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Aubuchon Hardware Tip: If you have a large project, it's best to buy reciprocating saw blades rated for heavy use rather than standard blades. You can get heavy use blades for every purpose imaginable, from drywall to heavy metal. You can also get reciprocal saw blades designed to cut through wood that is studded with nails. These heavy-use reciprocal saw blades come in versions rated for speed, and other for slower, but more heavy-duty work.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: No matter what type of table saw blade you use, you can wind up with a gummy residue on the table saw blade from certain types of gummy wood. You'll need to clean off this buildup of residue using a bit of pitch solvent. Otherwise, your table saw blade will suffer from "blade drag" and can actually burn some kinds of hard woods.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: Never place your hand behind a working circular saw blade. Kickback can force the circular saw against your hand much faster than you can pull away. You should also beware of pushing the circular saw blade through flaws in the wood, such as a knot. It's best to abandon the cut and try a new piece of wood.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: Did you know the first step in prolonging the life of bandsaw blades is actually in the breaking-in process? For the first 50 to 100 inches of cutting you do with a new bandsaw blade, you should use only half the pressure you normally employ to push the bandsaw blade through the material. This minimizes damage to the new blade and prolongs the cutting lifespan.
Circular saws should only be used to cut material that is on supports. A common safety hazard is to place a piece of wood between sawhorses and activate the circular saw blade. Unfortunately, as the blade cuts through, the wood will bow as the cut progresses. This can pinch the saw blade forcing the saw back towards you unexpectedly. This is called kickback, and also happens as a result of sawing with dull blades. The blade is pinched by the edges of the material rather than slicing through, and will come flying backwards at the person doing the cutting.
Those who rely on an automatic cutoff feature on your bandsaw are free to set up a large cutting job, and walk away. The auto cut-off feature stops the bandsaw blades once the job is done. Does your saw have a thermal cut-off function as well? If not, the saw will draw current, getting hotter and hotter until a serious fire hazard is smoldering away in your work area. Don't leave a bandsaw with no thermal cut-off alone to draw current. You may just come back to a smoking pile where the saw used to be.
A reciprocating saw is basically any saw with a blade that cuts with a back and forth motion, such as a jigsaw. Some reciprocating saw blades, such as the jigsaw, have a limit to the thickness they can effectively cut. A jigsaw only works at about an inch and a half, any thicker material and you can get inaccurate cuts and an overheated blade. Never force such a blade - it will eventually snap. Reciprocating blades are more prone to breakage than other types of blades, it's best to have a good set of spares on hand when doing an extended project.
Cabinet saws and contractor saws are quite similar in many ways, but there are a few outstanding differences that may affect your decision on which one to get for hobby work or set of home improvement jobs. Both use table saw blades, both can use induction-type motors. The contractor saw has one drawback; it can cause a dust collection problem. When using a contractor saw, some may prefer to wear a mask to reduce discomfort during sawing. A cabinet saw doesn't have the same volume of dust collection, but one thing that may make you think twice is the need for a 220-volt outlet to handle the electrical needs of the saw. If you prefer a "plug anywhere" table saw, the contractor saw fits the bill nicely, in spite of the dust.
If you want to prolong the life of bandsaw blades used to cut metal, invest in cutting fluid. There are two kinds of fluid options, "neat" and water soluble. "Neat" is an undiluted fluid ideal for stronger metals or high-carbon steel. Water soluble can be used for softer metals and steel with low carbon content. The idea behind cutting fluid is to keep the temperature of your cutting surface low, so don't skimp on the fluid. Heating up your bandsaw blades will shorten their lifespan over time.
There are a few things to pay attention to when selecting table saw blades. The number of teeth is important, as well as the quality of the carbide tips. The flatness of the blade also factors in. Table saw blades that are considered "fine-toothed" will give you smooth cuts. You have the choice to buy "hook-toothed" blades which cut faster, but you will sacrifice some smoothness for the speed. Some people buy large pieces of wood or logs for re-cutting at home. If you like to re-cut, some woodworkers prefer the "skip-toothed" blade, where the teeth are spaced farther apart, and won't clog as quickly.
The main rule of thumb for picking circular saw blades is to pick the right blade for the job. Some wood blades are designed only for certain types of situations. Use a ripping blade for an extended cut that follows the grain of the wood, and don't use it on plywood. A crosscut blade is what you'll need for that job. There are many types of blades to choose from, including framing blades used for construction projects, and diamond-abrasive blades which can make cutting up to 30 percent faster. When buying your blades, many online vendors offer a cheat sheet displaying the type of blade with its approved applications listed. Consult this sheet before buying and you should have no trouble getting the proper saw blades for the job.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|