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Author Topic: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels  (Read 8434 times)

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Online Ga Mtn Man

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Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« on: February 05, 2012, 01:17:10 PM »
I'm planning on buying a portable bandmill in the near future and I'm working my way through each  manufacturers' web-site trying to sort out the pros and cons.  I ran across this statement on one of our sponsor's web site:

 "19" All Metal Balanced Bandsaw Wheels - allows the bandsaw blade to run true with no vibration typical with belt insert band wheels since they cannot be balanced. No changing of belts and no belt deterioration from drip lubricants".

So far they are the only one that I've come across that uses an all metal band wheel.  Any opinions on the subject?  :-\
"If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy." - Red Green


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Offline Island Sawyer

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 01:43:14 PM »
 Thera are a few guys in my area who have taken their wheels to a machine shop to have steel belts welded in place and a slight crown machined on them. The mills were woodmizers but you could probably do it to most any of the mills out there.

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 02:02:43 PM »
I have had no issues with vibration with my WM and I don't use a lot of lube now but with my last WM, I used a mix of diesel and chain and bar oil with no adverse results.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 02:44:21 PM »
Different sawmill manufacturers have done their own research and have designed their products accordingly.  I would be hesitant to question the different ideas as right, wrong, good, bad, or better.  Each manufacturer certainly believes that their design is the best, but I particularly dislike any manufacturer that would attempt to degrade another sawmill or product design in order sell their own.  I prefer positive advertising rather than negative.

Also, my recommendation is to use the blade lube, etc. that is recommended or approved by that particular manufacturer.
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Online pineywoods

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012, 03:20:37 PM »
There's one more option, loose belts vs tight belts. Lots of arguments both ways. I'm firmly in the loose belt column. They just don't look right, but work just fine thanku
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012, 07:00:17 PM »
I use what works good, and loose v belts work good. WM has used that design since their first mill, and it has always worked great for me.
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Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 07:04:37 PM »
"19" All Metal Balanced Bandsaw Wheels - allows the bandsaw blade to run true with no vibration typical with belt insert band wheels since they cannot be balanced. No changing of belts and no belt deterioration from drip lubricants".

Sounds like Cook. I have one and it is the only mill I've run/owned. The wheels are balanced very well. After looking at other manual mills before I made my purchase (9 yrs ago) I selected the Cook's because it had the least vibration. The crowned steel wheels may be a little noiser since it is steel running on steel but I have no belts to replace. Just my limited experience.
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 07:30:27 PM »
Oh- The WM wheels are indeed balanced. If you look, you can see places where some material has been drilled out in order to balance them. Sure the belt might not be, but since it's weight is small in comparison to the wheels, I can't see it being a big issue. Your engine's vibrations will have a bigger impact than any minute wheel vibrations.
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2012, 07:54:37 PM »
Really a non issue,I've run tight belts on my bandmill probibly eight years their just fine and I use diesel&oil lube.When I ran the LT- 70 mizer we ran loose.I'd have no quams about running crowned steel.More advertising hype than anything. Frank C.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2012, 08:01:29 PM »
Thanks guys for all your input.  For someone who knows next to nothing about band mills, all the info from so many different manufacturers can be a bit overwhelming.  But I shall persevere and I WILL have my own mill someday soon. 8) 8) 8)
"If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy." - Red Green


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Offline mikeb1079

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2012, 10:52:18 PM »
i agree that it's marketing.  i was in your shoes before i built my mill and i ended up using some old crappy bandsaw wheels that are out of flat and had old half worn out belts.  i was really nervous that they wouldn't work or the blade would fly off, but they work wonderfully and leave a fine finish (until you hit a nail).   :)  most likely any mill you get will treat you right.   8)
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2012, 07:25:47 AM »
i concur with bandmiller just not a big deal.i've run them loose ,run them tight .i've run diesel and all kinds of soap with no bad results .i think the  steel wheels would be just fine but vibration is just not a big issue with the belts.  al
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 08:25:37 AM »
I have the belt insert band wheels on my. Nice and smooth.
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Offline rockman

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 10:28:47 AM »
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2012, 11:17:23 AM »
Yeah, that video and the one from Cook's seem contradictory.  Both companies went through a similar evolutionary process but came to different conclusions.  As other folks have said, I suspect it doesn't matter much in the end.
"If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy." - Red Green


