Re-Tipping Your Own Blades

Info on soldering new blade tips onto a swing-blade sawmill blade. December 30, 2007

Has anyone soldered in their own carbide tips on a Lucas blade? Is it possible, or better to let it be done by a saw doctor?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
I talked to a fella doing his own Lucas teeth. After all his boasting of his jig, his skill learning the right temperature, etc., I asked him how long he had been doing it... He said he doesn't do it anymore. Guy down the street does it better, faster, and cheaper. He asked, do you want to buy my jig?

Pioneer Saw Shop in Grass Valley, CA charges me 35 dollars a blade, and they are solid and sharp. Can't beat their work.

From contributor D:
I live a fair way off the beaten path, so I've done my own for several years. Had to buy a grinder to top and side grind the teeth. I've had a lot of trouble with teeth flying off. When the blades and seats are new, it's no problem, but I've had to rebuild my seats. I used a good stainless alloy (unichrome), and I suspect that may be the reason I'm losing teeth. I could use help with that. If you're near a saw doctor, it's probably the best way to go.

From contributor U:
I just did my own for the first time, after my saw doctor's price went from $25 a blade to $65 in under a year. I bought everything I needed minus the mapp gas torch from Bailey's for about $250. I followed the instructions that came with the jig and was able to set the teeth myself in about 45 minutes, not counting time grinding and sharpening the teeth. I could see it taking half as long once I've done a few.

From contributor D:
I hope it goes well for you. I started having problems after I had damaged the seats and had to rebuild the blade material. I also buy my teeth from a saw shop or online. They come in batches of 250 and cost about 50 cents each.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the great responses. Who do order your carbide tips from?

From contributor D:
I've ordered them from Simonds (huge saw makers) before. Another brand I've used is Camco. I'm sure if you Google carbide saw tips, it will get you where you need to go. I just dropped my 23" blades off today to get reconditioned and was talking to the guy in charge of the shop. He said it sounded like my seats were a bit dirty (even filing them leaves particles), and recommended oven cleaner to get them spotless. Apparently it's not a good idea to even touch the solder with your hands if possible. One other thing, use the black flux, not the white. I've heard and read that it's way better, for re-tipping anyway.

From contributor T:
Contributor D is correct about dirty tooth seats being the cause of lost teeth. When you remove teeth you should try to get all of the old silver out of the pocket. The best ways to do this is to skim the tooth seat with a grinding wheel or to sandblast it. You want a bare metal surface for the new silver to adhere to. The use of a solvent to remove oils and dirt just before brazing helps as well. When it comes to flux, the white and black work equally well, but the black seems to smoke a great deal worse. Just use flux generously, as too little can cause a bad joint as well. Whenever possible, try to use pre-tinned saw tips. Pre-tinned tips come with the silver solder already on them, which can be a great help since it's harder to get silver to adhere to carbide than steel.

For those of you who are thinking, "a sandblaster is not in my budget," you should check out the Paasche Air Eraser. It's a miniature sandblaster that works pretty nice.