Truing a Bandsaw Tyre

You may have read about this initially in British Woodworking magazine several months ago, because, although it created a bit of discussion over on the UKworkshop forum, I do not recall ever getting around to writing it up on my blog… I’m referring to my Startrite 401e bandsaw and the incident that happened not long after I had bought the saw; where I pushed an old blade too far and it ended up leeching out of the saw, ripping the tyre clean off the top wheel at the same time!

That left me with the challenge of fitting a brand new tyre, after realising that the total material costs would equate to less than half the asking price of a firm in South Wales for them to do it for me (and, their price was excluding VAT, as well). When I did this originally, I trued the tyre up with a scrap of abrasive paper, wrapped around a sanding block (rubber-cork is worked more easily than rubber in a woodworking ‘shop). Since then, I’ve known all along that the ‘repair’ wasn’t perfect – the fact that my blades have been twisting and bashing against the side guides for the past six-months was a huge give-away!!

Recently, I did contact another firm in Bristol (much closer to home) about the possibility of them just truing the tyre for me. However, it turned out that they were unable to machine cork although, they could’ve happily re-covered the wheel with rubber. They did refer me to another firm in Bristol but, with a supply of rare earth magnets having arrived in the workshop recently [more on that in an up-and-coming post!], I decided I tried and build myself a jig to do it properly, on my own…

You see, just in case you haven’t seen any of my previous posts on this bandsaw, there’s a large gaping hole in the top of the saw that allows clearance for the upper wheel when tensioning a wide blade (this is where the blade escaped, back in April):

…Though, it wasn’t long after I’d started cutting some 18mm MDF on my new table saw [using a brand-new blade – more on that soon!] that I realised there was a much simpler solution available, given the almost-perfect dimensions of the slot:

Yes, it’s nothing more than a simple honing guide! This one’s actually an accessory for my WorkSharp 3000 grinder but, if you’re bandsaw has a rectangular-hole like this and you’re in a similar predicament then, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same with another brand of honing guide (unless you’re using a rubber tyre, perhaps). You can see that, with a sharp 2in wide blade lifted my my Stanley no.4, the rubber-cork material cuts very well and there are plenty of shavings. Some caution must be taken, though, and I did find the iron lost its edge after a while.

The end result is that my top wheel is almost perfectly true again and I was even able to add a slight camber, with a little due care and attention. Now, when I fit a narrow blade, it stays in one place and no longer edges close to the front edge of the wheels! Blades don’t twist any more while the saw’s running and the overall working noise is much quieter again. The guides should last a while now, too!

I appreciate that this advice may not be ideal if you own a different design of bandsaw but, if you can adapt one somehow when resurrecting your band-wheels then, I highly recommend the honing guide approach. A nice wide, sharp blade makes light work of a job like this and the shavings make for a rather pleasant sight (unlike fine sanding dust).

Thanks for reading.

9 thoughts on “Truing a Bandsaw Tyre

  1. Yep, nice idea. I have seen someone do this slightly differently: on a rubber wheeled bandsaw using a razor blade clamped between blocks of wood – mounted so the razor was perpendicular to the tyre – so acting more like a scraper. Apparently worked quite well to do some fine truing up of the wheel.

    I keep meaning to do it myself, but finding time…
    So did you use the rare earth magnets to hold the honing guide to the top of the bs, or did you clamp it, or maybe just use a steady hand?

    1. Hi Bongo,

      The idea of using a razor blade as a scraper sounds identical to what I was hoping to achieve initially, with the blade clamped between two scraps. But then, I realised that the wheel doesn’t protrude far enough through the top of the saw to make this feasible!

      I didn’t use any magnets in the end; just my “steady” hand. 😉 I held it in one position and gradually, very carefully, raised the wheel up until it was making full cuts (no more bumps or misses).

      I assume that the method you’ve seen was mounted inside the saw cabinet, somehow?


      1. Yep, it was mounted on the inside somehow with clamps – which is what I will have to do – as I don’t have a hole in he top of mine.

  2. hi olly,I have recently chatted with you on ukworkshop forum.Iam about to fit a new cork to my band saw and am following your above blog.However an accompaning sheet from scot and sargent recommends shaping the running surface with a crown or arch shape.what do you think ?


    1. Hi Brooky,

      I’d definitely try and put a slight camber on to your tyres as it helps to keep the blades tracked centrally on both wheels (there may be other benefits, as well). It doesn’t need to be very much of a camber at all; just a very light crowning. If you still have the old tyre(s), you should be able to see the crown on them as a visual guide.

      Thanks for your message. Best of luck with it! 🙂


  3. Help!!!!!! Anyone know where i can get 6″ tyres from as the ones on my band saw have had it… it a nu-tool model but unable to fined on when i do a search on line

    1. Hi Steven,

      Is 6in the diameter of your wheels or the thickness???

      If you know the model number of your saw then, if you’re in the UK, a company like Scott & Sargeant should be able to at least point you in the right direction, I imagine. Otherwise, I’m sure you can find a similar company closer to home, if the original manufacturer no longer exists…

  4. Hi from Venezuela Olly!!

    Last year I salvage and old italian bandsaw from the junk yard. After installing the replacement tyre material (with contact cement glue) the vibration is very noticeable. I have read that the Italian bandsaws tyres are flat, and your bandsaw design is very similar to mine. You put a little crown on the tyres in your YouTube video (great video by the way). Must I do the same?

    1. Hi Eduardo, thanks for your comment. I can only guess that your new tyre isn’t perfectly round – higher in some places than others. Truing the tyre, similar to what I did, should help.

      I’ve always found that a crown helps the blade to stay central on the tyre.

      I hope this helps.

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