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How To Choose a Sawmill Blade Profile

How To Choose a Sawmill Blade Profile

Understanding sawmill blade geometry and terminology can be complex. Here is a crash course in identifying different parts of a bandsaw blade and how to choose a blade profile that is best suited for your sawing application.


A. Tooth Spacing - the distance between each tooth from one tip to another. The term "pitch" is also used in reference to tooth spacing as the number of teeth per inch on a bandsaw blade.

  • Shorter spacing is used for resaw purposes, while wider spacing is for higher horsepower (25+HP) sawmills

B. Gullet - the area between teeth that captures and removes sawdust while providing strength in the tooth. The tooth height must be tall enough to allow the gullet to carry out all of the sawdust from the cut.

C. Tooth Height - the distance from the lowest point of the gullet to the tip of the tooth.

  • Blades designed for cutting softwoods (balsam, aspen, cottonwood, sycamore, pine, and poplar) have taller teeth
  • Blades designed for sawing frozen logs or extreme hardwoods (white oak, hard maple, ash, hickory, and kiln dried) have shorter teeth

D. Hook Angle - the number of degrees that the tooth face leans forward of 90 degrees. The hook angle should be chosen based on the type of wood you are sawing.

  • 4 degree: frozen or extreme hardwoods on all sawmills
  • 7 degree: frozen, tropical, and extreme hardwoods on higher horsepower (25+HP), wide cut sawmills
  • 9 degree: seasoned, hardwoods for lower horsepower sawmills making narrow cuts on smaller logs
  • 10 degree: all purpose for a mix of hard and softwoods on all sawmills
  • 12 degree: medium to softwoods
  • 13 degree: softwoods

E. Tooth Set - distance the tooth is bent beyond the body of the blade.

F. Blade Width - distance between the tip and base of the blade.

  • Wider blades for higher horsepower (25+HP) sawmills and a faster feed rate
  • Narrow blades for lower horsepower sawmills and more difficult sawing

G. Blade Thickness - you guessed it! Thickness of the blade.

  • Thicker blades (.045", .050", .055") provide faster feed rates and better cutting performance in difficult sawing conditions such as knotty, frozen, dry or extremely hard material, but requires higher horsepower (25+HP)
  • Thinner blades (.035", .038", .042") provide longer flex life with lower horsepower sawmills where production or speed is not a primary factor

H. Kerf - the width of the cut.

Also learn How to Select a Blade Type for your sawing needs.


Start your learning with a comprehensive list of popular sawmilling terminology.

Woods to Woodshop
Get the complete guide to producing your own lumber.


Edge on Sawing
Set of 6 Educational DVDs on sawing your own lumber.



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