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Dure-Edge blades on a Jet JWBS-14

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pooka

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Hi all,
I finally got myself a bandsaw (Jet JWBS-14) a few months ago. The manual claims that it uses a 100.5" blade so I ordered a few of these from Dure-Edge. However, fitting the blades is a pain in the neck. I have to undo the wheel tension as far as it will go, and even then it is hard work to get the blade onto the wheels. Once the blade is fitted, tensioning it is hard work too - setting the tension using the guide on the saw, its gets so tight that the tension knob is hard to turn.

I haven't actually measured the new blades, or the original blade on the saw (which was easy to remove so I presume would be easy to put back on again) as yet. I am also not certain whether the blade it came with is really the blade it left the Jet factory with, which doesn't help matters.

I was wondering whether anyone else had experienced this problem. Right now, it seems like either the Jet manual states the wrong blade size, or Dure-Edge shipped the wrong blades, but as I have never used a bandsaw before maybe this is relatively normal?

Also, Dure-Edge are the only supplier that I could find that sell 100.5" blades. For the little use I have made of their blades so far, I am very impressed (and their service was excellent too), but I would be interested to know if this size of blade is also available from anywhere else?

Thanks.
 

StevieB

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Hi,

Dure Edge tend to be the blade manufacturer of choice for most users to be honest. They will make blades to any size you require as well as fitting to a specific machine. First thing to do is as you say measure both the old blades and the new. If they are the same then I am not sure what to suggest. If not then adjust the size accordingly and order a new one. Blades shouldnt be as tight as you describe in my experience, although I have an EB bandsaw not a Jet one.

Steve.
 

SimonA

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Pooka...I have the same bandsaw and the same problem when I went to use some new bandsaw blades from Dure-Edge........It turns out that the size that Axminster give out isn't the right size. I sent my original blades to Dure-Edge and when he re-measured them found that they where about an 1" bigger than was stated on their site!! He also said that this wasn't the first time that he'd has this problem with some of the Axminster sizes.

I can't fault Dure-Edge at all, he was more than helpful and was very prompt in send me out some more blades.

SimonA
 

pooka

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Thanks for the replies. Looks like I need to break out a long flexible measuring tape, or string, alright, as it seems very likely that the blades are too small.

As you say, SimonA, it's not the fault of Dure-Edge at all - it has been a couple of months since they sent me the blades though, so they would be well within their rights to refuse to replace the unused blades, but I'll give them a shout once I confirm the measurements. I think the size of 100.5" also appears in the Jet manual (Jet UK sent me one as I didn't receive one with the saw), but I'll double check that too. Well, that's Jet and/or Axminster knocked off my Christmas card list!...
 

pooka

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I tried to measure my bandsaw blades last night and it looks like the Dure-Edge blades are 100.5", as they say on the tin, but the original blade on the saw appears to be 101" or possibly 101.25" (oh the joys of measuring a flexible, and sharp, round object!).

I checked the JWBS-14 manual again, and sure enough it states a blade length of 2550 to 2560mm (100.4" to 100.8") i.e. shorter than the blade which came with the saw. The Axminster site currently states a length of 2560mm against the JWBS-14 itself, and amongst their bandsaw blades they have some listed as 100.5" long which they state are appropriate for the JWBS-14. Even Jet's own site (www.jettools.co.uk) lists blades of length 2552mm (100.5") for this saw. I wonder whether people buying those blades from Axminster and Jet are receiving blades which don't actually fit the saw, or whether the blades are really longer than their advertised 100.5"?? Either way, it is pretty bad for Axminster and/or Jet to get something so fundamental so wrong.

Anyway, I'm going to contact Dure-Edge this morning and see if they can help me. After that I'll probably fire off an e-mail to Axminster and Jet to let them know of this issue in the hope that they will change their manual and websites.
 

pooka

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I spoke to Dure-Edge, who suggested that I check the top wheel of the bandsaw for any kind of bolt that may have been installed to stop the wheel from moving about too much during shipping. That hadn't occured to me at all, but would certainly explain the problem very neatly.

They reckon that any decent bandsaw should allow a good 1" to 1.5" of movement of the top wheel, so that a difference of blade length of 0.5" should not pose a serious problem, which makes sense. However, they did say that they often have problems with some of the Jet and Axminster bandsaws, with customers reporting that advertised blade lengths don't seem to fit the machines.

I'll have a look at the saw this evening to determine if something is restricting the movement of the upper wheel. Here's hoping...
 

pooka

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I had a look at my JWBS-14 over the weekend. Unfortunately, there is nothing restricting the movement of the upper wheel - well nothing that is very easy to sort out that is.

