Saw blade tension is a technical term used to describe how tight the bandsaw blade is on a bandsaw and is expressed in Pound per Square Inch ( PSI).
The amount of tension applied will depend on blade thickness and width, and wheel diameter.
Various methods are used to set the correct blade tension, from gauge use to blade plucking not unlike that of a guitar string.
Tension can be adjusted by a gauge indicator on the bandsaw. It will indicate the amount of tension required based on the width of the saw blade. Using a tension meter will assure the most accurate blade tension.
Tension affects performance
The purpose of blade tensioning is to eliminate unbalanced force distribution of the blade. Proper tension is vital to saw blade longevity and will guarantee straight/accurate cuts.
Adequate blade tension will also keep the saw blade on track while reducing the tendency for it to flutter under thrust.
With insufficient tension applied, the saw blade will twist while cutting and result in inaccurate and crooked cuts. This, in turn, will also cause minimal saw vibration that will then produce rough surface cutting results.
Inadequate saw blade tension will also cause fluttering, pushing the saw blade off of the wheel. Over tensioning will result in premature blade cracks or breakage. Either way, blade life is shortened along with the tires and bearings.
To achieve and maintain optimum cutting performance, always make sure that correct tension is applied to the saw blade.