Bandsaw Tire Problem Solved

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Bandsaw Tire Problem Solved

I was cutting a small wood piece on my 14" JET Bandsaw, using a 3/8" fine-tooth blade. Pulling the part back towards me caused the piece to hang up on the bandsaw blade in the piece, and the blade came completely off the upper wheel. If you have done this, you know how frightening it can be. Metal on metal noises erupt, as well as distinctive sketching sounds from the lower wheel spinning against the loose blade.

I unplugged the saw for safety and opened the doors to discover the blade was off the upper wheel. I screwed the tension knob down to enable me to reseat the blade on the wheels, and I manually spun the wheels to ensure the blade was in the proper position.  I re-tensioned the blade with the guide wheels in the full upright position and got less than an inch of deflection in the blade with my finger. I replaced the doors and turned the saw on once again.  Without making a cut, the blade jumped off the wheel with the same calamitous noise and results.


CARTER Urethane Tire for 14” Band Saw, 7/8” wide. Item number 144969.

This time, upon opening the doors, I discovered the tire on the upper wheel was nearly off the wheel.  For information, a bandsaw tire is made of rubber, urethane or other similar cushioning material mounted around the perimeter of the metal wheels inside the bandsaw.  The tire gives the wheel grip to drive and guide the bandsaw blade.  I found I could simply reposition the tire by hand, and I put the blade back on the wheel. With everything back in place and after manually turning the wheels to ensure the blade was tracking properly with correct tension, I turned the saw on once again.  Same result, blade jumps off, tire nearly off the wheel, lots of noises that should not be coming from a normal saw setup.

Researching the problem, I discovered that tires should not be loose enough to slide back and forth with just hand pressure. Installing a tire involves heating it so it is pliable; the tension created after the tire cools holds it tightly onto the wheel. If my tires are so loose that I can move them back into place by hand, I may have found the problem.

Several companies offer replacement tires.  I chose Carter replacement tires from Woodcraft. 

First lesson when replacing bandsaw tires: some come in pairs and some are packaged one to a package. Since one wheel is bad, it is probably best to replace both tires just to bring the saw up to its best performance.

I consulted several sources, and there are lots of opinions about how to mount new tires. Some suggest removing the wheels from the saw, being careful to not lose parts. Others recommend just changing the tires while the wheels are in place on the machine.  It appears as the saws get bigger and the wheels larger, taking them off is a good idea.  My machine is a 14" saw, so I changed mine in place without removing.

The top tire slipped off with no assistance, and the bottom tire was loose but needed just a bit of help with a screwdriver to get started coming off.  It is very important not to damage the wheel in any way. I cleaned dirt and sawdust off the rim of the wheels, used a solvent to clean any residue from the old tires, and was ready to mount the new tires.

Some suggestions I found were to soak the tires in warm soapy water to help them stretch over the wheels. Also, using wire ties across from each other to hold the tire while you pull it into place was suggested. I simply started the tires and carefully stretched them into place with my hands.  They were very tight and a challenge to get in place manually, but I was successful with the exception of pinching a finger at one point.  Getting the tire onto the wheel without damaging the tire in any way is very important.

I remounted my bandsaw blade and tensioned it properly.  A few spins manually confirmed the blade was tracking correctly and I was ready.  Turning on the saw, the blade spun smoothly and stayed in place.  A few test cuts confirmed a successful repair, and I am back to woodworking. 

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  • ZD from Tucson
    Very good article Thanks

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