Many things can affect the life and performance of a band saw blade. One of the most common reasons a blade fails is improper camber. If you are unfamiliar with the term camber, this is the characteristic of the positive or negative “curve” in the profile of the blade material. If you lay a piece of blade stock flat on a table and push the tooth edge up against a straight edge, one of three things will happen. The entire length of the piece touches the straight edge (no camber). The middle touches the straight edge and both ends are curved away (negative camber). Or the ends of the piece touch the straight edge and the middle has space between it and the straight edge (positive camber). The desired characteristic is “positive” camber. Positive camber means that the tooth edge of the band is in fact slightly shorter than the back edge.

     Why is this desirable? When you put the band saw blade on the saw, you apply tension to tighten the blade. As you apply tension, you are in fact slightly stretching the steel of the blade. When you do this to a blade with positive camber, the leading edge or tooth edge is tighter than the back edge. This causes the tooth edge to track true. If the back edge were under the most tension, the tooth edge would wander or miss-track. If you weld blades, be sure to set your welder alignment to follow the camber of the blade. If you do not follow the camber curve, the blade may move in the guides which may cause it to have a shorter life.