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Thread: band saw blade install question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
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    band saw blade install question

    Hello again :-)
    I've been super active in the shop lately, so I guess my questions piled up a bit. Thanks again for any advice.

    Separate from my table saw thread, I have a question around my band saw.

    I recently installed a new ¼” blade on my Grizzly G0555, and have tried to very closely follow the manual in terms of installation procedure. Previous to using this blade, my experience was mostly with wider blades.

    During my first test cuts with the new blade, the blade became dislodged from the wheels… as if I pushed the blade off the wheels.

    I inspected the rubber tires on the wheels and they are in like-new shape. I figured I needed more tension on the blade, so I followed the steps in the manual to accomplish that (from memory, those steps were basically: tightening to a certain point, manually rotating the wheels to see the blade center on the tire, running machine while reducing tension only until you see some "flutter", then tightening a bit from that point). I checked all the roller guides and they are a paper’s width to the left/right/back of the blade, so it seems they are in the right spots. All that checking helped, and I’m not dislodging the blade anymore…. But…

    I have to feed even thin (e.g. ¾”) boards of soft woods like cedar and pine very very slowly else I can see the blade being pushed again, and I fear that I’ll dislodge it like before. And as I try curve cuts, the blade has difficulty following even gentle curves.

    Do you think I need even more tension? Did I perhaps choose a bad blade? Is blade deflection and difficulty following curves on a bandsaw just a normal thing I should get used to? Any other pointers I should try?

    Thanks again!!
    Bob R.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  2. #2
    This may or may not help, but most (maybe all) bandsaws have a camber adjustment on the upper wheel. I wonder if adjusting the wheel slant to provide more resistance to the blade moving off might help? What I mean is providing a sort of shoulder to help keep the blade in place. I've found narrow blades to be more touchy generally--

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Sometimes narrow blades track a little differently than wide blades. I'd look at that relative to your saw including what Dennis just mentioned.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    My guess is that you do not have sufficient tension on the blade. I would tension to the scale on the machine ,on most saws this is still not quite enough tension.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    In answer to some of your other questions blade deflection and difficulty cutting curves are definitely something that you should not have to "get used to". Something is wrong in the setup here. Do not be afraid to try more tension,on my Delta 14'' bandsaw I tension blades at the 1/2'' setting when it is a 1/4'' blade.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
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    Thanks for the quick replies! I will start with more tension and see how that goes... more soon when I test that out :-)
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  7. #7
    I would take a closer look at your thrust bearing (the one behind the blade). If the thrust bearing is set correctly, it is difficult to push the blade off the wheels.
    I'm assuming you tracked the blade to the center of the upper wheel.
    Tensioning according to the scale on the machine should be enough.

  8. #8
    You don't say what teeth per inch the blade is, generally 3-4 TPI is what you want. If your blade is too fine you will have to cut very slowly. Min radius you can cut with a 1/4 wide blade is around 5/8" although it depends a bit on kerf width of blade and whether you have rounded the back edges of the blade with a stone.

    I agree with the others that your tension is probably low. Double check where you are tracking the blade on the wheels and the thrust bearing adjustment. It should be about impossible to push the blade off the back of the wheels if those two adjustments are correct. Some folks like to track the blade in the center of the top wheel, other track the back of the gullets in the center (which places the blade further back). Either should work ok but also look where the blade tracks on the bottom wheel. If it is very near the back of the wheel, then move the blade forward on the top wheel some.

  9. #9
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    What Edwin said - thrust bearing not moved forward when you changed to the narrower blade.

    This is another case for making a tension meter. If you knew the tension was correct you wouldn't have wonder if it was the root cause.

    John

  10. #10
    Even a 1/4" blade should cut 3/4" cedar like a hot knife thru butter. You say the blade is new but is it a good quality blade? I just put a well used 1/4" blade on my saw and cut 1 1/2" cedar with little effort. No offence but did you install it upside down?

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    I would take a closer look at your thrust bearing (the one behind the blade). If the thrust bearing is set correctly, it is difficult to push the blade off the wheels.
    I'm assuming you tracked the blade to the center of the upper wheel.
    Tensioning according to the scale on the machine should be enough.
    I agree with Edwin. My first thought was that you do not have the rear thrust bearing (or bearings) adjusted for the narrower blade width.
    David

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    ... I checked all the roller guides and they are a paper’s width to the left/right/back of the blade, so it seems they are in the right spots. ...
    Others suggested checking the rear bearing position but I see you said you already did that.

    I'd suspect tension - too little tension causes lots of problems. It seems that most of the tension indicators on bandsaws are inaccurate. I consider the flutter, plucking, deflections methods less than useful at best. As mentioned, a tension gauge will make sure the tension is right. I always use a tension gauge when mounting a different size/type of blade and record the position of the tension indicator on the saw. For example, the indicator on my 18" Rikon has to be set to the 1" mark to properly tension a 1/2"x3 tpi Lenox flexback blade.

    JKJ

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Seems you have checked all the usual suspects. It could be that the blade tracks centered on the upper wheel but to close to the edge on the lower wheel. Are the teeth on the blade pointed down? Forgive the the silly question.

    Bill
    Bill

    " You are a square peg in a square hole, and we need to twist you to make you fit. " My boss

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Open the upper cover and adjust the tracking to center the blade on the top wheel.
    Read up on the flutter method of tensioning the blade. It involves raising the guide post to the top, and adjusting the tension until the flutter stops.
    If you tension too much, you risk bending the axle and tracking adjuster.
    Lower the guides and adjust the upper/lower bearings to barely touch the blade.

    Might seem to be a nonsense question, but is the blade installed with the teeth pointed down?
    William beat me to that one.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by william watts View Post
    ....Are the teeth on the blade pointed down? Forgive the the silly question.
    Not a silly question - many have done that. Small blades are especially easy to get flipped. I even saw a new blade come that way - the guy in the blade shop flips the blades when grinding the welds and must have gotten distracted on one.

    Once I sharpened and mounted a chain on one of my chainsaws and before I started it a friend took one look and asked my how well that thing cut. I had mounted the chain backwards!!

    JKJ

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