Bandsaw Blade Tension Gauge?

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Anyone ever homebrew something like this? Maybe a little spring-loaded
lever and a $15 gauge?
I am tired of guessing.
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Making an accurate gage would likely be somewhat complicated, but a comparative type gage which would indicate *how far past the minimumally acceptable tension* may be fairly easy.
A rigid frame with 2 stationary contacts and a method of applying a repeatable side load (cam lever and stiff spring maybe) in the center between the stationary points would allow the deflection caused by the load to be measured by a dial indicator or DTI. The pressure/contact points could be hardened pins or individual rollers from a bearing.
So the gage is placed with the stationary points against a clean bandsaw blade (contact points free of the wavy tooth area), and the lever is then set to apply the side load pressure, resulting in a indicator reading showing the amount of deflection.. the tighter the blade tension, less deflection is caused. The readings will be somewhat useful for one size of blade.
The deflection method would likely be easier to implement than a lateral stretch reading gage, IMO.
The usual method used for the 4x6 H/V bandsaws is as tight as possible with a gloved hand (and maybe a grunt more). I release the blade tension when the saw isn't expected to be used again (same day or days following).
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I've seen this sort of gauge for tooth belt applications, but it would need a different calibration for a bandsaw blade, due to much stiffer than a belt. That might be why you have not found one...each blade width and thickness and material would have to be calibrated uniquely.
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Bill Martin
Here'a a couple of sites with shop made gauges.
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I have seen a homemade jig to check tension, basically you clamp a couple of blocks on the blade untensioned, measure the distance, tension the blade, measure again, take the difference and run that number through an equation to get the tension. With computers these days, that's just a fill in the blank thing and hit enter. Of use with really large metal-cutting bandsaws and woodcutters, not so useful with the ubiquitous 4x6, those barely get into the low end of acceptable with their standard blades when you crank them up all the way. I think it waa Fine Woodworking that had the jig(and math) in a past issue.
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Stanley Schaefer
Here is one that was on rec.woodworking about 4 years ago:
"Do you think it would be particularly difficult to make the tension gauge in the picasaweb site? Seems like a nice project.
I was looking for ideas for a DIY band saw blade tensioner today and came across this one:
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I think I am going to try and make it. It looks like the lower part of the device pivots on a bar and the movement is measured by the dial indicator. It looks like the bar would have to be exactly in the center to be accurate.?. According to a FWW article I read, 5" of blade will stretch 0.001" for every 6,000 lbs of tension (over a 5" length of blade). For those with a FWW account here is the article:
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don't like the one detailed in the article (I prefer a dial indicator over feeler gauges).
Has anyone tried to make one of these before? Or have you made a better one??
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Jim Artherholt

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