Michael Fortune Bandsaw Setup with bearing guides


COWW
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I started this discussion Topic upstairs in the Neanderthal Village.

I pulled the trigger last Sunday and ordered a Rikon 10-325 Bandsaw, that should arrive in a few weeks.

I plan to mainly use this machine for re-sawing. Several people have talked about Michael Fortunes bandsaw setup for drift free alignment. I didn't make it to WIA this year so I didn't make it to the class he gave on this subject. I went to the FWW member site and downloaded his 2004 magazine article "Five Tips for Better Bandsawing". In this article he describes the steps for setting up your bandsaw such that you do not need to adjust for drift every time you change blades etc. He says he setup his bandsaw in 1974 using metal guide blocks, and hasn't needed to replace them since.

His (Fortune) setup for guide blocks is to set the front of the guide blocks even with the gullets in the blade, and a gap approx. 0.001 in from the blade.

I went to the Rikon website and looked at the user manual for the saw I purchased, and see that it uses bearing guides instead of guide blocks.

Does anyone know if Fortunes setup needs to be tweaked if using bearing guides as opposed to guide blocks? The user manual for the Rikon says you should leave a 1/32in gap between the blade and guides or risk shorter blade life.

Thanks,

Chris (COWW)

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I would say yes. I have mine set up perfectly, except I've had two bearing seize. I had even upgrade to Carter bearings..lol. Oh well..think I'm gonna get some cool blocks.

I've tried cool blocks. It could be because my saw is out of whack, but they wore down really quickly & wouldn't keep the blade tracking straight after a couple of cuts. Luckily I use my bandsaw mostly for curved cuts.

I've been using blocks made from lignum vitae since then & they hold up much better. Bought them from a guy on Woodnet for $5 for 2 sets. These things should last my lifetime.

Tony

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I've tried cool blocks. It could be because my saw is out of whack, but they wore down really quickly & wouldn't keep the blade tracking straight after a couple of cuts. Luckily I use my bandsaw mostly for curved cuts.

I've been using blocks made from lignum vitae since then & they hold up much better. Bought them from a guy on Woodnet for $5 for 2 sets. These things should last my lifetime.

Tony

great idea...I'm thinking you just need something that can get up close and personal AND dissipate heat.

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I was at Michael Fortune's WIA talk. He is not a fan of bearing guides. He wants his guides set very close to the blade, as you've seen in his article. You can set bearing guides that close, but the problem is that the rotation of the bearing guides tends to suck stray sawdust down between the bearing and the blade. Take a look at the rotation of the bearings as the blade moves downward, and you'll see what he means. As the sawdust gets trapped between the bearing and the blade, this will cause unevenness in the cut, and friction, which leads to heat, which leads to decreased blade life.

You can keep the sawdust from being trapped by moving the bearings away, which is probably why RIkon is recommending a 1/32" gap, but then you'll have the possibility of more twisting of the blade, which leads to unevenness of the cut.

I would start by setting the bearing guides as close as you can, and making a cut, and see what happens. Then make some wooden guides, as Tony mentioned, and give those a try.

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Guys, Thanks for the replies.

I have never owned a bandsaw before. So please excuse the newbie question if this is obvious to most.

I know Carter makes aftermarket bearing guides for several bandsaws, including the one I purchased. Is it possible to get aftermarket "Non-bearing" guides that I could put hardwood, or cool-blocks in?

I am assuming this is not a standard part (one size fits all).

Obviously just thinking "out-loud" right now, as I haven't even received the bandsaw yet, to try it out.

Chris (COWW)

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Carter does make some non-bearing aftermarket guides. Their Model 30 guides have a rear thrust bearing and guide blocks. I looked at the Carter website, and couldn't quickly figure out how to mount these to a Rikon bandsaw, but given that they sell a bearing guide kit for the Rikon 14" bandsaw, I'm sure there's a way to do this.

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