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What is the difference between an automatic saw and a semi-automatic saw?

An automatic saw will continue to automatically feed material and make cuts according to a specific program, until the job is complete or the saw runs out of material. A semi-automatic saw will make one cut, raise the blade back up out of the material and stop. The material must than be repositioned by the operator in order to make another cut.

Why do similar size saws from various manufacturers often utilize different width blades?

A wider saw blade generates better quality cuts and holds closer tolerances, and also offers extended blade life over a smaller blade, due to its greater beam strength. However, to be effective these wider blades require greater band tension, which certain saw designs cannot maintain. It requires a very rigid and strong saw to stand up to the blade tension requirements (often as high as 65,000 pounds). A fabricated or lightweight saw simply cannot hold the higher tension requirements of a wider blade, and therefore is forced to use a smaller size blade. (Ex: Utilizing a 1 1/2" blade in lieu of a 1 1/4" supplies 117% greater beam strength).

What is the advantage of a horizontal saw over a swing frame saw?

A horizontal saw, particularly one utilizing dual column design, is much more rigid than the unsupported head in a swing frame design. A swing frame saw can generally not maintain the equivalent band tension of a horizontal saw, thus causing squareness problems. A swing frame design has a much longer cutting path requiring longer cut times and has wider guide spacing which has less support for, and thus shorter blade life.

When should I consider a circular saw over a band saw and vice versa?

Historically, the primary advantage of circular sawing has always been recognized as speed of cutting. With the advancement in band saw technology and their improved bundle cutting capabilities however, this argument has been somewhat diminished. The primary considerations are generally based on diameter and finish. When looking for fast cutting of single piece smaller diameter material, a circular saw may be preferable.

Is a saw with higher horsepower going to deliver better performance than those with less horsepower?

Some manufacturers promote their higher horsepower as a selling feature over competitors. However, it is critical to recognize that horsepower is not the determining criteria on saw performance, but instead it is how much torque is delivered to the band wheels. The amount of torque delivered to the wheels is based on the quality and ratio of the gearbox. Today, the higher technology saws can both run more efficiently and deliver more torque to the band wheels, with lower horsepower than on older saws.

Arntz Saw Blades - www.arntz.de

Bahco/Snap-on Industrial - www.snaponindustrialbrands.com

Kinkelder Saw Blades - www.kinkelder.com

Lenox® Saw Blades - www.lenoxsaw.com

M. K. Morse® Saw Blades - www.mkmorse.com

Simonds® Saw Blades - www.simondsint.com

Starrett® Saw Blades - www.starrett.com

Sterling® Saw Blades - www.diamondsaw.com

WIKUS® Saw Blades - www.wikus.com


The degree of conformity of a measurement to a standard or a true value. In metal sawing, accuracy is usually measured in thousandths of an inch per linear inch of deviation from a theoretical perpendicularity and parallelism to the plane of the machine bed.

Age Hardening

A process of aging that causes a change in properties. This change occurs slowly at room temperature and more rapidly at higher temperatures. This process increases both strength and hardness, but usually results in decreased ductility.


American Iron and Steel Institute


Steel containing significant quantities of alloying elements added to cause changes in the mechanical and/or physical properties.


Heating a metal to a specific temperature and then cooling the metal at a controlled rate, for the purpose of achieving one or more possible effects, including reduced hardness, better machinability, or reduced stress. There are several different types on annealing processes.


American Society for Testing Materials.


A solid solution in iron, of carbon or other solutes.

Back Clearance Angle

The angle of the back of a saw blade tooth.

Band Speed

The rate at which the band saw blade moves across the work to be cut. The rate is usually measured in surface feet per minute (s.f.m.) or meters per minute.

Band Tension

Tautness of the band saw blade caused by forcing the idler band wheel away from the drive band wheel. Measured in pounds per square inch.

Band Wheels

Wheels around which the band saw blade is tensioned.

Beam Strength

The strength of a band saw blade measured by its ability to resist deflection. The four major factors contributing to beam strength are the width of the blade, the gauge or the thickness of the blade, the amount of blade tension, and the span.

Bend Test

A test to detennine the ductility of metal. In metal cutting terms it applies to the flexing of a band saw blade to test the strength of the weld.


A high-speed steel edge material electron beam welded to a spring steel back. Such a construction provides the best combination of cutting performance and fatigue life.


A solid bar of semi-finished metal that has been hot worked by extrusion, forging, or rolling. Ranges in size from a minimum of about 1 1/2" to a maximum of about 40".

Blade Width

The dimension of the band saw blade from tooth tip to blade back.

Brinell Hardness

A test for determining the hardness of a metal by forcing a hard steel or carbide ball, of specified diameter, into the test material under a specified load.

Bundle Cutting

Putting multiple work pieces in an even stack to cut more than one piece at a time.


Fixed costs, also called "overhead".


