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Are your bandsaw's wheels out of plane?

Learn how to make your bandsaw wheels coplaner

A snap diagnosis might be easy: if you have to fiddle with the saw's tracking knob every time you change blades, you are going to benefit distinctly from making the wheels coplanar. If you're not sure, here's another quick check: if there's a blade on your bandsaw now, go look at it. Is it in the same position on the upper wheel as on the lower? If you can see a difference without measuring, then your wheels are almost certainly running in different planes.

Put a 1/2" bandsaw blade on your saw and tension it as if for work. Don't bother tracking it; you're just going to take it off again in a minute. Lay a 4 ft. straightedge against the lower wheel, as close to the center as possible. With the straightedge touching the wheel's rim at both top and bottom, check the upper wheel. Use the tracking knob as needed to make the rim parallel to the straightedge. If the upper wheel doesn't touch the straightedge, or if it pushes the straightedge out of contact with the lower wheel, then adjustment is called for.

On Delta and Jet bandsaws, the upper wheel can be moved outward by dismounting it and installing a 5/8" i.d. spacer on the shaft. A hardware store 5/8" washer will work if you need to move the wheel at least 1/16". Some hardware stores stock machine bushings, narrow-rim washers available in a variety of useful thicknesses. Be sure the bushing already on the shaft is reinstalled last, just before the wheel. On Sears 12" and Inca 10" saws, the lower wheel can be moved by unlocking a set screw and shifting the wheel on its shaft. For other bandsaws, have a good squint and figure out which wheel is adjustable.

It's easy to set bandsaw wheels coplanar, and the payback is mighty convincing. When you can put any bandsaw blade on your saw, tension it and turn on the saw without worrying about tracking, you'll be a believer, too.

Learn more about using, setting up and tuning Bandsaws:
Understanding Bandsaw Blades - Everything you need to know!
How To Coil A Bandsaw Blade
Resawing on a Bandsaw Explained
What is the best Resaw technique: 3 Ways To Resaw

Bandsaw Blades
New Complete Guide To Band Saws - Mark Duginske's highly recommended book on how to use bandsaws

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