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Yellowhammer recommended Blade Guide Alignment Tool

Started by Hemlock121, July 08, 2024, 07:27:38 PM

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Peter Drouin

I just can't eyeball everything and call it good. I go through the steps and tape everything. Like the arm doing in and out, It can be tight and off. 12" in and 12 1/8"+ out.
With the blade tool hanging like that, they would be in the same line and be off-called gravity. Put them on the way wm says and tape to the deck. Now you have a true flat blade to the bed. Use 1 or 10 tools, all the same.
I sell my stuff in the ruff so my big beams have to be on the money. If my finished lumber all went through a planner, the mill could be off some. A planner will fix everything. ffcheesy
A&P saw Mill LLC.
45' of Wood Mizer, cutting since 1987.
License NH softwood grader.

jpassardi

As Doc noted, PSI requirements will be mill model specific - dependent on the air or hydraulic cylinder diameter.
LT15 W/Trailer, Log Turner, Power Feed & up/down
CAT 416 Backhoe W/ Self Built Hydraulic Thumb and Forks
Husky 372XP, 550XPG, 60, 50,   WM CBN Sharpener & Setter
40K # Excavator, Bobcat 763, Kubota RTV 900
Orlan Wood Gasification Boiler -Slab Disposer

YellowHammer

Quote from: Peter Drouin on July 10, 2024, 06:15:38 AMI just can't eyeball everything and call it good. I go through the steps and tape everything. Like the arm doing in and out, It can be tight and off. 12" in and 12 1/8"+ out.
With the blade tool hanging like that, they would be in the same line and be off-called gravity. Put them on the way wm says and tape to the deck. Now you have a true flat blade to the bed. Use 1 or 10 tools, all the same.
I sell my stuff in the ruff so my big beams have to be on the money. If my finished lumber all went through a planner, the mill could be off some. A planner will fix everything. ffcheesy
That is not the point of the video, the title of the video is "The First Five Test" not "How to Do a Detailed Mill Alignment". These are not final alignment checks, these are very effective basic diagnostic tests where someone can walk up to a mill and eliminate what I have seen to be the the most common reasons as to why their mill "isn't cutting at all, cuts waves, dives....etc."  This is like going to a Dr. and the very first thing they do is run a blood pressure check, temperature, and stuff.  If something is off, then they can at least hone in on it.

If the blade guide arm is loose at all, or rotates or jiggles back and forth with the band loose, the mill will not cut flat, period.  Notice I didn't say perfectly square cants, I said cut flat along the length of the board.  I have seen loose blade guide arms cause the band to completely rise and cut out of a 4/4 inch board.  Most (nearly all, I have done it myself) people check the arm with the band tight, or only slacked a little on the tensioner, and it will not feel loose.  A loose blade guide arm or roller bearing is extremely common especially on LT40 style mills, and especially, new mills where the inexperienced sawyer has used them just enough to wear the thick coat of paint off the arm, the arm is now loose and the Sawyer is too intimidated to check or adjust it. 

For many people who have been fiddling with a mill that is cutting badly, one of the very first things they do is adjust the bed rails, raising or lowering them.  So to do an initial, precise check against a bed rail measurement is a waste of time because it is not in a flat plane anymore and can't be used as a reference.  What can be done is clip two BGAT's on the band and sight down them and in seconds find out if the band rollers are out of adjustment and causing twist in the band.  If a band has eye viewable twist, the mill will not cut flat, period.  Putting the BGAT clips on the end of the bar will double the accuracy as the indicator arm doubles in length.  As long as the arms of the two BGAT's are the same length, they have the same cantilevered weight and will behave exactly the same. I am not measuring pitch doing this, I am comparing twist from one roller to another.   I have seen many times where someone measures from a misaligned bed rail (thinking they are following the manual), and then they will inadvertently put twist is the band, thinking they are doing it right.  I have also seen the same with bed rails that are bent.  So if I simply click on two BGAT's and sight across them as in the video, and if it has twist in it, then that is a problem that must be addressed.  A mill will not cut flat with a twisted band. 

Even when doing a precise alignment, (not using a tape measure, but something three dimensionally stable and accurate) using two BGAT's is much faster, more accurate, and easier than using one and clipping it on and off the band several times.   



   
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won't roll, its not a log; it's still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they're burned, and you can't fix them.

Sawing is fun for the first couple million boards.

