Choose metal blades for the band saw

Of course, the most important thing you can choose after the top bandsaw itself, is the blades. For just about any band saw, there are three basic types of blades: Carbon steel blades, bi-metal blades and carbide tipped blades.

bandsawblade

Carbon steel blades are the metal band saw blades used most commonly for general purpose applications such as cutting wood, aluminum and mild steel. They are made from high carbon steel and because they are not as pricey as the other blades, you will see them more often for hobby enthusiasts and home do-it-yourself equipment buyers. They are a great all around blade and probably all you would need for most uses for a metal band saw blade.

 

Bi-Metal blades are very similar to the carbon steel blades with the exception hat their tooth edge is made with high speed steel. This makes the blade itself stronger and able to cut hard woods and all metals, including stainless steel. They are a bit pricier than the carbon steel blades, but they also cut faster and last longer. All in all they are a very versatile metal band saw blade and a good choice if you are looking to be cutting a variety of materials.

metal-cutting-blades

 

Carbide tipped blades will handle the hardest of materials. With their precision chip teeth they will outlast all other types of blades as well as be able to tackle materials such as tropical hardwoods and hi-alloy metals including aluminum or brass. One of the biggest advantages is that carbide tipped blades last much longer without the need of sharpening. This makes them cost-effective as their life on the band saw is much longer than the typical carbon steel blade.

 

No matter what your need, there is a metal band saw blade that is just right for your project. As with any tool, the trick is to do the research and decide what is best for this particular project. Just doing this one woodworking project and not thinking you will need it much again? The carbon steel blade will probably work just fine. Starting a project that will involve everything from hi-alloy metals to native hardwoods? Then your bi-metal blade should cover all your bases. Are you moving on from occasional project to a long on-going project, such as a house remodel job? You would probably best better to invest in some carbide tipped blades to see you through. No matter what you do – getting the right blade will be just as big a part of the project as the right materials.

Review: iHijab

Ever since Apple released their “app store” (an online store for downloading additional software for the iPhone and iPod Touch) there have been a number of ‘gag’ applications. These applications are designed solely for amusement with minimal or no functional value. They are often created to fool others about the iPhone’s functionality. Some of these applications show the device as a fake x-ray machine, others imitate common household items such as virtual bubble wrap. Apps like these cater to the thousands of customers who love going to others and saying “hey, look what my phone can do.” I never paid much attention to these trivial applications, at least not until I came upon iHijab.

I personally find the mobile software space to be fascinating, especially the iPhone’s app store. There are new innovative Islamically centered applications released on the app store every day that can considerably improve Muslim lifestyles. Sophisticated applications like iQuran and iHadith may be the best and most effective ways to read our religious texts digitally. iPray is the easiest way to check prayer times and find the direction of qibla, it even uses the iPhone’s GPS and compass capabilities to customize timings and direction specifically for where you are.  Zabihah Halal uses GPS to display nearby masjids, halal groceries and halal restaurants with reviews and ratings from thousands of users. It’s a very exciting time in the mobile industry and the best applications are yet to come. To make sure I’m always up to date, I always browse through the iPhone app store to see what’s new.

When I came upon iHijab while browsing for new applications I was immediately intrigued and installed it to check it out. The application allows you to choose different styles of hijab that you can place on top of pictures from your photo library. You can zoom and move around the picture you choose so that the person’s face fits the hijab, it’s not perfect but it’s pretty close to faking the look of a hijab. The creators of the application, Fishbone Consultancy, describe the app on their website as follows:

*** Surprise everybody with these photos. ***

This identity filter for your iPhone enables you to change your friends’ clothes to a hijab or burkha within seconds.
•    Easy to use Hijab Photo Frames
•    Change your friends’ identity within seconds
•    Automatically Twitter Hijab Pictures
•    Automatically put pictures on Facebook
•    Automatically email Hijab Pictures
•    Choose between 14 identities
•    High resolution

Take pictures of your friends wearing a Hijab or Burkha. It works very easy: just open iHijab and choose a picture frame. The Hijab will be displayed as a layer over the iPhone’s camera so you will see the results directly!

The High-Resolution pictures can be emailed, twittered, placed on your facebook wall or saved into your iPhone photo library, all with one click!

