bandsaw blade tension

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by jerkylips posted 04-06-2018 08:50 PM 755 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3347 days

04-06-2018 08:50 PM

so, I picked up an older craftsman 12” bandsaw this winter. The guy I bought it from said it he bought it, used it once or twice, then it sat unused in his basement for 5+ years. It has basically zero wear marks and no rust, so I tend to believe him. I recently got a new blade, and went through the saw to get it cleaned up/adjusted, etc.

I can’t seem to get the tension on the blade correct. I initially tried the method of loosening it up until the blade “flutters” then turned it on & increased tension until I didn’t see movement while it was running. I got it “pretty good” but could still see some side to side movement/”flutter” in the blade & I had cranked the tension knob to the point where it was difficult to turn.

Last night I put a different blade on it & was about to re-tension. To get a rough idea, while the saw was off I tried to tension it to the point where I got 1/4” or less of deflection when pushing the blade with one finger. I got it to what seemed to be the correct tension, but as soon as I turned the saw on, WHAAAAAAPPPPPPPP!!!” and the blade popped off. The top wheel is tracking to keep the blade basically dead center, and I hadn’t changed that.

It seems impossible to actually get the blade tensioned to the point where I have no “wobble”. I know it’s an older and cheap saw, but seems like I should be able to get it dialed in better than this.

Any suggestions? (besides “don’t buy a crapsman”? ;) )

8 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


3145 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 04-06-2018 09:18 PM

I would change the tires. They have set for 5+ years probably with full tension on all that time.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 04-06-2018 11:50 PM

Maineac, You and yours are certainly in my prayers.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View BurlyBob's profile


7622 posts in 3043 days

#3 posted 04-07-2018 01:22 AM

Yeah, I just lost a blade the other day which I am certain was do to me not relieving the blade tension. I’m going to print some warning labels for my band saw. Then I’m going to relive the blade tension everytime. It might be a little anal but it might also save me a few bucks.

View MrUnix's profile


8097 posts in 2976 days

#4 posted 04-07-2018 01:56 AM

I got it to what seemed to be the correct tension, but as soon as I turned the saw on, WHAAAAAAPPPPPPPP!!!” and the blade popped off. The top wheel is tracking to keep the blade basically dead center, and I hadn’t changed that.

Adjusting the tension should not effect tracking.. and tracking should be done before adjusting for final tension. The fact that your blade popped off when you turned on the machine makes me think you did it the opposite way, or didn’t address the tracking issue at all.

Generally, you want to put the blade on and tension it just so it stays on… then – by hand – turn the upper wheel and adjust the tracking until the deepest part of the blade gullet is in the center of the upper tire. Once there, then adjust the tension. I’ll usually just give it a ‘pluck’ like a guitar string until I hear the right sound. It takes some practice, but you will quickly get the hang of it.

As for de-tensioning when not in use – that is a raging debate that really doesn’t have any evidence one way or the other. Some people will de-tension after every use, some will never do so except when chaning blades. But it is still a good idea to check your tires to make sure they are in good shape.

In case you haven’t already watched it, here is the obligatory band saw tune up video – watch it, do it, start making sawdust:

Band Saw Clinic with Alex Snodgrass


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Knockonit's profile


675 posts in 979 days

#5 posted 04-07-2018 02:09 AM

i just put a new flat cobra spring, i think on my delta 14, i or it looks like its the original spring, and i’m afraid to find out how old it is, was having some issues, and well boy howdy, talk about a new saw, i only tuned it a while back , new tires, some new guide blocks and tuned per some fella, who seemed to know his saws. and then finally bought a good blade, key word there was good blade, and its a joy to use.

hope ya get it fingered out, i’m on my old delta drum sander, having issues, thinking this time a bfh, might be the answer.
Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View jerkylips's profile


495 posts in 3347 days

#6 posted 04-07-2018 02:47 AM

Brad – I might not have been clear, but I had adjusted the tracking and run the saw a then turned it off and tensioned it. That’s why I thought it was odd that the blade popped off.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7577 posts in 1489 days

#7 posted 04-07-2018 03:14 AM

i had this saw for 10 years 12” craftsman do not over tension it …... cant really go by gauge :<))

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

View Woodknack's profile


13397 posts in 3157 days

#8 posted 04-07-2018 04:39 PM

Those Craftsman 12” have a very bad reputation. I was buying something else and the guy had one of those, it shimmied and vibrated like nothing I’d ever seen. He kept dropping the price and I think would have given it to me for free but I said no thanks. There is a video around of a guy trying to fix his and gives up and smashes it.

-- Rick M,

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics