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Setting Up and Using a Band Saw, or A.K.A. – Wrestling with a Bandsaw and Finally Winning!

By: Tommy B

I have a lot of power tools – a lot!  And up to this point in time I have not acquired a tool that I could not figure out how to use within the first 15 minutes.  Welp, it took at 9″ band saw, several hours of my time, and finally resorting to visiting a woodworker friend (with saw in tow), to show me how to get the thing running without throwing the blade!  I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worst enemy so I felt like I should share the knowledge I learned today to make this world a better place! What follows is a very brief “how to” on getting a band saw up and running.   I hope it will help you prevent the major headache it gave me before I sought expert help!


The first thing my friend (George from now on) told me is to unloosen all the guides on the table saw, both upper and lower, and get them out of the way of the blade.

band saw post image 4

Upper Pin Guides

After you loosen all the guides put the blade on the upper and lower pulleys – getting it as close to center as you can – and test it by turning the pulley to see if the blade will stay on.  If it doesn’t, which was my biggest problem, adjust the top and side tension bars until you can turn the pulley and your blade doesn’t fall off.  It will take some time and finagling, but once you can turn the pulley w/o the blade falling off you’ve almost got this thing licked!

band saw post image 2

Upper and Lower Pulleys


band saw post image 1

Blade Centered on Upper Pulley

Once you’re confident the blade is fairly close to center and will stay on track next is lining up your guides.  Using a allen wrench, adjust your pin guides moving the pin as close to the blade as you can w/o touching it.  George, being a woodworker, said as close as a 64th of an inch!  Also, you have to make sure the blades edge is slightly in front of the pins or else it will wear the teeth out a lot quicker than normal usage.  Once the pins are in place tighten them and test your pulley again.  You should be able to turn the wheels and the blade not touch the pins.  If that works it is time to ajust the guide wheel behind the blade.  Again, bring the guide wheel up to about a 64th of an inch from the blade.  George said this wheel acts as a brace for the blade…when you push your wood through the blade it will give a bit and this wheel will help keep it in place and not allow a lot of room for your blade to bend which could cause you to cut crooked lines or even break your blade.  Once you have got the pulleys and all the guides set, turn your machine on and off quickly.  It’s good news if your blade doesn’t come off immediately!  If the blade does pop off, well go back to Step 1!

band saw post image 3

Pin and Wheel Guides

So, after doing the adjustments at George’s house this morning I got the saw home and plugged it in and prayed wholehearteded it would work.  I turned it on and off like he said – so far so good!  I turned it on again and left it on; everything seemed to be working fine.  The real test was to see if I could run my piece of wood through w/o throwing the blade and, tada, it worked like a champ!

Lastly, I have an aversion to buying cheap tools because I have enough experience to know you get what you pay for, but this was a special circumstance and having already used it I can already see why it was so cheap and how I can already use at least the next model up.  Word to the wise, it never pays, NEVER, to buy cheap tools!  Save up a bit longer, drink a few less beers and buy a few less coffees, and invest in good quality, strong, long lasting tools!

Category: DIY Projects, Funny, Uncategorized

Comments (1)

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  1. HuyTV says:

    I know the feeling when it worked is awesome! Good job guys!

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