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Bandsaw tension

2277 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Glenmore
I have a question for all of you. I have a grizzly 9" three wheeled bench top bandsaw and was just cutting some pen blanks from oak, maple and walnut. I made about 100 blanks I'm cross cutting on a pen blank jig that I made. It took 2 blades yesterday I was using a 3/8" blade the first time then I went to the only blade that I had left 1/4" from habor freight needless to say the 1/4" I made 4 cuts and it snapped. :mad: So I figured that I'm doing something wrong the blades aren't hitting anything the pen blank jig is true to the table. So I figured that it has to be in the tension. I thought rule of thumb was to push the blade till it is taunt but I could be wrong hope someone here and can shed some light on this one it's getting pretty expensive. :eek:
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Hey old buddy and welcome back. I am of firm belief that your BS blade problems stem from the blades you are using. You should be able to torque it pretty taunt and cut far more than 100 pen blanks without the problems you have been having.

Good blades are well worth the little extra up front. If you a link for some of the better lines, let us know and I'll dig them up for you. Also, I cut my blanks with a 6tpi 3/4 blade and have no problems.

Hey... enjoy your last day in paradise.
Give this a try it may help :)

Tuning a Band Saw
Unplug bandsaw when installing and centering blade.

Adjust tilt of top wheel so blade is running dead center on the wheels, spin the top wheel by hand to check.

The tension should be just enough to prevent slipping on the wheels but not enough to stretch the blade, the wider the blade the more tension required.
If there is too little tension the blade will not cut straight, increase a bit at a time until you feel you can control the cut.
Some inexpensive or damaged blades will wander no matter what you do.

Set guide blocks to miss the teeth but support the rest of the blade.
Wrap a single layer of 24# paper around the blade to set the side clearance.

The back up roller should be set so it does not turn when idling but will support the blade when cutting.

Condition the back of the blade, with the blade running hold a sharpening stone against the back corners of the blade to round them off, this will allow you to cut sharper corners with less binding.

Check if table is set square to blade, otherwise your cut will not be 90 degrees.

Set fence to blade, most band saws do not cut parallel to edge of table so the fence has to be adjusted accordingly.
Mark a line about 3" from and parallel to the straight edge of a 12" square scrap of plywood, make a cut into plywood following the line for about six inches.
Stop the saw, keeping the plywood in the position it was in while making the cut.
Align the fence to the straight edge of the plywood.

There are many variables when setting a band saw, each blade will have its own characteristics, often you may find that you have to go back and tweak some of the previous settings again as you go through the procedure.
It can be a time consuming exercise, but well worth it in the long run.

Bj :)
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Well thank you Bob N and Bobj3 I'm using timber wolf blades. I think I found the answer from both of you and reading the details from Grizzly. 1, I think I am using to much tension because in their description they say that it is a low tension blade. 2. Both of you have some good recomendations I going to try both of what I found out once I get me some new blades to start up again. Thanks to Bob and Bob.
Just keep those fingers safe Glen.

I guess from your first post I got the impression you were using HF blades which are little more than junk. Temberwolf are the ones I use and was going to recommend. They are the best and the folks over there are most helpful as well.

bobj3 has offered some excellent advice as always and should help you get where you need to be. Also, do consider the 6tpi 3/4 blades for pen blanks as they cut them like butter with a hot knife.
Bob that is another problem I have with the model that I have. The widest blade I can use is 3/8" bands.
The limitation of bandwidth relates to the small diameter wheels used with 3 wheel bandsaws. If I am not mistaken few blade manufacturers will guarantee their blades for such machines. Usually, the blade manufacturer prints blade tensioning instructions on the cardboard backer that they mount their blades on. Usually the instructions call for tensioning to the marker for the size of the blade.Start the saw & then begin to back off the tension until the blade begins to vibrate, then retension until the blade smooths out again.

Well guys all is solved had the bandsaw running today well yesterday. I have a 5 gal. bucket of blanks to prove it. Did what bj suggested ran some sandpaper over the edges in the back of the blade what a difference not as much noise doing that neat trick. Also did what the tech from grizzly told me to do with the tension wasn't sure if it was right but it seems to run with less tension better . I guess I was over tightening it. So thanks again for your help.
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