Curing pitch buildup on blades

Sawyers offer various approaches and potions for preventing pitch buildup on bandmill blades. June 20, 2000

When cutting 14 inch and larger logs I get an excessive amount of pitch buildup on the band. Are there any spray solutions or other techniques that will prevent this?

A commercial mixture called Lenox I have used, made by American Saw in East Longmeadow, Mass., is an excellent pitch cleaner.

Whatever you use, be sure it will not stain the lumber or increase flammability. This is the problem with some mixtures. In fact, your insurance company may not approve of some homemade stuff.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator

I agree with Gene. I use Band-Aide from American Saw (Lenox). I mix two quarts of concentrate to five gallons of water for woods with a lot of pitch and have had very good results.

I've cut some really pitchy pine and hit a lot of heavy pitch pocket before, and all I ever needed was more water. This has always worked well for me but I have heard of adding Pine-Sol or dishwashing liquid to the water. Try turning up the water flow first though, it may do the job.

What set are you running on your bands? It may need to be increased for the larger logs. I would suggest looking at the information you can get on this from Suffolk Machinery.

I've cut a lot of red and white pine and used a quart of dishwashing detergent mixed with five gallons of water, running the water only a little heavier than normal, and got real good results. I don't know how red and white pine compare with longleaf pine when it comes to the amount of pitch, though.

I use a soap and water mixture (even though they say not to) but a quart seems like an awful lot to me. I put in about two tablespoons per five gallons and I have never had to clean sap from my bands. I usually try and adjust my flow as low as I can, to save water as well (I hate to refill that thing).

You might try mixing eight ounces of soybean oil and four ounces of liquid soap with your five gallons of water. Be sure to shake it up well anytime you let the sawmill sit for longer than an hour. I believe it will assist in removing the pitch.