HF Bandsaw Fine Tuning

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Blog entry by Dustgineer posted 04-29-2014 10:11 PM 1577 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone, newbie here with my first post.

I am new to woodworking, but have 20+ years of construction and remodeling experience, so I consider myself a pretty handy guy. Recently, I splurged and bought the Incra TSLS complete package for my table saw and router combo. I am extremely happy with it, so much so that I have also purchased several other Incra products.

With that purchase being somewhat high-end and expensive, I’ve had to buy other tools on the cheap. First up after the TSLS was the Harbor Freight 2HP dust collector.
This machine has proven to be a workhorse and, purchased on sale with an additional 20% discount, well worth the value.

Being happy with the DC purchase, second was the Harbor Freight 13 inch floor mount drill press, also purchased on sale with an additional 20% discount coupon.
I have only used this machine for a few weeks, but I’ve drilled through steel, aluminum and wood like butter. Meets my needs very well. I am waiting on the Woodpeckers drill press table to be delivered for this machine and I am currently building a box of drawers, which will mount to the stock drill press table, to mount the Woodpeckers table on top of.

Wanting to continue the string of good luck at HF, I bought the HF 14” 4 speed band saw.
I know that there has been a lot of discussion of this model, but I haven’t seen anything very recent. I bought the unit new on sale with an additional 20% coupon which made it less than $300. I’ve had several issues to overcome:

1. The instructions. They did not indicate how or where to install the middle pulley and, as a result, I had left it out and operated the saw with just the top and bottom pulley. This caused a lot of vibration, so much that the cheap stock blade ran against the guard and sent sparks flying. Time for a new blade. I knew that I shouldn’t buy an expensive blade until I got the vibration issue figured out, so I went back to HF and bought 2 more $10 blades to practice with. After what seemed like the 100th time to review the instructions and studying the machine, I figured out where the middle pulley should go, installed it and it made a huge difference.

2. The riser kit. I’ve seen several discussions regarding this item, mainly whether it is still available or not. I’m here to tell you that it is, but it is designed to fit older models and not the newest one. Maybe that is why it is only sold by calling the 800 number with a part number? For one thing, it is still the puke green color, while the new power tools are a gray color. Second, the two holes for the alignment pins are at the wrong corners to allow for alignment with the holes in the saw body. So, I had to drill 4 precise holes in cast iron, two in the bottom of the riser block and two in the bottom of the upper saw body. To my amazement, I got them aligned perfectly with some double measurement and my HF drill press. After some consternation, success achieved here too. I now have 12” of vertical capacity with my bandsaw.

3. Rockler bandsaw table. I bought a discontinued version of Rockler’s band saw table, thinking this would be an incredible upgrade for almost any bandsaw, especially the HF version. First thing I discovered was that the table was screw mounted to a 3/4” t-track, which was clamped in the miter slot of the stock BS table. Problem was that the stock table had a 5/8” miter slot. Really? So do I return the table and just deal with the small stock table that no other miter gauge will fit into? Of course not, I find a steel dealer online and order a 3/8” thick x 5/8” wide steel bar that I could drill some holes in and use it to secure the Rockler table to the stock table. Using my HF drill press, this also turned out much better than I expected. Bar couldn’t fit more perfectly into the miter slot and the holes I drilled (and tapped for the two bolt clamps) were darn near perfect. So I install the table on the saw and turn on the power. I thought the saw was going to take a walk around the block. The vibration was back, and at such a level that I can’t realistically use the saw. I’ve made sure all of the bolts on the saw are tightened, so I don’t think this is a problem. I am wondering if the problem could be the HF mobile base that I have the saw installed on, or could it be that I didn’t add the stock rubber feet to the saw because I had planned on mounting it to the mobile base? Or is the Rockler table so large (24×24) that the saw can’t handle it?

Having discussed issues with the saw, I would like to say that I will be happy with my purchase if I can get it fine-tuned. I haven’t given up on the table yet, but I am prepared to do so if need be. I can see it would add a lot of utility for me though, so I would love to make it work. Does anyone have any insight here on what might be causing my problem? I should mention that I bought a wood slicer 1/2” blade and it works great without the Rockler table attached.

Thanks in advance for any insight,

-- Jim, Denton, TX

2 comments so far

View kajunkraft's profile


153 posts in 2264 days

#1 posted 04-30-2014 01:51 AM

“wood slicer 1/2” blade and it works great without the Rockler table attached.”

Looks like you have found the solution?

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 04-30-2014 02:09 AM

Get rid of the OEM blades, belt and anything that is handy to get rid of.
Check alignment of the wheels, the pulleys and the motor itself.
Remove the blade, run the saw. If the vibration is gone, it was the blade or the upper wheels.
If it’s still there, it is in the lower end. Look at the lower wheel and the belt.

Remove the belt, if vibration gone, change belts. If the vibration is back, it’s another problem on the lower end.

Process of elimination like you do with any equipment problem.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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