1954 craftsman 12" bandsaw restoration

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Blog entry by emart posted 05-03-2011 04:15 AM 9941 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

about 5 weeks ago i bought an old bandsaw for $100 and have just finished restoring it.
originally it had a 1/3 horse motor but it appears that some time in the 60s someone replaced it with a 1 horse motor.

here it is after i brought it home and cleaned the table

i used a wire brush then proceeded to treat it with linseed oil and then johnson wax just to make sure it wont rust again for a while

i also set to work taking it all apart and checking everything as well as oiling the upper guide assembly so it would move freely again. i checked the bearings on the upper wheel and they seemed decent for now especially after i saw some expensive bearings at the hardware store ($13 each!!) and discovered the old american made bearings i took out were actually better than the overpriced bearings i found (i will order some new ones eventually)

when i first bought it i noticed it vibrated horribly it would move as much as 3/4 of an inch in either direction. i had soon realized the large drive pulley was cracked. ironically that was a more recent part which was put on in order to reduce the 3450 rpm motor to the required 640 the saw needed. after much searching i eventually found a replacement on the sears website. with that done i set about taking the entire saw apart and cleaning it as well as replacing the worn drive belt which combined with the new pulley solved most of the vibration problems.

with all of that taken care of i decided to replace the bulky wood stand it was on with a much smaller one made of 1/4 inch angle iron as well as put it on 4 locking swivel casters.
after about 4 days of work i had welded up a new stand for it ( and yes i know it looks like a sawhorse)

here are some pics of it after i primed it:

the little steel box you see in the pic is very important keep scrolling down to understand why

here is a pic of my new stand next to the old one you can tell how much smaller it is

first mach-up assembly i havent installed the motor or wired it all back up just yet and of course i decided to match it to the original color of the saw (im calling it chevy gold in case you’re wondering)

and here it is with all the wiring installed (see i told you the box was important it mounts the junction box)

here it is at a different angle

there is my nice new pulley installed

the next 3 pics show just how much smaller the new stand is:

the outlines are where the saw originally sat, that gives some perspective as to just how much space it was wasting which is unacceptable in my little shop

i think all in all i shaved about 6 inches off the footprint in one dimension as well as making it a lot easier to move it since i dont have to tilt the entire saw backwards anymore. it has gotten about an inch taller but thats not a big issue.

after all the parts i needed and about $40 in paint and primer i spent a total of $100 on restoring this old dinosaur to better than new condition

after testing it again i discovered it now passes the nickel test which is leaps and bounds better than it was before (it used to shake like an old beat up washing machine.)

oh and the metal i used on the stand was free (its always good to be on a welding instructor’s good side)

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

5 comments so far

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3815 days

#1 posted 05-03-2011 02:53 PM

Nice Save!!! Good to see the old girl up all dressed up and running. I really like the new angle iron stand and the curvy case.
Thanks for sharing with us.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2721 days

#2 posted 05-03-2011 03:10 PM

Very very cool. Very nice stylings on that saw.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3793 days

#3 posted 05-03-2011 03:57 PM

Great brand new, old saw. You did a really nice job restoring it.
- JJ

View guppi's profile


1 post in 497 days

#4 posted 02-11-2017 10:45 PM

just got home with my treasure,,,, paid $25. Does anyone know what year this old machine was built?

View emart's profile


445 posts in 2656 days

#5 posted 02-12-2017 05:54 AM

just got home with my treasure,,,, paid $25. Does anyone know what year this old machine was built?

- guppi

My specific machine was made between the late 30s to the early 60s. The gold ones were made in the early 50s and my machine was built in 1952.

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

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