Need help tuning a bandsaw

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Have you watched the Snodgrass videos? Worked for me. I found as I got things tracking right, I could open my guides a little. Key is good blade. So much as tap a tooth n a guide, it won't cut strait.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Also reasonable.
What I take from all of the videos is finding the happy medium. Basically picking where you want your blade on the wheel, and align the table to the blade. Fence should be aligned to the table. When changing the blade, if you have a "standard" preference for tracking, then a quick test looking at gaps to either side of the cut lets you do tiny tweak to the tracking.

for the Snodgrass.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Have you watched the Snodgrass videos? Worked for me. I found as I got things tracking right, I could open my guides a little. Key is good blade. So much as tap a tooth n a guide, it won't cut strait.
Scott - watch the video Eric (@Eric G) posted - it is simply a clearer version of the Snodgrass video taped at the woodworking shows...
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I took a minute and re-listened to the video while writing down the steps (so I could put them by my bandsaw when I adjust it)
Did I miss anything?
Sorry the formatting is screwed up - I wasn't able to copy and paste with formatting - hopefully this is useful to someone else...

1. Disengage all guides.
2. Adjust tracking of the blade so the deepest part of the gullet is in the center of the wheel.
(The blade should be snug, but not tensioned)
NOTE: Alex Snodgrass disputes that the wheels need to be coplanar.
3. Set proper tension on the blade.
a. Do not use the gauge.
b. Do not check tension on the cutting side of the blade.
c. Check the tension on the inside of the door.
d. Lay your finger on top of the guard for the upper wheel.
e. Push on the blade.
f. GOAL: about a ¼” deflection in the blade without you finger turning white.
4. Recheck that the blade is tracking in the center of the wheel (tensioning can throw this off).
5. Adjust side-guides “front-to-back”.
(They should be adjusted behind the deepest part of the gullet (approximately 1/16”)).
(Remember to adjust the upper and lower guides)
6. Adjust the thrust bearing. (Take the time to get this right!!!).
(If you can lightly touch the blade and the thrust bearing rotates, but when you turn the wheel they don’t, they are adjusted correctly).
7. (Remember to adjust the upper and lower bearings)
8. Adjust side-guides “Side-to-side”.
(The bearings should not touch the blade and should not rotate when the wheel is turned)
(Remember to adjust the upper and lower guides)
9. Level the table
a. Cut into a 2 X 4 or 2.6 on its edge approximately 1/2 way.
b. Attempt to slide the wood into the blade from the back side, if it goes in easily the table is level.
10. Set the fence parallel to the blade
a. Lay a straight edge flat on the table touching the blade and observe or measure the distance of the ends of the straight edge to the fence and adjust accordingly.
 

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
Just passing along something I was told by someone I respect. If both wheels have built in crown the wheels "do" need to be co-planar. Do not have any idea about other size and brand of bandsaws but the Delta 14" does have crowns on both wheels.

Thanks for your list Hank, learned something new about a BS.

One of the most ignorant things I have ever said is " a BS is a simple machine and easy to use".

Be careful of youtube. Some of these clowns know less than I do and that is scary. What someone is doing with there BS may be the absolute worse thing for your BS and what you are doing.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Question got me motivated, so I took my table off and started from scratch. Finally I was able to get my upper guide to run exactly in line with the blade. Harvey instructions don't talk about the upper block alignment. Anyway, dead on now.

I have had the best luck with the Snodgrass method. I find I don't need my side bearings as close as most suggest once I got everything else up to spec. It may vary blade to blade, but I get fore and aft wobble with my current 3/8 inch blade. Probably not welded dead flat. Waiting for Sawblades.com to have everything back in stock.

I did make a "blade dust scraper" today. The C-14 had a slot for it, but did not come with one. Just a bit of MDF with a slot right below the upper duct port. Next project is a swing up infeed and outfeed tables to better manage longer stock. Need to make a taller fence face one of these days.

I do hope someone can drop buy and help the OP. Seeing it done on your own saw for real once really helps.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I think Keye is right, modern saws wheels are all crowned. To verify co-planer means to put the upper wheel back strait. They will only be co-planer in this factory alignment. ( Mine was) Once you start to adjust the wheel tracking, they will not be. But Alex may be right as well as where the band tracks on the lower wheel does not mater as much as the top. Where I agree with tracking further back than most instructions, the "tooth support" description does not follow physics. I tend to think it has more to do with the internal tension stress on the blade, moving it forward so holding the alignment. In any case, I run just slightly forward of where Alex says. Maybe 1/8 further than the base of the gullet. Still back from centered. Ultimate truth is it may not matter much and what works for you us what is right.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
I do hope someone can drop buy and help the OP. Seeing it done on your own saw for real once really helps.
I can help I work most mornings - free in the afternoons and evenings
Phil has made the open offer - and the OP is a new user without location info. So with Phil in N Raleigh, geography could be a difference maker as to whether that offer is of any use to the OP. I doubt Phil wants to go to Hendersonville for the afternoon - well maybe he does, but I wouldn't choose that.
 

longreyhair

New User
longreyhair
Gentlemen, I cannot thank you enough for all of your guidance and suggestions. I will try the Snodgrass method, if it doesn't help, I may have to take Phil up on his offer. Again, thanks to everyone, you make this place a gem. By the way, I am in Wake county, southeastern part.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Forget Snodgrass. You’ll most likely end up in a black hole of frustration. He wants you to believe drift means your saw isn’t working correctly which it 100% false! He’s got a slick presentation with a Powermatic machine - I can tell you with certainty it doesn’t work for every bandsaw.

