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"better-built" RIPSAW portable sawmill - replacement blade recommendations?

grampy666

grampy666

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Hi,

New user and occasional lurker. This site seems to have the most recent traffic on the "better-built" portable bandsaw mill, so I thought I would ask my question here.

I bought one of these machines from the original manufacturer 25 years ago. I can't say "I love it" but it has become extremely useful, once I got though the learning curve of how to use it effectively and ruined a lot of boards in the process. I primarily like it because I can bring the mill to the trees instead of dragging the trees out of the woods to the mill by hand.

I used up the last of a batch of blades that I got from the company that bought the manufacturing rights to the machine and which has since gone out of business. I bought a new batch of blades from "timber wolf", who claims they've been making the blades for this machine since it was invented.

NONE of the latest batch of blades (5) will track on my Ripsaw. I have taken the driven wheel off and on a million times, trued it up, shimmed it this way and that, replaced bearings, checked co-planarity, etc. Nothing works. The blade gets to a certain point in its rotation and starts to shift off the driven wheel. That certain point is the same for every rotation of the blade, I verified that by tensioning the driven wheel until it just catches the blade, turning the driven wheel by hand to the point where the blade starts to shift and marking that point on the blade, untensioning the driven wheel and sliding the blade past the shifting point, re-tensioning and turning the driven wheel by hand again. The only conclusion I can make is that it's the fault of the blades, not the saw.

Any recommendations for a different blade manufacturer? There aren't a whole lot of vendors for 90" band saw blades?

thanks in advance!
 
Justsaws

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Bandsaw blades can be ordered in any length from lots of places. 90” is a fairly short blade length, should be lots of vendors available to put them together for you. The last time I ordered blades I went to Lennox’s website picked the stock “carbide tooth wood ripping”, size and it sourced the closest shop to the location of the saw. Had the blades delivered within the week.
 
grampy666

grampy666

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thanks for the prompt replies!

Andy, the "problem" blades did indeed come from Timber Wolf. They are the 3/4" x 2/3VPC spec and are the only blades available specifically for the RIPSAW. I read the "tooth style", "tensioning" and "catalog" documents on their web site thoroughly. I did note that the tension on these blades should be quite a bit less than the RIPSAW spec and also noted the "flutter" test that Timber Wolf recommends for gauging tension. I also spoke directly to customer service with no real resolution.

The backs of the blades do lie perfectly flat on the garage floor and the welds are smooth.

I suppose I can change my technique with the mill to get along until I find better blades or the real problem. The blades do stay on the mill as long as I'm pushing it through a cut, so if I release the tension while warming up the power head and slow down to a crawl at the end of the cut, I may be able to make some progress. My current project is to mill balsam fir into 2x6 12 footers and then tackle the 50 or 75 usable eastern white pines that blew down in a big windstorm a couple of years ago. All this to build a garage for my other amateur pursuits.

Found old documents for the mill that tell me I bought it almost 30 years ago, so the model undoubtedly does not have tracking adjustments that are mentioned in other threads about this mill. I certainly can't find anything adjustable other than tension and guide blocks. Haven't tried shimming the drive wheel and not even sure it can be done. Tried putting urethane tires on the wheels, but that only made things worse.

Not sure if the full functionality of "Search" on this site was available as a lurker, but I see it now, so I will be a good "noob" and use it before posting redundant questions!
 
Justsaws

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Are the bearings still tight? Might have to tension a blade, make a couple shims with marks to note the positions, then rotate. Does not take much play on some bandsaws to toss a blade.
 
Ryan'smilling

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If it is still available, I would like to pass on the info to a couple people.
Grampy666 and I are discussing a deal currently. I'll let you know if it doesn't work out. I clicked on your username to send you a PM, but it doesn't appear that your settings allow that. Can you send one to me?
 
andy at clover

andy at clover

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Hi,

New user and occasional lurker. This site seems to have the most recent traffic on the "better-built" portable bandsaw mill, so I thought I would ask my question here.

I bought one of these machines from the original manufacturer 25 years ago. I can't say "I love it" but it has become extremely useful, once I got though the learning curve of how to use it effectively and ruined a lot of boards in the process. I primarily like it because I can bring the mill to the trees instead of dragging the trees out of the woods to the mill by hand.

I used up the last of a batch of blades that I got from the company that bought the manufacturing rights to the machine and which has since gone out of business. I bought a new batch of blades from "timber wolf", who claims they've been making the blades for this machine since it was invented.

NONE of the latest batch of blades (5) will track on my Ripsaw. I have taken the driven wheel off and on a million times, trued it up, shimmed it this way and that, replaced bearings, checked co-planarity, etc. Nothing works. The blade gets to a certain point in its rotation and starts to shift off the driven wheel. That certain point is the same for every rotation of the blade, I verified that by tensioning the driven wheel until it just catches the blade, turning the driven wheel by hand to the point where the blade starts to shift and marking that point on the blade, untensioning the driven wheel and sliding the blade past the shifting point, re-tensioning and turning the driven wheel by hand again. The only conclusion I can make is that it's the fault of the blades, not the saw.

Any recommendations for a different blade manufacturer? There aren't a whole lot of vendors for 90" band saw blades?

thanks in advance!

BTW... How's the rubber on the wheels?
We had an old 18" Crescent in our shop years ago that had bad rubber on the top wheel.... big chunk torn off. (might have been 20" anyway it was a big heavy beast for a shop bandsaw).
After a very expensive overhaul, it tracked the blade much better.
Assuming your mill has similar to other bandsaws...... Have you inspected your wheels, bearings... etc ?
 
grampy666

grampy666

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Grampy666 and I are discussing a deal currently. I'll let you know if it doesn't work out. I clicked on your username to send you a PM, but it doesn't appear that your settings allow that. Can you send one to me?
Yes, I would still like to claim "dibs" on Ryan's RIPSAW. :sweet:

Are the bearings still tight? Might have to tension a blade, make a couple shims with marks to note the positions, then rotate. Does not take much play on some bandsaws to toss a blade.
new bearings in the driven wheel, replaced thrust washers with same thickness roller thrust bearings. drive wheel bearings have no apparent play front-to-back or side-to-side, but replacement is an option. guide bearings also do not show wear and probably aren't contributing to the problem anyway.

BTW... How's the rubber on the wheels?
We had an old 18" Crescent in our shop years ago that had bad rubber on the top wheel.... big chunk torn off. (might have been 20" anyway it was a big heavy beast for a shop bandsaw).
After a very expensive overhaul, it tracked the blade much better.
Assuming your mill has similar to other bandsaws...... Have you inspected your wheels, bearings... etc ?
RIPSAW wheels did not originally come with tires. tried new urethane tires, but that made the problem worse. One thing I did notice is that the driven wheel had a crown at the back of the wheel while the driving wheel has a crown in the center of the wheel. Not sure if this was intentional or due to quality control issues at better-built or due to 30 years of use. Removed this crown and sanded the wheel flat with a Dremel clamped square to the wheel. I have read that bandsaw blades tend to ride "up" the crown, but this seems counter-intuitive to me, especially if the crown is not in the center of the wheel. No observable difference after removing crown, but I admit I may have rendered the wheel useless.
 
grampy666

grampy666

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P.S. - my RIPSAW (build date 1990) has ridges at the front and back of the driving wheel, presumably to help the blade track. The driven wheel only has a ridge at the front. Whether this was intentional or due to quality control at better-built or due to 30 years of use is an unsolved mystery.
 
Justsaws

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There is no hurry no worries from me. I have a standing request from some folks to forward info on any ripsaws for sale to them. I hardly ever see any ripsaw tech for sale in Ohio, those that have them tend to keep them or know someone that wants it.

I will see if I can figure out the pm thing. It used to work.
 
grampy666

grampy666

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sale pending for Ryan's RIPSAW, even though I think I may have fixed the problem with mine.

It turns out that there is a tracking adjustment for this saw and I never knew about it, even after 30 years of use. It's on the cover for the drive wheel.

It doesn't provide much total adjustment (maybe 3/16"), but it doesn't take much to get the blade to stay on the wheels. Some time in the past, I had turned the set screw in the adjuster in as far as it would go and the drive wheel axle was shoved over as far as it would go. This might have been fine for the old blades that I had from SIR, but appears to have caused the issue with the new blades from Timber Wolf. I released tension on the blade, turned the set screw out and re-applied tension. Voila, the drive wheel axle shifted about 1/8" and the blade tracks much better when turned by hand. I'll test it out tomorrow.

thanks again for all the advice. this is a great site for information and has enough daily activity to make it useful.
 
grampy666

grampy666

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well, back to the workbench for more futzing...blade won't track worth a damn when powered...when tested by hand, I put the entire saw back together, including the covers, and this means I couldn't grab the wheels to test tracking, I had to grab the blade itself and likely skewed the hand test...next step is to test on the bench with the drive wheel cover off so I can grab the wheel...this machine is picky and it seems that both covers have to be installed to provide overall rigidity to the moving parts...

awaiting funds for the completion of the deal for Ryan's RIPSAW...it could very well be that I permanently screwed mine by removing crown from the driven wheel.
 
grampy666

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The crown in the wheel was to keep the band centered, if you took it out, that's NOT a good thing!

SR
Thanks, Rob, here's what I did, from above. Crown was originally oriented so that the high point was at the back of the driven wheel. The blade was coming off the front of the driven wheel before I started futzing with it and it's still doing that.

RIPSAW wheels did not originally come with tires. tried new urethane tires, but that made the problem worse. One thing I did notice is that the driven wheel had a crown at the back of the wheel while the driving wheel has a crown in the center of the wheel. Not sure if this was intentional or due to quality control issues at better-built or due to 30 years of use. Removed this crown and sanded the wheel flat with a Dremel clamped square to the wheel. I have read that bandsaw blades tend to ride "up" the crown, but this seems counter-intuitive to me, especially if the crown is not in the center of the wheel. No observable difference after removing crown, but I admit I may have rendered the wheel useless.
 
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