Replacing a Band Saw Tire

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A few weeks ago, while I was tearing up a board on ours Grizzly Bandsaw, I heard a kick and heard a pop, the saw blade slipped off the track, and bits of black stuff started snowing from the top casing of the saw wheel. I immediately stopped the saw and opened both wheel doors. What I found was shocking: the top wheel tire was completely cut into pieces and fell apart in my hands.

I immediately embarked on a quick Amazon search to find a replacement urethane tire. I found a Product which was reasonably priced and I emailed our sales department to purchase it for my program asap.

The new tire arrived after a few days but ended up being a bit too wide. Although I measured the track width of the wheel with a caliper and concluded that I needed a 1 “wide tire (I think my measurement showed 15/16” and I assumed that I could get it to fit the track) in hindsight. then I made a calculated mistake because the correct tire width I should have ordered was ⅞ ”.

Driven by the need to produce the material for my carpentry lessons on time, I decided to take the risk and reduce the tire width instead of sending it back and waiting for a replacement. At first I tried using a utility knife and ruler to cut the urethane tire, but this was not an effective technique. Then I remembered that last year I bought some sturdy all-purpose scissors made from Fiskarsand I decided I should give it a chance.

Cutting off the excess was easy and immediately after that I went to the band saw to mount the tire on the track. There are two main ways to do this. It is required to soften and widen the tire using hot water, then quickly wrap it around the wheel. The other techniques require locking one side of the tire to the wheel and then stretching and carefully inserting it into its track. When I first fitted a new urethane tire to a bandsaw wheel a few years ago, I used the hot water technique. This time, however, I decided to give the clamp & stretch method a try. I prepared a clamping sock to help me fit a small C-clamp through one of the round wheel openings, fixed it and started stretching and fitting the tire band. By the way, if you have one or more vises they might work better for you as you could “walk” these locking pliers on the tire as you go (remember to protect the new tire from the vice teeth). In my case, I only used a clamp and a wooden dowel that I deployed as a crowbar to force the tire into its track.

After I finished mounting the tire, I carefully pressed it with the grain around the wheel.

After you’ve mounted the bandsaw blade to your tire, you still have one last important adjustment to take care of. This last point is generally not addressed in all the videos I’ve seen on youtube. I’m talking about the necessary blade bearing readjustment or “cold blocks” after a tire change. Here’s the thing: Your new, stronger tire is probably thicker and stiffer than your old rubber one. When you mount the bandsaw blade on the new tire, you will notice that it will be positioned farther from the center of the wheel and, as a result, push against the right bearing or right block. I find out by accident after taking my saw for a test drive and I noticed that something was wrong. To solve this problem correctly you will have to pull all four bearings back and adjust them again to barely touch the blade. After that, double check the squareness of the blade with the saw table and adjust if necessary.

You are now ready to resume cutting. You will be surprised how a new tire can make work much more enjoyable and reliable.

Watch these videos to learn about some additional techniques for mounting a new tire on your band saw wheel and to gain theoretical experience before doing it yourself.


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