Breaking Records with 2" Bandsaw Blades

by Tim Cook

For the operator of a thin kerf style sawmill or resaw looking for high production sawing there is little that can compete with the production that a 2” wide blade can provide. In addition, the investment of a 2” blade is nothing in comparison with the type of board yield you can receive when sawing with them in a high production operation.

Sawing with a 2” blade at first can sometimes feel intimidating for some people and even to some sawmill companies as we’ve recently seen companies jump into building sawmills or resaws with a 2” blade setup only to stop offering that option after a short time.  Essentially, making a 2” blade run is fundamentally the same as making any other blade size run. You just have to understand those fundamentals.

Most companies can produce a sawmill that can effectively run 1” and 1-1/4” blades fairly easy, and some companies are successful with 1-1/2” blades as well. But it’s when a company steps up into the arena of 2” thin kerf, high production sawing that you start separating the men from the boys.

The 2” blade is just right for high production. When I say ‘high production’ I’m speaking of 1,000+ bd.ft. an hour minimum; we have customers who are sawing at a legitimate 160 bd.ft. per minute with the Cook’s 2” Super Sharp™.  

If you’re currently running a 2” blade and not getting the production you expect or if you’re thinking about switching to the 2” blade, let me tell you a story of how simple it can be to optimize your mill to make money with 2” blades. It is like anything worthwhile, it just takes a little understanding and willingness to make sure things are set up properly.

I recently went to visit a customer who wanted to optimize his operation.  He was running several Brewco Resaws with 20’4” long x 2 inch wide blades (competitor’s blade), 40 inch wheels, and phenolic blade guides.  These resaws were cutting pallet stock 4 to 6 inches wide produced from both mixed hardwood and pine. The resaws were expected to saw at 70 ft per minute all day long.

The first question I asked him was “What are your goals?” He told me three things he wanted from his blades:
For the blade to run for a full 9 hr shift before needing to be changed
Less blade breakage
To limit machine downtime (mostly due to premature blade breakage)

I grabbed some 2” x 050 x 1 inch Super Sharp blades out of the truck along with my tool bag.  I inspected each blade to make sure that it was sharp, set, and flat (for the rotation) to match his production needs.

We installed 10 blades on various saws and began sawing.  Three hours later the first saw failed. Typically at this point most people would blame the blade, so the first thing I did was check the blade.  I checked flatness and it was good, I checked set and it was good, I checked sharpeness and it was still very sharp. So I made an assessment: The machine had a problem.

I asked the on staff saw filer about the machine. He quickly said that machine never gets a run of more than 3 hrs. Keep in mind when this happens the blade overheats the phenolic guides so that they have to be replaced as well, and all of this equals more expense and downtime. So I decided to watch the machine run when the next blade was installed.

Once the machine was back up and sawing, I quickly noticed the blade wanting to saw upward.  On short cants it would enter and rise and when exiting the cant, it would drop down a ½”. Which means that the blade wants to saw up rather than straight away (the first reaction is always the indicator).  So, why did it want to rise out of the cut? To find out, we removed the guides and put a blade guide tool on the saw blade and found it was angled up a ¼” more in the front than in the back.

In order to get the tilt corrected I adjusted the vertical alignment of the band wheels forward at the top using a dial indicator to know how much to move them. We moved both wheels forward .080” and the blade guide tool now showed the blade was pointing straight away and parallel with the saw bed. Once we reset the guides we started sawing again and the blade sawed perfectly straight. With a newly adjusted machine and a Super Sharp blade the machine was now sawing 9 hrs and sometimes 10 hrs at a time every day since. These were record breaking times for them.

7 out of the 10 machines that were tested needed fine tuning. Note this fact:  All mills need fine tuning from time to time. The same way a car needs a tune-up every so often. There’s more to it than just putting in gas and going or putting on a blade and sawing. Every so often the car and sawmill need optimizing to keep things running at their best.

This customer was able to:

  • Increase production due to eliminating downtime caused by blades and misalignment
  • Pay for the cost of the blades with just the increased production alone
  • Reduce blade usage by half
  • Save man hours by eliminating multiple blade changes and guide replacements

Think about that savings! That’s money that goes straight to the bottom line = Profits!
That is what good technology and the 2”Super Sharp blades can do for you.

The 2” Super Sharp blades when installed on a properly aligned mill will out cut ALL other blades on the market today.   We like to think of our blades and service as your ‘Blade Optimizing Program’.  When you add 2” Super Sharp blades along with the technology of Cooks Saw you will also start breaking sawing records.