Deviation from straightness of the band saw blade. When the blade is laid out flat it is positive camber if the curvature is in the direction of the teeth, and negative camber if the curvature is away from the teeth.

Carbide Tipped

Tooth with carbide tips welded to a high-strength alloy back, resulting in a longer lasting, smoother cutting blade.

Carbon Steel

Steel containing carbon up to about 2% and only residual amounts of the other elements except those added for de-oxidization.

Carbon Steel Blades

A band saw blade made from carbon steel where the teeth have been hardened to a greater hardness than the back.

Case Hardening

Hardening a ferrous alloy so that the outer portion is much harder than the inner portion. There are several different methods or processes for case hardening.


Noise that sounds like a dull rumble caused by any number of factors including overfeeding, incorrect tooth selection, or improper band speed.

Chip Load

The average amount of tooth penetration into the material detennined by dividing the feed rate by the blade speed and multiplying the dividend by the number of teeth per foot of band saw blade.

Chip Weld

The bonding of a chip or portion of a chip to a tooth face. This is caused by softening the chip by elevated temperatures and subjecting the softened chip to extreme pressure.

Cold Work

Permanent strain produced in a metal by an external force causing plastic deformation. Usually increases hardness.


See Cutting Fluid

Cutting Fluid

A liquid used to dissipate heat and lubricate the band saw blade teeth. The cutting fluid provides other benefits such as flushing the debris from the gullet.

Cutting Rate

The speed of cut measured in square inches of material cut per minute.


The concaved surface of material cut produced when the band saw blade deflects from a perpendicular path.

Depth of Penetration

The distance into the material the tooth tip penetrates for each cut.

Distance of Cut

The distance the blade travels from the point it enters the work to the point where the material is completely cut through.


The ability of a metal to deform physically without fracturing.

Elastic Limit

The maximum stress to which a material may be subjected without any strain remaining after release of stress.


The phenomenon leading to fracture under repeated or fluctuating stresses having a maximum value less than the tensile strength of the material. Fatigue fractures are progressive, beginning as minute cracks that grow under action of fluctuating. stress.

Fatigue Life

The number of cycles a band saw blade can sustain prior to failure.

Feed Force

The pressure exerted by the band saw blade against the work piece measured in pounds.

Feed Rate

The linear travel of a band saw blade measured in inches per minute.

Feed Traverse Rate

The speed (in inches per minute) the saw frame travels without cutting.


Relating to or containing iron.


The surface condition of a work piece.

Flame Hardening

Quench hardening in which the heat is directly applied by flame.


Physically deforming metal into desired shapes with compressive force. This can be done with or without dies.

Free Machining

Characteristics of metal that make them easier to saw.


The thickness of the back of a band saw blade measured in thousandths of an inch.

Gray Cast Iron

A cast iron that gives a gray fracture due to the presence of flake graphite. Often called gray iron.


The space between two consecutive bandsaw blade teeth.

Gullet Capacity

The amount of chip that can curl up into the gullet area before the smooth curl becomes distorted.

Gullet Depth

The distance from the top of a tooth to the bottom of the gullet.

High Speed Steel

Tool steels which are specifically designed to maintain high hardness at elevated temperatures. Typical high speed steels used for band saw blade teeth include M2, matrix, and M42.

Hot Roll

A metal reduced in thickness by heating and then pressing between rollers.


A heavy malleable ductile magnetic silver-white metallic element that readily mists in moist air, occurs native in meteorites and is in most igneous rocks.


The slot made in a work piece by the band saw blade.


A characteristic of a cutting fluid that reduces frictional contact between the metal being cut and the tooth face.


The relative ease of machining a metal.


Introducing nitrogen into a solid alloy by holding at a suitable temperature in contact with a nitrogenous material usually ammonia of the molten cyanide of appropriate composition.


Chemical surface treatment of metals to remove oxides.


The number of teeth per inch in a saw blade.

Quench Hardening

Hardening a ferrous alloy by austenitizing and then rapid cooling.

Rake Angle

The angle formed by the tooth face with respect to a perpendicular line from the back edge of a band saw blade.

Raker Set

The saw tooth pattern in which one tooth is set to the right, one tooth is set to the left, and one tooth is unset.


Society of Automotive Engineers.

Saw Guides

The rollers and/or carbide blocks on both sides of the band saw blade which secure the blade so that the cutting action of the blade may occur.


A coating of oxide on the surface of metals.


The offset of some or all of the teeth on a band saw blade to provide side clearance so that the back of the blade clears the material as the blade passes through.


Sawing blanks or "slugs'" for subsequent machining operation.

Stress Relieving

Heating to a suitable temperature, holding long enough to reduce residual stresses.

Structural Shape

A piece of metal in anyone of several designs including "H" beams, "I'" beams, channels, angle iron, tubing and others as designated by the iron and steel industries. A shape generally must have at least 1 of its dimensions (excluding length) 3 inches or greater. Smaller shapes are often classified as "Bar Size Shapes".

