Powermatic 141 bandsaw refurbish #1: Diving in

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Blog entry by splintergroup posted 06-02-2016 07:24 PM 706 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Powermatic 141 bandsaw refurbish series Part 2: The painting »

I wasn’t going to blog about this since I hadn’t planned on doing so much to the saw, but as things go…..

I had been wanting another bandsaw to complement my MiniMax 16. Usually when I do a project, I end up resawing some wood and also cutting shapes with templates on the router table. Though it only takes about 5 minutes, swapping from a re-saw blade to a blade appropriate for cutting curves gets real old. I wanted another saw that I could leave equipped with a small (1/4”) blade for general purpose use. It could be a small saw with low power since it would not need to work very hard.

This blog should run in three segments, each segment will be what happens over a weekend. Since I had already begun the process of refurbishing before deciding to do this writeup, some of the details are not well documented for this first part.

So let it begin!

I saw mention of an on-line tool auction about a large drum sander in a Lumberjacks thread. It was then I noticed that the auction was physically nearby so I dug a bit deeper and found this ”gem”

It met all my specs! The right size and homely enough that it should go for a reasonable price. I went to physically check it out. It appeared as expected, the only unseen “surprises” were the original motor was gone and the replacement was sitting on a piece of plywood in the motor cabinet. The tires were rotted and grooved as expected for an old saw.

I determined a target price and won the saw with little fuss from other bidders. These auctions have lots of ‘fees’ associated with buying and I needed to add a 15% buyers fee and $20 loading fee onto my bid price. Still, overall I was happy with the deal.

So on Friday evening I unloaded it into my garage (oops! I mean “studio”) and contemplated what to do first.

I had anticipated just leaving it alone except for making necessary repairs, but I have a personality flaw that won’t let that happen…..

My mind was beginning to think about a full restoration. This would mean a complete teardown with lots of sandblasting and metal debarring/polishing.

Egads! My summer would be lost!

Ok, I settled on just making the thing look nice on the outside and maybe I’ll only lose a month of weekends.

Saturday morning arrives and I begin the tear down.

Step 1: Remove the easy stuff

The doors and blade guides come off. The chrome plating on the blade guide bar is flaking off. No problem, the fit is still proper. I notice more detail on the factory “inspection” sticker inside the top door

Built in 1964!

Step 2: Get the wheels cleaned up for new tires
The wheels are removed with the help of a three jaw puller and the tires come off easily enough with a razor blade.

I had spun the wheels before bidding and after I got it home and all seemed smooth, but now that I have the wheels removed, the spindle bearings seems a tad rough. The lower spindle just needed some oil behind the seals from a router bit oiler. Things smoothed up nicely! The upper bearings demanded a closer look so I pulled the wheel shaft and bearings.

Lots of black crud (deteriorating bearing seal) and the bearings rotated with a distinct clunking. May as well replace all bearings since 52 years of use/abuse have gone by.

Panic sets in when I read off the bearing part number and look online only to find that bearing doesn’t exist! Measuring the dimensions reveals everything is “odd”. The numbers are close to metric, but not quite and why would metric bearings be used on a 1964 power tool? A search for replacement parts by tool model found that has the bearings, at $45/per. Ouch! they must be rare and they know they can charge whatever the market will bear!

Fortunately the excellent archives at OWWM provided a bearing part list. The bearings are indeed metric (and readily available!).

Bearings are ordered!

The lower spindle assembly:

Step 3: The electrical

The original power switch was replaced with a cheap house wall switch. I found a suitable unit at for $15 (on order). The original motor was replaced with a 3/4 HP swamp cooler motor. This means a centrifugal switch for the starting winding to cut out instead of capacitor start. No real problem since the starting torque load is small, but I’ll have to keep the saw dust away!
I’ll see if I can find a better way to use the original motor mount and get rid of the home made plywood mount.
The interior power cord wiring is a bit crusty, I’ll replace that as well.

Step 4: The rest

No other surprises, everything else comes apart easily, no cracks or other game changers. New urethane tires are on order.

Step 5: Paint prep

It’s Sunday.
Now for the fun. The paint on this saw was what really made it look “sad”. It appears that the previous users had somehow been spilling/splattering some other paint/solvent on the side and base and at one point had tried to scrape it off.
Two quarts of paint stripper got the exterior pieces down to bare metal and the large cast iron frame ready.

It’s Monday! (a holiday)
I used to do a lot of automotive work, including painting, so I have a stash of old paints and primer. My favorite is Variprime. It is a self etching primer which means it has phosphorous acid in the mix to bite into the steel and also make any rust inert. Basically it is otherwise just Zinc Chromate, the sage green stuff.

Here is the frame after priming

This weekend I’ll continue with the painting. Parts are on order and I might get to begin assembly on the weekend after next assuming everything arrives. This will give the paint a week to set up.

Until then!

4 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2533 posts in 1674 days

#1 posted 06-02-2016 10:18 PM

Splinter, thank you for blogging your progress. I have never done anything like this (I’m not mechanically inclined.) and appreciate you sharing your expertise.

-- Art

View JimYoung's profile


218 posts in 1004 days

#2 posted 06-03-2016 01:02 AM

Ditto Art’s comments. Nice to see how this is done since I don’t usually buy new tools.

-- -Jim, "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1526 posts in 1923 days

#3 posted 06-03-2016 01:54 AM

Great job so far! This has been added to my watch list.

View BurlyBob's profile


3450 posts in 1683 days

#4 posted 06-03-2016 01:55 AM

I’m going to love watching this project. I watched a friend rebuild his Powermatic planer. I was there when he started it for the first time. I would love to be there when you fire up this old girl.

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