Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Resawing with Confidence

I've been using 1/2" wide Woodslicer bandsaw blades from Highland Woodworking for a couple years.  They're noticeably smoother and sharper than the general purpose 3/8" wide Timber Wolf blades and leave a narrower kerf.  The problem is that the Woodslicers are dulling too quickly for me.  If I use them for anything other than straight resawing, they seem to dull immediately.

I had an important resaw to do on the previous project and the dull blade ruined $60 worth of wood.  Not realizing the blade was dull, I attempted it again when my cousin asked me to resaw his exotic block of zebrawood.  About halfway through, the blade just stopped cutting.  I'd push harder and it would just start burning.  Not okay.

I'm sick of owning a bandsaw with a 13" resaw capacity and having zero confidence in my ability to resaw anything.   So I started looking at carbide-tipped bandsaw blades, chiefly, the Laguna Resaw King, and the Lenox Trimaster.

Based on Schwarz's recommendation, bad press about customer service at Laguna, and a positive experience speaking with one of the reps at BandsawBladesDirect.com, I decided to give the Lenox Trimaster a shot.  The fact that it's American-made is a nice bonus, too.

I ordered the 1/2" wide version and it totaled $156 for my 111" length.  If it lasts 5 times as long as a Woodslicer ($30) then it's a winner.  Reportedly, it should last at least 25 times as long.

The Results

Holy crap!  It makes my bandsaw cut like a table saw.  The surface isn't as smooth as what a brand new Woodslicer leaves, but it's close.  It only takes me two quick passes with a handplane to smooth a ripped edge.  I'm amazed.

As in my previous post about resawing, when I attempted to resaw 4/4 stock, 11" tall, hard rock maple, the boards cupped.  This is due to them being kiln-dried.  Kiln-dried lumber develops internal stresses in the core of the board.  Once the wood fibers are severed, the tension reveals itself by cupping the board toward the cut face.

I attempted to remoisten one surface and let it dry to see if it would flatten out and bend in the opposite direction, but no luck.  I ended up just planing the high points to get one face mostly flat so I can run it through the surface planer.  For all future resawing operations when I'm using kiln-dried lumber (which is pretty much all the time), I'm going to just plan on leaving plenty of waste so I can recover after removing the cup.

In general, though, this is a fantastic bandsaw blade.  I am really, really happy with this purchase, even with it costing as much as it did.  Invest in your sawblades and get the most out of your saw.

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