Older male carpenter working with a bandsaw blade in the workshop

Changing Bandsaw Blades: A Beginner's Guide

Whether you are a DIYer or work in a field that requires bandsaws, changing the blade must be done at some point. This can be due to the blade wearing down, breaking, or simply needing to set up your machine for the first time.

Why you need to change the bandsaw blade doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are obviously looking for help, and we are here to provide you with our professional assistance.

Before changing the blade on your bandsaw, look at the text below, where we offer up tips, advice, and a step-by-step guide to changing a bandsaw blade.

When to Change a Bandsaw Blade

Take a look at this video on how to change a bandsaw blade.

There are a few reasons to change a bandsaw blade; the timing depends on these reasons.

  • The bandsaw isn’t cutting properly.
  • There is damage or dulling to the blades.
  • The blade is old or has been sitting unused for a prolonged period in unfavorable conditions.
  • You want to clean your bandsaw thoroughly.
  • You notice squeaky blades.
  • The movements of your sawblade are inconsistent.

These are all the reasons many people find themselves heading to their local hardware store to pick up a new bandsaw blade. But what do you do once you get that blade to your house?

Changing a Bandsaw Blade Step-By-Step (Removing the Old Blade)

Blade cutting through piece of wood

As you would when working with other power tools, you need to be cautious while changing your bandsaw blade. So, before we get into each step, let’s discuss safety.

  • Always wear safety gear (heavy-duty gloves and goggles).
  • Check and double-check the cord to ensure the machine is unplugged.
  • Make sure you have all your tools ready to go.
  • Make sure the area you are working in is clear and clean.

Once you are sure it is safe, you can begin the steps below to remove your old blade to prepare the bandsaw for a new one.

Retract the Blade Guides

Retracting the blade guides is the first step to changing your bandsaw blade. These portions of the machine keep your saw blade on track.

To do this, you must pull away each block and dial or turn the thrust bearing knob. Most of these knobs will loosen up in the counter-clockwise motion.

From here, you will spin the entire guide block assembly and raise it as high as it will go, leaving only the blade exposed. Not only are you doing this on the upper guides, but get those guides underneath as well.

Remove the Throat Plate

With the guides out of the way, it is time to remove the throat plate and plug. You do this by pushing the plate (the round plate holding the blade in place) from underneath upwards until it detaches from the base plate.

Now use a wrench to twist and pull the plug out from the side of the saw table. This plug keeps both sides of your table aligned and running smoothly.

Turn the Tension Crank

Once all the bandsaw parts are loose, you want to open the doors on the machine that covers the blade. From there, crank the lever used to release the tension on the saw blade.

The more you turn the lever, the looser the blade becomes until it is easy to move. At this point, you simply remove the blade from the wheel. Remember that you have to remove the bottom portion of the blade through the thin slot of the table.

Now the blade is free from the bandsaw. You can take this time to inspect it to see if it has any wear that can be repaired or if you need to change it out for a sharp blade.

Replacing Your Bandsaw Blade

Now that you have removed your old bandsaw blade, you can start preparing your machine for the new one.

Before placing a new bandsaw blade onto the wheel, inspect the tire thoroughly. Build-up or damage to the tire could throw off the cutting track that guides your blade, creating uneven and distorted cuts.

To clean your bandsaw wheel tire, spin it with a metal ruler or another object pressed lightly against it. While the tire rotates, the metal will scrape off any residue that could be problematic for your new blade.

Now you can install your new blade.

Install the New Blade onto the Bandsaw Wheels

Before placing the blade onto the wheels, thread the saw through the thin slot on the table. Doing this step first will ensure a smoother installation. Next, position the blade onto the top and bottom tire, ensuring it is nice and even.

You may want to crank the tensioning knob slightly and rotate the wheel by hand while lining up your blade to get the best positioning.

Tighten the Tension Knob

Once you are fairly confident the blade is in the best position, turn the tension knob to tighten the blade to the wheel. Remember, you don’t want to tighten too much or too little.

A blade that is too tight can damage the tire on your wheel. However, not tightening it enough can cause the blade to move while the machine runs. Keep your blade at medium tension.

Now Put the Blade Guides Back into Place

Remember those guides you must move around in the beginning? Well, now it is time to put them back into place. You can start with the top blade guide by bringing it back down and setting it right behind the crevices between the teeth of the blade (AKA the gullets).

With the guide back to where it needs to be, push the blocks towards the blade with minimal pressure, keeping them barely pressing against it. Once in place, tighten the set screws to secure the blocks.

Finally, adjust your thrust bearing to around 1/16” of the block guides, repeat the process with the lower blade guides, and replace the throat plate and plug.

How Often Should You Change Your Bandsaw Blades

New metal bandsaw blades

The frequency of changing your bandsaw blade is determined by how often you use it and its condition.

Some people who don’t use their bandsaw more than a few times a month can keep the same blade in good condition for over a year. Those who use their machines frequently could find they have to do a blade replacement every month or two. 

Another factor that plays into the life of your bandsaw blade is the material it is made from. A well-constructed, durable blade will last much longer than a cheaply made one.

Take a few moments before and after using your bandsaw to give the blade a quick once-over to ensure it is in good working condition. This can save the condition of your current project and possible damage to the machine.

Final Thoughts

If you believe your bandsaw is ready for a new blade, the guide above can help you change out the old one with ease.

Always remember to practice the proper safety protocols when working or maintaining any power tool, especially with sharp blades. Keep your space clean, clear, and organized to ensure the job is complete without any incident.

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