Band saws are vital to metalworking. However, the blades are the most crucial factor. They complete precise cuts and intricate details. Sometimes you may need to store them; the best way to store them is to fold them. To understand this process, follow our guide on how to fold a band saw blade the correct way.
Why You Should Fold Band Saw Blades
A bandsaw blade is a continuous metal strip blade that goes into a band saw. The sharp blade’s edges are designed to cut hard materials like metal. The band saw machine is a versatile piece of equipment and valuable for all metalworking projects.
Given the high value of band saws, taking care of blades is essential to daily operation. Band saw blades have extremely hard edges, making them susceptible to chipping or accidental damage when you store them away.
Folding the blades preserves the tool and makes it easy to store. This ensures that the blade lasts longer and doesn’t chip. Folding blades also prevent accidents as the teeth can otherwise cut skin or snag on clothes.
Can It Break?
A band saw blade doesn’t break if you fold it correctly. Created with carbon spring steel and bi-metal material, band saw blades are flexible and durable. During the folding process, it’s difficult to break a blade.
In fact, blade breakage typically happens when you misuse the tool. Operating at improper blade tension or above correct cutting speeds can lead to blade breakage. You’ll notice hairline cracks in the blade’s gullets or on the back edge.
When a blade breaks, you must replace the tool to uphold the quality of future metalworking projects. Fortunately, proper storage mitigates the risk of accidental damage.
People often make a big mistake while folding band saw blades: they don’t protect their hands. You can’t touch a blade with your bare hands. The teeth will cut your skin. You’ll notice that you must push down the blades to create loops during the folding process. Doing this with bare hands will cause the teeth to push inside your skin (causing injuries). Essentially, stay safe and protect yourself.
Importance of Safety
Safety is essential to all industrial equipment. Before touching the band saw blade, it’s important to follow safety protocol. Doing so prevents blades from cutting your hands or piercing your skin. It also prevents debris from getting in your eyes. Always wear the proper protective gear. This includes:
- Leather or heavy-duty gloves
- Boots or closed-toe shoes
- Thick, long-sleeved shirt (roll the sleeves up to prevent teeth from snagging your clothes)
Steps for Folding Blades
Folding a blade is a simple process. When you understand the steps, you’ll fold blades in no time! After wearing the right protective gear, follow these steps to fold a band saw blade the correct way:
Place the Blade on a Flat Surface
First, place the blade on a flat surface. Make sure the teeth are facing away from you. You should place the blade on a smooth floor, grass, or carpeted area. Ensure that the workspace is free of any obstructions. You don’t want the blade’s teeth to get stuck on any items.
Use Your Foot To Hold the Blade Downward
Hold the blade downwards on the ground. Use your foot to hold the bottom of the blade and press it against the floor.
Use your hands to hold the top of the blade. Placed at arm’s length, ensure you have a good grip on each side of the blade.
Carefully Push Down the Blade
Now, push the blade against the floor. This will cause it to fold in half. It may look like an oval or a taco-like shape. As it begins to fold, roll your wrists to create loops. The idea is to create a spiral shape, and rotating your hands creates the curls.
You can create three to five loops depending on the blade’s size. After successfully folding the blade, use a zip tie to secure the loops. Now, store the blades away! While I started putting them away my mind went off and I started to ponder about who invented zip ties and I could not get my mind off the question.
We also have a helpful video you can watch that will walk you through the process of how to fold a band saw blade!
Ideal Storage Place
When storing the tool, it’s best to place it in a secure area. Use a storage box with dividers to separate the blades. Most holders can hold between five to 10 blades.
Unfold a Band Saw Blade
Understanding how to unfold a band saw blade is also essential to metalworking. You want to follow the same safety precautions and wear protective gear.
To start, remove the zip ties from the blade. Then find two open loops. Hold one loop with your right hand and hold the other loop with your left.
Move your right hand to unravel the blade. You want to form a figure-eight shape carefully. Slowly release the other loop with your left hand.
At this point, you’ll have a blade folded in half. Use both hands to unfold the blade. Then, it will reveal its elongated shape.
The goal is to unravel your band saw blade slowly. Given the blade’s flexibility, you don’t want it to “spring” open and injure your arm (or fling debris into your eyes).
Band Saw Blade Care
As mentioned, band saws are important to metalworking projects. The only way to slice metal and hard materials is with the blade. Thus, blade care is critical.
Along with folding the blade and storing it away, don’t forget to perform maintenance. Routine maintenance includes daily cleaning, visual inspections, and using the correct lubricants. Good blades can last a long time with proper use and care. Keep everything in the best condition by watching for signs of wear and tear.
Identifying a Bad Blade
Band saw blades are durable with hardened teeth. However, all blades are susceptible to issues. A “bad” blade usually refers to a dull blade. Overworking the tool or working it past its service life dulls the edges.
Dull blades cut slower, making you increase the band saw speed to complete cuts. This overworks the band saw and further dulls the blades. Eventually, you’ll notice a decline in precision and accuracy. It will hinder the quality of projects.
When you have a bad blade, replace it with a new blade from a reputable company like us!
Are you looking for a new band saw blade? If so, Detroit Band Saw Works have the products you need! We carry carbide grit blades, and an extensive library of band saw supplies. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!