How important are chip brushes for bandsaw blade life? 

What are chip brushes?

Bandsaw chip brushes are essential to longer life and cost-efficiency of bandsaws. The chip brush, a round bush with bristles, is designed for cleaning the space between the teeth, removing the chips out of the gullet of the teeth on the blade. This flicking action will extend the life of your blade by getting rid of the chips before they can travel around the wheels of the bandsaw.

Chip brushes are a very cost effective method of extending the blade life. Since they are located where the blade exits the ‘cut’, they’re often forgotten (until something goes wrong), however, they are one of the most important parts of the bandsaw. It is vital to adjust chip brushes to fully engage saw blade teeth to ensure proper chip removal.

Wire swarf removal brush

Issues caused by not having chip brushes:

  • The Gullet of the tooth will become too full, causing the blade to not cut straight
  • Chips become hardened by heat in the cutting process, having them back in the cut will cause extra stress on the tooth cutting edge. Often you will hear a crunching noise as the blade passes through the cut – this is the reason.
  • If the chips get stuck in the wheels of the bearing, or back into the carbide guides it will harm the cutting ability of the blade.
  • Not having a chip brush can cause loss of sets of the teeth, causing the blade to jam in the cut
  • Especially with softer metal, e.g. aluminium or copper, chips in the gullet can cause welding of the chip to the tooth

There are three ways the chip brushes are turned:

  • Brushes that only use the blade’s passing to move
  • Brushes powered by a tiny wheel that rides along the band wheel, allowing the brush to spin alongside.
  • Brushes powered by the hydraulics of the machine

When to replace your chip brush?

Chip brushes endure a lot of use. Sometimes the bristles can melt due to overuse, or can be worn down so much that they no longer touch the blade, or bristles become dislodged. Chip brushes should be checked weekly to ensure they’re in good shape for production bandsaw machines, or at least once a month for bandsaw machines which are only used every so often.

It’s equally important that your chip brush isn’t too rigid. If it’s not flexible enough, the brush will wear on your bandsaw blade, eliminating any benefit that the chip brush may have offered. It can even hinder the bandsaw operation.  To overcome the downsides of metal bristle chip brushes recent innovation has seen a new generation of chip brushes made with specially manufactured nylon bristles.  

This is why Excision now promotes its new nylon bristle brushes – check them out – click here.

Excision Nylon Chip Brushes:

  • Made specifically for bandsaw applications
  • Made of heavy duty nylon that will not damage the blades cutting edges
  • Reduces noise
  • Keeps original shape, unlike steel wire
  • Can be made to fit any type of bandsaw machine


The Excision Nylon chip Brushes last longer that steel wire brushes, whilst giving you a better performance.

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By Jason Thomas

Published Mar 18, 2020 01:57 PM