Jul 13

Setting up a bandsaw

Bandsaw Settings

I’ve had a few people ask how to set their bandsaw up properly and asking how to adjust their rip fences to compensate for blade drift etc: Now blade drift only exists in a poorly set up machine, there should be no need for blade drift as long as your set up correctly.I hope the following is of help and should you find that your machine runs smoother or indeed removes that blade drift Id love to hear from you. As time passes my writing skills have diminished please forgive me if this isn’t written out as well as I could have, please follow it closely don’t miss any of the steps and take time to ensure you’ve set up tolerances as explained or it will not benefit you.

Remember before adjusting any part of your machine ensure the item is unplugged from the mains: Happy woodworking.

Bandsaw tensioner

  1. Tracking the blade on the wheels:
    The blades gullet should be centre of the wheel NOT the blades width: The gullet centred gives you a tight blade at the cutting edge.
  2. Tensioning the blade:
    Adjust the blade so that when you lightly tap the side of the blade with your finger it moves no more than an 1/8” (Re-Check blade gullet is running centre     of the wheel.)
  3. Adjust the top thrust bearing:
    position so it is only missing the blade, 1/16” (The most crucial thrust bearing)
  4. Adjust the lower thrust bearing:
    Position so its only just missing the blade 1/16” Rotate the blade insure the thrust bearings don’t move; now put a slight pushing pressure on the tooth edge pushing the blade back whilst rotating the blade the bearings should turn. Only when they are still without pressure and turn with pressure are these set correctly.
  5. Adjusting your blade guides:
    Your side blade guides top and bottom should be set to barely miss the blade side approx 1/16”. Also ensure they are set back as to be just behind the blade gullet, teeth running through the guides will simply ware your blade and make a hell of a noise.

    Don’t let the guides rub the blade sides as they will heat up your blade; blades are heat treated and re-heating your blades will re-straighten bend metal such as teeth, once the straighten the blade will want to run the easiest route through your timber and you’ll get uneven cutting, this setting will help your blades last longer.

  6. Table top levelling 100%:
    Run the machine and start a cut on a piece of timber approx 3 to 6 tall. Turn off the machine, turn the timber around and offer the kerf you just created to the back of the blade (Non Tooth side), if the blade fits inside the kerf your table is truly aligned.If the blade doesn’t fit inside the kerf whilst resting flat on the surface adjust the table top and cut again until your kerf cut excepts the back of the blade


Important notes:
Blades centred on the wheel are one of the main contributes to blade drift (Blade drift only exists in a badly set up bandsaw). The wheels of your machine DO NOT have to be parallel, they are set up by the manufacturer to an exact tolerance, do NOT mess with trying to adjust your wheels.
Should you need proof of this, here’s a little exercise:Remove both covers adjust the top wheels lateral movement so the blade moves across the width of the wheel, Notice how whilst your doing this the blade at the bottom wheel does not move and it never will unless your blades coming adrift.

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