Be smarter than the sawdust

Peter Drouin

Having 2 BGAT's is a good thing. And use a framing square instead of using a tape.

I can understand now after thinking of the people who contacted you from the videos you do.

No one asks me stuff like that even the guys around me with mills. All that you pointed out is common sense to most.
But with videos, you get all kinds of IQs  I guess. ffcheesy
A&P saw Mill LLC.
45' of Wood Mizer, cutting since 1987.
License NH softwood grader.

Southside

You definitely can't go by PSI on a gauge when comparing different systems,  my 70 runs at 95 PSI on the air bag. 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

Machinebuilder

I just rewatched the First 5 test video. Robert did a good job explaining things

to sum it up, as a former boss always put it, "GET BACK TO THE BASICS"

Many if the problems I have found come back to the fundamentals of machine setup

For my LT15. I have found

clean everything, and put a new band on. a huge percentage of bad cuts is the blade.

Check the bed, I use a 4' level between bunks, not looking for exact level but looking for all in the same plane (close to level is easier to check).

check the blade with the BGAT, I like a speed square set on top of the level, it mostly stands up by it self.

check everything for tightness, I have lost a lock nut off the roller adjusters.

check drive belt tension.

When all else fails stop and go through the entire mill alignment procedure, and remember sometimes you have to go back to previous steps because adjusting one thing may affect another.

Dave, Woodmizer LT15, Husqvarna 460 and Stihl 180, Bobcat 751, David Brown 770, New Holland TN60A

doc henderson

TK uses a 3/4-inch round stock for the carriage to roll on.  I use a torpedo level from Stanley in the fatmax version.  It is magnetic and has a grove on the bottom, so it centers on round stock.  It is small enough to keep under the control station cover and is at the mill.



Timber king 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor powered by a 12 volt tarp motor

booman

I will go out on a limb here and please don't email me.  A sawmill does not have to be perfectly level as long as the sawmill as a unit is true to itself.  As long as the blade is level and parallel to the bed.  It may be harder to push uphill or easier to go downhill but it will cut true.  As long as the blade is true to the bed, you will be ok.
2019 LT15G25WIDE, 2013 LT35HDG25, Stihl MS880 with 59" bar with Alaskan sawmill attachment.  John Deere 5045 tractor with forks, bucket and grapple.  Many chainsaws.

Dave Shepard

I have a 16" Stanley combo square just for the mill. I use it for all band to bed measurements. I have to put my cheaters on to see the lines, but I get good results. 
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"LogRite!

Magicman

Quote from: booman on July 11, 2024, 03:10:27 PMI will go out on a limb here and please don't email me.  A sawmill does not have to be perfectly level as long as the sawmill as a unit is true to itself.
I don't see that you are out on any limb but rather, exactly right.  Whether the sawmill bed is level with Mother Earth has nothing to do with the sawmill's proper alignment.

I too use a torpedo level and I adjust the outriggers, etc. to have the front end and loader side about a half bubble high. 
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

YellowHammer

Most of the people on this Forum range from experienced to very experienced and have this community to fall back upon when they have problems. 

So, imagine a new sawmiller, never run one before, all excited, just one of the zillion newbies who have bought a new sawmill that has been backordered for months.  Then imagine it gets delivered or you pick it up, of any make and manufacture, and it doesn't cut "right" and you don't know if the problem is you, or the sawmill or both.  In frustration, the new sawmiller gets on the web, maybe fnds this Forum which is good, or unfortunately one of the FB groups where about half the stuff is wrong, or worse yet, watch a Spandex YouTube How To channel where 80% is wrong, including watching the guy who was doing a review on his new sawmill and complained it didn't cut as well as it should, only to find out he literally had the band on backward.  Then imagine you call the mill manufacturer for help, again of any brand, and don't get the help you need.  Or worse yet, they tell you the wrong thing.  You wouldn't believe the stories people have told me that their dealer has told them to do, including saying the mill is set up perfectly (when it is not) and don't touch "ANYTHING." 

