band saw blade tension

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Forum topic by rogerw posted 04-07-2011 12:34 AM 4694 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 2108 days

04-07-2011 12:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: band saw blade tension

I bought a ryobi bandsaw a short while ago. I knew up front it wasn’t the best one out there but my use is for small craft-type stuff and I found a refurbished one so the price was good. The reviews I read just about all said the blade that comes with it sucks. Well it cut pretty good until today when, during a cut on a piece of trim for my dollhouse, it started making that infamous “thump,thump,thump” sound and the snapped. I was reading the manual and it said the tension can shorten the life if it is too tight. I don’t know if that was the case but I’m a little confused at the instructions for setting it. It said to pluck it like a guitar string and it will make a sound like a musical note. Yeah… which note??? There are 7 notes with several octaves.

SO…. what is the way to properly adjust the tension so when I bring home a new blade it will have a chance of lasting, hopefully longer than this one did, without having to decide which musical note sounds good?

As always, I appreciate y’all’s opinions and expertise.


-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

2 replies so far

View syenefarmer's profile


429 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 04-07-2011 01:18 AM

One easy method to tightening your bandsaw blade is to apply enough tension so that the blade only has ¼” of movement.

View dlmckirdy's profile


196 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 04-07-2011 02:22 AM

It depends on the blade… a low tension blade (like the Timberwolf) (carbon steel) uses the flutter method – put the blade on moderately tight, adjust the tracking, then slowly release tension until the blade begins to flutter (like a rope in the wind). Very slowly re-tighten it until the flutter just goes away. With a spring steel or bi-metalic blade the high tension method usually works best. put the blade on moderately tight, adjust the tracking, then shut the saw off! gradually tighten the tension until there is only about 1/4” sideways deflection in the blade. Either method will probably require re-tracking the blade after tensioning. This is also a good time to adjust the table square to the blade (both side to side by tilting the table until is is actually square with the blade) and fore and aft (you may need to shim the trunions to get the blade and table square in this direction) some blades just track closer to the fron of one wheel than the other, so they are not running truly perpendicular to the table. This can cause grabbing, or a resaw that is not straight. Also, make sure that the upper and lower blade guides are adjusted properly, and that any roller bearings are turning freely, as friction here can overheat a blade in a hurry. A hot blade does not hold an edge well, and expands in length, thereby altering the tension.

If you are going to leave your saw unused for extended periods of time, be sure to release the tension on the blade between uses. This will prevent a curved set from forming in the blade around the wheels, and relieves stress on the weld (as well as the remainder of the blade).

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

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