Wrong blade on Porta Band???

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
As you know I bought the Bauer brand saw. I also bought #18 band saw blades at HF also. Yes I know they are the bottom of the barrel but they are not making a scratch in my 3/16 unhardened 1090 steel. I did see Ed recommended cobalt but I was hoping at least I could get started on a knife with these cheap blades. I thought I could at least cut one blade with it. It did cut 1/4 inch aluminum table I built for it. Anybody use the Bauer brand blades and if so which number?
 
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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I suspect the problem is two fold.....
1. The low quality of the blade itself.
2. Even though the steel is "unhardened"..... it's very likely spherodized annealed, which is an easy/cheap way to finish steel out by manufacturers.
What does that mean? Simply put, it's half way annealed. Ever try to drill a hole in steel....the bit starts to cut, then after a few thousandths, cutting stops, the bit squeals and/or smokes, and you destroy the bit? That piece of steel was likely spherodized annealed. I know it sucks, but it's always a good practice, in the way of tool/bit conservation, to anneal, or at least thermal cycle "knife steel" prior to trying to cut or drill it.

I'm assuming you don't have a heat treat oven? If not, cut off the length you need for what you're doing, then pre-heat your kitchen oven at it's highest temp, then put the steel in there for at least 2 hours. When you bring it out, allow it to cool NATURALLY, then try cutting it....it's not ideal, but what you'd be doing is tempering the steel to where it's close to dead soft.....and you SHOULD be able to cut the steel. If it's just "spot" softening that's needed, such as for drilling holes, you can "shine" up the steel, and use a propane torch to heat that spot ...watch closely....colors will start at "straw" (gold color), and go through several different colors. Once you reach a "sky blue", pay close attention! After that the color will go to a slate gray.......once there STOP and DO NOT QUENCH IT! LET IT COOL NATURALLY! The big KEY here is to NOT get the steel hot enough to be even a very dull red.....is so, it'll be harder then when you started.
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
I suspect the problem is two fold.....
1. The low quality of the blade itself.
2. Even though the steel is "unhardened"..... it's very likely spherodized annealed, which is an easy/cheap way to finish steel out by manufacturers.
What does that mean? Simply put, it's half way annealed. Every try to drill a hole in steel....the bit starts to cut, then after a few thousandths, cutting stops, the bit squeals and/or smokes, and you destroy the bit? That piece of steel was likely spherodized annealed. I know it sucks, but it's always a good practice, in the way of tool/bit conservation, to anneal, or at least thermal cycle "knife steel" prior to trying to cut or drill it.

I'm assuming you don't have a heat treat oven? If not, cut off the length you need for what you're doing, then pre-heat your kitchen oven at it's highest temp, then put the steel in there for at least 2 hours. When you bring it out, allow it to cool NATURALLY, then try cutting it....it's not ideal, but what you'd be doing is tempering the steel to where it's close to dead soft.....and you SHOULD be able to cut the steel.
Hi Ed , I have a kiln so I can bring it up to high temp. What temp should I bring it too.? Then I assume I don’t quench it. Just let it cool.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
If you have vermiculite, I'd go a full on anneal...... heat to 1525-1550F, then get it into vermiculite, and allow to cool overnight. Remember! The steel MUST be at temp when it goes into the vermiculite.....very often this fails for people when they take the steel/blade out of their kiln, then walk 10+feet to the vermiculite.....in that time the steel has cooled, and gets slightly hard, rather then soften. If you don't have vermiculite, you could just let the steel cool down IN/WITH the kiln.....how long that takes depends on your kiln and how much steel you put in it.....but it should come out way softer then it was previously.
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
If you have vermiculite, I'd go a full on anneal...... heat to 1525-1550F, then get it into vermiculite, and allow to cool overnight. Remember! The steel MUST be at temp when it goes into the vermiculite.....very often this fails for people when they take the steel/blade out of their kiln, then walk 10+feet to the vermiculite.....in that time the steel has cooled, and gets slightly hard, rather then soften. If you don't have vermiculite, you could just let the steel cool down IN/WITH the kiln.....how long that takes depends on your kiln and how much steel you put in it.....but it should come out way softer then it was previously.
Ok I don’t have it. So I will let it cool in the kiln. I’ll let you know how I make out. Thanks for the advice Ed
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
Success, THANKS Ed, 1550 degrees and let it sit in the kiln until about 400; then took it out to cool a little more. I rushed it a bit but the blade cut it. While I was waiting I ordered some cobalt blades. I didn’t know that little tidbit about the blank still being somewhat hard from the manufacturer.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Awesome! Glad it worked! The only final note I can offer is to ensure you LET THE SAW DO THE WORK! That means DO NOT cram or apply HARD pressure when cutting.....all that will do is either rip off teeth, or not allow chips to clear the gullets, and burn the blade up. Slow and steady! Don't try to ice skate uphill!!! :)
 

