Most woodworkers recognize that their band saw blades require the proper tension in order to consistently produce straight, uniform cuts. This is particularly important when working with thick or dense wood. But many still don’t have a clear understanding on how to tension their band saw blades. So within this article the team at Saw Blade Express will explain the tensioning process.

Technique 1

The first method for tensioning band saw blades involves looking at the top wheel and then placing a finger on the 9 o’clock position. Move the finger down six inches and using moderate pressure with the thumb, press against the flat side of the blade. Most will get about 3/16” to ¼” deflection from the blade.
After completing this process, refit the guards and close the doors. Then replace the insert and check the blade runs freely through the insert. Ensure that all wrenches and other loose parts are removed from the machine. Plug the machine in and turn it on for a second then switch off. Watch for the blade movement. If the blade is tracking normally, run the machine at full power but if the blade requires adjustment keep repeating the process until optimal movement is achieved.

Technique 2

First move the guides out of the way to give you a clear view of the blade’s movement. Then ensure the door is closed. Start the band saw with the tension low. Make sure that you’re a few feet from the saw to maintain safety. Look at the blade from the front of the machine. As you turn it on at a low tension, you should notice the blade wobbling back and forth. Begin turning the tension higher until the blade stops wobbling, and becomes a solid line. The level of tension at which the blade first becomes a solid line is your ideal point. Each type of blade will require a unique level of tension to perform as required.

Safety Tips:

  1. Set the Upper Guide as Low as Possible

This ensures that the blade is covered and you can’t place your finger in the area and under the guide.

  1. Adjust the Upper Blade Guard to Cover the Blade

An exposed blade can be highly dangerous, and so covering the blade is the ideal way to minimize danger.

  1. Never Push Stock Directly into the Blade without a Push Stick

You should try, at all times, to keep your hands away from the line of the cut when working. Anchor your hands on the table and push using only your fingers. Use a push stick to separate your hands from the working material.

  1. Remember to Always Use a Sharp Blade

A dull tool is far more dangerous than a sharp one. Keep the band saw blade sharp to minimize to the need for additional pressure and the potential for hand slipping.
The critical element within any tensioning process is to get the blade to run straight and true with the minimum tension. The less tension used, the longer the blade will last! To discover more, speak with the team at Saw Blade Express directly at or visit their business website at
*Saw Blade Express simply offers guidance on how to use woodworking tools. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure their own safety and they assume all risk associated with using the tool.