regardless of whether its a linebar circle resaw, linebar band resaw, circle gang, sash gang, horizontal band either single or multi head: someone s got to stand there and drive it. So it really comes down to pick your evil.

Gangs make a lot of sense in terms of output per man hour. Sash or circle you feed it wood and it spits out boards in a very efficient manner. Sash gangs in particular interest me because you get extremely accurate cuts combined with band resaw recovery rates, but without the big band operating costs..  Sharpen and set them  but no need to hammer.
The issue I see with gangs or multihead resaws is grade: you decide today were running 4/4 and that's what you get, there's no option to look at the cut face and change thickness to a different use that suits a grade rule better or shim cut to remove a defect.

Circle resaw like we currently use the issue is kerf. Against which its the devil I know which is always a good thing.

Band resaw the issue is band costs. I'm not big enough to justify the filing room, and sending out big bands is going to take a lot off the profit the extra recovery might make.

Thing being that this decision I've got to make really is going to be a make me or break me one. I could play it safe and stay with circles, but my gut tells me that might not be the best bet because doing the same old thing can only give me the same old results ( albeit with less downtime for repairs) and those results are exactly the same as my competition gets also.

Brewco do a 2" band headrig. I look at the tube videos and wonder  how it would work as a linebar resaw. Band kerf, option to change sizes on the fly, bands we could handle in house without a hundred thousand tied up in a filing room. I'd like to find out more about that.
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2017, 09:56:33 PM »
I worked in the big soft wood mills on the west coast for 21 years (1971-1992) and never heard of or saw a circle resaw. This leads me to believe there must be something that makes a band resaw more affordable. And the more I think about it, the more I think it must be due to the fact that these big mills already have a whole wack of bucks invested in a filing room so sharpening costs of band vs circle are negligible. At that time most of the big mills ran twin band vertical resaws that were very easily adjusted for size on the fly.

But things are different now and the compitition is greater.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 05:40:02 AM »
When you get to bigger operations, bands do make sense.  But, you're talking on a scale of band much bigger than what is found on the smaller band mills.  Production bands are usually 1/8" where these smaller bands are 1/16".  You're using much bigger wheels and a lot more input hp. 

Hardwoods are much different than softwoods.  Logs aren't as straight, fiber is harder, and grain isn't always as nice as what a softwood log has.  Even the guys running big band resaws often have a circle mill as their breakdown.  You have to remember that most hardwood mills saw for grade, not necessarily yield. 

You're right about the filing room setup.  Once you have that, then you can go with all bands.  But, a small mill can't afford the investment of a filing room and training of a millwright.  So they either go with the technology that they know in circle saws, or they go to the thinner kerf disposable saws.   

Thin kerf saws don't take as much maintenance as a big band, and their lifespan is a lot less.  Bands can be sent out to be sharpened or they can sharpened on site with a filing room that costs much less. 
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2017, 06:40:35 AM »
If your a careful sawyer ( most owner/operators are) a headsaw can outlive you. I have a Simonds built in 1948 still good and the old Diston I have on the mill now is pre war, probably both wars. Everyone harps on kerf but circular production far outstrips the loss. What it boils down to is circular mills are a minor industry with heavy machinery wile bandmills are usually a backyard part time venture cheaper to buy, handle and move. Frank C.
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Re: Band saw blades vs circle saw blades
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2017, 07:12:20 AM »
One thing I have noticed over the time I've spent here or trolling the internet is that I've never seen anything like the high output circle resaws that would be normal in an Australian hardwood mill in the US. Never understood why either... Its a real quick way to double or triple the output of a linebar carriage mill.

My old doll is an older version of this, by about 30 years and quarter million ton of flitches.



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