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Bandsaw Upgrades

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beech1948

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Hi all,
I just bought a mid 90's Startrite 352 bandsaw from Ebay. Looks good, cuts upto 6 inch thickness well ( 11inch total thickness available), just added four Dure Edge blades ( wow).

The point of this post is to ask about upgrades. Specifically the upper and lower blade guides are a bit prehistoric. Merely triangular lumps of steel, surprisingly unworn though, that I want to upgrade.

Problem is guide post is 3/4 inch, newer machines use 22mm(7/8ths).
Has anyone bought new guides recently. If so where from, what types what success have you had.

Hope you can help
 
G

Guest

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I have an old Harrisons bandsaw, it too came with rubbish blade guides. I bought some roller bearing type guides from Axminster and although they are the wrong size I can tighten them up with no problem. The guides are easy to adjust both sideways and from to back.
 
A

Anonymous

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hello beech

Congrats on the mid 90's purchase. I really believe that Startrites were put together better then.

Nothing useful to add just to say I've got a 351SE with similar guides. It's not so much that they don't work well in practice but I find they are a real pig to set up as they usually move from the verticle when you tighten the bolts.

Let us know if you make any changes and what the result is.

Regards

Roy
 

scratchy

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Hi Beech,

I used to have access to a Startrite bandsaw (sadly no longer) and although very basic I wouldn't be too keen to chuck out the blade guides and certainly not to replace them with cheapo roller guides.

The blocks are made to be run right up close to the blade and whilst they do have a tendency to move as you nip them up - you get used to compensating and once set they don't budge at all.

Also, just think about the surface area supporting the blade with the cool blocks compared to the tiny point of contact from a roller guide - this is why they are so good at curved work - set them up OK and there should be no danger of blade twist. Also the things last virtually for ever and there are no moving parts to jam up or wear out.

Still they can be a bit fiddly till you get used to them I guess

Cheers

Scratchy
 

Alan Holtham

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Hi Beech,

Can only agree with Scratchy. In my opinion these old Startrite guides are the best around. Yes, they are simple but there is nothing wrong with that. They are simple to set up once you get used to that tiny amount of movement as you nip up, but they do last forever and never clog up or wear. If they do eventually wear, reverse them and swop them from side to side to give a new wearing surface. I have been using the same set on a daily basis for over 30 years. Enough said!! Accurate bandsaw cutting is all about the quality of the blade rather than the guides anyway.

Good luck with the new saw and enjoy. :)

Alan
 

beech1948

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Hi all,
Thanks for advice so far.

I chatted with Record Power Tech dept this morning re blade guides. Their opinion was that the guides were fine and provided the best support, size, length rigidity etc compared to bearings.

They did not recognise the issue of ease of adjustment, which is my real problem, in that the squareness of the guide to the blade was difficult to achieve. Also blade/guide gaps were hard to get right. Record \Power guy was helpful and reasoned re why they did not use bearing style guides. Oddly persuasive chap.

Real issue is that RP see these saws as industrial units set once and forgotten until blade change and that done by professionals. Newer Startrite 301 is very top end of hobby woodworker range for them and they really don't want you buying that at all as they want to sell RP badged bandsaws to hobbists.

Startrite themselves were just a call centre to take sales enquiries. A bit gruff and unresponsive.

I found that Carter in the USA could supply bearings and mounts but would cost about £150, Sargent& Sargent had upper and lower guides for the 352 but at a cost of £115 each. Ouch.

So I'm off to try the following for a few hours of play and relaxation ( frustration) :-

1) Check and adjust table is square to blade when on full tension
2) Use "scary sharp method" to square metanite blocks
3) Build metal jig to hold guides steady and unable to twist as tightened at 6" above table
4) Try to find a way to apply a standard gap of say .025 at each side.
5) Repeat for lower blocks...in fact probably better to do lower blocks first with uppers loose.

Thank the woodworking gods that bought Dure Edge blades which arrived today.

Sigh, time wasted again. Resigned to resetting guides for every different blade used.
 
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