Visual Signs that a Blade Needs Tightening

      Fluttering and wandering on the guide wheels could be indications that a saw blade needs increased tension. September 15, 2011

On my Norwood bandwheel, with the blade turning slowly, I can see it moving front to back on the guide rollers approximately 1/8". With the blade turning fast, it seems to be fluttering up and down 1/8" as well. This is noticed before entering a log, and guide roller position doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference. I don't get major rising or diving while cutting, but it is enough to be problematic. Tracking has been checked and rechecked and is in proper order. Is it possible for a blade that is left with cutting tension to shrink in length due to cold temperatures with enough force to bend the spindles the bandwheels spin on?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
The saw needs to be flat, and it sounds like that blade is bent. A blade will bend when pushed too hard, and it can even stay bent afterwards. Drop your tension and check it again. If it still is moving in and out with very low tension, then the saw is bent.

You think the wheel axle has a bend in it. I would think 1/8 wheel wobble would be easy to see. The wheels need to run true, but also need to be round.

The saw flutter is commonly a tension problem (too low). I believe one or two of the saw manufacturers (such as Timber Wolf) suggest a technique for tensioning the saw by watching the flutter.

It sounds to me that you are cutting with dull saws. There are lots of signs of this that you can watch for: sawdust size, stringing edges, increase in sound, number of board feet, and how the saw exits the cut. Limit your saw cut time to 2 hours of sawing. Pushing a saw will result in the bend in blade issue, diving and climbing in the cut.

Switch saw after the bark has been removed, but make sure those are good cuts or those errors will show up in every board.

Never leave a saw on the mill. The best use for a saw is to put it on, run it and pull it. Don't even leave it tensioned on the mill over lunch.

From contributor T:
Contributor S, I believe you meant blades instead of saw.

Is this the only blade, or is it the same after changing? Possible bad weld alignment if only one and new.

It's easy to check axle and bandwheel - remove blade and spin bandwheels to see if they flutter or run true (hold something solid near wheel while it's spinning).

I agree with contributor S - could be blade stressed. I'm still new at sawing and want to run blades too long ("it's still cutting, let's go another log").

From contributor S:
I know it is odd to call the blade a saw, but that is the common name for it.

The trick is finding a good saw to work on your mill. I found that I liked the 1 1/2 saws best. They are stronger and I believe make a better cut. But you will find everybody has their own view on mills and saws.

From the original questioner:
Got it fixed. Didn't realize what a big difference in tension needs there were between blade brands. Thanks.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2020 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article