I just received my Grizzly G0555 bandsaw and riser block yesterday (my
first bandsaw!), and spent a couple of hours putting things together. I
still have a few adjustments to make before I can make my first cut, but
I'm curious about the blade tension.
According to the bandsaw manual, I'm supposed to set the tension to the 3/8
mark (the size of blade that came with the saw), then slowly back off the
tension until the blade "flutters", then tighten it back up 1/4 turn.
One thing the instructions didn't say, was whether the top blade guide
should be slid up, down, or somewhere in-between?
Also, I backed off the tension setting till I was around the "0" mark on
the tension scale, and I never did see the "flutter" they mentioned? The
blade seemed very steady at all tension settings. I didn't want to risk the
tension being too loose and cause the blade to come off or something, so I
reset the tension back to the 3/8 mark on the tension scale.
So, how exactly do I know if the tension is correct if the blade never
flutters? Do I just need to keep backing it off until it does (even if
that's below the bottom of the scale)?
Several things you will need to do first:
Get a new blade, the stock ones supplied by the mfgr suck - Olsen and
Timberwolf and Woodslicer are three good brands.
Order a new spring from Iturra Designs in Florida and replace the one in the
There are several methods that are used to tension - I won't bother to
mention using an expensive tension gauge.
I've personally never been able to get the "flutter" method to work properly
so I've gone to method two - I tension to the mark - then raise the guard to
the top and try to gently deflect the blade ( the machine is UNplugged!) -
if it goes no more than about 1/4" you're in the ballpark. Another method I
like to use on smaller blades is to pluck them like a guitar string. When
you get a clear tone rather than a thunk, you're there.
I'm sure you'll get other methods but I've found that if you're in the
ballpark you're ok.
The G0555 is a great saw - I love mine.
That's next on my list... I plan to use my bandsaw mostly for resawing.
What should I look for when I shop for the new blades?
What is the reason for replacing the spring?
I'll give those a try. Thanks.
I must have screwed something up during my initial setups because my saw
threw the blade after a few cuts. Scared me, but I didn't see any damage.
So I remounted the blade and started over from the beginning and it
seemed to work better after that.
Another area I seem to have problems is adjusting the roller guide
bearings. I adjust them so they are "just" touching the blade, but when I
tighten down the locking screw, they seem to get tighter and throw off
the blade tracking. I think that's what caused the blade to jump the
wheels even though I initially had the tracking perfectly set.
I've also had trouble with the rear guide bearings. The instructions say
there should be a .016" gap from the blade, but my blade seems to wander
front to back a bit as it runs? For now I have it set so it "just" misses
the blade when the saw is running free. Does that sound right?
I have lots to learn, but that's part of the fun. As long as I don't lose
a finger or something... :)
But, I resawed a 4" tall board into three thinner pieces (using the stock
blade Grizzly supplied). First time I've ever been able to do that
(safely), so I was thrilled. And, I cut a tenon on a scrap piece of wood,
just to see how it could be done. Looks like it'll be an excellent tool
to have around.
Thanks for your advice.
I've had trouble with one of the poplar brands of blades at the weld. I've
quit using them, I have new blades (the popular brand) that probably never
will be used. If the weld is not straight, the blade will wander back and
forth and if you are ripping 2" oak, the whole saw will jump up and down.
I use the 1/2" 3tpi skip tooth blade from BC Saw for resawing. In fact, I
use the blade for most everything. A quick light pass on the jointer takes
care of minor roughness that may occur. The BC Saw blades are less
expensive than the popular brands.
The spring that came with my saw (jet) was not uniform in its spring rate.
The Iturra spring is consistant in its spring rate. Also, they provide a
chart that tells you the tension achieved at the various settings. I've
found the 3/8" setting works quite well on a 1/2" blade.
I also have the G0555,with the riser block.
Here are some things that I have learned:
First off, like other people have mentioned get a different blade. I
put a timberwolf blade on mine for the first time about a month ago,
and I'll never change. Love it. It cuts beautifully, and doesn't
require as much tension as the factory blades.
Second, in terms of resawing, Grizzly says the saw can take up to a
3/4" blade. I've heard that the rule of thumb is to take the maximum
blade size by the manufacturer, andgo one size down as your maximum.
So I'm now resawing (beautifully) with a 1/2" 3 TPI blade.
In terms of the roller guides, adjust them so that the guides are NOT
touching - just barely, AFTER you tighten. It might help if you don't
loosen the set bolt as much when you adjust the position of the
bearings. It takes a bit, but its worth it.
The blade fliying off of saw probably means that the top wheel wasn't
aligned with the bottom. You can adjust that with the knob on the back
of the wheel. UNPLUG the saw, and then, standing on the side of the
saw, with the top door open, rotate the wheel with your hands. You'll
see the blade moving off of the wheel either towards the back or the
front. Adjusting the knob in the back will fix that for you so that the
blade doesn't move.
