Ridgid bandsaw tune-up

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Forum topic by Arminius posted 11-24-2012 03:16 PM 1054 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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304 posts in 2622 days

11-24-2012 03:16 PM

Tried processing some hophornbeam logs yesterday, and realized fairly quickly that I am pushing the limits of what the motor can do – so absolutely need to get the setup perfect. But with a 3/4” blade, I am finding I simply cannot get enough tension, I am actually unable to get the built-in gauge to the 3/4” setting.

I am already planning to replace the spring, as I suspect the stock one is misbehaving. Also plan to install a quick release, but I now think I need to upgrade the tensioning rod to allow me to actually turn the darn thing.

Anyone have any experience with any of them on the Ridgid saw? I am looking at a couple from Highland, along with the Carter ratcheting one.

7 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3667 posts in 2779 days

#1 posted 11-24-2012 03:32 PM

3/4” blades on a 14” saw just don’t work well.
Get a 1/2” variable tooth 3 tpi blade (like the Wood Slicer). Tension ‘til ya get about a 1/8” flex in the middle of the exposed blade with the guides withdrawn from the blade and the guide arm raised.
Even high horsepower saws with the wrong blades won’t work well.
We cut 6” heart pine on a 24” Grizz with a 1” 3 tpi blade.


View JAAune's profile


1088 posts in 1136 days

#2 posted 11-24-2012 08:58 PM

I second Bill’s advice regarding the blade. Changing to a more suitable blade is a better option than trying to modify a bandsaw to generate more tension.

You can easily change out the tension spring for a stronger one but that won’t make the bandsaw’s frame any stiffer nor will it strengthen the axles on the wheels. People have damaged both while attempting to force a light duty saw to sustain high tension.

Also, if those logs you are cutting are green, you’ll need to have a blade designed for cutting green lumber otherwise it will bind and bog down.

-- See my work at and

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 2622 days

#3 posted 11-24-2012 10:27 PM

To be clear, I am not trying to upgrade the tensioning rod and the spring to get more tension than designed. The problem is that the existing one doesn’t seem to be capable of compressing past about the 1/2” mark.

I got the saw secondhand, and it was not maintained well previously. I suspect the original blade was left tensioned indefinitely at the setting for a 3/8” blade, because beyond that it becomes extremely difficult to turn, particularly with the knob placed to bang your hand into the top cover. The knob placement is the main reason I want to upgrade the rod assembly – at whatever tension, I’d like to be able to turn it comfortably.

View MrRon's profile


3096 posts in 2062 days

#4 posted 11-24-2012 10:32 PM

Most owners (I’m one of them) of Ridgid BS’s have had to put some work into getting them to work well. The 3/4” blade is much too wide to be tensioned. A 1/2” blade should be the maximum size to use. It’s not a bad saw; just takes some mods to make it run well. On mine, I moved the motor to a spot under the saw, changed the tires to urethane type, changed the blade guides and balanced the wheels. I have a 6” riser block on mine and haven’t had a problem with tension or power as long as you use a good blade.

View JAAune's profile


1088 posts in 1136 days

#5 posted 11-25-2012 12:27 AM

Without seeing the spring and tension knob assembly I don’t know what’s going on with the saw but there are a few things that come to mind.

If the spring was weakened as you suspect, I doubt it would become more difficult to turn once you hit the 3/8” blade mark. If anything, it should be easier to turn the knob.

Could it be that the previous owner already changed out the spring for a stronger version? If so, the tension on the blade will probably be much higher than the markings on the saw indicate. You’d likely never be able to get it to the 3/4” mark.

The other idea is that the threads on the tension knob are damaged at a specific point that prevents it from going past 3/8”.

A heavily used saw may have large quantities of compressed sawdust buried in the tension assembly. I have no idea if this is visible on a Rigid saw without taking it apart.

The tension assembly might be hitting the frame of the saw. I’ve seen this happen on a Delta that had a riser block installed.

-- See my work at and

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 2622 days

#6 posted 11-25-2012 05:25 AM

The spring is definitely original, but you are right that it could be dust and/or threads. I will probably have the replacement spring available unopened, then decide when I take it out. But the tension is definitely not too high, I have done most of the usual upgrades to the saw and used it for a year now, for a 1/4” blade it is in about the right range – I use the built-in gauge as more of a guideline than anything, but it has been close.

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 2622 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 11:17 PM

As an update, when I removed the tension knob, at least part of the problem became evident. The threads in a defined but concealed area were jammed with slivers of metal, likely at about where 3/8” would have been. Not enough to be visible through the spring, but definitely enough to increase resistance dramatically. There is some minor damage to the threads, but the obstruction appears to be simply loose metal.

Should have time to re-install a blade and try tensioning it again.

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