Use Rosin to Tighten up Your Band Saw
No matter how nice your band saw is, it’s still a fussy instrument with a lot of settings that are shaken loose by vibration. A block of rosin can improve things immensely.
Rosin is a tree-sap product used by musician who play instruments with a bow, such as the violin and cello. Applying rosin to the bow makes the strings vibrate clearly. Rosin is also used in many machine shops to act as the opposite of a lubricant and make things stick. And it’s used baseball to increase control of the ball.
In short, it’s sticky stuff.
You can buy a block of rosin at any musical instrument for less than $5. There are different grades, of course. The more you pay, the softer and stickier the stuff is (in my experience). I’ve had good luck with the less-expensive grades as my woodwork has not yet taken me to Carnegie Hall.
I use rosin in lots of places in the shop, such as keeping the handles in place in my socket chisels. Lately, I’ve used it to improve my band saw so it will retain its settings.
I have a great 14” band saw – a Delta Rockwell from the 1970s. It’s classic iron but can still be improved. Sometimes the guides slip during heavy cuts. Rubbing rosin on the guide’s shaft and the locking screw made an immediate improvement.
While I had the rosin out, I rubbed it on the shaft and screw controls for the saw’s thrust bearings. These bearings behind the blade tend to slip back after a fair amount of pushing and vibration. I also applied it to the ways and locking screws of the saw’s tilting table. These controls hold their setting fairly well, but a little rosin made them lock even harder.
In short, if it slips, try rubbing some rosin on it before thinking about a repair. I’ve used rosin to remedy a slipping coping saw plus a nut on my jointer’s guard that kept slipping down. It’s definitely worth the $5.
— Christopher Schwarz