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Band saw tension meters

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  • Band saw tension meters

    I walked away from my shop for two years after losing my wife of 21 years in early 07. And about a month ago my oldest son told me that I am about to be a " Grandfather ".

    So I want to do something for them, and I thought it would be cool to make our new edition a crib combination set.

    So I dusted out my shop ( taken over a week to do ), tuned all the tools, layed out my plan, and went to National lumber, and I'm ready to start again ..

    I started to re-saw some penga, set the tension on my band saw ( Ridgid BS14002 w/riser block ). Started to cut and about 1/3 of the way my blade broke, as I looked closer I noticed that I also cracked the upper arm of the band saw ( Damn )...

    Ok, I've since repaired the upper arm, and replaced the blade. I'm wondering if anybody has, or have had used the tensioning meter/gauges from Carter or lenox.

    The meter " Electric Tension Gauge " (ETG) from Carson products, claims to be easy to install, and will fit any 14" band saw with a U shaped saddle.

    The Lenox ban saw blade tension meter, seems to just sit on the blade it self and reads the tension as you tighten up the blade.

    So could someone help with this, I'm not so worried about the cost as to the performance, and durability of the gauge...

    Last edited by sirwoodchuck; 04-19-2009, 07:11 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Band saw tension meters

    sirwoodchuck- -I cant help you with your question. So why am I answering? First to let you know that I am sorry for the loss of your wife. Second to let you know that I am glad to hear you are about to become a Grandfather, you will never be the same again. I have three grandsons, ages 16, 4, and 3. Believe me, they are my life now. I have experience with the digital band saw tension meters but they were on large industrial bands saws in a machine shop. I know that blade tension is important, maybe someone will have experience with the one you are asking about and can help you. Good Luck, David


    • #3
      Re: Band saw tension meters

      Deepest sypathies, sirwoodchuck. I can't even begin to imagine.

      I haven't used a tensioning gauge at all but I'd like to ask a question. Did you leave this blade under tension all of that time that the shop was idle? It could be that you lost the arm to fatigue over protracted time. If not, it was waaaaaaay overtightened. I have always tightened my BS 'to ear'. First, I raise the blade guard as high as it will go and pull on the blade to the right. As I tighten the tension knob I keep plucking the blade until I hear that it is no longer a sloppy sort of sound but closer to a tone. From there I add a half turn and stop. Lower the blade guard and get everything set up properly. Do a bunch of cuts in various configs and in various thickness of stock. Turn off the machine and re-examine all settings. No change in tracking on the wheels or at the blade guides would be a good thing. Mark that on the casting and store the machine at a standard lower setting. I use four rotations to loosen the tension. Need to use the 'ole BS again? Tighten four turns and you're set. Granted, you have to establish a standard for each blade but it's a cheap and reliable way (to me, at least) to keep it reliably simple.
      BTW, good luck with whatever path you choose and enjoy the new one. They add years to life and life to years.


      • #4
        Re: Band saw tension meters

        Thank you Thurman and Ironhat, we do appreciate you knidness...

        You know Thurman, we are looking forward to the birth. You see my wife ( Lupe ) birthday is 12/23, and my grandchild is due in December, maybe it's to much to ask, but we hope...

        Ironhat, no, the blade was not tensioned all that time. I think it was a combination of a couple of things. I tighten the blade to tight, and i was forceing the stock to fast, among other things as well...

        Ironhat, thanks for the advise, I think I'm going to give that a try the next time I work with my BS, however I also think I'm going to purchase one of those tension meters as well...

        Again thank you both for your kindness!!!