Scroll Blades: Setting Tension
Setting the correct
tension on your blades, seems to be the biggest question,
of new scrollers. In reality it is a compromise between having it
tight enough, it doesn't cave in on you, but not so tight that the
blade snaps. Aggressive cutters will have it tighter, because they
exert more force on the blade, more patient cutters can leave it
a bit looser and extend the blade life. If the blade deflects too
much off its intended path, you know that the tension must be increased.
Bigger blades can tolerate higher tension, without breaking.
If you use very small blades, ie 1/8",
and exert too much tension, you will be forever snapping them.
If you are looking for a general guideline,
try plucking the blade like a guitar. You should get a sharp ping.
Always change your blades when they get dull, even if they haven't
snapped on you. You'll find that this will be easier on your motor
and result in greater cutting accuracy. If you want to access the
upper parts of the blade that are still sharp, then lay a piece
of plywood on the original table to lift up your work. This will
extend the life of your blades significantly.
Mount a magnet on your saw to hold extra
Use the proper blade for the job.
Use wax or dry lubricant on your blades to
reduce friction, and reduce overheating of your blade.<
All steel blades, due to the way they are made have a burr on one
side (not PGT) and tend to pull to the right on cutting. You can
try filing the right side of the blade to encourage it to cut straighter,
if you can't get used to the distortion.
Most blades are shipped with an oily film.
Make sure to remove this, when mounting in your blade holder. The
scroll saw tensioner can not work properly if the blade is slipping.