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Thread: New bandsaw owner - need advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Tacoma, WA

    New bandsaw owner - need advice

    Just picked up my first band saw, a Grizzly G055LX.

    Since this is my first band saw, I don't really have much to compare it to, but it seems to be a pretty well-built little machine. I do have a few questions about adjustments, though...

    First - who can suggest a good blade? I don't plan to do much resawing, and I'm not planning on doing lots of tight curves - just something to make a cut that won't require an hour of sanding and doesn't break the bank. What are some of your go-to blade types and brands?

    In the documentation, it says to adjust the thrust bearing to .016 of the back of the blade. This is no problem, but it also says to adjust the guide bearings to "evenly and lightly contact the sides of the blade." This seems to be against everything I had read previous to making my purchase. I'm wondering if this is actually the correct way to go.

    I have heard one preferred method is to wrap a dollar around the back of the blade and adjust the guides to that. I have tried this, but if anyone has adjusted one of these saws before - and it's like mine - you'll know that adjusting the guide bearings evenly never quite works out - one is always slightly different from the other no matter how careful you try to be. Is there some trick to this? Seems once you get them adjusted, they kind of just do whatever they want once you tighten the cap screw down. More trial and error?

    When adjusting them with a spacer, regardless of how carefully I adjust them, even when they look even, they seem to contact the blade periodically when under power. I'm wondering if I have a bad blade or what. I've tried all kinds of different blade tensions and spent quite a bit of time tinkering with adjustments, etc., but something seems to be running unevenly - is this something to even worry about? Am I trying to hard to get it perfect?

    Really eager to get this thing set up and know it's correct, or at least close enough. Like I said I haven't owned a band saw before and I have a feeling it's really going to open up lots of possibilities for my woodworking. Any tips are appreciated!

  2. #2
    I adjust the bearings so they're just barely not touching the lade. The idea is that they should engage and support the blade when the piece wants to move it out of position, but should not be engaged with no load because they can force the blade out of true and put undue stress on the bearings.

    Same with the thrust bearing.

    It is worth it to learn the flutter method of adjusting blade tension. Then you can see how it resonates under different tensions. It might be the case that yr blade is fluttering which will cause it to engage the bearings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Orange Park, FL
    Google Alex Snodgrass and watch the video. I now am able to set up and use my BS it was meant to be used

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Richardson, Texas
    As far as blades goes, I just purchased 3 Timber wolf blades. They were highly recommended by several members. Tried one out this past weekend. You can add me to the “I highly recommend bunch”.

    Got them here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    I follow the steps elaborated by Michael Fortune.

    I purchased my blades through Itrurra designs.
    Phone: (904) 642-2802 one 30 minute call put me on the straight and narrow.

    In essence, set up the blade to cut perpendicular and parallel to the table (minimize drift).
    Use an inexpensive blade built for your intended purpose. As beginners, we'll damage a few blades - best that they be cheap to replace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Doylestown, PA
    Another widely recommended blade source is, not associated with the woodcraft stores. They're old school so phone calls work better than emails. I've had pretty good success with Lenox flexback carbon steel bands. They sell bimetal bands for longer life and a band borrowed from the meat cutting biz that has little set so leaves a very good finish but at the cost of not being real durable. I've also used bands from SuperCut with good success. I just set blade tracking so the band is running in the middle of the wheels and have no drift issues. If a band is tracking true and starts drifting, it's time for a new band. I set my guides so they're almost touching but no quite. Don't overthink it, make some cuts and see how it goes but bands that come on new saws can lead to frustration. Starrett, Lennox and Supercut all work as advertized for me.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 08-09-2012 at 8:48 AM.

  7. #7
    re: setting up guides

    They usually move after tightening because they were too loose and wobbly, or because the shaft is marked up from the set screw. I believe on that BS a sleeve tightens around the shaft, so it wouldn't be marked up. Try keeping them a bit more snug as you adjust them.

    The way I adjust mine is very simple and takes second. After I've adjusted tension and tracking:

    1) set bearing to a bit behind the gullets
    2) tap on the blade and move the guide in until the "click" goes away...and then back off a touch until it comes back. That sets you up with minimal clearance.
    3) do the same on the other bearing
    4) bring the thrust bearing up to the blade, and then gently push the blade back until the gullets are just in front of the bearing. Lock down the thrust bearing

    Alternatively, for thrust bearings that move on a threaded shaft, push the blade against the bearing and adjust until the gullets are in the right place.

    The tapping trick is remarkably sensitive and accurate.....and FAST. Also, I generally feel the less tools and devices you use, the more in tune you are with what you're doing. I use a very similar technique to cut the nut slots on guitars, and I can nail the proper clearance more accurately than I can measure.
    Last edited by John Coloccia; 08-09-2012 at 11:49 AM.

  8. #8
    James, I find that a lot of people here also like Timberwolf. I'm not a big fan, although I now attribute my early dissatisfaction with their blades to my own inexperience in setting things up properly.

    On the G0555 series (I used to have one) I'd avoid getting a blade any thicker than 1/2".

    Some of the sites have package deals that make it cheap to try out a bunch of different ones. That's the way I'd go at least at first. If it were me, I'd get the following:

    1/8" >6tpi (for scroll work)
    1/4" 6tpi (for curved work, general purpose, and thinner stock work)
    3/8" 3tpi (for thicker work and light resawing, cutting turning blanks from green wood)
    1/2" 3tpi (for straighter work and resawing)

    I found after experimentation I can do everything I need to to with a 3/8", but others have their faves. It's best to experiment to find out what works best for you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Dickinson, Texas
    I used Michael Fortunes advice.

    I also follewd his advice and buy my blades from BC Saw and Tools.

    I've tried Timberwolf Blades.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Southport, NC
    As a new to bandsawing woodworker your first step should be to by Lonnie Bird's Band Saw Book. Amazon will have it. This book will tell you how to set up and align your saw. It will tell you which blades you need for your suite (there is no one all purpose band saw blade). It will also tell you how to operate your saw and how to take advantage of off the features.

    BTW, that is an excellent saw.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Marietta GA
    The Wood Slicer from Highland Hardware is an excellent blade. I recommend the 3 tpi 1/2 inch wide blade. It produces very smooth cuts in resaw mode and will give you a very long service life. It's about $35 a pop.

    I've also had good luck with Olsen blades that are a bit cheaper than the Wood Slicer.

    Good Luck and enjoy the process.

  12. Well, not everything that works for us works to everyone. My personal favorites are 3/8” and 1/2” blades. I recommend 3 tpi or less for resawing larger boards because of wider gullets. For curved work and thinner stock, I go from 6-8 tpi blades.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Northern Oregon
    Check your local saw shops for blades. I bet Tacoma has a few. I found a shop (Oregon Carbide Saw) in Portland that's got competitive prices AND they sharpen most bandsaw blades over 1/4". They use Sterling bandstock. I find it equal to Timberwolf and less costly.
    Last edited by Andrew Joiner; 08-09-2012 at 12:14 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Ft. Wayne, IN
    Welcome to bandsawing Jason. I have a Grizz GO555X, so our saws are very similar. First, if you didn't get it, buy the riser block. Even if you only use it once, it pays for itself.

    Second, order a set of Carter guides. The rack & pinion guides on this saw are tedious to adjust and difficult to align. When I made the switch I thought that I had an entirely different saw. Read my thread for more info:!!!&highlight.

    Third, like many others on here, I use Timberwolf blades. Not only are they great blades, but the people there are fantastic. I saw someone else post a website I didn't recognize, but this is actually the manufacturer: They will bend over backwards to help with any questions or problems. The blades I use are: 1/8 X 14HP, 1/4 X 10RK, 3/8 X 6PC, 1/2 X 4PC, and 3/4 X 2-3VPC.

    A couple other things...
    I ordered and just received (haven't put it on yet) Carter's "Quick Release" and "Ratchet Rod". In my opinion, the stock tension release lever just doesn't reduce the tension sufficiently. Plus the Carter lever, allows blade changes without the need to crank down the tension. The "Ratchet Rod" just makes tension adjustments easier (I'm disabled and my strength isn't what it used to be)

    The Grizz is a good bandsaw. But with a few upgrades and the right blades, it is a GREAT bandsaw. I love mine and I'm sure you will get years of happy sawing with yours as well.
    "I've cut the dang thing three times and it's STILL too darn short"
    Name withheld to protect the guilty

    Stew Hagerty

  15. How long have you been using those blades from Oregon Carbide saw? What are your recommendations?

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