The hijab selection screen, shown to the right, shows the different types of hijabs you can choose. This is where I started to become suspicious, I had no mixed feelings about the application up until I saw this screen. As you can see, some of the photos have ridiculous facial expressions and odd backdrops. Is this making fun of Muslims? I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but I couldn’t get over some of the thumbnails for hijab selection. Take for example, the one with the White House in the background on the far left in the second row. What is the purpose of this picture? It shows the man in the hijab clearly mocking the camera while in front of the White House of the United States. Is this implying that Muslims criticize the U.S. government? And what about the hijab selection in the top right where the man is under a camel?

Okay Tareq, slow down. I realized I might have been over reacting and I looked for others opinion. I brought the application to my Mother, explained it to her, how to use it and asked her what she thought. “This is so stupid” she said. I asked “Why? Do you find it offensive?”. She replied “Yes, it’s just stupid”. “I asked what if it were an application showing cowboy hats? There are many people around the world that wear them as a part of their culture.” She still felt uncomfortable about the application but couldn’t specifically say why.

I then brought it to my sister, I showed her the application and let her use it. In minutes there was a picture of me in a hijab and giggles all around. She loved it! She didn’t find the application offensive and took it as a joke, she saw no considerable attempts at real mockery.

What started to really intrigue me was not the application itself but rather how people viewed the symbol of the hijab. The application description said nothing about Muslims or Islam, was it really targeting us at all? Is the hijab not much more than a piece of clothing but a sign of modesty and respect? This application could simply be a look into a world that is unknown to many people, it could be seen equivalent as an application that dresses one in a Japanese kimono or an Inuit snow jacket. Would that be offensive? Then again, the hijab is also a very prominent symbol to represent Islam. It is used in marketing to symbolize and stereotype Muslims as much as long black beards and salwars are.

I wanted to see more views on the application so I started looking at customer reviews and ratings on the app store. The average rating was 2.5 stars of 5 star with most ratings being 1 star. Here are some of the reviews:

horrible app – Crs1unnot
“not only is this tasteless and racist, but it’s NOT FUNNY. it’s not about being politically correct, it’s about not being an a-hole.
I hope this app is swiftly removed”

A bit racial but fun – Hadi Saeed
This application is a bit racial in a way but it doesn’t matter that much since it is only an app.

Great up!!! – y4j
Really fun!

BIG CHEESE – NORWICH917
A LAFF RIOT ..!!!!

Again, mixed thoughts. I was still confused and I didn’t know whether I found this application offensive or not. I guess there is nothing wrong with the idea but the selection screen really bothered me. I left the application on my to-do list to review for ProductMuslim and decided I should give it some more thought. The next time I opened the app store I noticed there was an update for it. The description of the update was: “new hijab overview screen”. I installed it and the only change was the selection screen now with attractive women with normal smiling facial expressions. Now why did they do this? It was the only change in the update so they must have considered it significant enough to alter.

The selection screen has changed, shouldn’t my mind now be at ease? I still don’t know. As I mentioned, evaluating my view on this application has more to do with the hijab than the app itself. I realized I’m trying to understand what the symbol means to me. Is it offensive because I’m being defensive? Would I raise this question if it was a religious symbol from something other than islam?

What do you think? Do you find this application offensive? If so, why? Ask others around you, I think you’ll be surprised to hear so many mixed reviews.

Looking forward to hearing what you all think!

Review: Ramadan Lawn Signs

I love when people come up with new and creative ways to fundraise and give dawah.

I had the pleasure of meeting Brother Qadeer Abdul this year at MuslimFest 2010 where he showed me his Ramadan lawn sign fundraising campaign. He is selling $10 Ramadan signs that are designed to be placed on lawns and other grassy areas. All proceeds from the signs go directly to his local masjid.

It’s a simple idea with a simple message; “Happy Ramadan – Charity, Humanity, Peace”.  What a great way to share the cornerstones of Ramadan with neighbhours. The physical design of the product is even simpler than its message. The sign is made using a thin sheet of plastic that is held up with a metal rod, very similar to those used for political campaigns.

Dawah and fundraising in a simple yet effective form. I love it! The only suggestion for improvement I have is for future signs to include the link to a website rather than an email address. The website could allow people to purchase the signs online or could be one that provides dawah related resources.

I happily bought one for myself and I look forward to putting it on my lawn for Ramadan. If you would like to order your own Ramadan lawn sign, please contact Qadeer Abdul at islamicsigns@gmail.com.

Would you consider purchasing one? What do you think of this product, is it effective? Does the design affect your decision? Any improvements you can suggest?

More photos of the Ramadan lawn sign from MuslimFest 2010 below, click to see full size: