Maintenance #1: New upper bracket on the bandsaw

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 01-11-2022 07:00 PM 466 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My venerable Delta-Rockwell 14 bandsaw had been snapping blades recently. When the most recent one let loose last week and I got a (fairly minor) cut from the end of the blade hitting my hand, I decided to look at things more closely, and the bracket for the upper wheel was binding. There was the proper tension on the spring for it, but the wheel of the bandsaw (and thus the blade) seemed pretty loose. Like I said, it looked like the bracket was binding up, so I bought a new bracket, hinge, and bearings for the upper wheel.

It arrived yesterday in the mail, so I decided to start tackling that this morning. Got everything disassembled and the new bracket wouldn’t slide in the slots in the bandsaw frame. It was sand-cast, and it looked like the rough surface was causing problems, plus the sliding parts weren’t flat.

Taking a file to them, I quickly knocked off the high spots and now the bracket worked great. It’s pretty soft metal (pot metal or aluminum) so the biggest problem with filing it down was that it would clog up my file and I needed to keep cleaning out the file.

Next was the adjustment knob for the tension of the blade on the bandsaw. I’ve got one of the long-handled ones that makes it easy to adjust the tension quickly (so I’m more likely to let off the tension overnight, for example), but the square nut for that was 5/8 across, and the hole in the old bracket was 47/64 (a hair under 3/4) and the square hole in the new bracket was 25/32. The square nut I had would sometimes slip in the old bracket. In the new one, it would spin freely. The hardware store only had the same square nut I already had, so I got out some 3/16 mild steel bar stock I have on hand, used my hacksaw to cut out a 3/4” square piece of it (two actually, since it was 1½ inch wide stock, and having a spare will be good), then drilled a 5/16 hole in it and tapped it to 3/8-16. Went pretty quick, about 35 minutes from start to finish, and just another 10 minutes to drill and tap the second one, since I had found all the tools and had everything set up. A few more minutes with the file to clean up the edges, and that’s together now.

Seems like that’ll do the job.

Edited to add:

In the afternoon I drove the old bearings out from the upper wheel (use a half-inch dowel through the middle of the bearing to tap the opposite one out), put in the new bearings, put the bandsaw back together, and got it up and running. The new bracket moves a little more smoothly in the tracks than the old one did, but it still binds up a little when I get the proper tension on it for a 1/2 inch resaw blade. I think next time I break a blade, I’ll pull it apart again and file just a tiny bit more off the rails on the bracket.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

10 comments so far

View HokieKen's profile


20728 posts in 2479 days

#1 posted 01-11-2022 07:45 PM

Nice work Dave. Here’s a pro tip for filing soft metals: rub chalk into your file before you start. It’ll keep the metal from having any place to get stuck. Just use your file card or blast it with compressed air to get the chalk out when you’re done.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View splintergroup's profile


6381 posts in 2563 days

#2 posted 01-11-2022 07:57 PM

A man with a mind for the details!

I never have experienced a broken blade but I applaud your efforts to track down and fix the problem, even evoking hand tools to make your nuts bigger 8^)

View Oldtool's profile


3415 posts in 3531 days

#3 posted 01-11-2022 08:17 PM

Good repair Dave, nice save. It doesn’t surprise me that the new casting was still in a “out of the mold” condition and needed touch up, probably made in China where QC takes a back seat.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days

#4 posted 01-11-2022 08:25 PM

Thanks, Kenny. I vaguely remember my pop doing that at some point (he was a machinist), but I didn’t think of it today. But I’ve got a file card and use it pretty regularly.

Thanks, Splint. I’ve broken a half dozen resaw blades over the past couple years, so it was time to do something about it. And yeah, having the tension wrong seems to make them go pretty quickly. Only plus side is that I have a buddy who makes knife blades from busted hacksaw blades, and I’ve got a pretty good collection to send him now.

Thanks, Tom! I threw the calipers on it, and before filing off the roughness, it was about 3/128” oversize. Luckily, simply smoothing out the surfaces took off 1/64” and I was almost home. It was more annoying when I ran the file down it and could see the high spots right away, but at least it was a quick fix.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View recycle1943's profile


6258 posts in 2963 days

#5 posted 01-11-2022 11:13 PM

Seems a shame one has to re-work a replacement part. Even worse if one didn’t know how to ‘fix’ the replacement part to make it work.

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days

#6 posted 01-12-2022 12:47 AM

Yeah, it was, Dick. I’m a little disappointed in the vendor, but I left feedback and moved on. Probably could’ve gotten a refund, but I’d rather have the job done, and the quickest way to do that was to fix it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27259 posts in 4446 days

#7 posted 01-12-2022 04:09 AM

Hi Dave. It seems you have to fix a lot of new stuff these days. they don’t make it like they used to. Most of harbor Freight tools are like that…I call them unfinished tools because they seem to need some modifications to make them work better. I had one of their corded right angle drills that I use for sanding. someone used it for drilling and they sheared all the planetary gears in the head. I took the little gears out and welded it up to be direct drive and it works better than ever…................Cheers, Jim

ps..on your blade, check to see that the guide blocks are not set too tight and catching the weld on the blade.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days

#8 posted 01-12-2022 11:52 AM

Yeah, Jim. Thanks!

Part of that is having older tools like my bandsaw. There aren’t any factory spare parts any more, and the Delta-Rockwell 14 has been cloned so many times that while there are a lot of parts that will work on it, there are also a lot of parts out there that aren’t quite right, but which are close enough that they can be made to work.

Sounds like an upgrade on your drill. I can’t imagine how someone would shear all the planetary gears.

I have upgraded to guide rollers above and below the table, and they’re usually set so that they don’t touch the blade when it’s running straight, but almost any deviation and they’ll steer it back correct. I know I’ve had them too tight in the past and that causes problems.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View crowie's profile


5261 posts in 3292 days

#9 posted 01-15-2022 12:21 AM

Dave, You also add a heavy squirt of Teflon Dry Lub spray to the surfaces.
I use it a fair amount on parts that need lubrication that need to stay dry so as to not build up dust, grit and dirt.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days

#10 posted 01-15-2022 01:10 AM

Good reminder, Peter! I need to do a general lubrication on the moving parts soon. It’s been a little over a year since the last one.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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