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I have a Grizzly portable sawmill, which I've owned for about 3 years. enter image description here It's a piece of shit, but it's what I have. It requires constant maintenance and adjustments to just make it work. I hate working with it, but now and then a really nice log comes along, and I want to have the option of getting it sawn just the way I want it. Otherwise, I'd sell it for scrap metal. With that off my chest, here's my question:

The blade keeps falling off, and I can't figure why. I have a 17" bandsaw which I've owned forever, and I'm used to adjusting it so that the blade is tight and stable. But I just can't figure out how to stop the blade on the sawmill from jumping the roller guides -- although I don't know if that's the source of the problem: I just see the blade skip the roller guides, but it could be that it fell off the wheels first. The roller guides are already adjusted as far down as I can make them. The blade is also tight, and I am spraying it with a water hose to keep it lubricated and cool. The blade jumps the roller guides with all types of logs: soft and hardwood, thin and wide, etc. The blade is new. I'm definitely not pushing on it too hard. Sometimes I can get a log or two with no problems, then the next log the blade falls halfway on every pass.

I feel like I'm missing something simple and feel stupid for even asking, but does anybody know what are the common causes for a sawmill to do this (or band saw, as the sawmill is just a horizontal bandsaw I guess)? Any suggestions appreciated.

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  • This is an interesting query and I hope someone can answer if for you. Seem like your experience with conventional bandsaws should port directly over doesn't it? But maybe there's a reason it doesn't that's inherent to the side-by-side arrangement of the wheels (although I don't think that's it). As you might suspect/fear already, maybe it's simply because the Grizzly is a POS :-( Have you tried reaching out to Grizzly about this? I have no idea what their customer query/technical department is like, but I guess it couldn't hurt to ask.
    – Graphus
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 3:26
  • [BTW, was not expecting that price, ouch!] I know this is probably A) something you've already thought of and B) possibly a last resort, but have you considered an Alaskan mill as a simpler-to-run alternative?
    – Graphus
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 3:29
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    @Graphus many thanks for the suggestions. Yes, the blades are the right kind (0.035x1x144;12° from woodmizer).
    – Cheery
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 0:05
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    @Graphus I have an Alaskan mill setup, but the amount of sawing I do is right between a portable mill and a $30,000 jig. I specialize in fixing old houses and barns.
    – Cheery
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 0:09
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    @Graphus And ouch indeed. This POS is definitely not worth the $5,500 I paid. And never the $7,000 they are asking for now.
    – Cheery
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 0:12

1 Answer 1

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I'm going to assume the log moving while cutting isn't an issue.

The blade should stay on the wheels be able to make cuts without any guides.

Make sure the wheels run true. Clamp an object to the frame and position a fixed point near the wheel and spin the wheel, you should not be able to perceive any wobble in the wheel as it spins. Check the inside tread where the tires bear on as well. The issue might be some compacted sawdust in there that creates a bump.

Check the wheel tires/v-belt (parts 329v3 and 408v2 in the manual) to ensure they have an adequate crown. Hold a short straight-edge to the bearing surface and ensure there is a ridge in the middle. They might be installed inside out, check for that.

On page 43 and 44 of the manual you will find how to adjust the wheel positions in all directions using the bolts on the back of the wheel shafts. Use a long straight-edge to validate the coplanar adjustment and make sure the tracking is correct while the blade is under tension and with the guides not touching the blade. If you intentionally put on the blade crooked (within reason) it should recenter itself within a few rotations of the wheels.

Once the blade is tracking correctly then you can adjust the guides as described by the manual.

Make sure to properly lock the adjustment bolts as the vibration of the motor and cutting will want to make them loosen up over time and misalign the tracking.

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  • What a great Answer. I hope hope hope the OP doesn't come back and say "I tried all that..." :-) It won't invalidate this as an Answer in any way, but as far as their problem is concerned they're still at square one.
    – Graphus
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 14:30
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    It's a very useful checklist. I'm on it!
    – Cheery
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 15:52
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    I went through everything on the checklist by @ratchet and it seems to be working now. I went through a log with no issues. Hard to say what exactly was the problem. The wheels were co-planar (this is something I constantly check), and they are true. The blade is new and the right type. The belt is correctly installed and has a crown. I disassembled the tire assembly thing, removed the sawmill from the tracks and cleaned everything again. I greased it. Made sure the guides were not touching the blade. It was probably a combination of things. But I'm back in business. Much appreciate the help!
    – Cheery
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 17:17
  • @Cheery, excellent! And great job ratchetfreak <clap>
    – Graphus
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 7:38

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