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Band saw tribulations

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Blog entry by muleskinner posted 1000 days ago 4920 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I rescued a 12” Craftsman band saw a couple of weeks ago. The price was right in my wheelhouse … $0. Not knowing if I will really use a band saw that much, it seems like a prudent investment. A cursory inspection indicated that it was worth hauling home. A little research revealed that it was 70’s vintage which I put down as a plus since I’ve got it in my head that Craftsman was better made back then then it is now. That’s probably just my latent geezer-ness showing.

Anyway, hauled it home and excavated a spot in the shop to try it out. Flipped the switch and it spun right up. At least it runs. But I don’t think it is really supposed to be shaking like that. And I think a butter knife might rip this 2×4 faster than this.

Okay, I read someplace (here) that these things need a tune-up from time to time. Open it up and it seems odd that there is a rubber tire around the top wheel and none on the bottom wheel. Maybe that had something to do with the blade being hammered to dog do-do.

The local merchants are no help and the Sears store is worse than useless so it is left to the World Wide Web and UPS to deliver two new tires (PART NUMBER: 41815 from Sears) and a new 1/4” blade. Ten days later. The tires (neoprene I think) and blade arrive. The tires appear pretty small next to the wheel. After a quick geometry refresher I determine that I’ve got to get 28 3/4” of neoprene around 39 1/4” of wheel rim. Seems a bit of a stretch, so to speak.

While struggling to work one on I’m thinking to myself, “Ya know, if I had a band saw I could cut a couple of concentric disks that I could attach to the wheel and use them to step this rubber band onto the wheel”. As I don’t QUITE have a band saw, I use a couple of plastic jawed bar clamps and after a couple of scraped knuckles finally work a tire into place … as it simultaneously changes from a rubber band into a rubber strip. Close inspection reveals that some dumb ass may have nicked the edge of the neoprene during this delicate operation.

Using the due caution that that dumb ass should have used, I deftly get my backup tire in place. Smug with success I install the nice new sharp blade, adjust the guides as instructed by the manual. It still shakes like it really wanted to be an orbital sander and is only in the sawing business cuz dad was. Then I notice that the add on speed reducer is noisy distraction that might not be helping things. After removal things calmed down considerably. Still more vibration than I would expect. The flimsy motor mount is my prime suspect. Modification is in order but first I’m going to cut a couple disks.

-- Visualize whirled peas



10 comments so far

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6067 posts in 1384 days


#1 posted 1000 days ago

Other than being a little small, I’ve heard people say they like their older Craftsman bandsaws. You’ll not be resawing hardwood on it, but it’ll cut curves with the best of ‘em once you get the vibration out. It’s not going to run as smooth as a high end saw, mind you, so don’t worry too much as long as it isn’t messing up the cut.

I bet if you search a little you’ll find some tips on tuning up that saw. Check the pulleys to make sure they’re flat, the belt should be in good shape (no need for a link belt on that saw, it won’t help much). Make sure the motor shaft isn’t bent. Good tires are very important, no cracks and a good crown are vital to a saw running and tracking smoothly, but sounds like you took care of that already. And I assume the blade you got was of top quality? That will make a difference too.

I don’t think there’s much difference between the Craftsman saws of the 70’s-90’s. Their new saws are much better, and their really old saws (often under other brand names in the 50’s and early 60’s) are the “better old ones” you may have been thinking about. How about posting some photos?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View taoist's profile

taoist

110 posts in 1075 days


#2 posted 1000 days ago

Great story and good writing. I can’t help as I bought, a few months ago, a used Grizzly 16” band saw that was produced prior to 1993. Really wasn’t my finest idea…After a new off/on switch, new Carter guides, and much to much work on the table, I have a band saw such as it is.
It has to do with the capability of what the saw can accomplish. I’ve already cut a few things that I could only have done with a jig saw and I no hand with a jig saw.
You will get it sorted out with a little time and patience.

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

661 posts in 1020 days


#3 posted 1000 days ago

thanks for the feedback and encouragement fellas. The band saw can definitely use some more fine tuning and, like I said, the motor mount needs to be stiffened up. I ordered another tire to replace the old one that was on the machine. It’s too loose and climbs off the rim.

The saw was a package deal with a 6” Delta jointer. The knives are STILL at the saw filers shop (there’s a tale to be told there too). Hopefully getting it set up will not be as entertaining.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1444 posts in 1011 days


#4 posted 1000 days ago

Following Lonnie Bird’s advice in “the bandsaw book”. I numbered each spoke of the top wheel and spun it like a roulette wheel a hundred times. 50 forward 50 back wrote the result of each spin – found the light spoke, drilled a 5mm hole and bolted a small flat piece of a shelf bracket on. Remount the blade, tension, and start up, you may have to add or subtract wieght but in the end the saw will be smooth as silk. I did mine and what a difference!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2353 posts in 2022 days


#5 posted 1000 days ago

I’ve got a 70’s vintage craftsman 14” bandsaw. I’ve actually had it since ‘76. If you can get yours working well, it’s nice to have for those times when another saw just won’t do. Good luck with it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2830 posts in 1071 days


#6 posted 1000 days ago

If you have the Craftsman 12” with the poly rib belt… Beware!

The driven pulley is notorious for egging our on the shaft.

I have one and fashioned a bushing for it out of soft copper tube but I’ll end up taking the pulley to a machinist and having it bored and a new steel busing with keyway installed.

Mine works great, I use it for resawing everything from Osage Orange to Mahogany to Black Walnut. The biggest problem I have is keeping it in one place, I have to chase it across the floor.

BTW, Sears doesn’t offer the pulleys any more. Of Course!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3031 posts in 1259 days


#7 posted 997 days ago

I have 2 of those 70 something 12 inch saws. I had one for many years and an uncle gave me a second one. the gifted saw came with the speed reducer. I think that is the main problem. Mine shook and carried on. I added and all thread to stiffen the motor mount but it is nothing like the original mount. I am all for going back to the original design. I have used some Sears blades and am not totally impressed by them. I had one that was welded crooked. That makes them vibrate and dance around. Good machine steel pulleys are a plus. They are standard sizes and can be bought at most places that sell such things. Mine has regular V-Belts. Those take a set from sitting too long also. A new belt might help.

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

661 posts in 1020 days


#8 posted 996 days ago

Grandpa, the speed reducer was definitely the bulk of the vibration problem. I suspect the flimsy sheet metal motor shelf is the secondary contributor. I suspect that it’s not a the original motor and is heavier. The fan end sags making for less than ideal geometry. I’m mulling over alternatives.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

2830 posts in 1071 days


#9 posted 996 days ago

Hmm, I think I may have been referencing a different 12” Craftsman band saw. Mine is a 113.248320. Tilt head, 1 1/8 HP, large table, dual speed.

Sorry if I caused any confusion.

DF

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

661 posts in 1020 days


#10 posted 995 days ago

Yeah Dallas, mines a 113.24350 with a small (~12×14) tilt table and 3/4 hp. Different beasts with the same idiosyncrasies it seems. Don’t worry, almost all of my confusion is self-inflicted.

-- Visualize whirled peas

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