Reliable Recovery

Written on 11/28/2016
Jake Peterson Peterson


We've all heard that bandsaws have an incredible recovery. It looks great at shows seeing this VERY thin blade make its way through a log. Not to mention the tiny pile of dust it makes.

Here is what you are missing...

First off is the small pile of fine dust. This is a consequence of 100's of teeth moving through the slab at an extremely fast rate. Its converted into dust. You must consider that if your circular had the same number of teeth you would get the very same result, a 'slightly' larger pile of fine dust. So, the difference of sawdust pile has more to do with a bunch of air encompassing an efficient removal of shavings.

Now let’s consider recovery at face value. A bandsaw may run a 3mm kerf blade while your swing blade may be running a 5mm kerf. That’s not much of a difference, but then again you want as many boards as you can out of the same sized log.

A circular blade uses a very rigid blade, designed to resist bending. A bandsaw uses a very narrow blade that is tensioned significantly to try and reduce deforming. The bandsaw also relies on blade guides to help resist this. The wider the slab the more prone it is to rise or dive down through variations in density (this is due to the guides being adjusted out to suit). So, it may look as though you are getting an extra board or two out of your log but most likely you will end up having to reduce your ultimate desired thickness when you get down to the point of planing these boards true.

So, our point is when sawing clean narrow slabs with a bandsaw you may find some recovery advantage over your swing blade. But when you get into your average sized log your bandsaw would most likely struggle to compete with the swing mill.

Bandsaw - calculate the 'dried' weight of sawdust at the log pile, then calculate the 'dried' weight of sawdust down the line at your planer. Now do the same with the swing blade (same diameter of log, same timber sizes). Compare the difference and prove us wrong!