Mezzanine Reader
11/23/14 12:16 a.m.

I bought this old band saw about ten years ago at an estate sale. The previous owner was obviously a cool old dude because he had a ton of neat shop tools and ancient electronics junk. I bought this saw and a nice full size drill press for $100 out the door.

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It was totally functional, as long as the fact that the motor was just hanging on the v-belt in the lower cabinet didn't bother you; it wasn't secure in any way. For years I'd only use it in an emergency because of this. The saw has moved with me three different times, and I finally got tired of moving a non-functional tool around in my shop. So I decided to fix it.

I don't really do anything with wood, and the saw speed was too high for metal, so a speed reduction was in order. I thought about doing a total rebuild with new paint and everything, but the saw is in great working order, and I don't want to paint over the cool decals, so I decided to leave the patina.

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When I bought the saw, the tires were totally shot, so I ordered some eBay urethane specials. They were a little tricky to get mounted, but fit pretty well in the end. Plus 3HP for orange color.

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First order of business was to get a new saw blade onto the thing. This saw was made in 1939, when every homeowner had the tools and knowledge of welding band saw blades into the length desired. These days we just buy the size we need, but unfortunately this saw takes a goofy size nobody sells and I don't know anybody with a band saw welder. So I fired up the Atlas shaper and made a spacer block to add two inches to the blade length, getting me into a standard off-the-shelf saw size. Success! Er... looks like I need to make new guide-rods that are longer to suit the new spacer too. I forgot to take photos, but you can see in the photo what they look like.

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I threw on a new bi-metal saw, and adjusted it to run.

To be continued...

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/23/14 7:02 a.m.

Nice. I'll be watching this one.

chiodos New Reader
11/23/14 12:57 p.m.

Fyi most big vertical bandsaws have welders built onto the unit nowadays. Cool referb and I think its great you kept the original finish

Mezzanine Reader
11/23/14 11:02 p.m.

A bit more about the saw: it was sold by Sears, but was made by Walker Turner. As I mentioned in the first post, I'm leaving the original finish because I don't have any leads on replacement decals. Here is what all the badges on the saw look like:

Like most old Sears equipment, it is relatively easy to look up parts and schematics by the number plate. This thing is a cast-iron hoss, and really fits the "they don't make them like they used to" saying.

On to the speed reduction.

There were two motors rolling around in the lower cabinet of the saw when I bought it. One let the smoke out pretty much right away, and the other purrs along almost silently. Lets use that one, shall we? I think it was a washing machine motor or something, and it is quite old. I need to get a shot of the nameplate. When I got the saw, there was a half-hearted attempt to mount the motor on wood with some horseshoe shaped hinge pieces to allow the weight of the motor to tension the belt. I decided to re-use them. They are the green cast iron pieces in this photo:

Bandsaw rebuild

My idea here was to spend very little on parts, and make a fairly simple belt tension system. The motor will hang on the intermediate shaft, which will hang on the saw drive shaft. The design would require me to get a set of pillow block bearings, but these two were like $11 each. Not bad, even if they are mediocre quality imports. I made some threaded ends for some spare rod-ends to thread into, and then welded them to some angle.

Bandsaw rebuild

Here is another photo showing the mock-up:

Bandsaw rebuild

After getting the intermediate shaft frame all welded up, I assembled the shaft and mounted the pillow blocks. The intermediate shaft is .5" diameter, because that was the ID of my smaller sheave. The larger sheave had a .75" bore, so I made a bushing for it out of some scrap round stock.

Bandsaw rebuild

Here is the whole assembly installed in the cabinet for testing.


I fired up the motor to test it using some old 3/8" belts from my SAAB. Obviously, they don't fit the 1/2" sheaves well, but they were close enough to see it run. I ran to Ace for belts and some fasteners. The design works well, but I need to clock the old-fashioned motor mounts 90 degrees so the opening is horizontal. Also, both the motor mount and the intermediate shaft frame mount attach to the side of the sheet metal lower cabinet- I need to make a backer to sandwich the sheet metal and give it a little support because the motor mount is bowing the sheet steel out a bit. It's pretty thin stuff.

Totals spent so far (not counting scrap material values): $25 for pillow block bearings $17 for belts and fasteners

Total: $42

I'll post more progress as it happens. Next up is making some revisions to the speed reduction and painting everything for rust prevention.

After that, I want to modernize the saw guides, if possible.

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