16" bandsaw - tension tricks?

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Forum topic by drpdrp posted 11-06-2012 02:22 PM 1853 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2070 days

11-06-2012 02:22 PM

I just scored a 16” Delta bandsaw. Used. Never had a bandsaw before…

Any tips or tricks on tensioning? I put that sucker so tight I was afraid it would snap- but the blade still flexes pretty good while cutting…


13 replies so far

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2135 days

#1 posted 11-06-2012 02:29 PM

Check out this You Tube video. I have great results using his method. The only change is I don’t normally take the table top off as it is very, very heavy.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2198 days

#2 posted 11-06-2012 02:39 PM

Tricks on tensioning? Oh well, I’ve been using band saw for long years already. Ever since, I used to follow this machination to check if the tension is too tight or not, begin with plucking it like a guitar string. You listen to the tone of the blade and if it makes a dull thudding noise as you pluck it, tighten it more however if it begins to make a clear metallic tone, stop adding the tension. You may also use simometer if you want to be more accurate in checking tightness of the tension.
We all know that Proper tensioning is critical to the proper functionality of a band saw machine and the blade on it

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View schnable's profile


24 posts in 2106 days

#3 posted 11-06-2012 02:48 PM

If you haven’t already, I would put a new blade on. Dull blades don’t track well. And replace the tensioning spring. If the previous owner wasn’t good about releasing the tension after using the machine, the old spring might be shot.

-- Andrew

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2310 days

#4 posted 11-06-2012 03:28 PM

Define “flexes pretty good”. That’s so subjective a description it is impossible to offer any advice to fix it. We don’t even know if it’s broke! :)

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2198 days

#5 posted 11-06-2012 03:41 PM

One question, what seems to be the problem with the blade? Are you trying to say that your blade bends while doing a cut? :) :)

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2200 days

#6 posted 11-06-2012 08:31 PM

Release the tension when not in use. I know there are varied opinions on this matter. It works for me.

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2070 days

#7 posted 11-07-2012 12:58 AM

Yeah, the blade sort of pushes back from the wood.

Sorry Charlie- sometimes a loose description is plenty to get the job done!

The blade also moves sideways if I am turning the wood.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#8 posted 11-07-2012 01:03 AM

The blade will flex for more reasons than tension. There are a few good blogs and article about tuning bandsaws. Hell, there are whole books on the issue.

I had to replace the tensioning spring on my HF 14”, but that’s to get it tight. If you can get it tight, that’s probably not the issue.

How are you blocks? Are they set right? Are the guides set correctly? Are your wheels in line? There are lots of things to look at.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2070 days

#9 posted 11-09-2012 02:42 PM

Finally had a chance to check out that video.

Super helpful and awesome.

Thank you.

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2070 days

#10 posted 11-21-2012 09:35 AM

Okay so I’ve applied what I learned in the video. I now feel like I can ask somegood questions. This is good because I still can’t cut for poop on the thing.

The video indicates that the valley between the teeth on the saw should be centered on the highest point on the wheels. The current blade is very thin and it just fits in this position with the lower guide as far back as it can go. If I put on a resaw blade it simply would not fit. Is this a fine tuning/preference sort of adjustment? It was one of the first things he mentioned and so it seems pretty big.

With the blade not under tension I can just spin the wheels and they go for a while. If I tension the blade I can turn them by hand with some effort and if I run the motor and then stop it the blade stops almost instantly. In the video his bandsaw acts like my tablesaw where he stops it and has to wait or put wood against the blade to stop it. This makes me feel like I am tensioning way too tight. But I am tensioning to “about where” I am reading and watching people do- pluck it and it is guitar like instead of floppy and tapping it sideways moves it only a very small amount. Thoughts?

The guide-thing that I can raise and lower to accomodate different size lumber has the upper adjustments on it. So it seems to me that it ought to move up and down on a perfect line or else you would need to make all your tiny adjustments everytime you change lumber size. The up and down adjustment is on a quick release… If you need to retune the head everytime you raise or lower it- why a quick release? It seems to me that the point where it gets tightened must be messed up or maybe the whole shaft is bent. Suggestions?

Thanks guys.

View toolie's profile


2134 posts in 2653 days

#11 posted 11-21-2012 03:17 PM

you might want to make the acquaintance of iturra design:

there isn’t a better band saw authority in the states, IMHO. lou is extremely knowledgeable on all things band saw related and his blades have extremely accurate welds.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2135 days

#12 posted 11-21-2012 03:31 PM

Is your guide assembly (top & bottom) bearing, ceramic, cool block composite (square) or steel block (like what was on my Craftsman bandsaw when I bought it)? Definitely upgrade to at least cool blocks if not carter products bearings.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#13 posted 11-22-2012 02:47 AM

If the wheels are hard to turn with the blade tensioned and the blade stops almost instantly when the motor is shut off, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM! Check you guides (above and below the table) to see if they are adjusted too tight to the blade. These have to be set up for each blade you use unless they are identical in thickness. Your thrust bearings also need to be adjusted for each individual blade (above and below the table). Also check that all your bearings spin freely and keep us posted. I would NOT try to cut any wood until you resolve this problem.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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