Also, make sure (for your safety) that the upper bearings and blade
guard are adjusted so that they are as close to the top of your
workpiece as possible, while still being able to cut the wood.
Go out and buy this book:
Band Saw Handbook By Mark Duginske
it discusses all of this, and more.
In anycase, you have a great saw. Don't be discouraged - you'll be
resawing in no time.
Thanks for the tip. I was planning on ordering a Timberwolf blade from
Grizzly since I need to order some other things anyway.
That would help, thanks. I think I got hung up on the touching thing, and
didn't know how tightly they should touch.
I had the tracking set perfectly during setup. I even checked that the top
and bottom wheels were "coplaner". I think I ran into problems with the
blade guides, essentially "pushing" the blade off the wheel with the
I was hoping someone would mention that book again. Thanks for the
Suffolk also makes a fine 3/4 thin resaw blade that gives you guidance
without resistance. I like it better than the half, though the tooth design
is also different, so there are two variables in that equation.
Touch is ok, but you want to be careful in tightening them down so that the
rotation of the tightening screw doesn't push them into and deflect the
blade. I use touch with ceramics, but I do a hand rotation to listen and
look before I hit the power switch.
Not that this is necessarily the case with yours, but a couple of Grizzly
saws in my experience never could get consistent tracking. The blade would
surge and recede as if the weld were at an angle. I'd say slop in the
bearings or the top tilt mechanism.
Excellent book. Lonnie Bird has one called _The Bandsaw Book_ that's
excellent as well. Get the one most available.
It'll give you more blade tensioning ability for tensioning those
You look to get blades suited to the work being performed. Generally fewer
teeth per inch for thicker work, set in the teeth for green wood kerf
clearance, and width determined by the desired minimum radius cut. After
that you can work through the advertiser claims. Not sure any of them has
ever made a difference at my saw, where the above criteria have.
I've got a twenty-plus Delta at home. Crank to the mark, press the blade
wide open and check for deflection. Quarter's good, half's bad. If the cut
drags and bows, I put some more turns on.
On my Grizzly, after installing the riser and accessories, I can see the
blade on the left side as the blade guard is open fronted. That is where
I look for the flutter. To use the flutter method on the right side I
was told you had to remove the blade guides. The flutter method works
fine for me, but I use Timberwolf blades. I also made a crank to replace
the tension knob. After using the saw I loosen the blade 3 turns and
before the next use tighten it 3 turns. Works great.
The upper blade guide should be as close as practical to the material
being sawn. If you move the guide up to cut a thick piece of wood, you
may need to recheck the blade guides, as the setting may be off after
Another thing that helped on mine was changing it to 220 volts. It seems
to have more power.
Cranking to/backing off from factory marks and using quality of cut as a
guide works well as long as you're experienced enough with bandsaw use to
factor in the many parameters like blade characteristics, wood being cut,
After lucking into an Iturra bandsaw tension meter, I was surprised how
under tensioned the marks had become as the spring got weaker on my older
Delta 14" w/riser. After replacing the old spring with an Iturra, and
recalibrating with the meter, it was notable that the factory marks were
almost spot on again.
Point is, and with the multitude of different blade characteristics/quality
on the market, if you can beg or borrow a blade tension meter for just one
use, it is well worth the effort to verify/recalibrate the factory indexes
as your starting point.
ther ei sno magic number. you can try to figure out al lthe variables, or
wing it. Here's my method;
back the blade guides al lthe way out of the way, providing as much
unsupported blade as possible. Crank the tension to about where you thin is
right, and turn on the saw. Watch the blade as you tighten/looses the
tension. At some point, the blade will stop (or almost stop) vibrating -
imagine a guitar string...
Whatever the tension is when the blade isn't vibrating is the tension I
The February 2007 Woodworkers Journal addresses the myths of
bandsaw blade tensioning.
My experience, not the aforementioned magazines, is to get the
blade to flutter you need to have the blade guard and all of your
guides (doesn't matter if it's stock guides, cool blocks or bearings)
away from the blade both above and below the table. My guess is that if
you can't get it to flutter your guides are preventing the flutter.
Pluck the blade as you tighten/loosen the tension. At some point
you'll know the least tension allowable to make a clean sound. A
"thug" sound is very different than a clean tone-like sound. Your
marks should coincide with this. It is better to back off on the
tension when leaving the machine for long periods--helps prolong tire
life and blade.
Keep the guard/blade guide as low as possible. It will help your cut
and improve safety. A bandsaw needs regular tweaking and adjustments
to get the best cuts.
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