Substituting Friction Tape For A Broken Tire On Your Band Saw

Topics Covered
1. Friction Tape Fix
2. Wrap It Counterclockwise
3. Friction Tape Math
4. Friction Tape Installation
5. Wrapping It Up
6. Request
7. Related Links

1. Friction Tape Fix
If you have a band saw tire break on you, here is one temporary way to deal with the issue: use friction tape. This approach is not new. And, woodworkers have been known to use this approach to get their band saws up and running until a replacement tire can be obtained.

Here’s a shot of my band saw. Now it’s old, but the price was right (it was given to me, no charge). What the heck, it still works.

1-12 inch Sears band saw Photo 1

I am going to place an order for two new urethane belts. However, until I receive the new tires, I have wrapped the wheel with friction tape.

I have heard of others using this as a temporary fix, and I am curious to see how well (or not) friction tape works out, as a temporary fix.

Now back to the broken tire, here is a photo of the broken tire (it made a heck of a racket when it came apart).

Photo 2

2. Wrap It Counterclockwise
When applying the friction tape to the wheel, you want to wrap the tape counterclockwise around the wheel. Also, here is how to remember which way to wrap the tape: wrap the tape in the opposite direction that the wheel rotates (the wheels rotate clockwise) when the band saw is powered up.

Wrapping the tape counterclockwise around the wheel should eliminate the possibility of the blade snagging the tape and unraveling the tape from the wheel. If the blade were to stop and the wheel kept turning, then the blade could possibly grab and unwrap the tape if the tape had been wrapped clockwise instead of counterclockwise.

Sketch 1 below provides additional information regarding why you want to wrap the friction tape counterclockwise around the wheel.

Sketch 1

Notes for Sketch 1
Note 1 – This arrow shows the direction of rotation for the band saw wheel, clockwise. Put another way, when you open the door/s for your band saw wheels, the rotation of the wheels when powered up is clockwise. It has to be clockwise, in order for the blade teeth to push the wood down that is being cut on the band saw table.

Note 2 – The friction tape is wrapped counterclockwise around the band saw wheel, as shown by this arrow.

Note 3 – This note is pointing at the end of the outer layer of tape. Now as I see it, as long as the wheel and blade are both turning, the tape unwrapping is not an issue; however, if the blade were to stall during sawing and the wheel kept turning, then the blade would press the tape end against the wheel. However, if the tape was wrapped clockwise around the wheel and the blade were to stall and the wheel kept turning, then the stalled blade could potentially snag the tape and cause it to start unwrapping. Anyway, that is my take on the subject of wrapping the friction tape (clockwise or counterclockwise).

Note 4 – Shown here is the friction tape wrapped (counterclockwise) around the wheel.

Regarding how many times to wrap the tape around the wheel, I wrapped the entire roll of friction tape around the wheel. Since I have 12” diameter wheels, this equated to wrapping the tape 6.37 times around the wheel.

3. Friction Tape Math
Here’s the math for the above 6.37 number and notes for related matters:

1. For each wheel, Circumference = 3.14 x 12” = 37.7”

2. Dimensions for the roll of friction tape are 0.012” x .708” x 240” (I purchased the tape for $3 from Home Depot), and here is a photo of the roll of friction tape. (Regarding the tape thickness, I used a vernier caliper to measure the tape thickness.)

4- Roll of Friction Tape (Photo 3)
Photo 3

3. Next, (Tape length, 240”) divided by (Circumference of wheel, 37.7”) = 6.37 times that the tape is wrapped around the wheel.

4. Also, the total thickness of the tape wrapped six times around the wheel is 0.072”.
(Thickness of tape, 0.012”) x (Being wrapped 6 times around the wheel) = 0.072” for the total thickness.

Shown below is a partial sketch (Sketch 2) of the wheel wrapped with friction tape.

Sketch 2

Notes for Sketch 2:
Note 1 – Shown here is the friction tape wrapped six times around the wheel, and the total thickness is 0.072”.

Note 2 – Dimensioned here is the distance between the top of the wheel rim and the top of the six wrapped layers of friction tape. I give the distance as greater than 0.0095” (0.072” – 0.0625” = 0.0095”) since the wheel is crowned (as shown in Sketch 2 above). Since the purpose of the tire is to help keep the band saw blade off the wheel, you want the total thickness of the friction tape (when wrapped around the wheel multiple times) to be greater than the height of your wheel rims (my wheel rim height is 0.0625”).

Note 3 – This width of 0.88” (for my band saw) between the wheel rims is where the tire is installed. The crowning of the wheel is also shown on sketch 2.

4. Friction Tape Installation
To wrap the wheel with friction tape, I removed both the band saw blade and the band saw table. It just makes wrapping tape so much easier with the band saw table removed. The following photos document the above process.

Photo 4 is a shot of my band saw with the door for the wheels shown open. I think it shows why you want to remove the table, in order to make wrapping the tape easier.

6-Band Saw Wheel & Table
Photo 4

To remove the table, I removed the four bolts shown below (Photo 5).

7-DSC04668 (Photo 5)
Photo 5

Removing three of the four bolts for my band saw (12” Sears Band Saw model #113.243311) was straightforward. But to remove the fourth bolt, I had to unlock and tilt the table as shown in Photo 6.

8-DSC04670 (Photo 6)
Photo 6

This next photo (Photo 7) shows the table removed and flipped over. Also shown are the four bolts, which secure the table to the band saw.

9-DSC04672 (Photo 7)
Photo 7

Starting to wrap the tape (counterclockwise) around the wheel is shown below, in Photo 8.

10-DSC04679 (Photo 8)
Photo 8

Completion of wrapping the wheel with friction tape is shown in the following photo (Photo 9).

11-DSC04684 (Photo 9)
Photo 9

Next, I re-installed the blade, and resawed a small piece of crape myrtle, that’s it in the photo below (Photo 10). I have done a limited amount of sawing since installing the friction tape. But so far, it is working out (for a temporary fix).

12-DSC04685 (Photo 10)
Photo 10

5. Wrapping It Up
Still plan on ordering a set of urethane belts, but for now the friction tape is working out. I examine the tape from time-to-time to check how it’s holding up. So far, the tape is looking good, but looking forward to putting on a new set of urethane belts.

6. Request
If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you would share it by email with a friend, on Google+, and/or Facebook. While I am being needy, would you give me a “Like” on my Facebook page (Woodworking with AJO)? My Facebook page “Like” button is on the right side of this page, or you can click on the link shown below for my Facebook page. Thanks a bunch.

Woodworking with AJO | Facebook

7. Related Links:
How to Use Masking and Electrical Tape to Quick Fix Your Bandsaw Wheel and Tire / Rockler How-to

3M 3/4 in. x 20 ft. Friction Tape – Black-3407NA-BA-6 at The Home Depot

Until next time, Take care