Excessive buildup of sawdust and pitch on your bandsaw tires is bound to happen once in a while. Because the bandsaw requires the blade to ride on the exact center of the tire for the best tension, it’s a good idea to keep it clean so it can be positioned precisely.
Cleaning your bandsaw tire is a simple process, as long as you keep a few things in mind and take the necessary precautions.
How Often Should You Clean Your Bandsaw Tires?
The frequency with which you need to clean your bandsaw tires depends on how much and how often you use it. If you cut green, or unseasoned wood, expect the bandsaw to need cleaning more often. You can think of it as regular maintenance to keep the saw in perfect running condition.
Everytime you use your bandsaw on wood, fine particles and bits of sawdust accumulate on the bandsaw tire, especially on the lower tire, where sawdust tends to get trapped under the blade as it travels around the wheel. You might only need to clean your bandsaw occasionally if you are a light user, and if the bandsaw is operating fine. On the other hand, you may need to clean it more frequently if you regularly cut resinous wood that leaves pitch residues, pine tar, and sawdust on your bandsaw tires.
How to Clean Bandsaw Tires
There are two methods to clean the bandsaw tires. One method uses a cleaner, and one doesn’t. If your bandsaw’s tires are mostly covered in fine sawdust or dry powdery wood particles, you can try cleaning without any chemical cleaner.
Without Soap or Cleaner
You shouldn’t need cleaners or soap unless you’ve been cutting resinous wood like pine. Before you begin cleaning, gather the following items: a piece of cotton cloth, 120-grit sandpaper, an old stiff toothbrush. Then, follow the process below:
- Step 1: Unplug the bandsaw – Safety first! Always start by unplugging your bandsaw before doing any routine maintenance.
- Step 2: Remove the saw blade – Next, remove the saw blade in order to work safely on the saw and tilt the table to access the tires better.
- Step 3: Clean the lower bandsaw tire – Usually the lower band saw tire will have accumulated more dust so start by cleaning it first.
- Step 4: Scrape the bandsaw wheel – Using some fine sandpaper (120-grit would be fine), scrape the band saw wheel, while turning the wheel by hand. This will help remove most of the stubborn saw dust. Continue gently rubbing the tire all round. Using an old toothbrush, rub the wheel until all visible debris is removed.
- Step 5: Wipe the tire with a cotton cloth – Finally, use a cotton cloth to wipe the bandsaw wheel.
Using Soap or Cleaner
Certain hardwoods don’t leave a resin residue on your saw, but pine and green woods do. In case your bandsaw has especially stubborn residue buildup, you may need to clean it with a cleaner or soapy detergent. Make sure that whatever cleaner you use is safe for applying on rubber.
For this method, you’ll need the same things as for the process above plus some 2050 blade cleaner or any other suitable water-based cleaner. Similarly, first follow steps 1 to 3 of the process above before continuing with the next steps:
- Step 1: Apply the cleaner on the bandsaw wheel – Apply the cleaner of your choice on the bandsaw wheel using the old toothbrush, then leave it for 15 minutes. This will allow the cleaner to loosen up the sawdust, grime, and debris.
- Step 5: Rub the tire with the brush – Now rub the tire with a brush to remove the resin and any remaining debris. Be gentle so that the rubber is not scratched or damaged.
- Step 6: Dry the bandsaw tire before use – Once the tire is clean, dry the tire well with a cotton cloth or by letting it dry in the sunlight. Ensuring that the tire is fully dry will help prevent slippage or corrosion of the rubber tire.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Never use any cleaner or liquid for cleaning the tires that may be corrosive or harmful to the rubber or urethane tires. Some suggestions for cleaning liquids include WD-40, Simple Green, and Goo Gone. Avoid using oven cleaners, solutions containing alcohol, or anything that leaves an oily residue on the tires.
Another tip is to let the bandsaw dry overnight after usage before attempting to clean the tires. The dry sawdust and buildup is a lot easier to remove as it scrapes off a lot easier than when wet.
Some people recommend using a cabinet scraper for cleaning the gunk. You hold the cabinet scraper in one hand and spin the wheel with the other, gently rubbing the scraper against the tire. It’s best to avoid using rough sandpaper, iron wool, or other objects to scrape the gunk off the tires as they may damage the rubber.
You can also lubricate your bandsaw mechanism once the tire has been cleaned.
You should clean the rubber tires on your bandsaw only when needed, such as when there is sawdust or pitch buildup on the wheels. To prevent the buildup from creating inaccuracies in the saw, follow the suggested cleaning methods above. You can choose to clean without any chemicals if the buildup is mostly sawdust and dry wood particles or use a cleaner to remove tar pitch, resin, or sticky residues.
Once it’s cleaned, your bandsaw will be all set for your next crafting project.