Welcome! / Forums / General Woodworking Discussions / Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration / Premium bandsaw
- This topic has 24 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 2 months ago by Edmund.
15 January 2022 at 5:25 pm #744925
Hello all. I’ve been using a Kity entry-level bandsaw for thirty years and now want to upgrade. It’s served me well but the blade runs between wood blocks and even when properly set up, I still get said blade wandering along the grain. I notice now that some bandsaws come with bearing guides and others, ceramic. Any advice on either? I’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos.15 January 2022 at 8:48 pm #744947
Well I’m a big fan of wheel bearing guides. That said, the bearings won’t alone give you the “premium” experience you are looking for. If you are looking around and trying to decide between models, I would cast my vote for bearings. If you haven’t stumbled onto Alex Snodgrass yet, look his videos up – truly some of the best and most effective bandsaw education I have received.16 January 2022 at 5:39 am #744993
Thanks Matt. Yes, I’ve watched a lot of his stuff. I actually set up the Kity accordingly after seeing him carving reindeer at a show years ago and it helped enormously. I know why it’s tracking now. I’ve spoiled the blade running a load of roughsawn oak timber through it. Something the little Kity is not designed to do. I’ve retired and kitting out my workshop is going to be my retirement present to myself. I do need a good bandsaw; that much is obvious.
Many thanks, Terry.
I wouldn’t worry about the debate between ceramic / bearing guides. The internet is full of people who will swear by each, and in my experience, they’re both right.
At school we had every size Laguna bandsaw up to 24×24, IIRC they all had Laguna’s ceramic guides, screeched like banshees, but worked great. OK, one time one of the LT24’s choked on resawing a massive 21″ wide slab of coastal live oak, but that’s the Devil’s wood, and it was the only time in my 2 years there that bandsaw didn’t work perfectly, so I consider that an outlier.
We also had both new and vintage bandsaws with bearing guides, some new, some retro-fitted: 36″ Oliver, a Y-A Snowflake, and 2 20″ Felder FB610, an 18″ S45N Minimax, a 20″ Agazzani, 20″ Powermatic and more. They worked great, too.
So after 2 yeaers I noticed a pattern (yes, I’m slow and it took that long)
A quality bandsaw that has been properly set up and sports a sharp blade will do a great job, regardless of bearing type. Get the best machine you can afford, and you’ll be happy. You’ll have much bigger worries these days with 8 month wait times from some manufacturers and high prices.16 January 2022 at 6:01 pm #745072
I’m so grateful for that, Edmund. I understand exactly what you are saying. I have been in the market for a replacement Rancilio coffee machine – which believe me is the business – for over a year. No chance! Experience is everything. I can work with that advice.
Regards, Terry.16 January 2022 at 6:28 pm #745078
Seconded. Sharp blade/correct blade (correct for thickness/task) will make worlds more difference than any “hardware” or fancy proprietary gizmo any manufacturer offers you.
I got a bandsaw for the first time 2 years ago. I’d say it probably qualifies as “midrange”, a record power BS300E
When the following are correct it works like a dream! (for straight ripping… I very rarely do any curves!)
Good quality sharp blade.
Fence set accurately.
Table set accurately.
If any of the three above are below par the performance suffers in a big way.
The thrust bearings, (top and bottom), need to be set just right as well, but the side bearings, if the other things are right, are of no consequence for straight cuts.
In my limited experience!
Matt17 January 2022 at 9:20 am #745152
I bought a new Delta 14″ 30 years ago. I have tried the “cool blocks” as guides in reswing. My saw has never performed as I wished. A sharp blade is a must or drift is uncontrolable. I have squared the table to the blade. Tomorrow I plan to change the tires……..it still has the original ones. I will also change blades. Last week I took a look at the motor and discovered it was only 3/4 horse. So I bought a new 2.5 horse motor, installed it and was overwhelmed at how it smoothly it went through a scrap of 3 inch red oak. I am in hopes that the new tires will improve the tracking. I have the Carter bearings in for several years and like them very much.
I am going to all this trouble because I did not want to spring for a new one and because, if successful it getting to rip satisfactory, I will sell my table saw. I am moving more and more toward hand tool only woodworking (that is why I am here on Paul’s site.) The quiet in the shop and less dust are a true delight to the working experience. I am in my late 70’s and peace and quiet coupled with the satisfaction of the “hand made” experience are a nurturing atmosphere for me. Any advise on the bandsaw set up would be appreciated.
George17 January 2022 at 10:21 am #745158
Many thanks Matt and George. I know I have to replace my blade before I use the machine again. The teeth on the inside left are dull compared to the right set. George, I’m not an expert but when I set up my Kity as per Alex Snodgrass, with a good blade in it, it stopped tracking immediately. That was a few years back. My recent troubles arise from too much fishing and neglect. Ripping down a load of oak has cobbled the bearings as well as the blade. 😊
Regards, Terry17 January 2022 at 5:05 pm #745206
I don’t like to get rid of old tools that have served me well, so I’ve stripped the Kity and soaked the bearings in WD40; and I’ve bitten the bullet and sent off for a premium blade. It’ll get set up again as per Alex Snodgrass and I hope to enjoy another season with it. But I will be on the lookout for a replacement.18 January 2022 at 12:42 am #745259
Main bearings aren’t very expensive. The main bearings on my 90+ y.o. Saw were getting noisy ( my fault. I thought they were sealed bearings and it turns out they weren’t. I was fooled in that there were no Zerk fittings installed to grease them ).
I went to a bearing dealer and plunked one on the counter. Five minutes later I had four bearings for $28. While I was at it I added the grease fittings and regrease once a year.19 January 2022 at 4:27 pm #745452
Hi Larry. Yes, that was my next approach yesterday. Loads of outlets selling bearings, but the WD40 has worked wonders and my new premium blade arrived an hour ago. It’s set up ready for some book-ending next week. I’m building a Mouseman style stereo cabinet in oak. I love it. George, I’ve just been watching a bloke called Michael Fortune fine woodworking on YouTube. I didn’t know that apart from being square, the table can be skew left or right if lifted incorrectly. He shows exactly how to fix it!
Hope that helps, Terry.19 January 2022 at 8:04 pm #745490
Terry, Wd40 is not a bearing lubricant. While it may have cleaned out the bearings, you should follow up with a proper mineral oil or grease. I’m partial to lithium greases, but even they have to be refreshed.
There’s a pretty good explanation here:20 January 2022 at 6:58 am #745558
I would also recommend to not use WD40 for this. It can perish rubber (seals in the bearings) and can damage some thermoplastics (used for the cages on some bearings). Indeed, when we are testing the thermoplastics for our housings, WD40 is one of the main chemicals we use, and I do see that it can degrade the screw bosses.
Picture shows a bearing with a seal and a plastic cage.
Colin, Czech Rep.20 January 2022 at 10:21 am #745568
That’s very well worth knowing Larry and Colin. Live and learn! 🤣. Thanks both.
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