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Thread: Carter Bandsaw Guides

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Toledo, OH

    Carter Bandsaw Guides

    Has anybody upgraded their saw to the Carter bandsaw guides? At the show this past weekend the rep guaranteed their guides would eliminate ALL drift when resawing. This is a pretty hefty claim in my opinion. I have a Steel City 14", is the $200 worth it or should I just save for a new saw? The Rikon I like is $899.00

  2. #2

    Get Carter

    Well that does sound like something a salesman would say!

    I bought the Carter guides for my Laguna 18 and I can recommend them to you. They certainly do not get rid of drift 100% nor did I expect them to. They do allow you to support a wide range of blade widths very well.

    $200 seems like a very good deal to me.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Delaplane, VA

    My answer depends on what problem you are trying to solve and what you have tried so far. There are many on here with much more bandsaw experience than me, but if drift is your concern I wouldn't be looking at new guides until I had tried a bunch of other remedies. Your SC should be a good saw, have you spent the time to really tune it up? do you have a good blade on it? Often the blades that ship with new saws are pretty poor. My BS is a Powermatic that I bought used (but not very used). The original owner had clearly never taken the time to tune it up and get it all aligned, and it showed in the way it cut. I spent an afternoon following the procedure in one of Duginske's books and it's like a new saw now. I had to go so far as to shim the upper wheel and the table trunnions, but it was worth the effort.

    I'd also take any claims that included the words "always", "never", "completely" and the like with a grain of salt. Few things in life are that black & white simple. I'd get him to put it in writing that if his guides don't do what he says they will he'll take them back and give you a full refund, including the cost of shipping both ways.

    No personal experience with Carter guides myself, but they are very well regarded. I have a very old C-frame bandsaw in my project queue to restore that will get a set of Carters when it's done.

    Just my 2 cents that other remedies should be tried first.
    -Dan D.

    Ray's rule for precision:

    Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    weaverville, ca
    I had upgraded to carter guides on a mm16 but found them pretty cumbersome to set accurately - just too many allen wrenches at the same time. i then put on the laguna ceramics and they have been great - don't believe any guides will eliminate drift but the ceramic ones have produced the truest cuts so far. i'm primarily resawing with a 3/4" blade.

  5. #5
    I agre with Jerry. I've used Carters and they're nice but not as nice as the lagunas. I just put mine on yesterday and Wow. Just WOW.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    ft walton beach, fl
    I put Carter guides on my Ridgid and lost a little over a quarter inch of resaw capacity. Otherwise, they are good.

  7. #7
    I had a Delta bandsaw that was upgraded to carter ball bearing guides. I think it runs smoother but the guides don't 100% get rid of drift.

  8. #8
    I upgraded my 1990 or so Craftsman to the Carter guides. I wouldn't say it eliminated all the drift, but it was a world of difference ... both in setup time and consistency.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    The problem is if a saw is tuned correctly drift is introduced by the blade not the guides which then can reduce it but not eliminate it. That said the Carter guides ARE an excellent upgrade for MOST saws. The problem with most BS guides is they have to do lots of different things well. The original 14" Delta saws were designed for 1/4" blades and solid guides worked well for them. As blades used on them got wider the guides have evolved but don't work as well for smaller blades.

    I have been thinking a lot about guides lately the thing that hits me is there is no perfect off the shelf system which for me would be a quick change system that would have the Laguna guides/cool block guides/ Carter stabilizer and would be ENTIRELY tool less. The Laguna guides for everything 1/4" and above, the cool blocks for narrow blade straight cuts like dovetails and the stabilizer for narrow blade curved cuts.

    For resawing guides really can be a non-issue but it takes the right saw and blade, with a 1-1.5" blade tensioned at 25,000 psi and a strong BS you don't even need guides to resaw even veneer. I saw Sam Blasco do it and have replicated it on my MM20, this is one reason, to the consternation of some others, still advocate WIDE resaw blades.

