Bandsaw Blade Tensioning? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2012, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Default Bandsaw Blade Tensioning?

Gentlemen...I have a Grizzly 14" G0555P bandsaw that has served me well over the past few months. Mostly used for cutting small project parts with 1/4" blade.

My question is what method do you use to properly tension the blade. Grizz sez, tighten 1/4 turn beyond flutter, others have said tighter is better. Seems like it's more feel than absolute science. The rear spring gauge isn't much help on getting it dialed in.

Broke my first blade last week, been using Timberwolf 6TPI 1/4", it did not break on the weld, so wondering what to watch out for and how to dial it in properly going forward.

So what are your bandsaw tensioning secrets/procedures?

Thanks in advance for your expert advice!


Last edited by rpludwig; 01-28-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 08:15 AM
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Here is what I found on the net last year and used for my Grizz #555, so far no breaks with the cheapo Lowe's 3/8" 6tpi blade I put on it as a test. Cuts pretty good, not chatter, not drift, just gets the job done.

The guage on the tensioner on my G-555 is pretty close, I did not have to overtighten according to the guage. Also, I release the tension on the blade when I am done using the saw. That is a nice feature my old saw did not have and it might be why I am getting longer blade life and better cuts. Any way, here is what I found:

Tensioning the Blade.

When you install the band saw blade, the first thing to do is put tension on it to hold it on the wheels. Many saws have a gauge that tells how much tension to put on the blade based on its width. Many of these gauges are not very accurate. We suggest that you tighten the blade and then pluck it like a guitar string. The blade should produce a clear tone, rather than a dull thud. We have an Inca 710, which is a 20” three wheel saw, and this procedure works very well. Next check the blade for deflection. Raise the guide all the way up and then push sideways on the blade. It should not deflect more than ” to 3/8”inch. The narrow blades will deflect more than wide ones. Some folks recommend that you over tension the blade to correct the saws cutting problems. While it is true that the blades and the saws can stand more tension than the gauges suggest, it is not a good idea to put too much tension on the blades. It can cause the saw’s bearings to fail prematurely. If the saw sits for a long time without use, it can cause flat spots on the tires, which will cause vibration and erratic cuts.

Here is the link too.

Band Saw Tune-up
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2012, 04:10 PM
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This is a very controversial topic. There are a lot of opinions out there and many operate on the "feel" approach. In my experience 1/4 to 3/8 is a bit too much. I tighten my blades more, probably 1/8 to 1/4. But I also go by how the blade is cutting more than anything. Make a test cut or two and adjust from there. Now 29 people will disagree with this but that's what makes a horse race - or a forum.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 02:08 AM
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I recently came across THIS ARTICLE when searching for a good way to adjust the blade on my cheap-o Craftsman 9-incher. Phil is a pretty smart cookie, so I tend to trust his methods.

Hope this helps.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 07:11 AM
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Nice link John

when I change blades I will give it a try.

Learning is an exciting adventure
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yikes! Guess there is some science to this...thanks for the links and articles guys!

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 11:51 AM
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BTW, Timberwolf blades usually recommed that the tension be a little lower then most other blades. The guide in the back is rarely accurate, and if it is accurate, it won't be fore long. The blades stretch as they are being used, so over time a little more tension may need to be added.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 06:15 PM
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Oh, good! Now all I have to do is carry my laptop out to the shed and play my bandsaw while listening to the tone on the speaker. Actually, I just set the blade to deflect ", and never looked back. Cute concept, though.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 09:40 PM
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My cutting has improved since I use a proper blade tension gauge,
I would always under tension my saws, "me" using anything other than a proper gauge is just guesswork and I have had very experienced guys tension my saw by "ear' or by "hand" and they were miles off proper tension required,
I have just put a new blade on my 24" and I run it at 15,000 psi tension,
Yes that is a heck of a lot of tension but that is where it cuts best . I release tension when not in use and it only takes a couple of minutes to redo ,
I have a book called "the bandsaw book" by Lonnie Bird and it is a winner, get your self a copy on the net,

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2013, 07:20 AM
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many of the older saw never had a tensioning gauges to go by and some did not even have a springs(large counter weights were used) on some of them so i think the old timers went by sound/ cut quality/ flutter. I do use the sound flutter way of doing blade tension only because i have gotten used to it on the 2 band saws i have that do not have gauges. the youngest being from 1952. On the saws i do have with them they are not bad for there readings with a standard wood blade but some of the new type bimetal ones need heaver tension as do the thicker blades .043 and i think that on the smaller saws .025 to .035 would be better for them because the saw is just not up to the task up putting tension on the thicker blades wider than 1/4". I would load a video of a saws i just rebuilt from 1935 that i use the flutter setting technique to set tension on but i need 10 post to do that. In short if you pay attention to the tension it is second nature to do this and not a very hard skill to master IMHO.


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