Installing Ball Bearing Guides on the Band Saw

I previously mentioned that where I was at the Portland Woodworking show I made some purchases.

One of these purchases was a Carter ball bearing guide kit for the bandsaw.  The kit comes with two separate guide assemblies and the associated mounting hardware. One assembly was for above the table and the other was to be mounted below the table.

Now it’s time to install my treasure.  But, surprise.  It didn’t fit. My saw is a Delta 28-276, 14” saw.   The lower guide mounting bracket did not fit the mounting holes of my saw.  Now, I note that the kit comes with the standard mounting screws and another set of metric screws because Delta has turned to our Chinese neighbors to manufacture their tools.

Further investigation revealed that the hole spacing on the Carter mounting bracket is 4.25” while the hole spacing on my saw is 4.33”.  This equates to 110 mm.  My assumption was that since the holes were metric, the spacing was also metric and that this was a reasonable round number approximation.  The hole spacing on the original mounting bracket precisely matched my saw, 110 mm.

Mounting bracket for band saw guide

So, what to do?  I contacted Carter.  The first call was answered by a nice lady that just disappeared while I was explaining my problem.  I called back and was told that she was on the phone.  I was put on hold.  The third time’s a charm.  I actually spoke to someone who appeared to be knowledgeable about the product.  He said that he had never heard of my problem.  I asked if 4.25” was the standard spacing in their specifications and he assured me that it was.

I was hoping that I could get Carter to exchange a bracket that fit for mine that didn’t.  No such luck   Carter had made their product run and weren’t about to make a special order just for me.  My options were to modify the part myself or return it to the vendor for a refund.  I was reluctant to modify the part because then I could not return it.  I was also concerned that if I removed the approximately .080” of metal the screw might fit on only one side.  It would have taken a very long time grinding that amount of metal wit a Dremel grinder.

Luckily, I had access to a mill and decided to modify the part myself.  I was able to remove somewhat less than the .080” and with a few test fittings, the part fits properly.  The guides are now mounted on my saw.

Lower Band saw guide

Now, it looks like I need a new blade.

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