As I mentioned here, I acquired a new toy last night, which I had been considering for a while. I found this on Craigslist, and I started doing some research on OWWM. As it turns out, Power King was a pretty popular machine maker back in the day, and was acquired by Atlas Press Tool Co. (another pretty popular manufacturer) in the late 40’s. The 912 was sold pretty much as-is by Atlas after that, as you can see from the OWWM page (they look almost identical except for the paint color). Mine is branded “Power King”, so it was made some time between 1942 and 1948, more likely closer to 1942 since the serial # is 2889.
So, for $100, I figured I was getting a pretty good deal, yet at the same time I figured the machine would need some work to perform to its full potential. Here’s the full view:
As you can see, there’s minimal rust on the machine, something I was pretty surprised about when I saw it. What looks like rust is just gunk and sawdust built up in places here and there. I took a small brush and started cleaning some parts off, just to be sure, and found no rust under the build up.
Here’s the label on the front, and the serial # tag on the back (which I didn’t notice was blurry till now… but it’s too damn cold in my garage to retake it right now…):
And here’s the table top, which measures 14”x14”. The surface is not bad, there’s very little actual surface rust – the discoloration looks like paint or stain that was spilled on it at some point in the past. I took a random orbit sander to a small part to see how easy it’d be to clean up, and I got shiny metal within a minute of sanding. There’s a small ding on the back side of the table, but it’s not bad, and no crack. The table insert is pretty chewed up, but I could not get it out of the table. I don’t know if it snaps in, or twist-locks in or what, but I couldn’t get it to budge.
Here’s the shot under the table, showing the guide block holders for the bottom. This saw is a bit odd apparently… it has 3 1/2”x1/2” cubic guide blocks, and one 1/2”x1/2” guide block that is skewed (parallelogram I think it’s called?). The holder for the skewed guide block is clearly visible in this picture:
Any idea where I could get a set of guide blocks to match this? It seems like most of the saws that have skewed block configurations are larger than 1/2”. The trunions for the table are all in good shape, and the table tilts pretty well… it’s a little stiff after 30 degrees or so, so I’ll probably need to clean up some gunk from underneath to get it to tilt freely… not that I plan on using it while tilted.
Here’s the upper wheel, after the top guard was removed. The tires on this thing are shot… hard, dry, and cracked all over, so I’ll have to get some new tires for it. The wheels seem to be a modern standard size (12” diameter, over 1” wide), and I’ve seen on at least one forum the mention that urethane tires work fine on these, so that’ll be a future purchase. Once again, all the stuff that looks like rust is just gunk build up, it wipes off with little effort, so it should be an easy clean up. The wheel bearings seem to be in good shape, and the wheels spin nice and easy.
Here’s a view of the upper blade guide, I took one of the guide blocks out to measure it (these are the old style brass type). The thrust bearing looks pretty rough, but it still spins ok – though it needs to be cleaned up. I used to play roller hockey, and I’ve seen worse, so a nice bath in some WD40 should be all that’s required to get these working well again (the lower looks a bit worse, more gunk built up on it).
Here’s the motor, it’s a 1/2HP Eicor.
And here’s the tension adjustment knob and height adjustment for the upper guide. There is just over 6.25” of capacity when all the way up (at 6.5”, the thrust bearing rubs against the upper blade guard).
So, why no blade on this? Because I already broke it :-/
I was testing out the saw on some scraps of maple, and it was not going well… the blade seemed to be burning through the wood more than it was cutting it. I don’t know much about bandsaw blades yet, but this one was a 1/4” 6TPI blade, so I’m sure it was less than ideal for cutting through something as hard as maple (probably dull as a butter knife too). The edges of the wood were absolutely blackened, so I’m sure I over heated the blade. Also, I doubt the previous owner de-tensioned the blade after using it (the tension on the blade seemed pretty high to me), so with all that going it really didn’t surprise me that the blade snapped at the weld point after a couple of test cuts. I’ve already researched getting a Timber Wolf blade for this, based on the reviews here, so I’ll look to get that in the near future as well.
One of the really cool things about OWWM, is that they have manuals scanned in, including one for the 912. So, the recommended blade size is 3/8”, and (as you can see written all over the outside of the upper cover) the blade length is 82”. This seems to be a pretty standard blade, so it shouldn’t be too expensive to pick up.
Overall, the machine runs pretty quiet, though there is a noticeable vibration. If replacing the tires and blade don’t correct that, I may look to replace the belt to the motor, and even maybe rebuild the stand the whole thing is mounted on. The current one is quite large, with a hinged lid and compartment for storing stuff. Looking at the later Atlas 912’s, they all seem to have the motor mounted below, and many people have fabricated belt guards for them, which is something I really like. Also, I’m not a fan of the current power switch location, and I’ll probably move that in the future regardless (maybe upgrade to a larger paddle-style switch). The space between the feet is open as well, so it may be possible to add dust collection ability as well.
So, that’s my new old tool :) I’m pretty excited about it, as I’ve never bought a tool this old before. I find it very cool just thinking that this thing is 60+ years old, and still looks to be in pretty damn good shape!
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"