Proper bandsaw de-tensioning - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Proper bandsaw de-tensioning

This question is about how much the bandsaw blade needs to be de-tensioned when not being used for extended times (or for a few days):

My Grizzly Extreme 14" bandsaw has blade tension quick-release. I usually tension the 1/2" blade to the recommended setting. (I know that the tension gauges are not terribly accurate but I check by "finger tap" method and it matches the gauge indicator for 1/2" blade). I use quick-release whenever I am not using the saw for a few hours but it only brings down the gauge indicator to 3/8" blade equivalent; the 1/2" blade still feels fairly tight. is this level of de-tensioning enough or should I further release the tension by rotating the knob on top until the blade actually feels loose? Would you de-tension to a same degree when not using for a few hours, few days, few weeks?
Thank you,
Msakaki

Last edited by msakaki; 06-14-2013 at 10:20 AM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 10:32 AM
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I think there are two main groups of band saw owners.

One group which does not de-tension, either because the saw does not have the feature, or because they do not feel it is necessary. I have read posts where people commented they do not de-tension and have not experienced any issues after many years.

The other group de-tensions when the saw is not being used. I am in this group. My Grizzly 17in saw has an arm at the back. When in the up position the blade is completely loose. Only takes a second and so I feel I should take advantage of the feature.

My first Grizzly 14in saw did not have the quick release, and so I did not bother de-tensioning since it was a pain.

I am not sure why your de-tension is only removing part of the tension.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 10:39 AM
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Mine is de-tensioned at the end of the day. The manufacturer recommended it save the wheel bearings????. It's 35 years old and still has good bearings.

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post #4 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Dave and Gene,
Thank you! There must be something wrong with the lever on mine but even small release is better than none. Will call Grizzly to find out if there is a solution.
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Just spoke to Grizzly and they recommended adjusting the lever to a higher position (there are two screws that enable the attachment point to be moved up or down) and then re-adjusting the tension on the blade. that way, when the lever is released, the upper wheel will have more travel and will release the blade further. Hopefully this will work but it definitely makes sense.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 11:46 AM
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Wow.... Never heard of de-tensioning... The blade in my old band saw has been tensioned for many years....
I don't use it every day... Over the years it's stood for 4-5 years with no use....
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-14-2013, 01:59 PM
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I'm in favour of releasing the tension. There must be some effect on the frame of the machine and the bearings if it is constantly under tension. Mine (a Metabo) has a quick release lever that drops the tension to almost nothing and I always leave it like that when not using it. As a reminder I've added a micro switch that puts the local work lite on when the blade is tensioned. Useful when working and a handy reminder to release the tension when not working.

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-15-2013, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Just tried Grizzly's recommendation but it did not work. Well, I guess I will have to turn the know 20 times before and after each work...
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-15-2013, 10:07 AM
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Not for me. The blade stays tensioned on my 36" oliver band saw all the time. The only issue I could possibly think of is, the band digging into the tire a little. It isn, t going to hurt the bearings in that saw.

I try to use one blade for all my tasks too, changing a 19'+ long blade gets old.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-15-2013, 10:16 AM
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The only tool I de-tension is my Dewalt scroll saw.......Look around, there are permanently tensioned pulleys/bearings everywhere...
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-15-2013, 02:25 PM
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I think there could be some merrit to de-tensioning if you were going to put the saw away in storage but one in the shop that is used from time to time I wouldn't. I have a bandsaw which I bought in the 1970's that has had tension on the blade continious since I brought it home. It still has the original tires on it and works fine.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-17-2013, 06:29 PM
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I always de tension my blade when not in use. Leaving the blade under tension would weaken the tension spring.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-17-2013, 07:31 PM
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My 14" Grizzly has the quick release feature. A feature thats never been used. I read and read and read everything I could find on the issue when I purchased the saw. I couldnt find anything to lead me to believe that de-tensioning benefited my saw in any way. However, it could lead me to forget to retention and turn my saw on and destroy a blade or even worse. Mine has constant tension and will stay that way. The spring issue that was mentioned is the worse thing that could happen and I doubt its an issue. If it is, I guess when it gets weak I'll order a new $5 spring.

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post #14 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 02:12 AM
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Not going to hurt the spring on my saw.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 02:34 AM
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Like a few others I keep my bandsaw under tension all of the time and never have had a problem. I would expect that the spring may weaken over time, but that is ok I have replaced it.

I even keep my home made saw tensioned all of the time.
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 03:36 AM
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Remove the tension if it makes you feel better. I have never done so and have never had a problem resulting from it. Engine valve springs can remain in full compression for decades and continue to function just fine.. no reason that a band saw tension spring under light compression would not do as well. I still have the original spring on my 1950 Delta and the only time it didn't have tension on it was during blade changes!

Cheers,
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-18-2013, 09:46 AM
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Mine just stays under tension at all times. I don't think it has hurt anything though since the saw is at least 13-years old and still runs smoothly with the original bearings and tires.
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