band saw blade, how much play is acceptable

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Forum topic by martin007 posted 06-09-2008 08:44 PM 1868 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 3799 days

06-09-2008 08:44 PM


I just purchase a band saw, and there is a little forward/backward play in the blade, I tried with 2 different blades. how much play is acceptable or normal.

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

7 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4012 days

#1 posted 06-09-2008 08:46 PM

There should be very little if you have your rear bearings set close to the blade.

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

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142 posts in 3799 days

#2 posted 06-09-2008 08:48 PM

It get about 1/32 inch of play

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View SM's profile


77 posts in 3719 days

#3 posted 06-10-2008 04:20 AM

Play between back bearing and blade should be about the thickness of a dollar bill. (Exchange is close to par so US and Canadian should be the same . . .;-)

I just had someone who works professionally come and check my set up. I thought I had it close but was significantly off. Basically, the bearing should not turn when the saw is on and no wood is passing through. When you start the feed, then the bearing should turn intermittently. Slow your feed rate if it is turning all the time.

In general, his set up was tighter all around than what I had interpreted from the owners manual and other sources. I can see how, over time (years), I may have to replace a bearing occasionally, but at this point I don’t see any wear occurring, and the results is worth it.


-- SM

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 06-10-2008 07:49 AM

I set the bearing so it spins only when stock is fed into the
blade. It’s sort of my opinion that the rear thrust bearing
keeps the blade teeth from going between the guide
blocks – which would either dull the teeth or chew up the

On my big 20” Crescent I don’t sweat it too much. I run a
1” blade on that saw and there is a lot of stiffness front
to back in the blade itself. With thin stock the blade doesn’t
touch the bearing much because the deflections isn’t
enough to push the blade into the bearing.

With a smaller blade, 1/4” or less, the bearing serves a real
support purpose when sawing thick stock. Generally the
wider blades require less support at the back. If your saw
in a little funky you might play with the bearings and the
wheels to get your cut perpendicular to the table – not so
important for resawing but critical for joinery.

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142 posts in 3799 days

#5 posted 06-10-2008 03:15 PM

thanks for the tip guys. I was actually refering to the blade going back and forth when running. The play from most forward to most back is 1/32. So I can’t put the rear bearing as close without it touching the blade.

I beleive that play comes from the wheels but not sure, like I said, I checked it with 2 blades.

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 06-10-2008 05:07 PM

Well, in that case the amount of play that is acceptable
is a matter of the sort of work you want to do.

At the least you should look at the tires. If they
are lumpy they can be replaced or trimmed round.

The bottom tire is not hard to trim under power using
a lathe chisel. The top tire is tougher. You’ll have to
have somebody drive the tire by holding a rubber sanding
drum mounted on a hand-held power drill against it while
you trim it with the chisel.

Another way is to take the wheel off the saw and mount
it on a lathe bed. Put a sanding disc on the lathe headstock
and with a bit of fiddling you can sand the tire to round.

Guide blocks should be set pretty darn close to the blade…
just enough that the blade slides through without dragging
against the blocks. Some people fold a dollar bill around the
blade and set the blocks up against the folded bill. I usually
just eyeball it and try to get it as close as possible without

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4323 days

#7 posted 06-10-2008 05:34 PM

Fine woodworking has this great article on band saws in their latest issue.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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