Help with bandsaw bearings

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Forum topic by SPalm posted 01-14-2010 08:32 PM 5276 views 2 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5320 posts in 3882 days

01-14-2010 08:32 PM

I went to change blades on my Rikon bandsaw last night. It has been about a year and a half since I bought the saw. The 1/2 inch Timberwolf that was in there was still fine, but I finally got a 1/4 inch blade and wanted to try it. But when I went to adjust the lower blade guide bearings, all three of them were frozen solid. I couldn’t believe it. I guess I have not looked down there since the last install.

I removed them and tried several non-destructive ways of freeing them. Nothing worked. They move maybe an 1/8 of a turn and that is it. I sprayed one with WD-40 (I know, bad idea, but I had to try something) and it now kind of spins.

Have you ever seen this? I think it is sawdust build up. But what do I know?

The good thing is that these are 8×22x7 millimeter bearings. That is the same size as roller blade bearings. I have a couple from a machine I made a few years ago that will get me going for awhile. Does anyone know what to look for in replacement bearings. Things like ABEC7 or 608ZZ? I am supposed to know this stuff, but I forget. I don’t trust getting replacements from Rikon.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

18 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#1 posted 01-14-2010 08:38 PM

yikes, sorry to hear you run into this. I too noticed that the lower bearing area gets gunked with sawdust, I’ll usually air spray those bearing after use (albeit now my air compressor is dead). if it’s the same size as rollerblade bearings you could try a local bike/sports shop. I’ve actually had good response and success dealing with Rikon directly. I would think this is more due to extra sawdust buildup then poor quality bearings. but I could be mistaken as I’ve never used any other bearings myself.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#2 posted 01-14-2010 09:00 PM

I have a Craftsman (made by Rikon) and had bearings literally go to pieces. A Rikon tech (I didn’t even bother trying to get help from Sears, but that is another story) told me they use standard bearings that are available either through them (the obligatory company sales pitch), or through ‘3rd party’ resellers.

I just pulled one of the remaining intact bearings off the saw and went to a local BDI outlet ( The woman at the counter took one look and sold me replacements for a couple of dollars apiece. The replacements are better quality than the originals, and I was able to replace all of the upper and lower bearings for under $20.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3198 days

#3 posted 01-14-2010 09:13 PM

One problem is they could be bolted on to tight, that might put preasure on the races. I think bearings just wear out after a time, I had the same problem with my Grizzley, I suspect the bearings that come with the uh…. lower price machines are not of the highest quality. My Ace hardware store carries them, at $10 a peice, but they seem to last longer than the stock ones. I haven’t needed to replace the new ones yet.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3355 days

#4 posted 01-14-2010 09:13 PM

I too had to replace bearings and just went to the local bearing place and got some for a few bucks each… work fine…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3462 days

#5 posted 01-14-2010 09:28 PM

Call Lynne at they have some of the best prices anywhere. You might consider soaking the bearings in a solvent in an attempt to free them up.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#6 posted 01-14-2010 10:10 PM

Steve. I found that I could get the replacement berrings on ebay. When I bought them I buy a stack of 10 bearings for about 10-15 dollars.

When you find the right number go looking there.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3882 days

#7 posted 01-14-2010 10:20 PM

Update: I popped off the rubber shields from one of the bearings and it was caked inside with sawdust. So it seems like a seal problem, and not a pressure or moisture type problem.

The Internet can be a distracting thing:
Looking at with 8×22x7 in the search box:

608ZZ bearings are made of Carbon Steel, bearing 608ZZ can rotate up to 34,000 rpm, 608ZZ bearing is closed with metal shields to protect the bearing from dust or any possible contamination, 608ZZ Bearings are self lubricated bearings (bearings are already greased), 608ZZ is one of the most common widely used bearing, we always suggest mechanical engineers to use 608ZZ in their designs, 608ZZ is economic and standard. Equal: 608-2Z & 608-ZZ

608-2RS ABEC-7 bearings are made from Chrome Steel and can rotate up to 34,000 rpm, each bearing has rubber seals to protect the bearing from dust or any possible contamination, the rubber seals can be removed and re-inserted again after greasing, these are self lubricated bearings (bearings are already greased), seals can be easily removed for oiling, and of course can be re-installed again. Equal: 608-2RS1 & 608-2RZ

608-2TS ABEC-7 Bearings with high speed nylon cage. Bearings are closed with Teflon seals to ensure the best closures without affecting speed (not like the ordinary rubber seals). Bearings have Nylon retainer, with a non-contact Teflon seal, each bearing has 2 non-contact Teflon seal to protect the bearing from dust or any possible contamination, and these are self lubricated bearings.

So with some bearings, the rubber seals are meant to be popped off and cleaned/re-lubed.

Or maybe I should just go get some gal dang bearings and be done with it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3200 days

#8 posted 01-14-2010 10:26 PM

Buy acouple of extras and keep them in the tool box drawer. From now on when you check them regularly, if you have a bad one you won’t have to be bothered running down parts.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3169 days

#9 posted 01-14-2010 11:05 PM

I own a powermatic, which is to say, all brands are alike when it comes to bearings. If you have the original bearings, they are not sealed bearings. usually they have a metal cover which will not keep sawdust out. eventually they all will go bad. I fought mine for a while and finally bought new ones. When you buy new ones, make sure they are sealed precision bearings. These will keep the dust out and the grease in.

