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Thread: Why release the tension?

  1. #1
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    Why release the tension?

    I've got a couple bandsaws, the one in question being a 14" Delta. It is exactly as it was when it left the factory, except it's on it's 10th or so blade, and has new cool blocks. I use it for the odd job saw, so it gets used often. I was using it tonight, and I got to thinking, the last time I remembered to release the tension was probably when the last blade went on. That was a while back, maybe a year? Come to think of it, I haven't religiously released the tension since I bought it used, many years ago. There is no vibration, and the saw works just as it did when we first met.

    Am I missing something, or is the conventional wisdom on releasing the tension a little overblown? Opinions?

  2. #2
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    It relieves the tension on the bearings and tires.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  3. #3
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    +1 on bearings and tires but, as often as you use yours, the impact is probably minimal. I will sometimes not use my larger saw for a week so I release the tension.
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  4. #4
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    I think the main reason is to release pressure from the tires and putting a "spot" on them. I would think if you are using it daily that might not be a problem. If you are like me where you only use it once a month or once every two months...then I'd think it might be more of a problem.
    Ken

  5. #5
    Well, I consistently tension my blades beyond what is recommended by the blade manufacturer or the saw tension gauge. Sometimes I back it off to what is recommended and I call that relieving the tension. I've never had a problem.

    According to David Marks you are spot on. He said he's always left his saws over-tensioned and it's never been an issue.

  6. #6
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    I rarely remember to relieve the tension on my MM20. I'm sure it can't hurt but I don't think the MM manual says any thing about backing off the tension. I've never heard of relieving the tension on industrial metal cutting band saws. Does the Delta manual say anything about relieving the tension?

  7. #7
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    Good point about the metal cutting bandsaws. Neither of those in our shop get backed off either. I'm in the woodshop daily this time of year, but maybe weekly if I'm lucky in the summer, so I'd think that the range of use would bring on a problem if one where going to show up.

  8. #8
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    Maybe the new saw cast iron is not very good and they need some sort of disclaimer " Oh, you didn't release the tension" when it breaks. How's that for negativity?

  9. #9
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    band saw tension

    The only time I had a problem leaving the band saw tensioned on was in an unheated garage seems Chicago winters can cause the wheels to warp

  10. #10
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    I recommend it to avoid putting a permanent groove in your band saw's tires. Granted, it takes a long time for that to happen, but we intend to keep our tools for a long time, don't we? Most old saws tires I've seen have that groove worn into them.

    Releasing the tension takes maybe 15 or 20 seconds to do and very quickly it can become part of your normal shop routine, like turning off the lights or the heat; you don't need to retension until the next time you use the saw.

  11. #11
    Frank, I see what you are saying. OTOH, it's just as easy to forget to retension the blade before you use it as it is to release tension. Then you have a potentially dangerous situation if the blade slips off the wheels. I've had that happen a few times and it scares the heck out of me.

    Flat spots take a fairly long time to develop and tires are replacable.
    In the meantime I have a saw that is precisely tensioned the way I like it and is good to go anytime.
    Last edited by Chris Padilla; 02-02-2009 at 4:40 PM.

  12. #12
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    If springs were damaged by being under constant tension, and if rubber took a set from being under pressure, we'd all be putting our cars up on blocks over night.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Keehn View Post
    OTOH, it's just as easy to forget to retension the blade before you use it as it is to release tension.
    I kept forgetting to release the tension on my saw and I didn't want to start it up with the tension released, so I hung a little cardboard sign over the on and off buttons that asks, "Tension?"

    This allows me to concentrate on other aspects of the project to mess up.


  14. #14
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    I only use/have Timberwolf blades for my Steel City, so I do, but only because of this:

    http://www.suffolkmachinery.com/six_rules.asp

    Rob

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Keehn View Post
    Well, I consistently tension my blades beyond what is recommended by the blade manufacturer or the saw tension gauge.
    Me, too. I use Timberwolf blades but I don't subcribe to the low tension theory. I don't relieve the tension on my 17" band saw, either, and I'm gone for two weeks every month.

    I'm not saying that is the correct method, just that it's my method and so far I've not had a problem.
    Cody


    Logmaster LM-1 sawmill, 30 hp Kioti tractor w/ FEL, Stihl 290 chainsaw, 300 bf cap. Solar Kiln

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