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Offline buildthisfixthat

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 02:21:51 PM »
on 19 " or larger wheels all metal wheels on smaller wheels v-belt or rubber tire over metal
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2012, 06:29:38 PM »
The video makes valid points.
On the WM belt change takes about 4 or 5 minutes and I change about  once a year for about 60 bucks or so..
If the crowned steel wheels are the cats meow why do you have to use a band roller?
I'm not saying that it doesn't work, just inquiring.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2012, 09:58:49 PM »
Well just from my experience, I ran a LT70 with belted wheels and a LT40 with belted wheels. When I converted my 40 over to electric i noticed my blades where vibrating very bad and breaking after the first sharpening. I told a friend of mine about it and he told me I should switch over to steel wheels. so I ordered a set from cooks and it solved all of my problems. Now I am sawing faster with my mill and not breaking bands as often. I just wish I would have put them on my 70 when I had it, it would have really helped it.Also I have a baker resaw with steel wheels and really like it too. I am sold on steel wheels now!
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2012, 10:28:32 PM »
I like the diameter rule is what i was thinking when ordering my mill and Herman assured me that he only new one mill that actually had so much work that needed replaced He sounded very honest and they are local to my area was my determining factor. okay price did have a part in that decision  :D
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Offline backwoods sawyer

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2012, 01:40:09 AM »
I ran 24 steel wheels for several years until they developed a crack between the balance holes that kept growing.
I could have ordered a set but with several months delay.
It cost $cost $125 and two trips up north to have them recrowed.  So went with the belted wheels last spring. I have changed two belts and the second set is well broke in.  I preferred the all steel wheels, but the belted wheels are performing just fine.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2012, 10:15:48 PM »
  I have a Cooks MP32, 7 years old, blades track just fine, most of the noise comes from the guide rollers. My mill runs very smooth, makes it fun to cut lumber.  If it were just so easy to handle the lumber after it is sawed.  My problem is everything I think is fun is work!
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Offline wdwomack

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2019, 12:16:24 AM »
I have had a TimberHarvester hd36 and now own a Tk2200. The Th had 24" belted wheels and the the TK has 19" belted wheels. I ran the the TH for 9 years and the TK for the last two months. On the TH my blades ran smooth and true and I only replaced the belts about four times. Mostly because the the belts wore down too much from normal wear, once from damage done when a blade broke. My blade breakage was seldom.

On my TK my first blade broke before I cut 100bf and it tore up the belts on both wheels. I ordered  B57 belts from TK and they lasted about 500 bf and they started to come unraveled on the edges and started throwing blades off. There was much vibration in the blade and it caused the adjustable blade to vibrate at least 3/8 of and in or more. I used diesel fuel as a lubricant on the B57 belts Just as I had done for the nine years I had run my timber Harvester.

I took off the B57 and went to NAPA and got B56 belts and put the them on.  The took me a day and a half to get them on.  As soon as I tried to run them it started throwing the the blades off again. I put one on three times and figured that something else had to be wrong, and started checking the tracking. Everything about the tracking was out of wack. Both wheels were tilted out of plumb, one opposite of the other by about a half a bubble and they were both out of parallel. Surprising, for a brand new mill right out of the factory, to me. After a day of relining the wheels and adjusting the tracking, I did all the tests for tracking and everything seemed to pass and I started up the mill and slowly brought it up to full speed and proper blade tension and found that it ran fairly good, some vibration in the the blade, but good tracking. I left it run for half and hour and ran the speed up and down a few times and kept checking to be sure it was okay. Then I turned on the lubrication to make a cut and off flew the blade again!

I called Mike at TimberKing again and was the belts from NAPA that was the trouble  because the sat too low in the grove in the wheel. The blade actually rode on the edges of the wheels and flat across the top. Also he told me that the diesel fuel could not be use as a lubricant on that machine. There was no reason why I could use it for nine years on my first machine, unless something had changed. But I would have to get the same make of belt they used on the their machines. So, I ordered more belts.

Another three days down waiting for the belts to come in the mail and another day getting them on. I was getting better at wrestling them on.)  I shifted over to water and pine-sol for a lubricant and I was sawing. Two days latter and no problems.

When I sawed with the TH all those years I could saw a thousand feet a 10 hour day by myself and never had problems with lubrication being Diesel fuel or any tracking problems. I got what I thought was good blade life out of four or more makes of blades, my best being Timber Wolf blades that I got about ten sharpenings out of. The fella that sharpened my blades told me that the little vibration that I had in my mill could be taken out by going to steel ground wheels and doing away with the belted wheels because they could be balanced and trued better and that I would probably get about 50% more sharpening out of my blades and they would probably saw faster because of it.

