I have a question about my band saw. It is a Craftsman and 20 years old. It is virtually new since I don’t use it a lot. The last time I used it, the blade quit turning, yet the motor and drive wheel were still spinning at their normal speed. Do you know what would cause this? – Rod
Chris Marshall: Start with the simplest variable: put more tension on the blade. Sounds like the blade is just slipping on the drive wheel when it meets resistance during a cut. Give that a try and see if it helps. I tension my band saw blade so that it doesn’t deflect more than about 1/8-in. from side to side when I press on it. It sounds like a guitar string when I pluck it. Every woodworker has his or her own preference for how tight the blade needs to be to work optimally, but this amount of tension works well for me. You can certainly use your saw’s tensioning scale as a general guide, but they aren’t terribly accurate, particularly as the blade stretches over time and use. I’ve found that I need to set the tension higher than most saw scales typically suggest.
It’s also possible that maybe the rubber tires on your saw’s wheels have dried out over 20 years and just aren’t very resilient anymore. They’re too stiff to allow the blade to “sink” into them a little bit for a better grip, and that’s contributing to the slipping problem. Putting more tension on the blade should improve your saw’s performance, even if the rubber tires have lost some pliability.