From my tests, and attempts at measuring, it looks to me like the upper wheel moves a distance of approximately 9mm. The saw has a quick-release lever on the tension mechanism and this range of movement is from a starting point of tension bolt completely released (i.e. no tension) but the quick-release level not released (i.e. "tension" applied), up to maximum achievable tension on the tension bolt (to the point where my hands were practically losing skin while trying to turn the tension knob). Releasing the quick-release lever adds a further 3mm of movement at the bottom end of the movement range, but as you'd presumably never want to use the saw with this lever "released", I haven't added this 3mm into the above 9mm range of movement of the wheel.

Looking at the saw again reminded me of the ridiculous process involved in fitting a 100.5" blade right now - I have to release the quick-release lever, release the tension bolt completely, and tilt the top part of the upper wheel out fully in order to try to walk the blade onto the wheel. If I have any fingers left after working the blade onto the wheel, I then re-adjust the wheel angle inwards, apply the quick-release tension lever (which is difficult to move even with no tension applied via the bolt as yet), and swing out of the tension bolt handle in order to tension the blade. :evil:

I turned my attention towards trying to see if I can make any adjustments to lower the starting position of the upper wheel (with no tension applied), in order to be able to fit 100.5" blades. The wheel attaches to a sliding carriage which the tension rod pulls up as you apply tension. The only thing restricting how far down this sliding carrage sits, with no tension applied, is a bar which is held in place with allen-key bolts. This bar (or "Free Key" as it is named in the parts list of the saw catalogue) is locked in position in a slot of the saw frame, so basically I can either lower or raise it via the bolts. Right now, there is a distance of 11mm between the bottom of the upper wheel and the saw frame (with no tension on the wheel), so theoretically I can drop the wheel by maybe 5mm or 6mm and still be safely clear of the saw frame. I may also have to adjust the position of the oval-ised wheel/nut on the quick-release mechanism if I do this though. This change should bring the saw closer to being able to handle the size range of saw blades that it claims to handle, but I am not sure if this change will have implications for any other aspects of the saw (such as what the tension gauge claims the tension to be). Has anyone ever made such an adjustment on their bandsaw (be it a Jet or some other brand)?

Thinking about it now, I realise that I neglected to check whether the position of the lower wheel is adjustable (i.e. maybe I can raise it a little, which may be simpler that having to muck about with the tensioning mechanism), so this is something else that I could explore.

Incidentally, this situation has highlighted a few things for me about this saw:

- Adjusting the tension is awful. Previously I found it difficult with a blade fitted, and presumed it was because the blade was effectively too small so that I was tensioning it beyond what the tension gauge claims. However, with no blade fitted, getting the tension gauge to reach the upper end of the scale requires standing on a chair to apply both hands to the tension knob. Even then it is ridiculously hard work and the ridges on the handle threaten to remove the skin on your hands! Undoing the tension is just as fraught and painful. Lubricating the tension screw should help (hopefully more than a little 'cos right now it is practically unusable at higher tension readings), but I find the design of the knob to be bad given the resistance you have to deal with. Maybe there is something fundamentally buggered about the tensioning in this particular saw - have any other JWBS-14 users experienced similar problems?

- The manual for this saw states that blades from 3mm to 25mm may be used, but the tension gauge shows 16mm as it's highest reading. While everything that I have reads suggests that no 14" bandsaw is really capable of tensioning anything above an 18mm blade, the fact that the manual and saw are so completely at odds with each other is ridiculous. Not having an 18mm setting on the saw's tension gauge is also confounding as I would have expected to be able to use a 3/4" blade on this saw.

- While the tension gauge is labelled only as high as 16mm, there is still a lot of range for movement of the tension gauge pointer beyond the 16mm mark. I can just lift the wheel up and the gauge pointer can slide right up to the maximum range of the slot it slides in (beyond the 16mm label), but I can't physically turn the tension knob enough to tension the saw beyond 16mm.

As others seem to have encountered problems with fitting blades to the Jet JWBS-14, I should not be surprised at having the same issue. However, does any other JWBS-14 owner have the same problems with applying the recommended tension i.e. do you really need the hands of a gorilla to tension a blade as far as the 16mm mark?
 

pooka

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Right then, round 3! ...and I'll try not to write a tome this time :oops:

I had a quick look at the saw again this morning, while racing out the door to work (bah, working getting in the way of hobby!). Out of curiosity, I had a closer look at the tensioning mechanism. I wiggled the individual parts of the mechanism, and lo and behold I think I found the cause of much of my trouble. The "fixed bar" that I refer to above, against which the tension rod pushes, is not actually fixed at all! It should move freely within its slot (hence the name "Free Key" in the manual, I guess). The bar in my machine had gotten itself jammed (possibly in transit, possibly when I first installed a blade), and it prevented the tensioning mechanism, and therefore the upper wheel, from dropping as low as it should. Now that the bar moves freely again I get a wider range of movement in the upper wheel, and it looks like I can easily fit the 100.5" blades now. Phew!

