Carter Band Saw Guides are a popular upgrade option for most band saws. What are they? Carter guides are designed to add stability to the blade, especially in tight curves. Unlike the stationary guide blocks that most of us are used to seeing, they use rollers to guide the blade, both above and below the table. Is that what you need to do a decent job of resawing, and at roughly $150, are they worth it? Here are three expert opinions:
Q. How do you set up a band saw for resawing and are the Carter guides worth the money?
A. (Rob Johnstone) "I got to play with... I mean test ... the Carter guides at a trade show and, in that brief bit of time, found it worked very nicely. Are they worth the money? What do you use your band saw for? If you use it for intricate and accurate shaped cutting, I would say yes. If you use it just for resawing and rough cutting, I would say no.
A. (Ian Kirby) "Begin with a sharp blade designed for resawing. Get the tension and tracking right by trial and success. Use a short fence - a nosed or rounded end block will do for some people - about the height of the cut. Don't force the feed. You need to let the sawdust be carried away or it can be instrumental in causing the cut to wander.
I happen to like Carter guides and think they are worth the money."
A. (Michael Dresdner) "I have tried several resaw setups, and few work well. Oddly enough, I have had better luck simply sawing to a drawn line on the wood with no fence at all. As for Carter guides, they are great, but it depends on what they are replacing as to whether or not they are worth the price."
From the Woodworker's Journal eZine archives
Tom Hintz at NewWoodworker.com also gave Carter Band Saw Guides a big thumbs up. If you'd like a little more information before you buy, check out his review. It covers the installation process - which, by all accounts, is pretty easy - and offers some useful observations on what they can do for band saw performance.
Of course, they aren't going to be on everyone’s list of top priorities. If you have other tools way ahead of high performance band saw blade guides on your "must have" list, for a lot less you upgrade to a set of Olsen Cool Blocks or Ceramic Guide Blocks. Cool Blocks are made from graphite impregnated phenolic laminate and are designed to replace the standard metal guides that come with most band saws. Ceramic Guide Blocks fit Jet and Delta band saws, and are reputed to be the longest lasting available. Neither will give your moving-part-guides-moving-part advantage of roller guides, but they will help keep your blade running truer, cooler (and thus longer) and with less noise.