Lesson Learned - Keep up with maintenance

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Blog entry by Don Butler posted 06-13-2015 06:07 PM 901 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Grizzly band saw has ball bearings instead of guide blocks, for both the sides and the back of the blade.

I guess I was forgetting that the lower bearings, under the table, got more saw dust than the upper ones. So I blithely assumed (yes I know what that means) that as long as the upper set was OK, well, so must the lower ones be.
Mind you, that wasn’t a well thought out thing. It just didn’t occur to me that there would be a drastic difference in condition between the two sets.

Well, one day I was sawing something small enough so I could look through the throat plate while the saw was working. What I saw was little sparks.

Little sparks?!!!

What could that be, thought I.
Stop the saw, pop out the throat plate and – – – Whaaaaaaat?

The rear back guide bearing had seized and each time I pushed the work against the blade it rubbed the now stopped bearing.

It did no harm to the blade. I went to the internet and used the part numbers to find new bearings, and Amazon had them, 5 pieces for five bucks!

With new bearings installed (both the side and back guides) and good adjustments made I can slice a 1/64” veneer from the side of a walnut board.

Lesson learned.
I hereby promise to be good from now on.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

10 comments so far

View Grumpymike's profile


1890 posts in 1734 days

#1 posted 06-13-2015 07:51 PM

Hey Don, I had some bearings freeze up on a new bandsaw with very few hours on it, (as I recall about 8 or 10) and the manufacturer would not warranty them as they considered them expendable … I was P-O-ed and was forced to buy a bag of new ones … well that fixed the problem, but not my feelings.
About a month later I received a box in the mail from the manufacturer, as I opened it, to my surprise there were replacement parts for all of the expendable parts in the saw.
Now, like you I do a once a week check of the bearings and belts. (and it prompts me to do a bit more cleaning)

Thanks for the post Don and thanks to Rikon for making me feel beter.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2753 days

#2 posted 06-14-2015 08:47 AM

It looks like the bearings on my old delta after quite a bit of use.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View robscastle's profile


3304 posts in 1623 days

#3 posted 06-14-2015 09:17 AM


I can only see a partial part number in your picture but clearly only one Z.
The bearings needed for this application should be nnnnZZ. The ZZ or CC suffix being sealed on both sides of the bearing race.

Now when you fitted the replacements did you notice if they had one metal seal on each side of the bearing?
Or if the P/N was actually a ZZ type.
This may also be the cause of Grumpymike experiencing what could be considered premature failure.

The practice of stamping the P/N on the seal is common bit a bit sus, but I guess its an ecconomics issue.
A bit like stamping an engine serial number on the Rocker cover instead the engine block.

-- Regards Robert

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1081 posts in 2814 days

#4 posted 06-14-2015 11:39 AM

The original was stamped Z not ZZ.
I didn’t know it should be ZZ.
I get that the next time.
Thanks for the tip


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 595 days

#5 posted 06-14-2015 12:06 PM

I had the same problem. When I purchased my Grizzly 17” a friend was using it more than me to cut thin strips of exotic wood for his segmented bowls. I went out one day and tried to resaw some Popular and the blade wandered all over the place. I found that there was a 1/32”+ deep groove cut into the bottom thrust bearing. I replaced the bearing and new blade and everything worked as expected.

I don’t recall if the bearing was a Z or ZZ but in the future I will look for the ZZ version.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 06-14-2015 02:00 PM

It sure makes me think since I don’t really have a maintenance schedule on my machinery ,thanks for the heads up.

-- Custom furniture

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2583 days

#7 posted 06-14-2015 03:14 PM

Maintenance – a topic that needs to be refreshed in our brains on a regular basis. Like “eating our spinach”, and changing the oil in our cars…...............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#8 posted 06-14-2015 05:16 PM

That could have been even a worst mess if you had have had too much saw dust buildup in the machine. We had a small fire inside a machine from a bearing that was badly worn. It wasn’t bad and was put out quickly with a near by extinguisher and didn’t hurt anything fortunately.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View JoeinGa's profile


7361 posts in 1425 days

#9 posted 06-14-2015 07:41 PM

Wait … there’s bearings down under there?

And I’m supposed to bend down and LOOK at them????

Well, well. Will wonders never cease :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Roger's profile


19709 posts in 2222 days

#10 posted 06-20-2015 03:35 PM

Just like changing our oil in our vehicles. I try to have some sort of maintenance “schedule” of sorts.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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