Lee doesn’t normally read the Orchid list, but I do. I’m the guy who
does the machining on the fiddly bits. (like the blade clamps) Which
"redesigned" saw do you have?
There are three permutations of the 5 inch saw now. They’re all the
same frame, it’s just that one of them tensions by way of a screw,
just like the classic KC saws (but without the spring) and the other
two tension with a cam lever. (One of those has blade clamps that
swivel, and the other doesn’t.)
What really matters is whether or not you have a lever. I suspect
you probably have a screw tensioned saw?
First thing’s first: the black knob only fits right one way. So you
want the fat bit of the knob “down”, facing towards the blade clamp.
There should be a thin little yellow washer under it, between the
knob and the sawframe. (Actually, on the screw-tensioned saws, the
knob orientation isn’t such a big deal. But you still want the wider
part facing the clamp body. On the lever saws, it really matters, but
they have a slightly different setup. They still want the wider part
As far as not being able to pull it up tight enough.
First bet is probably that you’re not pulling the movable clamp far
enough down when you load the blades. You’d be amazed how many
people forget to unscrew the knob when they change the blade.
So first step is to wheel the knob all the way to the end of the
screw. (until it almost falls off.)
Then push the clamp down so that the clamp is as far down as it’ll
go. Then try putting in a new blade.
The blade holes “dead end” into the larger threaded holes for the
clamping screws. The backs of the threaded holes are designed to be
the stops for the blades. With the tension fully released, a
standard 5.125" blade will hit the back walls of both clamp holes,
and bow a little in the middle. If the movable clamp really is down
as far as it can go, and the blade isn’t bowing, the blade’s too
Hopefully, that will sort your problem. If the blade is bowing a
little, just tighten the clamping screws, and then wheel the tension
knob until your blade “pings” at a pitch you like.
If you’ve taken the clamps apart, you could have misaligned the anvil
screws, which may cause the clamps to slip, or break the ends of the
blades. There are pictures in the new instruction sheets that explain
how align them properly better than I could just by typing. I’ll
email you a copy of the instructions directly.
One other problem we see is that sometimes little broken ends of
sawblade like to hide themselves in the backs of the clamps, which
makes it impossible to get a solid grab on a new blade. Best answer
for that is to take the blade out, and then blow the holes out with
compressed air. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can
seem like the saw won’t hold tension. That would be my second bet.
Please contact me directly if you need any more help,