    Trying to wrap this up the Carter guides are great, better than anything you see on most smaller and/or less expensive bandsaws BUT the Laguna guides are better, a lot better. If you primarily want to resaw then a more substantial saw might be the way to go. In the sub 1,500 range the Laguna 14SUV is a very well made saw and the quickest way to see the difference between it and the other 14" steel spined saws like the Rikon and Grizzly is open the doors and look at the wheel bearings, the Laguna's make the rest look dinky and it comes with IMO the best guides on the market.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Waterford, MI
    I had the Carters on my previous BS - a Jet 14" w/ riser. I liked them a lot better than the factory guides and they did imrove things but they certainly didn't eliminate drift. I eventually got frustrated enough with that saw to upgrade to a MM16. With a carbide blade on that I dont even deal with blade drift anymore. A stiffer frame saw that can tension better and wider blade are definitely going to take you further than doing aftermarket addons to a 14" saw.
    Use the fence Luke

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    I believe all the gentlemen above pretty much answered your question pretty well. I have a 24 inch Laguna and it's just a great saw, resaw and what ever and it has the original guides on it. Like most though I would like to up grade to the Ceramic but I'll end up waiting til the original guides need replaced I guess. Getting back to your thoughts on guides or new saw well, I think I'd save the money from the guides and put a few dollars to it and up grade to what you want at some point. It usually ends up and we are all or most of us are guilty of dressing up a pig only to sell it cheap to someone so we could buy what we really want. Please Steel City owners don't take offence to the pig remark, I'm just making a point. I can't tell you how many times I've added options to a piece of whatever only to sell it to someone cheap so I could buy a larger, better mouse trap. Use the saw you have now in it's condition and up grade when you get the cash.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    In order to have a top notch BS you have to start will something that has promise.I have just come across Bobby @ who has forgot more than what most of us will ever know about BS,he's the 5th generation at his company.I'm a first time customer to them and will remain a customer from now own due to customer service.My problems started out w/the 20" BS that I had no upper guides,so I took a pic and sent it to Bobby and ask if he could work some magic,and while he was at it I also sent pics of a set of Wright guides that receive severe damage from a blade that went astray and just ate up the cast iron supports.Bobby made the statement that no magic was needed that he had in stock a CP-20 "BAD to the Bone" Carter guide for the 20" and the other "just sent it to me,we have a full machine shop that can weld and then mill the old damage guide.Guys I receive them just the other day and they are perfect.The CP-20 Carter guides will take my BS up to the next level and make it all it can be.So if you take your BS serious and want the most and if your going to purchase Carters then give Bobby a call and just talk.It don't cost nothing to talk----ONe Happy Customer Carroll

  13. #13
    The Carter post and guides did wonders for my dad's 1940's Delta 14" but, no guide will fix an adjustment/alignment issue.

  14. #14
    I may have only been in woodworking for several years now, but I did take to heart what one salesman said to me. "inherently all bandsaws have no drift on them. It's when you screw up the blade that drift is introduced". That puzzled me for a bit, but he went on to explain why. A bandsaw has a blade that is pulled tight between two wheels. It's when you introduce the parts that touch the blade that we start to muck things up. If you look at a sawmill, they don't have half the fan-dangled doodads that we have.

    When we resaw wood, generally we put the veneer/offcut piece against the fence so we can repeat the cut several times. As the wood is cut, it heats up and the wood expands and distorts. Pushed up against the fence it has nowhere to go but to pinch against the blade. That does two things. Removes the set on one side of the blade, as well a heats up the blade causing it to distort as well.

    Give it a test. If you put on a brand new blade and resaw some wood. It will cut fine for the first 4-5" then start to wander. More than likely, if you stopped the saw, and removed the fence, the wood offcut would be bowing, and your bandsaw blade would be warm.

    The solution that this salesperson offered was to get rid of your fence totally as it doesn't work, and do what a sawmill does. Use a carriage that holds the wood and runs along a track parallel to the blade. The wood is held down by teeth and you can cut irregular shaped logs.

    If you are cutting flat pre-dimensioned lumber, then why not just cut with the veneer/offcut on the opposite side, and your main stock up against the fence.

    I have not changed a single thing on my bandsaw, other than put a new blade on it as the one I was using was buggered up, and the method that I cut wood. I went from having drift, to not a single problem. Quite obviously in my case, the problem was not the bandsaw, or how it was setup, or guides used, but the method I used to try and save some time in cutting thin pieces of wood.


  15. #15
    The Carter guides are great, and have been around long enough to prove it.
    But a guide upgrade is only part of the equation. When cutting on the bandsaw and you develop ''drift'' it can be the guides,
    but if your guides (any brand) are tight... then it may be the tension. If you have sufficient tension... then it may be the tooth style/ feed rate. The blade will drift mainly to ''escape'' the work load you are giving it. Slow down your feed and let the chips clear from the cut. Check your tension and be sure that you read the tires and not the machine gauge. The tires will let you know how much tension the saw can take...look at the teeth on the top wheel and when you see them start to sink into the rubber tire then you will want to back off a bit. The wider the blade, the more tension the blade can take using this method. On a rubber wheel woodworking machine you will wreck the tires before you can break a quality welded band
    so dont worry about the blade snapping.

    Good luck,

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