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  • Blade Tension

    For me, this was the hardest thing to learn.

    I must have burned up 30 gross of blades before I figured it out.

    There's no perfect setting as each type of blade is different,
    but getting its tension set in a happy medium is the real key to blade life.
    Too tight and too loose are bad things on scroll saw blades and shorten their life either way.

    I always set my tension by ear, by plucking the blade with the saw turned off.
    Once you get accustomed some certain notes you hear, when you pluck the tensioned blade, you'll remember it forever amd make note of its optimal setting for that type of blade!!

    Hope this helps out some new folks by saving them a few gross of blades!!

    BladeDancer
    Never seen a blade that wouldn't dance!!

  • #2
    Blade Dancer. you brought a good point. I have always heard.that a c note is the best tune to tune your blade too. but what do you compair it too. i don't have a piano in my shop. and i am tone deft. so is there another way. say pressing on the blade.? some say tighten it down tont. and some say live alittle play. say a 1/8 of an inch when pushed back. with thum. and some say run the blade in one place for a second. so it can heat up and stritch. Ill tell ya. I am lucky to get anything cut right. so i would love to learn more on this. thanks. Evie

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    • #3
      Best way for me is to just crank it up real tight every time and never worry about musical notes.
      The tighter the better that you can go within the limits of it pulling out of the blade holders on your particular saw. Blades will cut straight and wont break from being real tight. But they will cut crooked and break easier if they are too loose.
      Just crank 'em up tight and go for it.
      W.Y.
      http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

      The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

      Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

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      • #4
        Bill I have heard that too. but when i did that. i started haveing problems with my saw. would it matter what kind of saw you own?? thanks Evie

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        • #5
          I totally agree on soft woods William, but since I work almost totally on hard woods - (cedar, cherry, mahogany, etc) - extreme tightness will shorten the blade life prematurely from excessive heat.

          I have to find a happy medium each time, in between too tight and too loose, to attain maximum blade life.
          Once in the happy medium, I can saw the teeth flat sometimes without breaking the blade.

          BD
          Never seen a blade that wouldn't dance!!

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          • #6
            Evie.
            It is no problem with my industrial quality saw.

            Bladedancer.
            I use my method as outlined above even when stack sawing the hardest of woods as well as soft woods. I seldom use soft woods.
            The tighter it is the less cupping you will get when sawing deep stacks.
            To each his own. Use whatever works best for you.
            W.Y.
            http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

            The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

            Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

            Comment


            • #7
              mmmmmmmmmmm I wonder, is that the point. stacking?? up to resantly, i have only cut one highe up to two highe. now i am getting into the thicker stacks. and out of harder woods. does this make the differants. i have problems with burning my blades, when i tighten it too much. and of cours. a higher speed with harder woods. i always brake blades when i go faster than 1300 rpms. I guess i will just have to practice more with both tention, and higher speeds. I also noticed to day. i was cutting 2- 1/4 inch stacked, red oak, at 1300 rpms. and kept braking my blades at the clamp. on the bottom. I noticed. the clamps had a bevale in the top. was this the problem? seems like i had some wobbaling going on. I was watching my pushing. but maybe thats still the problem. i did try cranking it down tight. and tryed loosening it too. still broke blades. also still had wabbaling. I even squared it up. more than once. it stayed good. my wood was alittle warped. but held it down tight buy the blade. wwwwwwwuuuu seems like the longer i cut things, the more problems i have. ok;; you say you got my sighn, Evie

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              • #8
                is your saw wearing out on you evie? as for tension, i go by feel, no real musical science to it. I go pretty tight, and only burn when Im pushing the blade past its ability, like we all do.....expecting one more inch of cut out of each blade. I stack cut everything whenever possible, with 1/2 inch being the first thickness I will cut singly without stacking. Dale
                Dale w/ yella saws

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                • #9
                  could be Dale. could be.

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                  • #10
                    I find that with a reduced tension, you can tend to get uneven cuts as the blade bows. However, it's a technique that does have its place and I find it does prolong blade life when cutting very hard wood.

                    What I normally do in this situation is slow the saw right down and feed the wood in very, very, slowly. It's all too easy to forget that it's the blade that cuts the wood, not the rate at which you feed the wood in or the number of strokes per minute. True, they have a marked effect, but I find that blades need an opportunity to cut at a speed which will give them sufficient opportunity to clear the swarf. If you cut in such a way as to deny the blade this opportunity, you're more likely to get burn marks, a slower cut, an uneven cut, and an overheated blade with a shortened lifespan.

                    Gill
                    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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                    • #11
                      BladeDancer, I have been scrolling for 14 years and cannot believe that having the blade tensioned too tight will cause extreme heat on the blade and break it. Forcing the wood into the blade too fast or pushing sideways is most likely the cause of breaking the blade. I am with Bill on this one, the more tension you have the better. Let the blade do the cutting. I very seldom ever break a blade. Mick, P-20
                      Mick, - Delta P-20

                      A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Gill. I will put that in my compute. ark ark. I am sure thats what i have been doing. but for the life of me. i just can't seem to get it right. the problem i had to day. was my blade kept driffting. and braking. so i even sanded off the burr. changed all kinds of blades. speeds, tentions, and sqaurness's. I'm sure tomarrow i will get up, and none of the above will go roung. I think sometimes , no matter what we do. it wont go right. and some days, seems like we can't do anything roung. so i will see tomarrow. thanks for all the imput. always learning. drats, you would think i would have it down . Ho Ho Not, wood just has its way with us. don't you think. your friend Evie

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                        • #13
                          Speaking from my experience as a spiral blade user, the tighter the better works for me! Anything less and I can't make the blade do what I want when I want. Plus I'm tone deaf! But I can always hear that dinner bell!
                          Bill

                          DeWalt 788



                          aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                          God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....

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                          • #14
                            BladeDancer, I have been scrolling for 14 years and cannot believe that having the blade tensioned too tight will cause extreme heat on the blade and break it. Forcing the wood into the blade too fast or pushing sideways is most likely the cause of breaking the blade. I am with Bill on this one, the more tension you have the better. Let the blade do the cutting. I very seldom ever break a blade. Mick, P-20

                            I break a blade no more than once or twice a year and it always scares the hell out of me because I am not used to having them break. But it is always my own faullt if one does break because I am either pushing too hard or I have used the blade too many hours past it's uesful life .Those little blades are tougher than you think and tightening them up real tight (if your saw will allow it) has never been a cause for burning the wood for me with the blades that I use.
                            Try doing some compound cutting with 1.5" to 2" thick wood with a very tight blade and then with a not so tight one. That is where you will see the difference and the value of the extra tightness and the tighter one will not burn the wood any more than any other degree of a lesser tension setting.
                            W.Y.
                            http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

                            The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                            Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't break a lot of blades but when I do, it's usually while tightening the tension. This happens occasionally with brand new blades. Does this sound like poor quality blades?
                              Mike

                              Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.
                              www.picturetrail.com/naturephotos

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