The tension for band saw blades is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important factors in blade life. The higher the tension, the more efficient use can be made out of a single drive belt and your band saw will last longer while making less noise.
Bandsaw blade tension is an important factor to consider when setting up your bandsaw for optimal performance. Maintaining adequate bandsaw blade tension is also important for safety. Too much stress on your bandsaw blade might cause it to fatigue and break. If you run your bandsaw blade tension too loose, your blade will come off track, which is a hazardous condition. Please remember to keep your hands and body away from the bandsaw if one of these circumstances arise. Keep the upper and lower cabinet doors shut until the saw comes to a full stop; you never know when a broken bandsaw blade or a blade off track may catch ahold of anything and start spinning. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the point of this article: getting your bandsaw blade tension adjusted correctly for a safe and enjoyable shop experience.
When it comes to determining the ideal blade tension, you have a few options. Let me start by telling you about your bandsaw’s small tensioning guide. Most saws, I believe, have one of these little gauges. Take this gauge with a grain of salt; it’s usually incredibly incorrect and should only be used as a guideline. Believe me, I learnt this the hard way when my 3/16 blade broke.
A stand-alone blade tension gauge is available from certain manufacturers. Of course, they come at a price, and it’s a very high one for the ordinary backyard woodworker. They connect to the blade and then are pushed away from the blade, giving you a psi measurement on a dial gauge. The bandsaw blade tension is then adjusted to match the manufacturer’s recommended blade tension. If you have the additional cash to invest in a product like this, it may be a great addition to your store. But I believe there has to be a more realistic approach to bandsaw blade tension for the majority of us.
In my view, the bandsaw blade flutter test is one of the greatest techniques to correctly establish blade tension. This approach is unique in that it requires no external instruments and requires no measurement. So, how does it all work?
A lot of woodworkers, I believe, prefer to use bandsaw blade tension and hand pressure. This involves lifting your bandsaw’s guide post 6 inches off the table. Then, from the side of your bandsaw blade, press in (saw off of course). Then you’ll need to measure the deflection of your blade, which should be about a 1/4 inch. With a 3/8′′ blade, you’ll want to increase the deflection to roughly 1/2′′. What level of hand pressure is required? There’s no need to hulk out on it; just moderate pressure would suffice. It takes a little work to become acclimated to this strategy, but it will become second nature with time. This is why I usually use the flutter test mentioned above. Always do a test cut in spare material to see if there are any concerns before moving on to the final project.
When it comes to correctly adjusting the tension on your bandsaw, you have a few alternatives. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it until you discover the sweet spot. Most of the time, you’ll know right away whether you’ve correctly adjusted the tension on your bandsaw when you start cutting your workpiece. The more you utilize various sizes and kinds of bandsaw blades, the more you’ll have a sense for where the tension should be. One important thing to remember is to always do a test cut on a scrap of material after adjusting blade tension. Nothing beats destroying a section of a project shortly after a blade change.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with the information you need to correctly adjust your bandsaw blade tension and have a good woodworking experience. Please let us know how you prefer to adjust the tension on your bandsaw blade.
A: The tension of a bandsaw blade is determined by how much force it takes to pull the saw back and forth through the wood. A lower tension will result in less resistance, whereas a higher tension will provide more resistance when pulling or pushing the saw.
A: You will know if your blade is tight enough by how hard it needs to be pushed down in order to cut through the wood. If you find that it takes a lot of force, then you should use some loctite or putty
A: Take the blade off of your bandsaw and loosen the tension knob on top. Then, take a piece of string or wire, wrap it around the tension knobs threads, then tighten until you reach an appropriate level for cutting wood