Tension Bandsaws without a Gauge
Learn how to find the proper tension just by pressing on the blade with your fingertip (with the bandsaw unplugged).
My small bandsaw has no tension gauge. How can I tell if I’ve tightened the blade enough?
Jim Mitchell, Raleigh, NC
Even if your bandsaw has such a gauge, it is probably inaccurate. That’s OK, as you can still find the proper tension just by pressing on the blade. Unplug the saw and raise the guides to their highest position. Then adjust the tension and press on the blade as shown at right. This is more than enough tension for a sharp bandsaw blade. If you still get blade drift or bad cuts after that, you need a new blade or a coarser one (3 tpi is right for woodworking). This method works for any 14-in. bandsaw or smaller and blades up to 1⁄2-in. wide. With the guides raised all the way, press in the middle of the blade. If you can deflect the blade 1⁄4-in. without your fingertip turning white, the tension is good.