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Changing bandsaw tires

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You wouldn't dream of driving a car for years without checking its tires, so why do it with your bandsaw? To make a quick assessment, pop the bandsaw's hood, remove the blade, and inspect the tire for visible cracks or missing chunks. If there are any, it's time for a replacement. Here's how to do it.

Before installing a new tire, pry off the old one with a flathead screwdriver, or cut it off with a sharp utility knife. Scrape away old adhesive or remaining tire fragments with a putty knife, then remove any adhesive residue from the wheel using a rag and lacquer thinner.

As a final step, clean the wheel rim with denatured alcohol and allow it to dry thoroughly before mounting the new tire. You want a bare-metal surface for the tire to adhere to, and some solvents -- including lacquer thinner -- leave behind a residue that can reduce the adhesive's effectiveness.

Rubber tires: Stretch 'n' glue

To install a rubber tire, slide part of the tire onto the wheel rim with the rough-sided surface of the tire against the rim. Clamp it with a small C-clamp and a 1/4"-thick piece of scrap. Stretch the tire to the wheel's opposite side; then clamp it. Work the tire over the rim, as shown right, using a wood or steel lever, if necessary.

Slip a short piece of 3/4"-diameter rod or pipe between the tire and wheel. Roll the pipe around the rim once to equalize the tire's elasticity. Squeeze a small amount of industrial rubber adhesive (3M-TIRE, 888-622-7837, onto a scrapwood applicator and apply it to the tire and wheel surface, as shown below right. Roll and repeat all the way around the rim. Let the adhesive dry for 24 hours before using the saw again.

Note: Bandsaw tires fit a range of wheel widths, and may require trimming along one edge. Mount the tire flush to one side of the wheel, glue it in place, and then run a sharp utility knife around the edge.

Large bandsaw wheel

Stick under a belt
When applying the adhesive, roll the pipe or rod away from the fresh glue and apply more adhesive to the newly exposed gap.

Urethane tires: Heat 'em and seat 'em

Urethane tires come slightly undersized so you can install them without adhesive for a firm hold. If you have limited hand strength, soak the tire in hot water -- up to 120° F -- for 5 minutes to make it pliable enough to stretch over the rim.

Urethand chart

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