So what do these folks do?  They watch a video of some redneck in Alabama who isn't wearing Spandex, and who owns a real lumber company, and says he is trying to help.  And every now and then, these people call and ask for help, or they drive here (I had two who drove a half a dozen hours from Kansas about a month and half ago, and last weekend, I had a Mississippi and Georgia visit in person, unannounced, during business hours.)  So I don't have a lot of time to help them, but I will do my best.  First step, I send them a link to this Forum.  Then I run through the "First Five" on my sawmill, sometimes very hurriedly, in person, and most times, there is a Eureka! moment, or several.  I've done it so many times, I finally made a video to make it easier on me and they can play it on their iPhone while I wait on a customer.  Or I can send them a link, when people call or send an email for help.

Although some of these are totally inexperienced on sawmills, some are pretty sharp such as farmers, tradesmen, or own their own company of one kind or another and are just looking to do something new.  Many buy them to make money or want to use it as an opportunity to work with their family. 

Anyway, this is why I did the First Five video, to help people with the basics, to get them over the hump.

Certainly, there are a lot more things that can go wrong, and I had always figured I would do a "Second Five" video, but the "First Five" still works pretty well. 
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won't roll, its not a log; it's still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they're burned, and you can't fix them.

Sawing is fun for the first couple million boards.

Be smarter than the sawdust

Machinebuilder

I will agree that perfect level is not necessary, and that parallelism is the important thing.

What I have found with my LT15, is that it is easier to get the 3 sections of bed aligned in the same plane if they are all close to level.
IE the bubble between the 2 lines, It may be close to one or the other but I try for the same anywhere I put the level.
Woodmizer reccommends using 2 strings lenghtwise down the bunks to check for twist and uneven bunks.

This is nowhere close to "perfect" Level. I have spent over a week trying to level a 14'x6' precision machine with a 0.0005"/ft level.
I would get it close and overnight some stress would relieve and I had to start over.

At times I have to step back and remember, It's just a sawmill...................


Dave, Woodmizer LT15, Husqvarna 460 and Stihl 180, Bobcat 751, David Brown 770, New Holland TN60A

barbender

If you set your mill up so you are going uphill a bit when sawing, your carriage won't continue to roll ahead if you get into trouble and stop the feed- say for instance, you realize that you left your backstops up too high. Not that I ever have😁
Too many irons in the fire

jpassardi

Yeah - I'm not sure what you mean by hitting backstops BB.  :wink_2:
LT15 W/Trailer, Log Turner, Power Feed & up/down
CAT 416 Backhoe W/ Self Built Hydraulic Thumb and Forks
Husky 372XP, 550XPG, 60, 50,   WM CBN Sharpener & Setter
40K # Excavator, Bobcat 763, Kubota RTV 900
Orlan Wood Gasification Boiler -Slab Disposer

booman

Why would anyone run into a backstop, I mean they are just sticking right up there to easily see....BANG!  Oh never mind.
2019 LT15G25WIDE, 2013 LT35HDG25, Stihl MS880 with 59" bar with Alaskan sawmill attachment.  John Deere 5045 tractor with forks, bucket and grapple.  Many chainsaws.

Rhodemont

I did the Yellowhammer first five tests yesterday.  The mill has not been cutting out of flat but that is a bit surprising considering the blade guide arm was sloppy "bad". I tightened it up stiff as I could to the point where it is tough to slide the guide in and out (I spray some ATF on it every time I am setting up which helps that).  I was going to change the blade because I had a little chatter on the beams that I thought was bad set on a tooth. I ran a pass on a beam, skinning off 1/4 inch, after tightening the guide and not changing the blade.  The chatter was gone so I continued on finishing up the two beams and all was good.  Looks like the chatter was the guide arm bouncing. 
Woodmizer LT35HD    JD4720 with Norse350 winch
Stihl 362, 039, Echo CS-2511T,  CS-361P and now a CSA 300 C-O

Magicman

Taking a "skinning" cut can be troublesome in itself and can chatter. 
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

YellowHammer

I'm glad you found the issue, the YellowHammer First Five Test is quick and it works.
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won't roll, its not a log; it's still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they're burned, and you can't fix them.

Sawing is fun for the first couple million boards.

Be smarter than the sawdust

Ljohnsaw

I made up a set of BGATs.






I need to paint the far one a different color to make sighting easier. Found I was 1/16" off in twist.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038
Ford 545D FEL
Genie S45
Davis Little Monster backhoe
Case 16+4 Trencher
Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

doc henderson

John, I found myself ducking down trying to get them closer together to see if they were parallel.  does not work that well in 2 d.  ffcheesy
Timber king 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor powered by a 12 volt tarp motor

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