Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

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Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

I own three band saws. Two are second hand from the neighbors and the newest one is brand new Grizzly 17 “ that I bought. The Grizzly is a great machine but, like many of its peers, most of the band saw’s adjustment functions are controlled by locking Allen screws, also known as Allen screws. There is nothing wrong with Allen screws, in fact, I prefer them to Philips screws and even slotted screws. But the reality is that every time I have to fix something I have to negotiate with the Allen key that opens them. Many may not see this as a problem and would argue that the need for blade adjustment is not that high. But I find the use of the typical Allen key a drawback, so why not fix it with an improvement?

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

These are some of the original screws. Some others resided under the cast iron counter and were even more embarrassing to engage. Fortunately with the new thumbscrews, all the necessary adjustments are now much easier to negotiate.

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Even a T-handle Allen wrench is an improvement over the regular “L” -shaped one.

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Place a magnet on the saw frame to hang the necessary keys. This small improvement will save you time the next time you need to adjust your saw.

My solution to the KIS (Key Irritation Syndrom) was the purchase of some aftermarket thumb screws and adjustable handle. There are many options out there, multiple designs, colors, handles and screw materials to choose from.

The ones I decided to buy were the rotary knobs with red handle with a single wing (aka, adjustable thumb lever screw and thread rotation knob). These are very handy thumb screws that are perfect for locking blade bearing rotation screws (or cold blocks in some band saws). The adjustable wing screw knob is spring loaded, which allows it to be pulled out and repositioned at a friendlier angle. This feature is very important as it prevents the screw from becoming an obstacle to the material flowing under it.

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

To reposition the wing simply pull it out, rotate it and let the spring pull it back to the desired angle.

I also decided to replace the Allen screws holding the guide blocks and the side rod screw with sturdier hardware. I chose an adjustable lever which allows me to produce additional torque on the mechanism.

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Choose the right screws

We have two options here: use the user manual to identify screw patterns or measure them ourselves.

A good user manual will clearly provide the specifics of the fastener. For example, the Allen screws holding the bearing rotation screws were M6-1 x16mm (a coarse metric screw).

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

If you don’t have a manual you will need to identify the screw yourself. Use a screw identification plate, etc. to find thread information, such as ¼-20 for (imperial) or M6-1 (metric). Then measure the length (or height) of the screw. This dimension is measured from under the head to the bottom of the screw.

Upgrade Your Bandsaw Adjustment Screws

Now you have all the info to field your favorite catalog or search engine and find the knobs that will make you happy and free you from the key.

To learn more about the Grizzly 17 ″ as I own it, watch the video below. Just like the creator of the video, I like this one too has seen quite a bit.


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