I was going to get around to switching over, but sold the mill and got out of the business before I got to it.  I am now going to make the switch on this mill because I'm a firm believer that he was right and it makes good sense.  If for no other reason than shaking the blade that much on the blade guides cannot be good for them. Any vibration on  a thin saw blade has to cause wear. The less wear and vibration the better the blade has to work.

If I'm wrong, at least I won't have to fight with anymore V-belts on band wheels again and they will probably run much smoother and truer. I figure at the rate of replacement I have had on his machine I'll save about five hundred dollars a year in belts figured at he rate I am sawing now. If I ever get back to my old rate that will more than double. I'll probably pay for the upgrade by the time I die since I'll only last few more years anyway and this years will be that much easier on my and more productive. My grandson will have a better mill. I may even make some money because of it.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2019, 04:46:05 AM »
To me I found out that all belts now are not near as thick as they where when I started. I took my wheels off my mill took them to machine shop and grind them down so more belt sticks up. It does help a little when putting on new belt. But even before I did this sometimes it took 5 minutes to put on a belt and others an 1/2 hour.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2019, 01:47:07 PM »
 I get along with belts good, cant understand how they only last 100 of 500 bf.  Mine last around 500+ hours most times and once in long tome one will get tore up b a broken band.  Most times about 10 to 15 minutes to get a new one on.  I also took metal off the outside of the wheel so these newer belts stand up..  Nothing wrong with putting crowned steel wheel on either but they need to be recrowned every so often.  
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2019, 02:29:22 PM »
It's interesting how tight some mills run their belts.  Changed mine on the 70 this week and it didn't take a minute to do both of them, took longer to walk over to the storage bin and grab them then walk to the other side of the mill to do the other side than removing the old ones or installing the new ones combined. 
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2019, 04:02:36 PM »
 

 The advantage of tight belts is they don't get tore up as easy by broken band, very rarely and they never get any crud under them.  My BIL who works for a auto suppy place told me he sells 3 B57 belts a week to a mill near me but they do run that mill 40 hours a week.  Steve
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2019, 05:17:59 PM »
I easily had 30MBF on those belts and plenty of broken bands to go with it. I tried NAPA belts once thinking I was saving a dime, they hardly lasted a month on my 35.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2019, 06:47:00 PM »
Metal vs belted band wheels?  My .02 worth is the difference in end product is negligible.  Both work just fine.  If belts causing shaking/vibrating was a big issue, most manufacturers would use metal wheels.  Mills with belted wheels aren't vibrating apart and if head shake on a cantilevered head was really a problem, shaking belted wheels would just make the problem worse.  Head shaking isn't an issue.

To me one manufacturer is trying to differentiate their product from others by creating a perception that belted wheels are inferior.  They aren't - they are different.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2019, 07:19:45 PM »
   I hate when they do that. If a manufacturer says "We feel this design works better with our system" I am fine with that. If they say "This is why our design is better" I have a problem with them. Reminds me of the "4 Post" vs "Cantilever" design disagreements. 
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2019, 07:30:55 PM »
Agreed, seems more of a sales pitch then any performance issue one way or the other, like comparing apples to oranges and claiming one is better then the other, rather just different as mentioned already.  

