Eliminate downtime and keep sawing with these 10 helpful tips to increase your sawmill blade life expectancy. 1. Sharpen Your Blades Use Wood-Mizer's ReSharp® blade sharpening service or your own blade maintenance equipment to ensure your bandsaw blades maintain maximum precision and performance. 2. Pay Attention to Detail When installing a new sawmill blade, make a few cuts at a moderate speed to "break in" the blade. Also, minimize skim cuts when only one side of the set tooth is sawing. 3. Maintain Drive Belt Tension Keep drive belts tight to transmit higher horsepower to the sawmill blade, especially with new belts that need tightened more frequently. 4. Understand Different Wood Species and Moisture Content Trees vary in density, which requires different cutting techniques and feed rates. Wood density changes as logs dry which makes sawing more difficult. Softwoods are inconsistent and require careful speed monitoring. Hardwood density is usually more consistent and allows steadier speeds. 5. Lubricate Your Blades Be attentive to the accumulation of pitch on the blade during sawmilling. Use ample lubrication, and adding a small amount of liquid soap to the water will help keep the blade clean. Lubricating the sawmill blade can lead to higher sawing performance, reduced pitch buildup, longer life between blade sharpenings, and overall blade life. 6. Clean Before You Cut Sawing dirty logs will quickly dull the blade and lead to poor cutting. Dirt, rocks, sand, and other foreign material that may be in the log will wear the teeth considerably faster. Always clean the wood with a wire brush or use the debarker option on the sawmill if available. 7. Measure Blade Tension Periodically check hydraulic tensioners, air bags, and springs, because proper tension is critical for maximum blade performance and cutting speeds. After sawing, always release the blade tension. 8. Examine Blade Wheel Belts The blade wheel belts must be in good condition to reach peak performance because worn belts can lead to blade tracking problems. Blade wheel belts should be without defects and of uniform thickness. To ensure that both belts wear evenly, it is recommended to switch the belts from the drive side to the idle side, and from the idle side to the drive side regularly (once a week, or more often when running multiple shifts). 9. Increase Feed Rate Always enter the cut slowly and smoothly, and then speed up as necessary. Sawing feed rates should be as fast as possible while maintaining straight cuts because cutting at slower speeds reduces overall bandsaw blade life. 10. Examine Blade Guide Alignment Blade guide rollers should roll freely and should not have flat areas. The clearance between the back of the blade and the back of the roller should not exceed 1/8" (4 mm), neither should it be rubbing together, which will result in cracks along the back of the blade. Over time, rollers can wear and become tapered, which will result in wavy cutting, and they should be replaced. If the blade guides are tipped upward or downward, they will cause the blade to cut in the same direction.