This question comes from Gatorbait. He writes:
“I value your opinion on tool recommendations. I am very new to bandsaws. I just snagged the 14″ Powermatic (as you know from a previous email) and am looking for a few new blades (only because I heard the ones that come with the saw are horrible). Do you have any recommendations on manufacturers, blades, etc? I’m running the saw with the riser block so I’m looking at 105″ blades.”
And here was my reply:
There are a lot of great brands on the market, but the one I use the most for general purpose cuts and resawing is Wood Slicer from Highland Woodworking. What’s great about Wood Slicer blades is that they did all the thinking for us. If you’re overwhelmed with all of the terminology (hook, skip, tpi, etc.), you don’t have to worry about it with Wood Slicer. They simply designed a blade that works well and comes in various lengths.
Now that said, you might want to look into a different brand so it is important to have at least some idea of what you should purchases. Here is a very general recommendation:
Remember, the ultimate goal is to make a clean cut and clear the dust and chips as efficiently as possible. To do that, you need deep gullets and fewer teeth. While more teeth may produce a cleaner cut at first, it tends to keep more dust and chips in the kerf which eventually leads to more friction, more heat, and a strained motor.
Another thing I recommend is that you actually USE that stock blade. The reason is for your own knowledge and experience as a woodworker. Many times, due to the over-abundance of information out there, we tend to buy “better” tools and blades on day one. But I believe that tendency robs us of an opportunity to learn the difference between good quality and bad. The stock blades do cut pretty well for a while, but quickly dull and become fairly useless (in most cases). So I think it’s important to try the stock blade so you can actually see and feel an improvement when you install the new higher quality blade. You will also learn how to recognize when a blade is dull. Even if you only get a month or two out of it, you are still ahead of the game. More importantly, when you spend good money on a premium blade, you will have first-hand knowledge and experience that will go a long way in helping you justify spending the extra dough.