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Bandsaws Discussion about one of the most important machines in the shop.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2011, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: De-tension or not to de- tension?

Hi Fellas,

I used to de-tension my 16" Walker Turner until the day that I attended a seminar on bandsawing veneers put on by David Marks of the TV show "Woodworks." A member of the audience asked him if he removed the tension from his saws, and his answer was something along the lines of: "We didn't release tension on our saws back when I began wood working in the '70's, so I'm not starting now!" That's one of those revelations that sets a guy free! Now I have one less task to try and remember to do that takes more of what little time I have in the shop. Now, a professional uses his saw almost daily, and I haven't used mine in months; so I just went to the shop and turned it on. No issues, the blade didn't bounce and the saw didn't make any wierd sounds or toss the blade! I do have the Carter urethane tires on it, so rubber tires might behave different.

I'm FREE, FREE I tells ya!!

-Rutager
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2011, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: De-tension or not to de- tension?

So I used to do what I explained with the ply cover for the switches. Then I got David Marks' bandsaw DVD. In it he says he doesn't de-tension his saw with the remark that "I don't have to de-tension the piano strings when I'm done". Thought it was brilliant so I stopped.

Then a month ago, my Resaw King snapped due to the thrust bearing thrusting one last time. I spoke with the guy who does the brazing/welding of blades and asked him. He said I should de-tension the blade if I don't use it routinely. Partly for reasons already mentioned: flattening tires possibly or on a smaller less stout saw, putting unnecessary stress on the housing holding the wheels. Now, a 1/4" blade tensioned on a 18" bandsaw is like a shoelace, but a 3/4" Resaw King on a 14" bandsaw is a lot more tension. I can see that argument a bit.

Another point he mentioned was that the blades with deep gullets over time may develop microsized stress fractures during heavy use. While tensioned sitting there, those can get worse. I'm more neutral on this argument. In the case of the Resaw King, though, it is a resharpenable blade so its band's life is theoretically much longer than a use-till-dull blade. That said, I can see how the fracture argument comes into play.

I figure I'm losing nothing de-tensioning and have since resumed de-tensioning; I simply put the magnetic ply back If I forget a couple times, no big deal. Usually I notice right away the next beer time I come into the garage as it is right in front of the door.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: De-tension or not to de- tension?

I don't know but I lean towards the doesn't make any difference side.

Look how small that tensioning spring is compared to the saw structure.

The only difference I've ever been able discern is the flat spot it made
in the old rubber tires. Even then that didn't really affect performance
if the guides were already adjusted.

I've read that the spring will wear out but I've also heard that springs
might break but they don't wear out.

So, sometimes I de-tension...
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2011, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: De-tension or not to de- tension?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMarcel View Post
I do something similar to Wayne. I have a piece of plywood with magnets in it. I stick it over the power switches when the saw is de-tensioned. When I go to use the saw, I put the plywood piece back by the tension lever after I tension it.

It makes for a quick visual cue that the saw is tensioned or not and since I cover the power switch when I de-tension, it keeps me from accidentally running the saw with the blade de-tensioned. Not sure what would happen, but I'd rather not find out.
I am absolutely terrible at this and at one point left a one inch blade tensioned for six months. However, I have had zero problems with either the blade or the wheels. On the other hand I have a new 1" Resaw King blade and am trying to ensure that I detension every time I leave the shop for the night.

Fred
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Last edited by joraft; 01-04-2011 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: De-tension or not to de- tension?

I let the tension off mine every time I change the blade.

Scott W.
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