Bow Saw Tension

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Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
Melbourne, Derbyshire
Good Afternoon All,

Quick question for the hive mind, and I'm sure I will get a plethora of different responses but, how does one check for the correct tension on a bow saw?

For context I've treated myself to a 24" Bahco bow saw that has the typical screw tensioner, I'm guessing it's slightly different to the hacksaw rule of take up the tension then three turns.

Kind regards,


Sean Hellman

Apr 19, 2009
Best bet is to try using it. You want a blade that is firm in the frame so that it cannot be twisted.
Make it loose and try cutting with it, then tighten a bit and try again and so on, you will find a sweet spot.
A cheaper blade may need more tension because it is made from thinner material.
It is always a good idea to release the tension when not using the saw. Some people claim that it can take the set out of the teeth over time. I have no idea if this is true or not, I would personally say that it probably is not. On some saws if left in tension all the time, then the tension may lesson over the years so the blade cannot be held tight enough. Not necessarily an issue with your saw.
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Reactions: Oliver G


Jul 31, 2011
Conyer, Kent
Hi Ollie

In the Ash wood frames I make I set a Bahco blade to deflect or ping in the middle of the blade about 6-10mm or so when all is taught and set, because the blades are thin and can be snapped if a bough/branch closes up in cutting I am a big fan of cutting deeply on the pull stroke not the push stroke, it keeps the blade stretched out in tension not all runkled up in compression.
Hope it helps

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