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Thread: I have a 30 year old bandsaw and...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    Question I have a 30 year old bandsaw and...

    I am using a 1/8" blade on it at present. It works well, but I've had it pop off the wheels a couple of times, specifically, the lower wheel, usually when I am trying to back up the workpiece to try again at a cut where I've missed outside the line.

    Per Mr. Snodgrass's famous video, I haven't worried about the wheels not being co-planar, and run the front edge of the band in the centre of the upper wheel. This results in a nice straight cut, but the band tends to run very close to the front of the lower wheel.

    Also, the 1/8" blade does not properly engage the lower guide bearing. It sits just in front of the gap between the blocks, and enters the gap slightly when I am pushing wood through the blade. I have moved the bearing forward as far as it will go, and am considering enlarging the slot the guide moves in, but is there a better idea? The upper bearing is fine.

    I had a look at the lower wheel a while back, and decided that if anyone was going to take it off to shim it, it wasn't going to be me. Without detailed, illustrated step-by-step instructions, I'm not going to try anything with that. In a pinch, I could get a mechanic to help me at a reasonable cost.

    I have been successful in using the saw. I have made 6 band saw deer and four bandsaw boxes in 8/4 cherry lately, and the saw performed well. I have also used it in every project I have accomplished since I got it. The lower guide is OK with a 3/8" blade in it, and would probably be good with a " blade, but I haven't tested that theory.

    Am I overthinking this? Should I just soldier on and not worry, or should I do something about either the lower guide or the lower wheel?

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by Roger Tulk; 08-23-2012 at 04:36 AM. Reason: speling
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    i understand the idea of if it works use it roger but if you get to a point where you have some free time to look it over real good i would get some one to give you a hand if your not comfortable with dismantling it and fix the lower wheel.. there are places where you can get a manual for it possibly at the old iron sites.. which would help you alot in the rebuild of it..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Tulk View Post
    usually when I am trying to back up the workpiece to try again at a cut where I've missed outside the line.
    I have read many articles that say to never back up while the saw is running . Be that as it may, I imagine we all do it at some time or another. With a small blade I would expect it to be even easier to pop the blade off. This could be amplified by not having enough wheel to wander around on depending on which way your wheels are out of plane .

    For my saw that I run 3/16" and 1/8" blades on I got some cool blocks. They are inexpensive and allow you to bury the blade in them without costing you your tooth-set. I found that even with the thrust bearing positioned correctly, there was such a small amount of room for error with an 1/8" blade . . . This is agravated by the fact that when running a blade that small I am generally scrolling which puts a lot more "twist and shout" on the blade and guides than straight cutting. My little saw wasn't up to keeping things where they should be at all times. The cool blocks, set to capture the blade, really helped.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
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    Duginske, whose book instructed people to make wheels coplanar, said it was important for wide blades and not for narrow ones. So for your 1/8" blade it's no big deal except for the lower guide blocks missing the blade. For such a narrow blade, surrounding it with a soft guide block that won't damage teeth on contact is a good idea. I use waxed hard maple rather than cool blocks, but either is fine. If you used hardwood blocks, depending on the way the blocks are held in your saw, you may be able to shape them so as to be able to reach the blade without making other modifications to your saw.

  5. #5
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    Try moving the top thrust bearing back a bit, and tilting the top wheel so that the blade runs more towards the back edge of the wheel. that ought to make the blade run further back on the bottom wheel.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
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    I haven't worried about the wheels not being co-planar
    Forgive me if this sounds rude. But, I stopped paying much attention to the rest of the post when I read that.
    All your adjustments must be in tune. You don't say what size the bandsaw is but a 1/8" blade is pretty small and will give some difficulties in keeping tracking properly. Going over every adjustment and trying to make them right will teach you a lot. You do not need to hire a mechanic.
    FWIW, or not, I believe a 1/8" bandsaw blade is only for those of us who do not own scroll saws and for occasional use only.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Forgive me if this sounds rude. But, I stopped paying much attention to the rest of the post when I read that.
    All your adjustments must be in tune. You don't say what size the bandsaw is but a 1/8" blade is pretty small and will give some difficulties in keeping tracking properly. Going over every adjustment and trying to make them right will teach you a lot. You do not need to hire a mechanic.
    FWIW, or not, I believe a 1/8" bandsaw blade is only for those of us who do not own scroll saws and for occasional use only.
    Sorry Frank, but you're wrong!

    The wheels do not have to be coplanar for the saw to work well. So long as the blades track well - and stay on the wheels - that's all you need. The 'co-planar' controversy was started only a few years back, by Mark Dujinski (sp?). Up until then, Delta (and others) had been making bandsaws for many years, and users - from hobbyists to huge commercial entities - had been using them quite successfully. It matters not whether the blade tracks on the front part of one wheel and the back part of the other, or if it tracks in the same spot on both - just so long as it tracks evenly, without walking off the wheels. That just might also be why the upper and lower guides and thrust bearings are adjustable.

    As for your 1/8" blade comment, many folks keep one on their saw almost all the time, and only switch to wider ones for resawing or maybe cutting turning blanks. A 1/8" blade is probably the most versatile size there is, since it can cut (relatively) tight curves and contours, but can still cut straight lines at the hands of a reasonably skilled operator.

    Comparing a 1/8" blade to that of a scroll saw is certainly and 'apples to oranges' situation. The two tools are designed and intended for decidedly differing jobs.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
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    Controversy is what keeps things fun around here.
    Not co-planer but tracking (probably) means the blade is digging into the tire of one wheel.
    As he stated, his blade is not being supported by the lower guides. Not a happy situation. In tune would keep things.......well....uh....in tune and problem free. A happily adjusted bandsaw is a happy tool to use. Mine is one of the most often used 'go to' tools in my shop.
    With my low level of patience, I thought I would never get my bandsaw tuned when I first got it. But, I believe I am now competent to adjust what needs to be adjusted when a new situation arises. I can't imagine working on it when all components are not in tune/harmony with each other.
    I like the 1/8" blade for certain tasks. But, unfortunately, if I enter the shop with a frown on my face that one-eighth incher will break just out of meaness. I don't use often.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    This sounds like it may be an "order of magnitude" issue. Normally, if the wheels are a little off from being co-planer things will work fine. Yours sounds like it's so far off that the blade can't even engage the lower guide properly. Looks like the conversation got a bit snippy, which is too bad. There's a good chance that everyone is right about this.

    If you haven't already tried, figure out which wheel would be easiest to adjust, pop it loose and move / shim it as needed. You may want to remove the table to do this - just a few bolts most likely.

    On one of my band saws, the cast wheels are not symmetrical. There's a slight "dish" from the rim to the hub. Reversing the wheel effects how far in or out the rim rides. I'd check your saw for something as simple as one of the wheels being installed backwards.

    Whatever the case, it's obvious that you need to do something. Let us know what you find.

    paulh

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