If you can read a micrometer or caliper, just take a measurement of the OD, ID and hub length. Go to your local industrial distributor (motion industries, Fastenal, etc.). If you don’t have a micrometer or caliper, take the bearings and they will measure them for you. Write the measurements down. If they want more than a couple to three bucks a bearing, walk away. Now that you have the measurements, finding replacements is easy.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3525 days

#10 posted 01-15-2010 02:35 AM

Buy them from vbx. I have bought hundreds of them from that company and they are just as good as the rest and you wont find them cheaper.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2914 days

#11 posted 04-18-2014 02:50 PM

While this is an old thread, I just found the 3 lower bearings on my Rikon 10-325 frozen. I had installed replacements just 9-months ago. The only projects I had sawn on in that time were pine, so I am thinking that pine dust/sap is pretty much the culprit.

My bearings are/were the standard 608RS 8×22x7 from USABearings. I have plenty of spares since they were less than $1.50 each.

My question concerns periodic maintenance on BS bearings beyond just blowing with compressed air. Does anyone periodically pull them and then soak or re-lube these bearings on a regular basis?

I never had any issues with bearings when only working with hardwoods, but the soft, sappy pine sure seemed to be a special case. Hmm…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3882 days

#12 posted 04-18-2014 03:43 PM

I don’t know the answer to your question Mike, about periodic maintenance. I have replaced them again. Some say not to blow as this can drive the sawdust into the race. Also they are supposed to be permanently lubed, so I don’t lube them.

I just bought a dozen and replace when needed. That is the easiest thing, and they are pretty cheap, but I don’t really like it. I would love to find another solution.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View rayman54's profile


15 posts in 1550 days

#13 posted 04-18-2014 04:08 PM

Your best bet is buy a quality bearing, sure you may find deals on ebay and such but is the bearing cheap in materials (can ya say CHINA). The seal on a bearing will help keep things out but crud will find its way in eventually. The bearing can be soaked to free it up and get it going but most likely had very fine dust in it.
The best lube/penetrant I have used is Kroil (found on-line) or PB Blaster.
They are both very good at what they do, I prefer the Kroil.
Sealed bearings are usually called “permanently lubed” but we all know they wont last for ever.
You could blow them off lightly but enough air could push fines into the race past the seal.
Consider some of the dust is talcum like, it gets into everything. and yep, Lynne at are some I have used in the past.
Keep in mind when ordering, if you want a good bearing you must ask for a good one and expect to pay more for them.


View Wildwood's profile


2306 posts in 2134 days

#14 posted 04-18-2014 04:43 PM

Louis Iturra recommends quality sealed bearings for band saws, even though most come with shielded bearings. I switched to seal bearing and have no complaints, for my blade & thrust bearings. I would have no problem with shielded bearings too. Whether you have sealed or shielded bearings just replace them when they wear out.

I am convinced most bearings are coming from China these days regardless of brand, so just find a good supplier.

-- Bill

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2914 days

#15 posted 04-18-2014 07:07 PM

I really think these will clean up easily and be decent replacement bearings. When you think about it, these bearings are not working that hard and would even do their job when frozen in place. So keeping them rolling, even roughly, seems more than enough for a BS. BTW, the seals pop in and out very easily.

While doing some additional research on this size (608RS) of bearing, I found that they can range in price from less than $1 apiece to over $10-$11 each. Additionally, they are rated according to perfection, however the higher rated bearings appear to be more fragile and have less durability. Looks like ABEC 3 is most common and cost effective. All I know is that I am NOT spending $10/bearing on my BS.

Looks like eBay has 20 for $20 from USABearingsandBelts. Looks like frequent replacement is the best practice. ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers’ Committee) ratings are only odd numbers, and start with ABEC 1:

  • ABEC 1 is the most crude, the least precise, the most durable and the cheapest.
  • ABEC 3 is what most cheap complete skateboards come with, especially skateboards from China. ABEC 3 bearings will work for most skateboarding, but won’t roll very smoothly or fast.
  • ABEC 5 bearings are the norm in skateboarding. You get a reasonable amount of speed, and at a reasonable cost. However, there are lots of people who argue that the skateboarding industry is lying, and that most ABEC 5 skateboard bearings you see aren’t actually built to ABEC 5 standards…
  • ABEC 7 bearings would be very fast and smooth, but very expensive. Plus, you start to run the risk of needlessly damaging them if you skate hard or aggressively. Also, if you are buying cheap ABEC 7 bearings made in China, you are probably being lied to (read The Truth about Skateboard Bearings.
  • ABEC 9 and higher bearings would be ridiculous to use in a skateboard, unless you are doing downhill luge style skating, or something else where your goal is to go insanely fast. If you aren’t spending a fortune on these bearings, then don’t trust that they are in fact ABEC 9

The ABEC rating of a bearing is determined by asking these four questions:

  • How close is the bore to 8mm in microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter)?
  • How close is the outer diameter to 22 in microns?
  • How close is the width to 7mm in microns?
  • What’s the rotating accuracy in microns?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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