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POP! Goes the Bandsaw Blade

No, it’s not exactly a children’s nursery rhyme. I was asked to do a custom toy order for somebody and spent every bit of free time this weekend working on filling the order.

“But John”, you say. “It was your birthday weekend, and you had to work?”

It was, and I didn’t have to work. I got to work. 35, and this was the first time I’ve worked on my birthday and actually enjoyed myself 🙂 So what does that last part have to do with my title? Absolutely nothing.

So this custom toy- it has a lot of little intricate cuts. My dust collector does a fantastic job of sucking both sawdust and small bits of scrap down through the hole in the bandsaw table. A lot of these little pieces are wedge shaped. Can you see where this is going?

For anybody unfamiliar with how a bandsaw works, there are 2 wheels. One at the top and one at the bottom. The saw blade is welded to make a continuous loop riding on these wheels. Think of a bicycle chain. Now, when you have tiny, wedge shaped pieces of wood falling down and getting caught between the wheel and the blade, which is already adjusted to a specific level of tension, “POP!” is not what you want to hear.

Unfortunately, I heard it twice this weekend 😦

Unknowingly at the time, this was probably for the best. When I was shutting down at the end of the day, I was cleaning up some scraps from around the bandsaw. The engine was burning hot. Clearly this model isn’t meant to be used in continuous operation for 6 hours.

The funny thing, and not funny in a ‘ha-ha’ kind of way, is that I had always wondered what happens when the blade snaps. I’m pretty careful about not pushing my tools beyond their limit. In case you’re wondering now, too, there’s the POP! and then the blade just goes limp and stops in its tracks.

I’ll tell you what though. $25 worth of bandsaw blades later, and it was still one of the best birthday weekends I’ve ever had 🙂

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3 comments on “POP! Goes the Bandsaw Blade

  1. lieslree
    March 17, 2009

    Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂

  2. Stuart
    May 19, 2009

    Hope you didn’t throw those blades away – they can be fixed (but realistically only if they have broken at the weld – if they broke anywhere else, there is a real chance that fatigue cracks are creeping in, and that is the end of the blade’s life).

    As far as fixing, a blade supplier will reweld a blade for only a few dollars. You can also get a kit to do it yourself, but you’d have to do a fair few blades to recoup the cost.

    Regards!

  3. grecowoodcrafting
    May 19, 2009

    Hi Stuart, and thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately, they didn’t break at the weld 😦

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2009 by and tagged , .
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