The bar being jammed would also, I think, have contributed to the difficulties in adjusting the tension rod, as it had the effect of restricting the available space for the spring and therefore the spring was being compressed more than it should (although I would have expected the tension gauge to reflect the actual tension... hmm...).

I plan to spend some more time testing the saw over the next few days (e.g. to see if I can tension the blade across the full range of the tension gauge), but hopefully it should now be fine. I still find it strange that the tension gauge is only labelled as high as 16mm, mind you, but that may just prove to be a niggle rather than a real problem.

The moral of this story is to remember that, when all else fails, try "wiggling" (a technical term for that stage you reach where you grab and violently shake the object of annoyance, usually a precursor to gentle persuasion with a hammer :) ).
 

ByronBlack

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I too have the same bandsaw and had the same problem with wrong sized blades. I ordered some from dure-edge a number of months ago, and couldn't fit them (my tensioning is fine) it works out that axminster supply the wrong size, dure-edge sent me out two new blades of a better length, and they now work fine.

The guy at dure-edge apparently has had this issue with axminster for a while, there re-branded version of the jet which is basically the same model also has a different size, so for the dure-edge guy's these have been a bit of a pain.

However, my new blades are great and I love the bandsaw like a son.
 

pooka

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Agghhh! I tried fitting a 100.5" blade to my saw again last night, and hit problems once more. It looks like the reason I was able to fit a blade relatively easily yesterday morning was due not only to un-jamming the Free Key, but also because I had the upper wheel adjusted (during previous troubleshooting) so that it tilted out fully at the top and in my haste I didn't notice this. This position of the wheel gives the same effect as lowering the wheel a little further.

When fitting a blade last night, I first adjusted the upper wheel to remove the tilt, and I could only fit the blade by trying to walk it onto the upper wheel. At least I can fit the blade by tilting the wheel again, and then adjusting the wheel to its correct position, but that method seems to make the blade more prone to wandering off centre of the lower wheel during fitting - basically, it is do-able, but fiddly. Oh well!

Thanks for that info ByronBlack. As a matter of interest, have you ever had need to tension your saw beyond the 13mm mark? I tried this again last night, with no blade fitted, and while it is now easier to move (since dislodging the Free Key), once the tension indicator reaches the 13mm mark, the tension rod still becomes very difficult to turn. It is as if the spring is too stiff. Have you lubricated your tension rod at any stage?
 

pooka

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For info, Jet replied to an e-mail of mine earlier in the week, saying that they plan to change the manual for the JWBS-14 to specify a blade length of 2560mm (as opposed to stating the range 2550-2560mm as it does right now).

I can use my current 100.5" Dure-Edge blades by tilting the upper wheel out fully and then walking the blade onto the wheel. I have tested this with a 5/8" blade and a 3/8" blade and it works for both, although it is fiddly. I have yet to test it with a 3/16" blade though. Dure-Edge have, very decently, offered to swap blades that won't fit. This experience has added further proof of the quality of the Dure-Edge service - they have been excellent to deal with.

As regards the problems that I have had with adjusting the tension on my saw, when I fitted the 5/8" blade I found that I could adjust the tension up to just beyond the 16mm mark without any real difficulty. I removed the blade, tried tensioning again, and hit problems before the 13mm mark. It seems like having a blade fitted influences the tensioning mechanism. Possibly the "pull"/tension of the blade against the wheel causes the tensioning mechanism to align itself correctly whereas with no such resistance the tensioning mechanism sits at an angle/position that impedes the turning of the tension bolt?? Whatever the reason, at least it seems to work with a blade in place.

So, just to summarise, for anyone thinking of buying a Jet JWBS-14 saw in the near future, or having problems with one right now, things to be aware of are:
- the correct blade length according to Jet, is 2560mm, regardless of what the manual states.
- the Free Key can jam, restricting movement of the upper wheel. It is easy enough to release it though.
- the tensioning mechanism behaves differently when no blade is fitted, so even if you have difficulties adjusting it without a blade fitted, there may not actually be a problem - fit a blade and test it again to see if there really is a problem.

Thanks to everyone that responded.
 

ByronBlack

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Pooka,

I just wanted to add that I've had no problems at all with the tensioning of my saw and i've not had to make any adjustments with regards the rod or lubricating any parts, its worked for me 1st time out of the box.

The blade-length is definitly wrong in the manual though, but if you order from Dure-Edge i'm sure they are now aware of the problem and will supply the proper length blade, they are such quality blokes there that I cannot recommend them enough.

I would still recommend the saw, its been great in the time i've had it and defnitly the best bandsaw that i've tried out of many in the same class.
 
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