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