Blade Lubricant and Component and Blade Life

      Soapy water, kerosene, or what? Keeping the blades clean and reducing friction is one thing, getting longer life out of your equipment is something else. February 8, 2008

I have received 3 Timberwolf blades to try based on the high praises from many sawyers on this site. Timberwolf says never use water on the blade. It rusts and is not a lubricant at all. Use a mixture of kerosene and chainsaw bar lube and spray on both sides of the blade periodically when the blade begins to labor in the log. My saw manufacturer says never use a petroleum based lubricant such as kerosene or diesel fuel on the blades because it will deteriorate the bands on the wheels. What has everyone else done when running Timberwolf blades?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
You have really opened up a can of worms on the subject of lubricant. There should be a bunch of information in the Knowledge Base. I have been running water and Pine-sol for years and it works for me.

TimberWolf blades are thicker, and you would have to adjust your blade tracking each time you change back and forth from their blades to a standard type. I only tested two blades until they got dull and hung them on a nail in my sawmill shed. I keep about 36 to 40 blades in stock and did not want to make that big of a change ($). Also, TimberWolf's neoprene belts will not work on a TimberKing B-20 mill.

From contributor O:
I've had great success with Timberwolf blades on a Baker 3638D. As for lubricant, I rarely use any at all, and when I do it is straight diesel. I have steel wheels, no tires, and pine is the only thing I cut that requires a little lube. The Timberwolf blades come in many different sizes, pitches, thicknesses, and kerfs... They are great about talking to you about your needs and making a good pick. I have one problem with Timberwolf blades. They really wear down my grinding wheels on the sharpener - only about 15 or 20 saws to a wheel, which is considerably less than the Lenox blades I was using.

From contributor P:
My Hudson Oscar30 also says "never use flammable lubricant" for blade lube, but I thought it was probably a fire danger thing. My band wheels have a rubber-like material (pyrothane?) that I would also be concerned with when using petroleum.

From contributor T:
I pretty much ignored everything the companies told me not to do after I wasn't satisfied trying it their way. I run 13' 9" x .045 thick 3/4" Timberwolf blades on my Timberking 1220 that I run full time 7 days a week. I run the blades on the sawmill's recommended tension, not Timberwolf's recommended tension - it's way too loose.

I run water and dish detergent gravity fed to the blade. This does not lubricate the blade, it is just a slow, constant flow of soapy water that keeps the blade clean from pitch buildup. I also use diesel and bar oil (50/50 mix) in a spray bottle and spray the blade every few minutes of sawing as needed when I can see pitch building up. Not only does the water/soap keep the blade clean in normal sawing, it helps keep the diesel/oil off the wheels.

Running diesel/oil will speed up deterioration of the band wheel tires. My sawmill manufacturer claims I can get 400 hours out of their v-belt tires under their recommendations, but I get about 300-350 hours out of my methods. When they say deteriorate, they don't mean melt away, they just kind of slowly fray a very little bit on the edges and flatten out, just like they would a hundred hours later with normal sawing conditions.

Whenever I take a blade off the mill, I wipe it down with a rag and the diesel/oil mix and this keeps it from rusting. Also, I have about 40-50 blades in cycle right now and they are all about on their seventh or eighth re-sharpening, and are almost in brand new condition. I also run the same set and tooth angle every re-sharp. This allows minimal amounts of material to be ground from the blades, and minimal amounts of bending force against the teeth. I cut everything from poplar to locust and these blades work great.

From contributor O:
I run my Timberwolf under full tension as well. I didn't have much luck with the low tension Timberwolf suggested.

From contributor R:
Thought I would post another hint or two after reading others' responses. As I posted, I have been using Pine-sol and water for a few years and it works super because I saw a lot of pine. Another thing I do to keep the pitch buildup off the rails, under guards, and other parts of the mill, is to clean it good and then spray it with Pam. Nothing will stick to it, and if you do get anything on the area sprayed, just take a paper towel and wipe it off. In the winter when the ice and snow builds up under my horse's feet, I just clean them and spray with Pam. It reduces the risk of injuries to the animals. I buy Pine-sol and Pam at Sam's because they seem to have the larger sizes at a better price.

I am trying out a new set of v-belts that have already outlasted any belts that I have tried in the past. The name of the company is Jason Industrial Inc. Someone told me they were made in Germany, but I have not checked it out. I have worked on a lot of German industrial equipment and they make the best. I like them so much that I just purchased a spare set to have on hand.

I have been running a TimberKing B-20 for the past year and before that, manual mills. By the way, TimberKing has a new hyd clamping system for their mills. I am running 900 to 1000 lbs. of blade tension.

From contributor J:
My mill has steel wheels and I find a little diesel helps in tough cutting situations. Using water and detergent is hard on the guide bearings. With diesel, you can forget to grease them and nothing bad happens. I used to use water and Pine-sol and water and detergent, but switched to diesel years ago. I also have a setup that has a wick type material that gets the diesel on the blade. The drip type lubricators are okay, but most of the diesel flies right off.

From contributor B:
I run Timberwolf blades on my Woodland K4. Most of my cutting is in ponderosa pine, incense cedar and Doug fir with an occasional oak or walnut log thrown in. Until I changed to the Timberwolf blades, I had nothing but problems, which I think was due to not enough gullet. I have a good friend who is a retired sawfiler from a mill producing 50+ mmbf per year. He said that water will lube the blade, but most importantly, it cools the blade. As steel (anyone's steel) heats up, it will expand. As the blade expands, it will lose tension and in doing so, will not cut true. I am set up with a constant stream of water on the blade plus two misters. All in all, I would rather lube the bearings more often than put up with a wandering saw blade. A cool saw blade is a happy saw blade.

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