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Suppliers Offer Tips on Sawing, Blades
Sawing Tips: Suppliers of saw machinery, saw blades and blade service offer tips and ‘tricks of the trade’ about sawing and saw blade maintenance.
Date Posted: 9/1/2007
For this issue of Pallet Enterprise, we asked advertisers who supply saw machinery, saw blades or saw blade service to write a ‘tip’ for our readers about sawing or saw blade maintenance.
On this page and the following page we offer four tips from Country Saw & Knife, Sawmill Hydraulics, Sharp Tool and Wood-Mizer Blades.
Along with each advertiser’s ‘tip’ is the name of the person who wrote it and a phone number where they may be reached.
Steve Mercer of Country Saw & Knife offers suggestions for troubleshooting portable band mills.
Dwight Helle of Sawmill Hydraulics gives some advice related to circular sawmills.
Paul Morette of Sharp Tool writes about maintaining circular saw blades for gang saws.
And Randy Panko of Wood-Mizer Blades describes a four-step process for maintaining band blades.
We want to thank these advertisers for taking the time to share their expertise with our readers.
Listen to your Band Mill to Troubleshoot Problems
Country Saw & Knife, Steve Mercer, (330) 332-1611
Listen to your sawmill!
Listen to the way the engine sounds as it gains or loses RPMs, listen to the way the band sounds as it moves through the log, listen to the mill as it handles theses stresses. Also, look at the appearance of the wood coming out the other end. What you hear and see will help you troubleshoot problems.
Normally, you will have more problems when you saw large diameter logs than smaller logs, and you will have more problems in dense cuts than in soft, in slope grain wood than in straight grained wood.
Therefore, you can get away with duller blades or less than perfect set-up of the mill in small, soft, straight grained logs, but you better have everything dialed in on the big, dense, slope grained logs or you will have problems. Adjusting set, hook angle, tooth spacing, blade tension and guide set-up for your specific needs all can help improve sawing performance.
Play detective and get to the bottom of every problem. Do it right away, and don’t wait. Poorly sawn wood wastes time and money.
Above all, listen to your mill.
‘Smart Pulley’ on Sawmill Often Overlooked
Sawmill Hydraulics, Dwight Helle, (309) 245-2448
We have found a few things that always work – all the time. Take a minute to see if these apply to your circular sawmill.
What we call the ‘Smart Pulley Syndrome’ is often overlooked. The small pulley on your head saw motor will wear out faster than the big one. If the top of the belt is lower than the rings between the grooves, you need to replace it. Slippage in the cut will lower the rpm, causing the save to ‘dive.’
The minimum mandrel diameter should be 2-15/16-inches with an 8-inch collar. Anything less will give you grief.
Be sure that both collars are tapered 0.004-inch. A credit card receipt under a straight edge is a good test.
Two bearing mandrels with the pulley on the end close to the bearing will allow easy lead adjustment, belt replacement and minimum mandrel ‘whip.’ Too many bearings are a problem, not a solution.
Put a computer on the setworks. Today’s computerized setworks are economical, rugged and reliable. The accuracy is head and shoulders above any cam limit system available.
Put a turndown device on the carriage. There are a lot of them out there for under $3,000. Find one and you will never look back.
Vertical edgers and winged splitters eliminate a man and increase the safety of your mill.
Equal Side Clearance a Key To Gang Saw Blades
Sharp Tool Co., Paul Morette, (978) 568-9292
For proper maintenance of gang saw blades, clean them first in hot water to remove all the pitch. Buff the blade if necessary. The objective is to provide a friction-free surface in order to reduce heating during operation.
Inspect the blade for broken teeth or strobs and replace as needed.
Check for proper side clearance. You should have a minimum and maximum kerf or clearance. Check for equal side clearance (teeth and strobs); this is critical.
Level the blade. Along with maintaining equal side clearance, this is another critical factor in properly maintaining the blade.
Side grind new teeth or strobs to match existing teeth or strobs. Face grind the saw blade; take down the new teeth to match the thickness of existing teeth. Do a top grind; grind the new teeth to match first, then do the complete blade to ensure all teeth are concentric.
Face grind strobs every time you sharpen the teeth. Just a light ‘touch up’ is usually sufficient since the strob’s function is only to keep the wood from contacting the plate. Keeping the strobs sharp will reduce friction and heat.
Now, inspect the blade. Do all the teeth and strobs match in size? Do they match in clearance? Inspect one more time for level. Some times during the process of brazing teeth (and especially strobs) the steel will move. You will need to touch it up.
Remember: 80% of a saw’s dullness is on the face of the tooth. Therefore, you should face grind 80% and top grind 20%. This also insures you do not reduce the diameter of the saw over time. Maintaining diameter is critical in double-arbor machines.
Four-Step Process Will Maintain Band Blades
Wood-Mizer Blades, Randy Panko, (800) 522-5760
The life expectancy (flex life) of band blades is a key issue sawmill operators face. Understandably, you want to get the most performance out of every blade.
Since there are so many contributing factors, blade performance is not always a simple issue. A good place to start, though, is making sure your blades are maintained correctly. We recommend maintaining your blades using these four steps: grind, wash, set and grind again.
The first grind alleviates gullet fractures, removes dullness and re-establishes proper tooth configuration, which is critical in maintaining the symmetry of all tooth angles during the setting process.
Next, wash the blade so it is clean of sap and burs and back to its original surface. This ensures setting, gauging and inspection will be accurate.
Now you are ready to set the blade. A blade is made up of a series of three teeth; one points right, the raker is straight, and one points left. In setting, leave the raker at zero and set all the teeth back to recommended standards.
In the final grind, enough material should be removed to eliminate tip dullness and gullet fractures, resulting in increased sharp and flex life.
A sharp blade, properly aligned on the mill, will cut with less work and stress to the band, maximizing the life of the blade.
Taking shortcuts in blade sharpening will likely result in pitfalls. So, the next time you sharpen your blades, or have someone sharpen them for you, consider this four-step process.