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How Do I Get My Bandsaw To Perform Better?

By Expert Author: Rick Daniel

DISCLAIMER: This checklist is intended only as a guideline for making your band saw perform at it's best. It is not intended to take the place of the owner's manual that came with your saw. You should read your owner's manual and follow the manufacturers' recommendations. This checklist will give you a track to follow so that you are aware of the different aspects of your band saw. Not all band saws are the same so there may be some differences. You should also be aware that power tools could be dangerous if not operated properly. They can cause severe injury or even death. Review the safety procedures in your owner's manual. Always unplug the saw and wear eye protection when making adjustments. You may want to wear gloves when removing and installing blades.

CAUTION: Coiled blades are under spring-like tension. They can quickly cause damage up to several feet away if uncoiled out of control. Wire ties should be used for storing coiled blades. If a recommendation doesn't seem correct for your saw, it may not be. Consult your manual or an expert. If something seems unsafe it probably is.

Now, let's tune your band saw!

Unplug the saw.

Clean the saw of dust, debris and resin. Just like a car, it will operate better clean.

Replace the tires and check the wheel balance. We recommend using urethane tires. Even if you have new rubber tires from the manufacturer. A lawn mower blade balancing device works good. Rather than adding weight to the light side, you should remove weight from the heavy side by drilling holes in small increments. Reinstall the wheels.

Check the alignment to make sure the wheels are coplanar. Shopsmith owners see note below.

Inspect your drive-belt and pulleys. We recommend using Power Twist Plus drive belts.

Install the blade and bring it up to the correct tension. While rotating the upper wheel, adjust the blade tracking devise so that the blade runs in the center of the tire. Make sure no thrust bearings or guides are touching the blade during this procedure.

Adjust the thrust bearings. While rotating the upper wheel, bring the thrust bearing forward until it touches the blade and spins. Then back off the bearing until it stops. Repeat this for the lower bearing. The blade should contact both of the bearings at the same time during normal operation.

Adjust the blade guides. Blade guides should not touch the blade but be close enough to hold a piece of paper between the guide and blade. Specifically .003" for phenolic or .005" for metal. They should not be forward enough to cover the blade teeth. We recommend Cool Blocks.

Square the table. Using a square, adjust the table so that it is 90 degrees perpendicular to the blade.

Rotate the saw by hand a couple rotations and check that everything runs smoothly. Make sure everything has been tightened. Plug in the saw.

Tune the blade using a blade tuning stone held against the table. While the saw is running, lightly round the back of the blade to remove any burrs from the blade manufacturing process. You may have to recheck your bearing and guide clearances after this step.

NOTE: On Shopsmith band saws, the upper wheel is out of alignment by design. The blade runs on the back of the wheel and then on three bearings. If your blade does not ride towards the back of the wheel it needs adjusted. You do this by placing the palm of your left hand on the top of the wheel and pull or push as needed on the bottom with your right. You have adjusted the wheel enough when the blade rides on all three bearings.

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