Video links below…
Recently I purchased an older 20” bandsaw. I need a larger bandsaw that can handle anything I throw at it.. I think I found that in a mid 70’s Rockwell 20” wood cutting bandsaw. It probably came out of a school wood shop. The motor is 2hp, it has two speeds which can be adjusted with the belt, it has already been upgraded with carter guides, this big boy saw weighs over 600 lbs. I made several videos regarding this saw which i’ll post below. I purchased the saw “as is” I could not hear it run nor test it before hand but the guy seemed trustworthy, he owned his own commercial wood shop. He was an older dude. We agreed on a price of $500 which seemed fair since I bought it with out testing it (it used to be wired direct & didn’t have a plug in on the cord), besides the heavily rusted top & a broken tension handle the saw looked fine, the wheels checked out & were true, I didn’t see any cracks or anything bad so & I dragged it home.
This beast of a saw weighed so much I had a hard time sliding it around on the concrete floor in my shop so the first thing I needed to do was make a strong stand for it so it could easily be moved about. I just used 2×4 material & heavy duty steel casters, I used 5 casters for this cart, I place one wheel under the throat since that appeared to be where most of weight was. This also ensures it wouldn’t tip over if one of the casters ever failed. In all this lifted the bandsaw 4 extra inches & the table is at a more more comfortable height. Here is a video from the day I purchased the saw & got it home… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzJdPP2NH0
Now that I got the saw on the new cart I rolled it off to a lonely corner in the shop & forgot about it… One year came & went, time flew by. At this point I have yet to test the saw to see if it even worked…. Finally I got the motivation & placed an electrical end on the cord that matched the 220v style I have here at the shop. After checking that the blade wouldn’t fall off the wheels, if the motor did work, I closed the doors & pushed the green button that says START…. It roared with life, It works, she fired up no problems, smooth & all. Now that I know it works I could finally proceed & dial this bandsaw in. Here is a video of the first time I got to hear it run.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctAOr1vd_wM
Now I was on to the refurbish job…... Here is a link to that video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP94GY7gPds
The saw was in relatively good shape, the only big problem was the previous owner for whatever reason put the saw outside under a tarp for a period of time, I’m guessing over a year. He said the tarp he used to cover the saw blew off but I found plenty of shredded blue tarp fragments in the wheel compartment so I think the UV light killed the tarp & the saw was then in the elements. I found the saw in the hi desert area of California & we are currently in a drought, so not a lot of moisture up there but the cast iron top did take a beating & was pretty rusty. I needed to remove the rust from the top & the saw also had a broken plastic tension handle so that needed to be addressed as well.
The first thing I did was make a tension handle, I make one out of metal simply by welding a 1/2” square tube to a nut, easy enough… This new handle is by far the best thing I could of done. Imo way better than ordering a cheap plastic piece that would have cost more money. The only before pic I have of the top before I removed the rust is this one from when I was messing with the boys over on instagram
The dreaded rust removal how-to. Okay here is how I removed the rust off the cast iron top. As we all know there are more ways than one to skin a cat so it would be silly to think there is just one way to remove rust from a cast iron top such as this bandsaw or a table saw , jointer or any machine with a bare metal finish. One other way that comes to mind is the electrolysis process. Electrolysis cleans away rust like magic, and you can set up a simple system in your shop with a battery charger and a few household items. Feel free to search it out. It can take a few days while the chemical reaction does its thing, I was planning on doing that with this top but I for one didn’t have the time to wait a few days while the process worked plus I knew I would need to hand sand the black Magnetite which is a pain regardless So I opted for the sure way & that begins with soaking the rusty top with wd-40. I soaked this top for 24 hours letting it soak right into the rust & loosening things up a bit. After that I first tried to sand by hand using a scotch brite pad & then a steel-wool but both were tough to break through the thick rust that settled on the cast iron. I then used an orbital sander. I used contact cement to secure a scotch brite pad & used that in conjunction with wd-40 being the lubricant, it worked to cut the rust but I got greasy rust splattered on my new shorts from the sander, haha, thats a different story. Okay now I had all the orange rust removed I was left with a mostly black surface & a few areas where the clean metal was poking through. This stuff is hard to remove. After fighting it for a while I decided I had to go a different route. I used lacquer thinner to remove all the oily wd-40 from the top making sure I got it all. Then I got out a different clean orbital sander & then used very fine 400 – 600 grit wet dry sand paper & proceeded to dry sand the top. I took even passes being sure not to remove too much material in any given area & this technique worked great for me. It should be noted that this entire process took place outside with plenty of ventilation. After around 60 minutes of dry sanding & about 5 or 6 sanding pads I was satisfied with the results & then set up for the next step.
The last remaining steps to this process was basically polishing & wax. An electric buffer would speed things along but I did this by hand. I started with rubbing compound on a rag, I worked from one corner to the opposite corner while working it the best I could applying even swirls to the surface as I moved, It dries pretty quick so I wiped it all off with a rag then did it again three times total. Then repeated the same process again only this time with polishing compound. After that I applied several coats of carnauba wax I was finished, it came out great. It took less than 3 hours but like I mentioned an electric buffer would be ideal, I don’t own one.
Over all I am very happy with this bandsaw. The saw has an incredible amount of power & torque. I would not advise anybody to buy a used tool with out testing it first unless you know what you are doing.
I tested the bandsaw by cutting some cedar firewood logs, it cuts nicely
It’s now a good saw & well worth the effort I put into it but now it need a bandsaw fence because how are you going to resaw with out a fence? I looked around for a resaw fence but they are very expensive $300-$400 for a good one, thats not going to happen for me but I had an idea about making one from scratch. A few weeks past since I finished the saw, I was cleaning out my shed & ran across a biesemeyer fence I purchased off craigslist a year earlier for $75. It was originally going to be installed on a craftsman 113. tablesaw but that fell through when a better delta t2 fence popped up on CL, This fence was now extra, it was old & beat up but I can see potential. It would be cool to use on this bandsaw…....... More to come…....
-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )