GUARDING A CLASSIC BANDSAW
New modifications aid safety and wheel alignment.
SHOP OWNER: Ken Kimura
When I originally submitted Shop Shots #143, Ellis asked me what kind of guards I had in mind. Since that time, I used the saw, as shown in the photo, along with my LT16-SEC. Mounted on the left side is a 2x6, rebated so that the blade was housed between the wheels. There are a couple of brackets on the left side above and below the table. Fixed with hardwood blocks with "V" notches, these serve as the original thrust bearings. I assembled wood to form channels that wrapped around the blade when mounted on these brackets.
After a friend's little boy started to pop into the shop, I decided it would be a good idea to place guards around the rest of the saw. I attached a 3/4" plywood door with hinges to cover the lower wheel. I completely redesigned the upper blade guard. A vertical board fixed to the upper bracket and a back panel of 1/4" plywood secured the sides of the upper housing.
The diagram shows the cross section of the blade guard and how it slides in the upper housing. A simple bonnet covers the upper wheel.
I recently replaced the lower Babbitt journal with a couple of pillow blocks. I'm keeping the Babbitt journal to be able to restore the saw to an original condition. However, I have to admit the pillow blocks simplify maintenance.
I'd like to make a few comments about the pillow blocks. A Website I found very helpful was Maintenance Resources. I selected imports graded ABEC-1 over SKF, Timpkin, or Dodge. The imports were $15 each vs. $40-$60 each. All were graded ABEC-1. I haven't noticed any difference in noise between the ball bearings and Babbitt. Most of the noise from the band saw is from the band rubbing the guides. It might be a different story if the machine were a jointer or shaper. I had to place shims under one of the pillow blocks to adjust the lower shaft alignment. The bearings self adjusted with no problem.
With the bearings installed, I had to realign the band to my guidepost. I started by putting the wheels in the same plane. I found the only way to adjust the band parallel to the guidepost was to shim the upper wheel by 3/8" and to tilt the lower shaft. I have to agree with Robert Vaughn. Don't obsess about coplanar wheels.. . . Ken Kimura
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