elektra beckum bandsaw

How to Change Band saw Blade and Set-Up Guides-The easy way

Is it difficult to change a Bandsaw blade

The changing of the bandsaw blade does not need to be daunting. In this tutorial, I will show you how to change your old bandsaw blade with a new one. I have been through all the anxiety associated with the band saw and I will share with you my experience with my small work shop bandsaw.

two wheel bandsaw with open doors
bandsaw wheels exposed

When to change the bandsaw blade

This is a good question. Knowing when to change your bandsaw blade can not only improve your workflow but save you money. Who wants to waste money by changing your blade unnecessarily.

First signs that your bandsaw blade is dull

inspect bandsaw blade for wear
this blade is dull and needs replacing as the points are polished off on the extremes
  1. Do you find it difficult to follow a line?
  2. Can you resaw?

In my experience, the ability to follow a line is a tell-tell sign that my blade is blunt. 

What do I mean by a dull blade?

A bandsaw blade that is showing signs of uncontrollability is likely to have a reduced set or the extremes of the tooth point is blunt. 

How can I tell if the teeth are worn?

  1. Using finger plucking technique
  2. Polished teeth
  3. Uncontrollable 

Finger Plucking

A simple test is to grip the blade and run your finger against the cut. The sensation that should be apparent is the teeth plucking your skin. If the plucking is not profound then the blade is likely to be dull or blunt. Be careful when using this technique so you don’t cut your fingers.

6mm bandsaw blade for curvy cutting
1/4 bandsaw blade installed

Bandsaw blade has polished teeth

Shiny as it may be but the polishing is caused by the continuous wear by the wood that has been cut. Examine your blade and if it is shiny, then it is likely to be worn beyond usable use. 

An uncontrollable band saw blade

When cutting wood with the intention to follow a line and it is impossible then you have two options. Check your guides and if they are set correctly then your blade is likely to be beyond practical use.

Ok, my blade is in need of a change

Blunt bandsaw blades are the main cause of the most common bandsaw issues. Before you can change your blade you have to choose an appropriate blade.

My two best blades for my band saw

Your needs may be different but I only use two blades for my bandsaws

  • ¼ inch 3 TPI  (6mm)
  • ⅜ inch 3 TPI  (10mm)  

I prefer 3 TPI bandsaw blades

I know many blades are offered as 4TPI but in my experience 3TPI clears saw dust faster. 3TPI bandsaw blades are more efficient and offer faster cutting.

So let’s change that bandsaw blade

Changing a bandsaw blade is not difficult providing you follow these simple steps.

How to remove your bandsaw blade

If you are going to change your bandsaw blade then you need to remove your old one.

  1. Disconnect from power
  2. Loosen top guides
  3. Loosen bottom guides
  4. Remove table plug or fence guide
  5. replacing the fence guide
    bandsaw fence guide removed
  6. Open bandsaw doors to expose blade and wheels
  7. Clean away all dust (compressor airline is good for this)
  8. Using the wheel on the top of the bandsaw slacken the tension
  9. The bandsaw blade should be loose now
  10. Grab it (wear gloves) and release the blade from the bandsaw wheels
  11. Gently slide the blade out through the slot.
  12. Fold the blade so you are safe (I have made a video on this)

My Video on Safely Folding Bandsaw Blades

Folding bandsaw blades can stump us mere woodworkers. In this video you can learn how to simply fold a bandsaw blade. When folding blades you need to be sure to take charge of your personal safety. I do not wear gloves but you may decide to wear gloves but you should most definitely wear safety glasses;

Before installing a new blade check over the machine

It is a good idea to check over all the components. Like any machine, mechanics can wear so now is the time to inspect everything.

  1. Grab the wheels and see if the bearings are in good condition by giving the wheels a wiggle
  2. Behind the bottom wheel, there is a drive belt which can perish
  3. Inspect the tires and change if cracked
  4. Adjust bottom wheel brush if needed
  5. While the guides are loose make sure there is no play in the bearings if they are blocks make sure the contact surface is flat

Now you’re ready to install your new blade

You have done all the necessary stuff to make way for a new bandsaw blade. I presume you have chosen a new blade or just received a freshly sharpened band from the saw doctor! It is time now to fit your bandsaw blade. 

  1. Check your machine is disconnected from power
  2. Slacken of tension with the tension knob
  3. Remove blade from the bag
  4. Safely unfold the blade wearing gloves
  5. Offer blade to the bandsaw machine so the teeth cut on the downstroke. If not then twist the blade so it pings over to the opposite side.
  6. Holding the blade with arms apart feed it through the slot
  7. Pushover the top and bottom wheels. If your working with a large machine then spring clamps can help.
  8. Apply tension by turning the tension knob clockwise, do not fully tension yet.
  9. Turn wheels by hand, checking that the band/blade runs centrally in the tire. If not adjust the Pitch by changing the angle of the top wheel using the rear knob.

Final steps to installing your bandsaw blade

You have got this far with your new blade in the machine and now you have to make the final adjustments. The first steps are a little thuggish but now you need to use some finesse. The last part of the blade installation has to be done accurately. If you don’t get this part right you are at risk of your new blade becoming worn or even broken very quickly.

  1. Tension blade to a deflection of 6mm or ¼ inch by tightening the tension knob  
  2. Loosely position top guides onto the band saw blade
  3. Adjust thrust bearing so it just touches blade but not permanent contact
  4. Repeat process with the bottom guides
  5. Be sure that the guides do not make contact with the teeth
  6. Bandsaw guides need to be positioned just behind the gullet
  7. Check and double-check the guides
  8. Rotate wheels a few revolutions and check guides again
  9. If only a small amount of adjustment is needed then use the Rear top wheel angle adjuster to put blade just behind the bandsaw blade gullet.
  10. Check tension again
  11. Close the doors of your bandsaw machine
  12. Test machine by turning on and cutting a scrap of wood along the grain
  13. Your bandsaw should now be controllable while cutting

Cutting wood with bandsaw

If you still have a bandsaw that won’t follow a line

Another problem with your bandsaw could be the top bandsaw guidepost. As you slide the guidepost up and down you may need to readjust the guides each time

So this concludes my “How to change a bandsaw blade”

I hope you managed to follow my tutorial and now find the process less daunting. If you are not sure then repeat the process until you are confident. The biggest cause of problems with the bandsaw is most likely to be the blade.

I have made a video on how to change your bandsaw blade and setting up your guides.

In this video, I work with a small 12” 300mm Electra Beckum semi-professional woodworking machine for example purposes. The Electra Beckum is a good machine which many bandsaws are copied from. 

1 thought on “How to Change Band saw Blade and Set-Up Guides-The easy way”

  1. Nice post is this, Really you have described the exact point to point method of installing new blade of band saw.
    ​Specially it is very important content for me because i am a professional woodworker and i have need to install blade properly. Thanks for sharing this awesome information

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