Band Saws, whether resaws, sawmills or recycle saws have two
features in common: 1. A drive wheel and idler wheel on which
the blade rotates, and
2. Guides to hold the
blade in the proper cutting position.
Several styles of Guides are
manufactured and sold for this purpose – Flat Guides or so called
“Sandwich” Guides, Roller Guides and Pressure Guides.
The critical issue, regardless
of the saw type or guide style, is, BLADE CONTROL
in the CUTTING ZONE!! In order to cut accurate and
consistent boards from side to side and end to end, day in and day out,
the Guides must hold the blade in an exact cutting position.
are used on top of the blade and sometimes have a flat guide under the
blade to prevent “Blade Dipping”. Roller Guides exert “down pressure
“ on the blade to hold it in place. Typically, this style of
guide is used in band sawmills where cut accuracy is not a critical
issue. Roller guides are expensive to replace, generate excessive
blade heat due to the “down pressure”, cause blade breakage and
do not provide accurate and consistent cuts.
which are usually deployed on top of the blade only, use down pressure
to hold the blade in place. The guide is flat and usually made
from a phenolic resin laminated with paper or canvas. The material
wears quickly, retains heat and must be serviced every two to four hours
to maintain cut accuracy. A lubricant must be used to reduce friction
and resultant heat that damages blades. This style of guide is
relatively inexpensive to purchase initially; but, must be serviced
often, causing downtime, and must be replaced frequently due to excessive
Flat Guides are
usually made from Tungsten Carbide, Ceramic blocks, High Speed Steel,
Brass, Bronze, Cornboard and Wood. Carbide has good abrasion
resistance; but, due to its density does not dissipate heat well and
causes blade failure. High Speed Steel has fair abrasion resistance;
but, is also dense and does not dissipate heat well. Brass and
Bronze have some abrasion resistance; but, wear quickly. Cornboard
and Wood have little abrasion resistance and must be resurfaced every
two to four hours of operation.
Tri-Star Metals, Inc.
in 2000 introduced a patented, “Super Abrasion Resistant” alloy
into the Saw Guide Market that has revolutionized Saw Guides.
The “insert” resists abrasion better than Carbide, dissipates heat
easily, can be re-ground many times to restore it’s flat surfaces
and polished finish, is held to the guide with Allen screws and is easily
and inexpensively replaced. TSMI manufactures guides in its own
machine shop. All parts are made in the USA. Typically,
“inserts” last two to three years with re-grinding necessary every
three to six months. TSMI inserts Increase Blade Life, Improve
Cut Quality, Increase Throughput and Reduce Noise.