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Bandsaw question #1: Blade Tension

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Blog entry by Eloyd posted 11-01-2019 11:31 PM 747 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am told that when I am not using my band saw that I should release the tension on the blade. Is this really necessary? I can’t imagine turning the blade tension knob every time I want to do this, then re-tension the blade when I want to make a cut. I am told there is an add-on devise for band saws that do this easy without losing any preset tension. Is there such a thing to easily remove tension, and then re-tension? Do I really need to be concerned about just leaving the blade on full tension the times when I am not using it?

-- Eloyd



12 comments so far

View JerryMaldonato's profile

JerryMaldonato

46 posts in 1102 days


#1 posted 11-02-2019 12:43 AM

Carter Products makes the tension release add-on you are talking about. You’ll have to go to their site to see if there is one compatible with your saw. I have a release on mine and never use it. It makes no difference at all to keep the blade tensioned. It’s only handy when changing blades.

View sawdustjeff's profile

sawdustjeff

24 posts in 2320 days


#2 posted 11-02-2019 03:24 AM

I don’t pretend to be an expert (on anything) but I was told that reason for releasing the tension on a band saw is to avoid damaging the tires on either or both wheels. Too much pressure can cause the tires to lump up (technical term that I just made up). The tires can bulge slightly and not necessarily be obvious to the human eye, but you’ll notice that the saw doesn’t run as smoothly as it used to.
I too have a release on my saw and I’ve added a small chain with a hook to loop around the blade when the saw in not tensioned. A great way to ruin the blade and maybe hurt yourself is to run the saw without the blade tensioned.

View JerryMaldonato's profile

JerryMaldonato

46 posts in 1102 days


#3 posted 11-02-2019 03:54 AM

That is a good point about the tires sawdustjeff. But firing up the saw with it not tensioned is bad news and like you I’ve tried different ways to flag the state of the tension. Being pretty much an idiot none has ever been foolproof. It’s pretty embarrassing too. Why don’t they put that darned handle on the front of the saw where you can see it? Duh.

View sval229's profile

sval229

87 posts in 4321 days


#4 posted 11-02-2019 07:56 AM

I put a big piece of masking tape with the word TENSION written on it with a sharpie on the start button on my saw. Yesterday I still managed to turn it on with the blade loose.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4746 posts in 1600 days


#5 posted 11-02-2019 08:59 AM

Gendies (or is it Ladents), I cannot help with the tesion add on mechanism, however, I have managed to easily solve the tension/untension debacle.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3801 posts in 2001 days


#6 posted 11-02-2019 02:25 PM

It is certainly a personal choice! I leave my 14” with 1/4” blade always tensioned (knob), The 16” with a wide re-saw blade gets de-tensioned at the end of the day.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1499 posts in 3540 days


#7 posted 11-02-2019 04:10 PM

I have a 14” WW-2 vintage cast iron Walker Turner bandsaw that I have had for nearly 60n years and have NEVER taken the tension off the blade except to change blades. No problems!

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

7580 posts in 1491 days


#8 posted 11-02-2019 05:12 PM



I have a 14” WW-2 vintage cast iron Walker Turner bandsaw that I have had for nearly 60n years and have NEVER taken the tension off the blade except to change blades. No problems!

- Planeman40


I wish I had a WT Bandsaw your lucky :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4746 posts in 1600 days


#9 posted 11-03-2019 01:03 AM



I have a 14” WW-2 vintage cast iron Walker Turner bandsaw that I have had for nearly 60n years and have NEVER taken the tension off the blade except to change blades. No problems!
- Planeman40

I think it’s horses for courses… I have a 17” bandy which is nearly always mounted with my favourite 1/4” blade… I think untensioning such a long delicate blade is a no-brainer… at least for me… I believe that untensioning (with my indicator, for safety) will do no harm and I’m not prepared to test the alternative, at the cost of a 1/4” blade (not too many blade makers drop down to 1/4” for a 17+ incher and accept some responsibility for the quality/integrity of the blade which comes at a cost).

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View stefang's profile

stefang

17039 posts in 4113 days


#10 posted 11-03-2019 10:45 AM

I have a tension lever on my 18”bandsaw, but normally I just keep it tensioned anyway. That said, I do not keep my blade highly tensioned to begin with as I don’t find it necessary to get good cuts while resawing or otherwise. I have been using this bandsaw for nearly 10 years without problems.

de-tensioning the blade certainly can’t hurt, but if you are forgetful like me then you might find yourself turning on your saw without first tensioning the blade and that will cause you a lot more trouble than just leaving it tensioned.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

1969 posts in 2728 days


#11 posted 11-05-2019 07:46 PM

I have a Delta 18” with a tension lever. On/off, and yes I have turned it on with it loose.

-- Petey

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2762 posts in 1382 days


#12 posted 11-06-2019 03:35 AM

Personally I wouldn’t worry about it. I can’t see where any of the saw manufacturers recommend de-tensioning when not in use in their owners manuals. Only time i de-tension is when changing blades.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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