What You Need to Know Before You Buy an Adjustable Link Belt
An adjustable link belt makes lots of claims like it can be used on just about any woodworking tool, that it’s easy to install and will help reduce vibration in your woodworking tools. Let’s find out and put this belt to the test!
If you do a little research about using an adjustable link belt you’ll read lots of benefits like you can use them on just about any woodworking tool, that they are remarkably easy to install and that it will make your woodworking tools vibration-resistant. Today we’ll look at what you need to know before you buy an adjustable link belt.
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Not too long ago I shared with you my idea to build the “Skate-Away” DIY truck camper. For the walls of the camper, I planned to make panels similar to the panels I made for the DIY bathroom vanity and my workshop doors.
To make the panels I would use my bandsaw to resaw pieces of 1×6. Think of resawing as splitting a piece of wood lengthwise and then opening it like a book. After resawing, I will be left with pieces that are about 3/8” thick and those pieces will be edge glued to form wide panels.
I needed to make nearly 30 panels for the camper, so I knew it was going to take some time to cut all of the parts. But with every piece I cut it began to take longer, and longer, and longer. The fourth to last piece took me nearly 15 minutes to resaw! What the??? I turned off the saw. Something was definitely wrong!
The resaw blade was fairly new and I had already done an extensive tune-up on the bandsaw, so I was pretty confident everything was set properly. I turned the saw on without attempting to cut a piece of wood and the blade struggled to move. OK, now we’re getting somewhere! If the blade isn’t moving that would definitely explain why it was taking so long to cut.
Then I jumped into diagnosis mode. What moves the blade? The motor. I can hear the motor running so it’s not that. What next? The belts. Did it throw a belt? I opened the door and could see both belts were still on the pulleys. I flipped the saw on and could see the belt that operates the saw blade was slipping. It needs a belt! That was easy!
Next, I went online to research a replacement belt. That’s where I found several options for adjustable link belts. Unlike a conventional solid belt, adjustable link belts are, well, adjustable and made of links. OK, that wasn’t a great description. Think of an adjustable link belt like a metal watch band. With a metal watch band, you can remove or add links to get the perfect fit for your arm.
I read all of the reviews and stumbled on a reviewer who said Harbor Freight has an adjustable link belt. I wanted to get back to making panels for my Skate-Away Camper so I grabbed my Harbor Freight 25% off coupon and headed for the store. Today I’m sharing some thoughts about installing an adjustable link belt on your woodworking tools.
What You Need to Know Before You Buy an Adjustable Link Belt
Adjustable Link Belts Get Great Reviews
As I mentioned earlier there are several options when it comes to an adjustable link belt. No matter if you’re looking at this Grizzly Power Twist V-Belt or the Accu-Link Belt that I bought at Harbor Freight customers give adjustable link belts great reviews. I’m always interested in knowing what other buyers thought of a product, so rave reviews are important to me.
An Adjustable Link Belt can be Used on Many Tools
An adjustable link belt can be used on just about any woodworking tool that uses a V-belt. That means you use it to replace old, worn belts in your drill press, table saw, sander and more. Or like me, you can use an adjustable link belt to replace the slipping belt in your bandsaw.
An Adjustable Link Belt is Easy to Install
An adjustable link belt is sooo easy to install. In fact, it took me longer to set up and take these pics than it did to install the belt!
Step 1. First, you’ll twist and push the tab to release one half of the link.
Now the first half of the link is separated.
Step 2. Then, you’ll twist the remaining tab to release the second half of the link.
Now the belt is separated.
Step 3. I used my slipping bandsaw belt as a guide for the length of the adjustable link belt.
Step 4. Reconnecting the belt is the reverse of separating the belt. Insert the tab in one half of the link.
Step 5. Insert the remaining tab in the second half of the link. Then turn the belt so the tabs face inward.
Step 6. Lastly, install the adjustable link belt on your woodworking tool.
The great thing about an adjustable link belt is you can replace your worn belts on woodworking tools without disassembling them. How cool is that?! Another cool thing is you can connect two adjustable link belts together for greater length. Or in my case, I was able to replace both of the belts on my bandsaw with one purchase of an adjustable link belt. An adjustable link belt really can adjust for just about any size setup.
No Belt, No Problem
In my case I had a belt to use as a guide to size the adjustable link belt, but what if you don’t have a belt to work from? No belt, no problem. Separate the belt as I described above, wrap it around your pulleys, adjust the length and install it. DONE!
There Really is Less Vibration
The big “claim to fame” of an adjustable link belt is that reduces vibration. I can tell you without a doubt that vibration in my bandsaw is waaaay less with an adjustable link belt. In addition to buying the adjustable link belt at Harbor Freight, I also bought my bandsaw there. The bandsaw is a decent little unit but it had always vibrated like a jackhammer!
With the adjustable link belt installed the bandsaw operates much more smoothly. It’s amazing to me what a difference a little change like a belt can make. The bandsaw is now so much more enjoyable to use. It almost makes me wish I had more resawing to do for the Skate-Away Camper!
An adjustable link belt can be used on just about any woodworking tool that uses a V-belt, it’s easy to install and your woodworking tools will vibrate less.
Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott
Hey Scott, I’ve been woodworking for years. After joining your blog, I’ve learned that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks for your simple and straightforward approach to your projects. I did some tuning on my old Craftsman table saw awhile back, and the link belt is fantastic. Do you have a suggestion for a fence upgrade for my old saw. About 25 years old, cast iron table, but bad fence. A good fence is pricey and I need some direction! Thanks, Donnie Hyde
Hi Donnie- Thank you for joining and for the compliments! I haven’t had an opportunity to do much research options for rip fence upgrades, but I will try to take a look around when I have a chance. Thank you again – Scott
I own a Delta Unisaw which I got from my grandfather. It is an old model but I was able to purchased an upgrade from Delta which works really nice. A lot less expensive than many of the others. Installation was easy, bolted on my 60+ year saw. Only drawback was that the new one doesn’t have the fine adjustment gear knob.
When I had my old Craftsman saw, I had good results with an Accusquare fence from Mule Cabinetmakers. I also used a link belt.
Would this belt work on my riding lawn mower?
Hi Sue – That’s a great question. I would consult with both your lawn mower manufacturer and the belt manufacturer for a definitive answer.
I have tried link belts but always ended up taking them off. Too noisy and too stretchy. In my opinion, you can’t beat a good name brand wrapped belt for smooth and quiet operation.
Hello there! This is NEAT! Would it work on a metal lathe? Is there anyone you know who has tried it for that yet?
Hi Dawn – It’s really cool, right?! The adjustable belt should work on just about any piece of shop equipment that uses a belt.
Off the belt topic, but what fence do you use on your Harbor Freight to resaw?
Hi Mab – Thank you for stopping by. I’ve used both a homemade fence and the Carter MAGFENCE II Universal Magnetic Fence. The Carter fence is an investment, but it is much easier to adjust.