Jatoba Guide Blocks for the Bandsaw

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Project by TheWoodenOyster posted 09-09-2014 12:30 AM 3410 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everyone,

I got an old iron powermatic 81 20” bandsaw back in February. As soon as I got it, I had to blaze through some projects but recently things have slowed down and I have had time to tinker with it and try to get the bugs out. One of the bugs was an incessant screaming on 3 or 4 second intervals. I thought it might be THE bearings, but I was glad to find out it was just the guide bearings. They were old and shot. To my surprise, they also had almost no horizontal adjustment. From what I know, most newer bandsaws have set screws that hold guide blocks that can be adjusted horizontally until they are just a hair away from the blade. Mine had nothing of the sort, so the bearings would not get as close to the blade as I wanted. Time for a custom job.

I am short on money, but not time right now, so I figured the best route would be to grab some scraps and make some wood guide blocks. I made them out of jatoba, the hardest , most porous thing on hand. I made a small thru mortise that accepts a bolt that holds it in place (see the pictures above). I read that it is good to make these self lubricating, so I boiled them in motor oil for an hour or two to impregnate them. Motor oil is my favorite new finish.

Installed them, adjusted them and they seem to be working great! The screaming is gone and I can adjust them to a few thousandths off of the blade!

Picture 1. The finished and installed blocks (front view)
Picture 2. The blocks before cooking
Picture 3. The old bearings
Picture 4. Deep Fried Jatoba
Picture 5. The finished and intalled blocks (rear view)
Picture 6. Lower set of blocks under the table

Comments and questions welcome!!!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

10 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3824 days

#1 posted 09-09-2014 02:31 AM

I understand being short on money long on time. If we can’t afford it we find a way around it, and you sure have. I hope it works for you. I wonder about the pressure put on the from the wood. thanks for sharing

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2976 days

#2 posted 09-09-2014 09:25 PM

That’s very resourceful. Good to hear it works very well.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12215 posts in 4231 days

#3 posted 09-09-2014 09:44 PM

Nice job.
I made mine from oak. Soaked them for a week in used motor oil.

-- 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 TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2738 days

#4 posted 09-09-2014 10:17 PM

Gene, you were the one I got the idea from. It was an old post that I looked up. Are yours still hanging in there? How do they wear?

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View jrockflimflam's profile


8 posts in 2410 days

#5 posted 09-10-2014 01:03 AM

I don’t want to come across overly emotional about a post, but…
To Gene, TheWoodenOyster, and all others on LumberJocks that have this same kinda figurary thought process: I just want to say thank you for being the kind of folk that I think makes America great.
My guess is you are both over fifty in years, OR were raised by an Ole Timer like I was.
This post reminds me of my Step-Dad sooo much.
He was the quintessential Ole Timer (even grew up tendin the Shine Still).
He got me in to wood working. His shop and about everything we did was done exactly how you did this.
ALWAYS made do with what he had, because he grew up having nothing.
It’s funny how something as simple as this post could flood back some many memories but I guess that is part of sharing common interest with people.
Thanks for posting.

-- *The measure of a leader is not how much they know; it's how much they teach.* Jason

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2738 days

#6 posted 09-10-2014 02:08 AM

Jrock – Preach it brother!!! You are so right.

I must confess I am only 26. BUT, I decided to raise myself like an old timer because I like things like that. Have a great family, but my dad wasn’t an old timer. I taught myself how to shoot, camp, and build stuff. I’m more proud of that stuff than my college degree.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View jrockflimflam's profile


8 posts in 2410 days

#7 posted 09-10-2014 03:00 AM

TheWoodOyster – Right On, Good for you.

I’m lovin it.
I love your quote too. My favorite part of woodworking is taking a hunk of wood and finding the oyster; natural artwork within the wood.
It does make it hard to split firewood for my mom.
I always end up with a small pile of mine own that the grain was just right, or a knot hole or limb junction might just make a great looking piece.
Shalom and happy wood working.

-- *The measure of a leader is not how much they know; it's how much they teach.* Jason

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2978 days

#8 posted 09-10-2014 09:04 PM

That’s something new for me. Nice job.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2810 days

#9 posted 09-10-2014 10:13 PM

Hmmmm, nice job. Hey… does your wife know what you’re using her fry pan for??

Yeah… .I didn’t THINK so! :-)

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2738 days

#10 posted 09-11-2014 02:16 AM

“The donuts taste like exhaust…”

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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