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Roller guides vs cool blocks?

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Forum topic by tigerwoodsman posted 02-02-2018 06:54 PM 807 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tigerwoodsman

16 posts in 1134 days


02-02-2018 06:54 PM

I’m confused, higher end saws tend to come with roller guides while lower end saws come with blocks. But searching around the inter web ppl tend to like cool blocks better than bearings. What he deal?

-- Just because you shot Jesse James doesn't make you Jesse James


12 replies so far

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Woodknack

12329 posts in 2496 days


#1 posted 02-02-2018 07:13 PM

I’ve only used blocks but from what I’ve heard the bearings tend to wear out quickly and become noisy.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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LesB

1801 posts in 3559 days


#2 posted 02-02-2018 07:19 PM

The guides and blocks are only to make sure the blade is not deflected too much. If it is properly aligned and tensioned there should not be a lot of contact with the side guides. I have had roller bearings on my saw for 8 years with no problem. My previous saw had blocks and they did show some wear (they were not ceramic).

Look at this video on setting up band saws. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbZqWac0jU

-- Les B, Oregon

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MrRon

4986 posts in 3359 days


#3 posted 02-02-2018 07:20 PM

I have roller guides on the upper end, but cool blocks on the lower end. The reason for this is: if you cut very small bits, and if you have roller guides on the lower end, the small bits can get wedged between the guide and the blade. That can cause damage to the guide and the blade. cool blocks won’t trap small bits of wood.

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MrUnix

6884 posts in 2315 days


#4 posted 02-02-2018 07:26 PM

Cool blocks are a marketing gimmick IMO. For a good review of the various roller guides and comparison to the standard HSS guides, see this article over at the Woodworkers Gazette:

14-inch bandsaw guides - Tool Review by Jim Mattson

Check out page 2 where he tests the ‘heat’ myth :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10825 posts in 3545 days


#5 posted 02-02-2018 07:36 PM

My saw is retrofitted with the Carter bearing guides. I like them. Before, I used milled sticks of oil soaked oak as guides. Cheaper and maybe better than steel or ceramic. Certainly easier on smaller blades. I could set then fairly tight against the smaller blades and the blade would cut it’s own groove. Handy for tight curves.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2250 posts in 1338 days


#6 posted 02-02-2018 08:24 PM

I agree with the assessment that blocks are better for the lower guide unless some method is used to prevent debris from getting between the side bearing and blade.

Overall, I think both bearings and blocks are fine. Bearings really don’t like messy cuts that leave crud on the sides of the blade, blocks actually help keep the blade clean.

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TheFridge

10091 posts in 1602 days


#7 posted 02-03-2018 12:34 AM

I dislike the bearings personally. They stay gummed up and it pushes the bearing out. I like the regular ol steel blocks myself.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1239 posts in 2877 days


#8 posted 02-03-2018 02:16 AM

I have read that plain old hardwood makes good blocks and hold up well. My old Walker-Turner 14” cast iron “monster” bandsaw uses Oilite blocks that came with the saw when I bought it used way back in 1960. They are still there working just fine. If they ever need changing, I think I will make some blocks out of a very hard wood like Purpleheart, which I have a bunch of.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10825 posts in 3545 days


#9 posted 02-03-2018 02:41 PM



I have read that plain old hardwood makes good blocks and hold up well. My old Walker-Turner 14” cast iron “monster” bandsaw uses Oilite blocks that came with the saw when I bought it used way back in 1960. They are still there working just fine. If they ever need changing, I think I will make some blocks out of a very hard wood like Purpleheart, which I have a bunch of.

- Planeman40


Oil soaked oak or maple does a good job.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View HardCorps's profile

HardCorps

9 posts in 2030 days


#10 posted 02-03-2018 06:30 PM

For those of you that use guides made from hardwood, what type of oil do you soak them in?

-- Steve - Ft. Worth

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

4986 posts in 3359 days


#11 posted 02-03-2018 06:53 PM

I have some lignum vitae that I think would work well as guides.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10825 posts in 3545 days


#12 posted 02-03-2018 08:25 PM

Steve, I just used oil drained from my truck. If it matters, it was 5W30. Any similar would work.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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