Set the fence parallel to miter slot and align table to drift you won’t have any issues.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Snodgrass method worked on my benchtop Delta and my Harvey C-14. By definition, if you are getting drift, you have a problem. Either alignment or blade. 100% true. Brand of saw has nothing to do with it as they are all virtually the same. ( If you understand Chinese manufacturing, more the same than you might guess) His PM being a very old design is easier to swap blades than mine as I have several guards to deal with. Take all that away, you have two wheels. Nothing else.

If you think the blade position is the magic, you have not watched his video. He DOES say to align the fence with the top and then align the top to the blade. My experience says if his method does not work, you probably have a bad band. So much as getting too close once to the teeth with the guides and the band is trash. It happens most often on the lower guides as you are not looking. My experience suggests the lower guides can be a bit wider than the top.

Do as he says. First set up. Take the table off so you can get to everything. If nothing else, you can get a better understanding of the adjustments and all the pieces, get the trunnions clean and lubed and so on. My saw has alignment of the upper guide post to the blade. Not sure if older C- frame saws are adjustable or machined. That was causing me some frustration, but I got it dialed in. My Delta was not adjustable and it was not in line so I had to adjust the guides when I moved the post.

I take more exception to the guy who sells a sled and is doing nothing but change which side of the blade your cutoff is. Handy if your stock was not planed parallel, but nothing to do with drift.

Damn COVID or we could all descend on the OP , tune up his saw, and have a pint or two! Maybe next year.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
Snodgrass method worked on my benchtop Delta and my Harvey C-14. By definition, if you are getting drift, you have a problem. Either alignment or blade. 100% true. Brand of saw has nothing to do with it as they are all virtually the same. ( If you understand Chinese manufacturing, more the same than you might guess) His PM being a very old design is easier to swap blades than mine as I have several guards to deal with. Take all that away, you have two wheels. Nothing else.

If you think the blade position is the magic, you have not watched his video. He DOES say to align the fence with the top and then align the top to the blade. My experience says if his method does not work, you probably have a bad band. So much as getting too close once to the teeth with the guides and the band is trash. It happens most often on the lower guides as you are not looking. My experience suggests the lower guides can be a bit wider than the top.

Do as he says. First set up. Take the table off so you can get to everything. If nothing else, you can get a better understanding of the adjustments and all the pieces, get the trunnions clean and lubed and so on. My saw has alignment of the upper guide post to the blade. Not sure if older C- frame saws are adjustable or machined. That was causing me some frustration, but I got it dialed in. My Delta was not adjustable and it was not in line so I had to adjust the guides when I moved the post.

I take more exception to the guy who sells a sled and is doing nothing but change which side of the blade your cutoff is. Handy if your stock was not planed parallel, but nothing to do with drift.

Damn COVID or we could all descend on the OP , tune up his saw, and have a pint or two! Maybe next year.
I continue to be amazed by people who have been using a bandsaw for years, watch a Snodgrass video and now all of a sudden there’s something wrong with their bandsaw.

You made some statements that really are not correct. 1) It does not work on every brand. 2) drift does not mean there’s something wrong. 3) bandsaws are virtually the same.

Somehow before Snodgrass came along, we all followed the manual and got along just fine. I’ll guarantee your manual has a section on adjusting fence for drift.

Its great it worked on both your saws but it did not work on either my RIKON or Jet, and believe me, I wanted it to work because Snodgrass convinced me there was something wrong with them After hours of trying to get it, I checked and discovered the wheels on both my Rikon and Jet are not coplanar. I immediately thought something was wrong. I called RIKON tech & they told me they are not supposed to be coplanar it is set at factory and do not mess with it.

So, there was nothing wrong with either of my saws. The fences are adjusted for drift and they work fine. I am not the only one who has experienced the Snodgrass blackhole.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
We will have to respectfully totally disagree.

All band saws are essentially the same. Two wheels. Everything else does not touch the blade. What color the paint is, what guides, what fence, all are irrelevant to drift. What else is there? NOTHING. Other than guide adjustment, nothing has changed in band saws in 100 years on any of them.

Drift means there is something wrong. Either setup or blade. No reason for ANY BS to drift. I suspect the "black hole" of which you speak is someone just thinking the tracking is the whole story when I repeat: Setting the fence to the table and then the table to the blade is part of the Snodgrass setup. Yet this is the very procedure you are advocating.

All blades, even new ones are not guaranteed free of defect. On my benchtop, I bought a 3 pack of 1/4 inch blades at the big box store. Two had no drift. One did no matter what I did. How many people toss their blade on the ground or stand on it to coil it?

Snodgrass also clearly stated the wheels are not co-planer and cautions specifically not to mess with it. My Delta WAS designed to be co-planer if you baselined the upper wheel. By definition, tracking takes it out by tilt of the top. I can see a possible choice to move the lower wheel out in a parallel plane to track with the upper wheel tilt, but it will be in an aligned skew plane.

So I don't know what "procedure" you are looking at, but it is not what Alex is saying. As I stated, the reason he suggests for moving the blade back may have the effect he suggests in stability, but I suggest it has more to do with change in where the tension is within the band not "support to the teeth" which is pretty clearly not the case. The wider the blade, the likely hood of it being a little more significant. But again, he clearly shows to look at the gaps at the back of the blade. If there is a uniform gap on both sides, the fence/table is aligned. If you are still drifting, the blade is bad. Not complicated.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
My saws have drift. Both my manuals explain how to adjust for it.

They are not Snodgrassed & they work fine.

We'll have to agree to disagree :)
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
If your saws have (had) drift, and you adjusted for it adjusting the table/fence, then they no longer have drift.
The only thing unique Snodgrass says is to run the band a little further back. Everything else is just the same as everyone has said since 1809 when they were invented.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I heard about a trick to use a dollar bill wrapped around the bandsaw blade to set the bearings (thrust and side)

Does anyone do this, or do you have a better tip or trick?
 

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