Review: EZtension bandsaw blade gauge
Review: Damion Fauser
Setting the tension on your bandsaw blade correctly is crucial to optimise performance. Many woodworkers rely solely on the factory settings on the tension meter of their machine for this task, but in my experience there is no guarantee that this setting is accurate to begin with.
The EZtension bandsaw blade tension gauge aims to eliminate this inconsistency. It is a simple and well designed device that uses two mounting magnets spaced symmetrically either side of a protruding setting screw. The gauge is simple to use – it is mounted onto the side of the installed blade with both magnets in contact. As the blade is slowly tightened, the reducing flex
in the blade contacts the central setting screw with increasing force until one of the magnets releases from the blade. At this point the blade is considered correctly tensioned.
The tool is well made and comes supplied with an allen key for adjusting the centre setting screw, along with a set of spacing devices to set the correct protrusion for varying blade widths. These are all conveniently stored in the body of the gauge itself, which can be simply left attached to the blade at the end of the session, where its bright orange colour will serve as a visual cue to re-tension the blade prior to use.
The spacing devices come with setting for blade widths from 1/4” (6.35mm) to 3/4” (19.05mm) in 1/8” (3.2mm) increments. Blades wider than 3/4” are therefore not accounted for with this device.
The ingenuity of the magnets leads to what I consider to be the primary limiting factor with this gauge – it has been designed
and calibrated for use with carbon steel bands only. The varying magnetic, tensile and ductile properties of the bands used for BiMetal (and many carbide-tipped) bands are different from those of carbon steel blades and this tool is therefore not accurate on the higher quality blades. When I contacted the manufacturer about carbide-tipped blades, I was informed that it is the onus of the user to check whether the band of their blade is carbon steel or BiMetal.
A clever device, this tool is available from the manufacturer for an extra shipping charge of US$14. I see this as a tool for those who are happy to run carbon steel bands.
Review tool supplied by EZtension, www.eztension.com
Damion Fauser is a Brisbane furniture designer/maker who also teaches woodwork classes. Learn more at www.damionfauser.com