This may be a stupid question but how or what is the proper way to determine
the correct blade tension on a bandsaw? I think my last blade broke due to
it being too tight, but not certain. I want to make sure I don't do it
On the other hand, Michael Fortune, also in Fine Woodworking, suggests
with a 1/2" blade, set the tension to the mark for 3/8" using your
your saw's tension gauge. In other words, less tension than Lonnie
Bird recommends is OK if your saw is otherwise set up correctly and
you feed the work through slow enough that the blade can clear out the
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Thanks for posting that! I do think he exaggerated a little at 5:15.
Not sure he is going to be able to discern 1 thou gap btw the blade and
guide bushing by eye.
=============================================================================Depends what he does for a living. I can.
I've seen suggestions (Either in Bird or Duginske's book) for using dollar
bills or other pieces such pieces of paper. I can't seem to remove the
"gauge" without messing up the adjustment.
I set the side blocks by setting them to touch the blade and then back off
a hair. It might be farther than the gauges would have set, but it works
Cigarette paper is close to 0.001" thick. Standard printing paper is ~
0.002" thick, and a dollar bill is a bit thicker. Not exactly
calibration standards, but machinists used to use cigarette paper to
check cutter clearance. You crank the cutter down/in until you can feel
it catch between the tool and the work, and that gets your zero plenty
close enough for most work.
In 2007, GarageWoodworks wrote:
Do you think it would be particularly difficult to make the tension
gauge in the picasaweb site? Seems like a nice project.
I was looking for ideas for a DIY band saw blade tensioner today and came
across this one:
I think I am going to try and make it. It looks like the lower part of the
device pivots on a bar and the movement is measured by the dial indicator.
It looks like the bar would have to be exactly in the center to be
accurate.?. According to a FWW article I read, 5" of blade will stretch
0.001" for every 6,000 lbs of tension (over a 5" length of blade). For those
with a FWW account here is the article:
I don't like the one detailed in the article (I prefer a dial indicator over
Has anyone tried to make one of these before? Or have you made a better
You may want to look at this version of Bird's commercial gauge.
On Sun, 9 Sep 2012 04:00:10 -0600, Jim Artherholt wrote
I used this method for my Minimax and with 12" of blade exposed, I used a
dial indicator that measured down to 0.00001". With this resolution I could
get a clear reading of tension, then marked my saws tension scale (which was
reading wayyyy low). I really doubt a standard 0.001 dial gauge set at 5"
will provide much accuracy.
I've come to realize that being super accurate is way overrated and once you
have a blade tensioned properly as a reference, you can do it from now on
using the 'pluck test' or deflection tests with perfectly acceptable results.
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