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2019, 10:18:34 PM »
Before I decided to purchase my first and only band mill I spent a lot of time researching the many differences between the manufacturing and design.  YouTube vidios are the best source I found as I could not travel to shows and demos all over the place. Manufacturers who invested the time and effort to explain their design and features are few and far between. Wood-Mizer and Cooks probably scored the best in my opinion.  I settled on Cooks because both Tim and Steven Cook did a very thoughtful presentation of why their steel wheels, bearing, and roller design all combine to not only reduce blade vibration, but blade heat as well.  It just made sense to me.  In the two years I have owned my mill I have sawn some large white pine, hemlock, frozen beach, frozen red oak, and lots of ash (ash have all died around here).  I use a mix of onroad diesel fuel and used type f transmission fluid for lube.  I have experimented with sawing slow and faster than I suspected I should have mostly to test the vibration and heat theory.  I have broken a few blades that had developed stress cracks when I didnt change them soon enough.  I have the habit  be it good or bad of checking the temperature of the blade as soon as it stops.  No matter how warm or cold the day may be, I have never found a saw blade on my Cook saw to be anything but cool to the touch.  I had one that pushed off the back of the wheels and bound up in the 24 hemlock but was still cool to the touch.  I have no experience with belted wheels.  Do the blades heat up on them?
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #31 on: November 16, 2019, 10:45:49 PM »
Wow - resurrection of a 7 year old thread!
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2019, 03:17:21 PM »
 Starting my 8th month using the Cooks AC 36 with steel crowned wheels.
We are very happy with performance.
We also ran the TK B-20 for 12 + years and tried all the different automotive belts loose and tight,   even the Neo-preme Sullfolk saw orange belts for a few years.
Always had some sort of vibration.
We considered changing too steel crowned Wheels years ago and now wished I would have.
The Cooks mill runs razor straight and using a petroleum lube we never get any build up of pitch.
 Blade heat is not a factor as mentioned.
I believe blade life is longer also. 
We don't push the blades past dullness so don't know how far a blade will go before breaking.
My first couple a years when I was learning the ropes on the B -20 we broke more blades than I dare too mention due too pushing blades beyond their expectations.
Blade Life is really good using the AC 36 now.
Whidbey Woodworks and Custom Milling  2019 Cooks AC 3662T High production band mill and a Hud-son 60 Diesel wide cut bandmill  JD 2240 50hp Tractor with 145 loader IR 1044 all terrain fork lift  Cooks sharp

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2019, 03:36:45 PM »
I've also debated putting the steel crown wheels on my Enercraft. However it has 24" wheels and I've had no problems. Both belts are loose and easy to change. The band stays cool and very little breakage. No build up between belt and wheel. I now also run the Cooks guides. They do build crude between the belt and band at times but a shot of diesel fixes that. I would  guess wheel diameter plays a big part in much of this.
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2019, 03:38:57 PM »
  Jeff.  What size wheels does the AC36 have, I think 26" or so which would help with breaking lades vs 19" wheels..  Steve
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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2019, 08:24:41 PM »
They are 26" wheels , I always thought they would be noisey and wear blades out quicker but it's quite the opposite.
Steve I believe the 19" steel wheels were originally on the B-20 earlier models. I always had issues running .055 blades causing premature cracks and blade breakage on the 19" wheels, but alot of other guys seem too like that thickness and get great production.
On the Cooks mill the .055 x 2" wide  Cooks Magnum  blades last along time Iam on number 4# sharpenings and have only ran them through the setter once. 
IAM about half way through my 60 blade supply I got with the super package.

Whidbey Woodworks and Custom Milling  2019 Cooks AC 3662T High production band mill and a Hud-son 60 Diesel wide cut bandmill  JD 2240 50hp Tractor with 145 loader IR 1044 all terrain fork lift  Cooks sharp

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2019, 04:15:57 AM »
 
 I wouldn't even think of running .55 blades on 19" wheel.  My .42  4 blades saw straight until dull and use all the power my 29hp diesel has.  Plus they last a long time and are low cost.  Only in 20" wide spruce they will get a slight ripple.  Steve
Timberking B20 14000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Suffolk  setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

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Re: Belted vs. all-metal band wheels
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2019, 03:02:47 AM »
I definitely don't produce the board footage many on here do on a daily basis, but I do saw almost every single day. Sometimes 200bf, some days 2mbf. I like to run BRAND NEW 1.5" .055's 7 on my lt40 when on a portable job if I have several good offbearers. Key word here is SEVERAL hard workers because I'll work 2 men nearly to death sawing good syp logs. I laugh at myself reading some of my older posts thinking I was sawing fast back then. The blades do break prematurely though. But it's worth it if time is limited. When sawing solo at "home", I usually just run .045"s. I like using the b56 belts because I saw lots of syp and pitch buildup under the belts is a constant annoyance with the 57's. Recently switched blade lube from soap/water to straight diesel. Sure it's hard on the belts but that's why my nearest WM dealership is on speed dial. No more pitch buildup issues on blade body or elsewhere. I've always wanted to try the all steel wheels Cooks has to offer, but just out of mere curiosity. Anyways, just my insignificant little 2 cents. Still have so much to learn.   
2004 LT40 Super 51hp diesel
Cat Claw sharpener/Single Tooth Setter
Stihl chainsaws MS880, 661, 440, 250
Kubota svl75-2 skidsteer w/grapple, forks, brushcutter
1977 Log Hog Knuckleboom loader/truck
Last Summer Was HOT.


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