Bandsaw Blade Direction. Teeth Up or Down?

Band Saw Blade cutting direction
Should I install the band saw blade teeth up or down?

If you install the blade with teeth in the wrong direction, the bandsaw won’t be able to perform the cutting action properly and will dull the teeth rapidly. If you are wondering “why is my bandsaw shaking and the workpiece bouncing”, you probably have not assembled the blade in the right direction. You may also experience blade wander and excessive heat during cutting.

The right direction of the blade will depend on whether you are using a vertical or horizontal bandsaw.

Which Direction Does a Band Saw Blade Go?

The cutting teeth on a bandsaw blade should always point towards the direction of blade rotation. On a vertical bandsaw, the teeth of the blade should be pointing downward. For a horizontal bandsaw, the blade should be pointed towards the work as the blade is moving.

The blade direction on a bandsaw is similar to a scroll saw, but opposite to a jigsaw.

The image below should give you a clear idea on the blade direction of band saws.
Horizontal and vertical Bandsaw Blade Direction

Knowing the direction is important when you are installing or changing out a bandsaw blade. What follows are a few simple directions to help you install a bandsaw blade correctly.

How to Install Bandsaw Blades

Before you start, be sure that the device is unplugged. Do not rely on just the off switch, remove the bandsaw from the power itself by pulling the plug.

Vertical Bandsaw

A vertical bandsaw is a widely used power saw in woodworking especially for resawing. Although the device itself may seem complicated the installation process is rather simple. This is because the principle of the machine is to spin the blade belt between two wheels.
What follows is how you install a vertical bandsaw blade.

  • Open both upper and lower cabinets
  • Clean out any sawdust
  • Loosen the Tension Wheel: Normally found in top cabinet
  • Raise Front Bandsaw Guard: Slide to highest position after loosening tension
  • Remove Rear Blade Guard: Take away the screws holding guard in place
  • Loosen Under Table Guard: Remove center and loosen screws that hold the guard in place
  • Remove the Blade: Pull blade from top wheel and clear the entire blade from the bandsaw

Now, you can add the new saw blade. Start by sliding the new saw blade through the saw table. You are going to reverse the process of removing the old blade. So, once the blade is in the slot, rotate and place it over the top and bottom wheels.

Bandsaw Blade Tension

Once the blade is centered, you’ll need to tighten the tension knobs which will hold the blade in place. Be aware that you do not want to apply too much tension, otherwise you might snap the blade. This can be an issue if you are going from a small blade to one significantly larger in size.

How Tight Should a Bandsaw Blade Be?

For more smaller sized bandsaws, use one hand to tighten the knob to maximum and you should be fine. If you are cutting tough materials such as hardwood or metal on a larger bandsaw, you might want to use a tension gauge to set it more accurately.
The blade tension to be set depends on the type of blade (high-carbon, bi-metal etc.) and manufacturer provides this value. Generally, you should set the bandsaw blade tension to approximately 20,000 psi.

Broken Blade is Present

If the blade belt is broken, then pulling it out should be simple enough. Otherwise, you will need to follow the steps as listed above to remove the old blade first before adding the new one.

Horizontal Bandsaw

Horizontal bandsaws are mainly used in metalworking industries to cut bar stock and metal plates into smaller size. Here the workpiece is camped tightly in position and the blade is brought down on to the stationary workpiece. Regardless of the orientation, the blade direction remains the same; towards the work along the blade rotation.

There are considerable similarities to installing a horizontal bandsaw blade compared to a vertical one. This is because the machines are quite similar with the major difference being the angle in which the blade is running.

Loosen and remove the old blade using the process as described for the vertical bandsaw. Once fully removed, add in the new blade along the tracks, replace the guard, and tighten accordingly. Again, follow the basic steps as listed for the vertical bandsaw blade.

Your bandsaw will come with specific directions of how to change it out. Be sure to follow them even if they have significant changes from what you are reading in this article.

Changing out and installing a bandsaw blade is straightforward and easy to do if you follow the steps correctly. Just be sure to tighten the blade appropriately and stand back when plugging the saw back in to run it for the first time.