Homemade Bandsaw Blade Tension Quick-Release

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Blog entry by Blake posted 02-03-2008 10:25 PM 47813 reads 52 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Grab some popcorn… I made a movie!
(Make sure the volume is up… it might be a little quiet)

I have been working really hard to tune up my bandsaw lately. I really wanted one of these:

...for tensioning and detensioning the blade. But I am at the end of my budget and can’t spend another $150. I had seen pictures of a homemade version in a magazine and decided to make my own.

I posted this to try to get ideas.

Anyway, this is what I came up with and it works great!

I first made a pattern with cardboard:

I drilled two holes, one vertical and one angled for the tension screw to pass through. Then I bored out the waste between the two holes to create one “V” shaped hole. This way the tension screw would not interfere with the arm:

I cut the shape from my cardboard template on the bandsaw:

After a little more shaping and sanding of the handle I added the hardware and the hinged, flip-up “tension keeper.” With a little trial and error, and a little extra shave here and there it fit just right:

I added a cheap foam bicycle handlebar grip to the handle to make it easier to pull and also protect my head when I inevitably bump into it (already tested):

I also added a small knob to easily pull the “tension keeper” up.

The spring on the “tension keeper” was an afterthought that turned out to be one of the best features. So when you pull it to re-tension it just “clicks” back into place and holds.

A few more details: The main arm is not actually attatched to the bandsaw. It sits on the frame and is just held there by tension. The tension screw is no longer pushing against the frame of the saw, it is instead held by the lock nuts and washer above the maple “arm.”

I had to cut out another “V” shaped section where the guide block shaft sticks up and would otherwise interfere with the arm. I made sure not to taper the arm out to the handle until after that section. That way it would still be strong enough even with the “V” cut-out:

The knob at the top was secured by tightening it against a nut (just below it) as well as Red (permanent) LockTight:

It works perfectly and was made mostly with scraps and parts I found around the shop. It probably took about four hours of actual shop time to make. If you’ve got any questions let me know!

-- Happy woodworking!

38 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1784 posts in 4890 days

#1 posted 02-03-2008 10:35 PM

Very cool. Thanks for the video. Nice editing and tunes.

Way to innovate.

My saw won’t accept a quick release.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 4590 days

#2 posted 02-04-2008 12:34 AM

That’s pretty slick. I’m definately going to make one if the band saw I get doesn’t have one.

-- Tony, Ohio

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4821 days

#3 posted 02-04-2008 01:29 AM

I gotta like a man the thinks on his feet!
Good job Blake.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 4694 days

#4 posted 02-04-2008 02:24 AM

Hi Blake,

Now that is just plain…......................slick.
Way to go, what a great idea.

All the best

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers:

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5200 days

#5 posted 02-04-2008 06:55 AM

Sheesh. What a bore. and a “V” one at that. Great job Blake. Glad to be able to help.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4788 days

#6 posted 02-04-2008 07:45 AM

Pretty cool! I like your foam handle!

How’s the saw cutting now?

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

View Harry72's profile


53 posts in 4566 days

#7 posted 02-04-2008 08:32 AM


View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4797 days

#8 posted 02-04-2008 08:59 AM

Fun stuff – looks like that works well. It has a great “click” to it. Ahh maple – gotta love it.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4866 days

#9 posted 02-04-2008 10:58 AM

Slick stuff Blake. I have a Grizzly that has pretty much the same type of tension release on it (factory made) – it works great.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Grumpy's profile


26493 posts in 4651 days

#10 posted 02-04-2008 01:17 PM

Great blog Blake. I must make one of those tensioners. Were you in the silent movies years ago, you look too young. Only kidding.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4897 days

#11 posted 02-05-2008 06:04 AM

Well done. I liked the ending…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4790 days

#12 posted 02-05-2008 04:34 PM

HA! Yeah it was good! And talk about “adapt and overcome”! Good job Blake!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 4599 days

#13 posted 02-06-2008 02:15 AM

I’d have to put a big rubber ball on that handle just to save my eyes… ouch! Way cool design though. Gotta love simplicity. Sweet.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 4863 days

#14 posted 02-07-2008 03:56 AM

Awesome Blake. I was thoroughly entertained by your video. Not to discount the imfortative aspect, but the delivery of the concept was great! Thanks for documenting your great idea!

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY -

View relic's profile


344 posts in 4736 days

#15 posted 02-08-2008 12:55 AM

Sweet idea, Looks and works great. Nice job.

-- Andy

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