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welding/brazing bandsaw blades

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  • welding/brazing bandsaw blades

    Just wondering whether anyone has any experience welding and or brazing their own bandsaw blades. I have a non standard (88") blade requirement. I know they can be ordered made up to any custom length - but sometimes there are good deals (sales, clearances, etc.) on blades of a specific length that could be "re-sized".

  • #2
    I know there are kits for doing this, but a good seam is such a critical component of a good blade that I have never considered doing it myself.

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    • #3
      we used to have a bandsaw with a blade welder at the machine shop i worked at, after a little practice, it was an easy and very practical to do. we bought coils of the saw blade material and welded our own blades...if course, this saw was designed to be a metal cutting bandsaw, so standard blade width was like 1" or something
      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      Proudly piddling in my garage shop | BT3K, Rigid 10" CMS, Rigid 12" Planer, HF Jointer

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      • #4
        welding bansaw blades

        U need a band saw blade welder to do it rght. Annealing process must be done or weld will break almost instantly.
        The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low cost is forgotten!

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        • #5
          I also have a non standard blade length on an old Sears 12" bandsaw (78"). I have to get my blades from Eastside Saw in Bellevue, WA. It's amazing that with all the boatyard activity in Port Townsend there is no place that will make up a blade.
          You can get a lot of special order blades for the price of a blade welder. They can be brazed but the joint is not strong especially if the brazing is ground down enough to not cause a bump.

          Tom on Marrowstone

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          • #6
            Several years ago I purchased the band saw blade brazing kit from Harbor Freight which utilizes a propane torch (not included) and after a little practice I have been successfully brazing broken blades all this time. I think I paid $12 or $15 for the kit and I have been very happy with the results.

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            • #7
              I've welded lots of blades but it was with a DoAll blade welder.

              Your best bet is to order custom sized blades from one of the places mentioned above.
              Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. - Thomas Edison

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              • #8
                HF - 280 Amp Bandsaw Blade Welder - $130

                http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=3663

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                • #9
                  I've used the supplies sold by Woodcraft with good results. I've shortened quite a few 72" Olson blades for the Sears 10" bandsaw (the one that looks like a Rikon clone) since it uses 70 1/2" blades. It's fairly simple - after one or two tries you'll have it. You'll need:

                  * a fine file, diamond hone plate, or a grinding "stone on a stick" to file an angle into both ends of the blade. You're sanding a miter-like angle into the metal to increase the bonding surface compared to butting the edges of the blade together.

                  * silver solder & solder paste

                  * something to hold the blade ends firmly. The ends need to be lined up with the angles/bevels overlapped and held together. Leave about 1 inch of blade on either side of the joint unsupported - just hanging in the air - to make room for the flame.

                  * A small torch. The Woodcraft kits have a plastic holder for Cricket cig. lighters. I just use the Harbor Freight pencil butane torch; it gets filled with lighter fluid.

                  Sequence:
                  1. Clean the blade ends

                  2. grind overlapping bevels into the blade ends

                  3. clamp the blade in the fixture

                  4. brush on flux paste on the bevels

                  5. Fire up the torch and heat the blade ends together. When hot, dab the solder and let it "wick" into the joint. Some folks like to cut a small piece of solder off, mash it into a small square, and wedge it between the blade bevels and then apply the heat.

                  6. Let the blade cool a bit. Then heat it up again, but not hot enough to actually melt solder this time. Heat up more of the blade this time and let it slowly cool - this anneals the metal, giving it back some flexability.

                  7. Use the stone-on-a-stick, a file, a Dremel, whatever, to grind any solder blobs off to get back to a nice smooth blade shape. Normally you'll "finish grind" about an inch to either side of the braze... just like feathering auto body filler.

                  8. Inspect the blade: make sure the back edge (opposite the teeth) is perfectly straight and that the two ends lined up perfectly; if not, the notch/step that remains will snag your bandsaw's blade support bearings/blocks and will damage itself and the thrust bearings. Give the blade a gentle flex to make sure the brazing holds. If the joint isn't straight, just heat it until the solder flows, use pliers, a screwdriver, whatever, to push the blade ends apart until they cool and try again.

                  A 10" inch bandsaw wheel is one of the "smaller" sized wheels; smaller wheels make blades flex more - stressing blade joints more. Mine have held up fine with this procedure. Very simple. The hardest part: finding a way to hold the blade while you file the bevels into it, and then to hold it while grinding off excess solder. Draping it over a corner of scrap wood works best for me.

                  Note: if shortening a blade, don't cut it open near the factory weld unless you plan to cut the factory weld out completely. Trying to braze near the original weld will cause you to overheat that weld... and it'll separate.

                  mpc
                  Last edited by mpc; 02-23-2010, 05:00 AM.

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                  • #10
                    What about using a flux-core wire MIG welder? Anyone tried using one?
                    Last edited by just started; 03-02-2010, 01:09 AM.

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                    • #11
                      bump bump bump

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                      • #12
                        I ordered a Timberwolf blade (Suffolk Machinery) for my Craftsman 12" bandsaw before I had it out of the box. I'm pretty sure it was a custom size for them and their order/manufacturing/shipping process easily accomodates it.

                        I have never broken a bandsaw blade, so learing to weld my own to save cost has never crossed my mind. If you do ALOT of sawing and are dulling or breaking blades your situation is very different from mine.

                        I'm a 'do-it yourselfer' with a lot of things - and would like to know how to weld a blade. But without the proper tools and experience, the blade welding thing seems like another 'trial and error' effort that I would rather leave to the pros. It takes time to install and adjust a blade- frustrating to break it immediately due to a 'learners' weld. I'd rather be making dust.

                        Good luck.

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