Basic Band Saw Blade Alignment and Tracking Procedures

Knowing something about basic band saw blade alignment and tracking can be extremely useful information. The basic band saw is an excellent shop tool that can perform a multitude of jobs, providing it is very accurately adjusted. A well adjusted and correctly aligned band saw can re-saw thick stock quickly and easily, provide repeated veneer cuts from exotically grained wood, and cut curves.

Adjusting Table Alignment

Begin aligning the table saw through the two knobs located at the side and under the table. The band saw blade passes through a set of steel or heavy plastic blocks, which keep it aligned as it cuts wood placed on the band saw table. This adjustment is made by aligning the table saw stand so that it is in line with the cutting blade. Alignment of the blade, which allows the saw to run as straight and smoothly as possible, is the goal. Perfect alignment allows the blade to travel on its wheels without twisting, bending or added resistance. Less tension, a function of good alignment, will not only maintain excellent accuracy while cutting, but will increase the life of the saw blade, as well as the band saw itself.

Adjusting Blade Tracking

Carefully adjust the two plastic knobs for the upper and lower wheels on which a band saw blade travels. The upper and lower wheels of band saws are greatly responsible for the accurate tracking of the band saw blades. Adjustable knobs control the tilt of both of these wheels and adjustments can be made to ensure that the band saw blade is running within the middle area of both wheels. These adjustments will ensure greater blade alignment and tracking procedures. When we refer to the tracking of a saw blade, we are actually addressing how it is positioned on the wheels as it spins through a complete cycle. A simple adjustment of these wheels applies a correcting and controlling force to the saw blade, which helps to keep it tracking correctly and cutting smoothly.

Tension versus Saw Blade Size

A threaded screw attached to a coiled spring is controlled by a steel knob at the top of the band saw. This adjustment controls the tension of the band saw blade, keeping it stiff. The application of tension to align and provide good tracking of a band saw blade is the key in selecting the size of a band saw blade for its correct application. A quarter inch saw blade, often considered the blade of choice for re-sawing needs to have less tension than a larger half inch blade. All saw blades must be monitored, as the resultant loss of tension can lead to the blade wandering causing excessive vibration during the cutting operation.

Band Saw Blade Guides

Band saws have a set of guide blocks and a guide bearing above and below the band saw table. These guides prevent twisting of the blade and keep it tracking accurately. These guides are fully adjustable and replaceable. Often overlooked, they play an important part in insuring proper and accurate saw blade alignment and tracking.