springer82

Well-Known Member
Just wondering,,,,,
For us at the local Big Box stores saw bladed come in two ways. Mush metal for 2x4,s and warm butter and Bi-metal for us. Did your saw blade say Bi-Metal on it????? I can get mine at two places in town. Fleet Farm and HF. If it does NOT say Bi-Metal on it,, it is not! Buyer beware.
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
Just wondering,,,,,
For us at the local Big Box stores saw bladed come in two ways. Mush metal for 2x4,s and warm butter and Bi-metal for us. Did your saw blade say Bi-Metal on it????? I can get mine at two places in town. Fleet Farm and HF. If it does NOT say Bi-Metal on it,, it is not! Buyer beware.
Yes it does say Bi Metal. I cut one 12 inch knife with it so far. I dont Know how many knives I can get out of it. It’s a hobby so I am ok if the blade doesn’t. Do to many, although I ordered some cobalts so see how they work.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I've used nothing but 8% cobalt blades for years..... they cost more, but outlast bi-metal blades at least 5 to 1 if not more. The key, as I said before is DO NOT cram what you're cutting into the blade(s)..... light, even pressure is the way to go..... heavy pressure when cutting usually ends one of two ways..... 1. Teeth get ripped off. 2. The pressure doesn't allow the gullets to clear, and the blade overheats and is wrecked.

I still find myself amazed when others work in my shop.....I always have to tell them to "lighten up!" when they are using the band saw or drill press. Getting in a hurry with either, and trying to make it do more then it's capable of....never ends well. ;)
 

springer82

Well-Known Member
Ed where do you get your saw blades. I did a search but did not find anything that listed cobalt. I found carbide. Not on my saw!! lol,,,
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I buy mine off Ebay....there is a retired guy outta Florida who makes/sells them. It's hit-n-miss though....sometimes he has listing, and something not. I just check regularly by searching for "44 7/8" 8% cobalt". When I buy, it's usually in quantities of 25 or 50.....so I only buy once or twice a year. Here lately he seems to be more "miss".....I've not seen him list anything in a couple of months. But it's well worth keeping an eye out for.

If you guys are buying the blades listed above, be darn careful! Those are 14/18 tooth blades.....if you don't do a "break in" on them, or place even slightly too much pressure on them....you're gona rip the larger teeth off.....and you've never had a rodeo like trying to hold onto/cut something with a blade missing a tooth or two. I also think you're way overpaying versus the ones I get off Ebay..... You're paying $7 per blade for a 3-pak. On Ebay, the one's I get in 25 or 50 lots is more like $2-3 per blade.
 

springer82

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ed and Gliden. I've got a little Northern Tool saw. I'll be looking for a 41.5" x .5 blade. I'll also be looking for more teeth then 14/18. I'll see what I can find.
 

Jason Volkert

Well-Known Member
I get Starrett blades that have cobalt. I bought them on ebay. They last unbelievably long. I have the Bauer portable bandsaw and have used the Bauer Blades. The Starrett Blades last 5 times longer.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I'll be looking for a 41.5" x .5 blade
That's gona be one of the more difficult blades to find....it's not a "standard" size. I made the mistake years ago, of buying a Craftsman wood bandsaw, because it was "ON SALE" and I grabbed it before thinking things through..... it takes a 70 1/2" blade. I didn't grasp it until I went looking for blades, and found the ONLY commercial source was Sears... and the blades were pure junk! The only way I could get decent quality blades was to have them custom made....which was about the same money as the saw cost. Lesson Learned! I'll only purchase a saw (no matter what the type) that takes "standard" size blades.

Any time you run across a piece of cutting equipment that doesn't use standard sized blades, it will likely be much cheaper then a counterpart that uses standard size blades, cutters, etc...... the reason is that you'll only have a single source for consumables, or will have to get custom made consumables. You'll wind up spending a lot of money then necessary.
 
I once bought a used Craftsman band saw years ago that took an oddball blade. I cut the frame, and made brackets that moved the top wheel up about an inch and now it uses standard 80" blades. It still works fine to this day.
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
I buy mine off Ebay....there is a retired guy outta Florida who makes/sells them. It's hit-n-miss though....sometimes he has listing, and something not.

If you guys are buying the blades listed above, be darn careful! Those are 14/18 tooth blades.....if you don't do a "break in"
So I looked my order and I did check off just the 18 size, although it says 18 Wavy. What does that mean0BAC3130-6363-417B-B9A1-12DD45BFA443.png
 
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