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Ever need 3 hands?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Ken H>, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Yep, I usually need 3 and sometimes 4 hands when putting a bandsaw blade on, either a portaband or a 4X6 bandsaw. I'm sure the rest of ya'll learned this trick years ago, but I just learned it yesterday. Use clamps to hold saw blade on at lower wheel, then slip saw blade on top. Works like a champ. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  2. To be honest, I’ve never had an issue. I usually just get the blade in through the roller guides first, then I use my right hand to get the blade over the top wheel, and work my left hand down to get the lower part of the blade over the bottom wheel. I try to do both at the same time. I put my ring and pinky fingers at the top/bottom of the wheels, leaving my thumbs to swivel to push the blade back between the roller guides, and my pointer fingers to move the blade into the track on the back of the saw. Once the blade is over both wheels, and in line with the guide wheels in the front, and slot in the back, I spread my fingers out as much as possible to hold the blade where it’s supposed to be. Then I work one or two of my right hand fingers free, slide them over the top of the saw, and push the tension lever down. 9 times out of 10 I can get it done in just a couple seconds, real easy.

    Usually if the blade comes out, it will be on the back or from between the rollers. But it rarely does. Sometimes it will barely work out of the rollers. In which I can usually grab it with a pair of needle nose pliers, gently twist, and put it right back in. If it’s too tight you can loosen the tension lever just a little bit. Not to the point where it goes back over the cam to completely loosen. This will generate just enough slack to move the problem area back in line, but still keep the blade tight enough that it doesn’t come off anywhere else. You’ll need to hold your hand on the lever when you do this though.

    But I could see how using clamps could work really well. Especially on the back groove and possibly the guide wheels on my saw. So I’m gonna set a couple of the clamps by the machine next time I’m In the shop.

    I DO use a larger plastic clamp, with a oval shaped(that has little teeth inside it) area between the spring and pinch point at the end, to clamp down onto the “on” trigger. It doesn’t look real fancy or high tech, but has worked great for years. I hear a lot of folks that use one of those foot peddles, that cut the power to their saws. I have one, but have never used it.
    ten-six, razor-edge-knives and Ken H> like this.
  3. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Your progress is similar to what I normally do, and as I said most of the time it works pretty good. Other times the blade would slip off the bottom (or top) wheel while putting on other wheel. The clamps hold blade on wheel nicely making it easy..
  4. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Putting on a band saw blade is like herding cats.
    Thanks the tip
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
    ten-six and Ken H> like this.
  5. Tom Lewis

    Tom Lewis

    Feb 24, 2000
    Thanks for the tip!
    Ken H> likes this.
  6. Fallbrook Forge

    Fallbrook Forge

    Jan 1, 2006
    Huh, I went with the a Milwaukee and swapping blades is fast and easy, I don’t know if it’s a feature of the saw or not.

    but I’ll keep this in mind if it ever gives me trouble
  7. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    Same here
    Fallbrook Forge likes this.
  8. Joel Mercier

    Joel Mercier

    Dec 3, 2017
    Speaking of portabands, has anyone here modified the rollers to change the angle to improve clearance from the saw?
  9. Aidenag


    Apr 16, 2009
    never had any issues with the Dewalt portaband i use.
  10. Joel Mercier

    Joel Mercier

    Dec 3, 2017
    That's the model I have and I can't cut more than 5.5" long. My piece will hit the saw
  11. Wilfred17

    Wilfred17 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    There is a thread somewhere on here about that , the guy had a porter cable ,showed how to make spacers to straighten blade to gain clearance. I started the project then my saw busted,can't find article though. If I find it I'll post the link. Seemed like a great ,simple idea.
    Ken H> and Joel Mercier like this.

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