Tough Bandsaw Blades for Dirty Logs

      No bandmill blade is really a match for rocks or gravel. But here is some advice on tough blades and cleaning and sawing methods for dirty logs. January 2, 2012

Is there a blade on the market that really stands out in saw time and holds up to embedded gravel? I'm probably dreaming.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
Perhaps a carbide blade. I've never tried one. They run about $200. Gravel is going to dull any regular steel blade very quickly. Powerwashing and/or debarking the logs may work for you.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Actually, carbide is brittle, so when it hits a rock, it will crack. Gravel is so hard that I believe it will damage any material used for blades and teeth in wood band saws.

From contributor V:
If dealing with gravel a lot, it might be good to get a debarker set up.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Although I have not tested this myself, I have heard that power washing does great on eliminating gravel.

In the old days (prior to 1965) I saw hydraulic debarkers where very high pressure water was used to debark the logs.

From contributor I:
I agree with Doc that there is not a blade out there that a rock will not kill. Also I do power wash most of my logs as that will take the dirt, mud and any rocks off and sometimes even the bark. My main problem is dirt and mud which will dull a blade very fast if not removed.

From contributor A:
While none are for really sawing through rocks and mud, I have found that 0.055 blades do hold up a bit better when cutting dirty stuff and nails.

One time when my debarker blade broke on the road and I was sawing logs that were covered with sand, I came up with a sawing technique that helped a lot. I was sawing SYP and making 1x side wood and 8x8 timbers from the middle. So I put the log on the mill and centered the pith and cut 4 inches up from the pith. I took the very heavy slab and pushed it off on my loading arms. I rotated the log so my next cut was cutting clean wood to take off the next slab. When the log was cut up I put the big slab back up on the deck and sawed it up, cutting into clean wood. That way my blade only had to cut through the sandy bark one time for each log.

From contributor B:
The other day I decided to test a new 7 deg Wood-Mizer DoubleHard to see how tough it was. The easiest thing to find to test it on was the two-plane clamp. The main part of the clamp is forged steel of some kind but the face is some kind of hard tool steel. The blade (second picture) did not show much real damage. Only some steel welded to the teeth. I'm going to re-sharpen it.

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