Folding and Unfolding a Band Blade

How in the world do I fold and unfold my band blade?!  We often get this question from new mill owners.  Although this is an easy process, it is not always easy to just tell someone how to do it.  Today we are going to try to do so with an explanation and pictures.

I will do this in steps.  The first thing to be sure is that you have on good leather gloves. This is true with any band blade, but you will find this is especially true if you’re trying this with a Cook’s Super Sharp™ blade.  You will notice that it is like needles and will cut you even after it has been run for several hours. We recommend grinding the teeth down on an old blade until you learn this process.
If you have a v-belt or some other endless object that has some stiffness, but is bendable, you may want to use it as well to learn the technique initially.  It will fold and unfold the same way and will be safer.

Folding the Blade:

1.  Be sure to have on gloves.  Hold the blade in a circle out in front of you with your arms outstretched so that the blade is horizontal above the ground. Let the blade side nearest you be right at your belt line.









Step 22.  Give the blade a quick snap downward as you bring both of your hands together with the right hand elevated slightly higher than the left hand. The blade will almost fold itself at this point so there is no need of trying to twist the blade with your thumbs. Let the blade and momentum do the work











Step 33.  Before letting go with your right hand use your left hand to grab the two folded loops of the blade. Then reach down with your right hand and pick up the remaining loop.











Step 44.  This will cause the blade to fold up.












Step 55. Finished - How do you like his pose?












Unfolding the Blade:

Step 11.  Holding all three rings in one hand let one of the rings start to unfold while holding on to the two remaining rings with the opposite hand.
*If it doesn’t look like it will unfold easily you may need to try putting the rings back together and let another one down.  There are three rings but only letting the correct one drop out to begin with will let the blade unfold properly.  The best time to learn this is when you have just folded up a blade.  The ring that comes up last when folding is the one that drops out first when unfolding.










Step 22.  With the correct ring hanging down take the remaining two rings (one in each hand) and slowly open up your arms like your about to hug someone - but please hold off on any real hugging until you have finished your blade un-folding.








Step 33.  As you spread your hands outward this will make the remaining ring swing up. Be careful because this blade is under tension and is just like a spring.









* Once you have mastered folding and unfolding blades you can invite friends and family over for cake and ice cream