Tack Welds

Small scattered welds used to hold workpieces when nesting.


In heat treatment, reheating hardened steel or cast iron for deereasing the hardness and increasing the toughness.


The ability of a metal to defonn plastically before fracturing.

Tooth Face

The surface of a band saw blade tooth on which a chip forms.

Tooth Form

The shape of the tooth, which includes spacing, rake angle, and gullet capacity. Industry terms include variable, variable positive, standard, skip, and hook.

Tooth Life

The useful life of a band saw blade measured in square inches of material cut by the blade.

Tooth Pitch

The distance (in inches) between tooth tips.

Tooth Set

The pattern in which teeth are offset from the blade. Industry terms include raker, van-raker, alternate, and wavy.


The alignment of the band saw blade on the band wheel so that it is properly in line with the band wheel flanges and saw guides.

Width of Cut

The distance the saw tooth travels continuously "across the work.". The point where a tooth enters the work to the point where that same tooth exits the work.

Work Hardening

Hardening of a work piece caused by cold working and failure to penetrate the metal by a band saw blade. May be caused by dull blades improper blade selection, excessive band speed or improper feed force.

1 Nm = .737562 1bf-ft (pound-force-foot) torque

1 PSI = .006894 MPa (Megapascal)

1 Bar = 14.504 PSI

1 PSI = 0.068948 Bar

1 lb = 0.45356 kg

1 kg. = 2.2046 lbs

1 cm/s = 1.97 ft/min

1 ft/min = 0.508 cm/s

1 HP = 0.7457 KW

1 KW = 1.341 HP

1 mm = 0.0393 inch

1 inch = 25.4 mm

1 ft = 0.305 m

1 m = 3.28 ft

1 km = 0.6 mile

1 mile = 1.61 kIn

1 cm2 = 0.155 inch sq

1 inch sq = 6.45 cm2

1 m2 = 10.76 ft sq

1 ft sq = 0.93 m2

1 m2 = 1550.0 sq in

1 in sq = 0.00064 m2

1 liter = 0.264 gallon

1 gallon = 3.785 liter


1 BTU/hr = 0.293 Watt/hr

1 PSI = 703.1 kg/m2 x 10- kg/mm2

1 kg/m2 = 1.422 x 10-3 lb/sq in

1 liter = 3.531 x 10-2 cu ft

1 N = .224809 lbf

1 MPa = 1N/mm2

1 m3 = 35.31 cu ft

1 kp/mm2 = 1,422.322 PSI

1 Nmm2 = 0.10197 kg/mm2

1 Nmm2 = 145.035555 lb/sq in

It is often necessary to compute the weight of a metal. Steel bar weights are based upon .2836 pounds per cubic inch.

To compute the weight of a round bar.
Pounds per lineal foot = 2.6729 x D2
Pounds per lineal inch = .22274 x D2
D = Diameter in inches

To compute the weight of a square bar:
Pounds per lineal foot = 3.4032 x L2
Pounds per lineal inch = .2836 x L2
L = Length of one side in inches

To compute the weight of a flat bar:
Pounds per lineal foot = 3.4032 x W x T
Pounds per lineal inch = .2836 x W x T
W = Width in inches
T = Thickness in inches

To compute the weight of a hexagon bar:
Pounds per lineal foot = 2.9473 x D2
Pounds per lineal inch = .2456 x D2
D = Distance from one flat to opposite flat in inches

To compute the weight of an octagon bar:
Pounds per lineal foot = 2.8193 x D2
Pounds per lineal inch = .23494 x D2
D = Distance from one flat to opposite flat in inches

To compute the weight of round tubing:
Pounds per lineal foot = 10.68 x (OD-W) -W
Pounds per lineal inch = .89 x (OD-W) -W
OD = Outside diameter in inches
W = Wall thickness in inches

To compute the weight of a circle:
Pounds per piece = .22274 x T X D2
T = Thickness in inches
D = Diameter in inches

To compute the weight of a ring:
Pounds per piece = .22274 x T x (OD2 -ID2)
OD = Outside diameter in inches
ID = Inside diameter in inches
T = Thickness in inches

To compute the weight of the following metals multiply the weight of steel by the following factors:

*Aluminum - 0.346
Beryllium - 0.236
Brass - 1.084
Cast Iron - 0.911
Columbium - 1.095
Copper - 1.144
Gold - 2.466
Lead - 1.448
Magnesium - 0.229
Molybdenum - 1.303
Monel - 1.084
Nickel - 1.137
St. Steel 300 - 1.010
St. Steel 400 - 1.000
Silver - 1.339
Tantalum - 2.120
Tin - 0.932
Titanium - 0.575
Tungsten - 2.462
Zinc - 0.911
Zirconium - 0.812

*Aluminum depends much upon which aluminum alloy. The multiplier of .346 is based upon 1100 Alloy and is a pretty good generalization for most grades.