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Homemade Bandsaw Blade Tension Quick-Release

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Blog entry by Blake posted 2362 days ago 26732 reads 45 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Grab some popcorn… I made a movie!
(Make sure the volume is up… it might be a little quiet)

Story:
I have been working really hard to tune up my bandsaw lately. I really wanted one of these:

...for tensioning and detensioning the blade. But I am at the end of my budget and can’t spend another $150. I had seen pictures of a homemade version in a magazine and decided to make my own.

I posted this to try to get ideas.

Anyway, this is what I came up with and it works great!

I first made a pattern with cardboard:

I drilled two holes, one vertical and one angled for the tension screw to pass through. Then I bored out the waste between the two holes to create one “V” shaped hole. This way the tension screw would not interfere with the arm:

I cut the shape from my cardboard template on the bandsaw:

After a little more shaping and sanding of the handle I added the hardware and the hinged, flip-up “tension keeper.” With a little trial and error, and a little extra shave here and there it fit just right:

I added a cheap foam bicycle handlebar grip to the handle to make it easier to pull and also protect my head when I inevitably bump into it (already tested):

I also added a small knob to easily pull the “tension keeper” up.

The spring on the “tension keeper” was an afterthought that turned out to be one of the best features. So when you pull it to re-tension it just “clicks” back into place and holds.

A few more details: The main arm is not actually attatched to the bandsaw. It sits on the frame and is just held there by tension. The tension screw is no longer pushing against the frame of the saw, it is instead held by the lock nuts and washer above the maple “arm.”

I had to cut out another “V” shaped section where the guide block shaft sticks up and would otherwise interfere with the arm. I made sure not to taper the arm out to the handle until after that section. That way it would still be strong enough even with the “V” cut-out:

The knob at the top was secured by tightening it against a nut (just below it) as well as Red (permanent) LockTight:

It works perfectly and was made mostly with scraps and parts I found around the shop. It probably took about four hours of actual shop time to make. If you’ve got any questions let me know!

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com



37 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2687 days


#1 posted 2362 days ago

Very cool. Thanks for the video. Nice editing and tunes.

Way to innovate.

My saw won’t accept a quick release.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 2387 days


#2 posted 2362 days ago

That’s pretty slick. I’m definately going to make one if the band saw I get doesn’t have one.

-- Tony, Ohio

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2619 days


#3 posted 2362 days ago

I gotta like a man the thinks on his feet!
Good job Blake.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2491 days


#4 posted 2362 days ago

Hi Blake,

Now that is just plain…......................slick.
Way to go, what a great idea.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34853 posts in 2998 days


#5 posted 2362 days ago

Sheesh. What a bore. and a “V” one at that. Great job Blake. Glad to be able to help.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2585 days


#6 posted 2362 days ago

Pretty cool! I like your foam handle!

How’s the saw cutting now?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Harry72's profile

Harry72

53 posts in 2364 days


#7 posted 2362 days ago

Excellent!

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2594 days


#8 posted 2362 days ago

Fun stuff – looks like that works well. It has a great “click” to it. Ahh maple – gotta love it.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile

cajunpen

14363 posts in 2663 days


#9 posted 2362 days ago

Slick stuff Blake. I have a Grizzly that has pretty much the same type of tension release on it (factory made) – it works great.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19313 posts in 2448 days


#10 posted 2362 days ago

Great blog Blake. I must make one of those tensioners. Were you in the silent movies years ago, you look too young. Only kidding.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12246 posts in 2695 days


#11 posted 2361 days ago

Well done. I liked the ending…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1763 posts in 2588 days


#12 posted 2361 days ago

HA! Yeah it was good! And talk about “adapt and overcome”! Good job Blake!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View jcees's profile

jcees

946 posts in 2396 days


#13 posted 2360 days ago

I’d have to put a big rubber ball on that handle just to save my eyes… ouch! Way cool design though. Gotta love simplicity. Sweet.

always,
J.C.

-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 2660 days


#14 posted 2359 days ago

Awesome Blake. I was thoroughly entertained by your video. Not to discount the imfortative aspect, but the delivery of the concept was great! Thanks for documenting your great idea!

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY - http://www.EagleLakeWoodworking.com

View relic's profile

relic

343 posts in 2534 days


#15 posted 2358 days ago

Sweet idea, Looks and works great. Nice job.

-- Andy Stark

showing 1 through 15 of 37 comments

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