Blade and Kerf – The Petersons edge

Kerf and wood wastage is an important evaluation when comparing portable sawmills. Is recovery more important than accuracy or speed? What about ongoing maintenance? How does one decide how much weight to put on each factor? Petersons believe that all four metrics are equally important, and can be provided in the one product; Petersons have been challenging and innovating in the sawmill industry for over 30 years, and their sawblades are no exception.

Peterson sawblades are industry-leading for kerf, durability, and precision. The standard Peterson 6” cut blade has 5% narrower kerf then it’s closest swing blade competitor while retaining a 15% thicker plate size, and up to 32% narrower kerf then other swing blade competitors. What does that mean? A stronger blade, less tensioning, straighter boards, and less wastage.



And the 6” blade is no outlier; Peterson’s standard 8” cut blade also has up to 3.5% less wastage than its closest competitor while retaining a 18% thicker plate size, and up to 21% less wastage than other swing blade competitors.

Our 10” blade shares the same kerf as its closest competitor while retaining a 27% thicker plate size and has up to 11% less kerf than other swing blade competitors. On production scale projects this difference in kerf can be monumental for your milling results, and the increased thickness in plate size can have drastic decreases in maintenance and repair costs. These thicker plates also lose tension far less frequently than thinner alternatives, meaning they can provide far more consistent precision across your milling projects.

The 6” and 8” Peterson blade kerfs are also not too far shy of many bandsaw kerfs. Because of their increased plate thickness, Petersons swingblade mills are far more precise than bandsaws. This means there is far less planning or thicknessing required, which often negates any loss in sawdust. Rough-sawn Peterson timber can be used for many quality building projects.

Constructed of high-grade steel with solid tungsten carbide tips, the Peterson blades are built to last. This heightened build quality is a major factor in the increased reliability and decreased maintenance costs of Peterson sawmills.


“When I hit light metal (nails, fencing wire) with the bandsaw blade, I had to change blades, and I also lost lumber. I could not back out of a cut with the band mill, and I couldn’t go forward. I’ve lost many boards when hitting metal on the band mill, (blade wandering / diving / rising) but never on the Peterson. When teeth are chipped on the Peterson, you can keep sawing.”

– Todd Burch, Texas

Peterson blades can also be easily sharpened by the operator in around five minutes. Unlike most competitors, this blade sharpening process takes place without the need to remove the blade from your mill. Their circular blades generally last up to six years with normal use, and reports have been made of blades lasting well over a decade. This is a distinct contrast from bandsaw blades, which often need to be replaced after only a few hours of use.


“I really like the fact that I can leave the Peterson outside without worrying about rust. It is exactly what I needed, boards come off the mill accurate and dead straight, and I’m not wasting time sharpening blades anymore”.

– Rich Thomson, North Carolina

When operators take into consideration the blade running costs of a bandsaw is up to ten times that of a swing blade mill, it pays to compare not only the purchase price, but a 6-month operational cost as well. Here, Peterson’s position within the sawmill industry in terms of efficiency becomes blatantly obvious. There really is no replacement for quality, which will continue to save operators money for many years into the future

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Peterson Portable Sawmills manufacture and export worldwide from our factory in Rotorua, New Zealand. Encountering fluctuating freight, raw materials, currencies and export costs, therefore we have tailored pricelists pertaining to each country.
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