Tensioning Blades The 'Flutter' Way
The "flutter" method for setting tension is simple and recommended by blade and saw manufacturers. Learn how to do it.
We've seen various methods for setting bandsaw blade tension, from fancy gauges to plucking the blade like a guitar string. But the "flutter" method for setting tension is simple and recommended by blade and saw manufacturers. Here's how to do it:
- Unplug the saw.
- After installing the blade, set the upper and lower blade guides as far out as they can go (or remove them), and remove the throat plate from the table.
- Center the blade on the wheels, adjusting tracking while turning the top wheel by hand. Close the wheel covers.
- Turn the tensioning handwheel until the tension gauge is at or a little above the recommended tension for your blade width.
- Plug the saw in and turn it on, making any final adjustments to blade tracking.
- With the saw running, slowly release the tension—about 1⁄2 turn of the tensioning wheel at a time—until the blade starts to flutter, as shown at right.
- Gradually increase tension until the fluttering just stops, then turn the tensionwheel another 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 turn tighter.
- Power down the saw, and reset the upper and lower blade guides. You're back in business.
Use this method each time you change blades, and remember to de-tension the blade with the quick-release tensioner when not in use. (If your bandsaw doesn't have a quick-release lever, make it a habit to relax the tension by a specific number of turns—10, for example—at the end of each day you use the saw. Next time you need the saw, just tighten the wheel 10 turns to return to the correct tension.)