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Forum topic by DIYaholic posted 11-07-2012 11:57 PM 3212 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


11-07-2012 11:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw question powermatic 81 powermatic bandsaw 20 bandsaw bs

I have a line on a Powermatic 81 – 20” Bandsaw with 12” resaw capacity and “Made in the USA”. I do not know the date of manufacter, but it was a lighter green. The seller said he repainted it a darker green and replaced the bearings and tires during a rehab. I know nothing else about this saw and could use the collective braintrust of LJs to fill my empty head. There are no pictures on the CraigsList posting. He is asking for $900.00 and I wonder if this MAY be a good/fair price? Obviously, I need to test and appraise the saw, but if in good/great shape, is it worth $900.00???
Also, for those with experience/knowledge of this saw, what can you tell me about it’s “pros & cons”. Are replacement/upgrade parts readily available?

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?


24 replies so far

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#1 posted 11-08-2012 12:39 AM

The seller provided me with a photo. He repainted it a darker green (than the original green).

Given this photo, can anyone hazard a guess as to a year of manufacter?
I’m also trying to track down a digital/PDF owners manual. Anyone have a link?

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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Loren

7739 posts in 2338 days


#2 posted 11-08-2012 12:49 AM

Those and the comparable Delta were common school woodshop
saws. I’d say they are comparable. They are heavier than
today’s steel-framed 20” saws due to the full depth cabinet.
I had a Delta.

At that price it should not be a 3 phase machine and the tires
should be in good condition. That said, the old rubber tires
even when cracked will last for years and years.

If he hasn’t turned the tires true they may run lumpy and
so forth.

Vintage is probably early 60s to late 70s. I’m not a Powermatic
guy.

One just went for near $1500 on ebay in Los Angeles which
surprises me a bit, but Powermatic has a rep for quality
and people will pay a premium for it sometimes.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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patron

13103 posts in 2031 days


#3 posted 11-08-2012 01:04 AM

seems like a good deal to me randy

those older saws were real workhorses
they didn’t make them specifically for today’s re-sawing market
so what you get is robust and sturdy
(not like allot of sheet steel ones made now)
with bells and whistles (that are not always the best)
but with a proper re-saw rig and fence
you won’t go wrong (maybe some carter guides too)

all the extras can be added as you like later if needed

as loren said
if it is not 3 phase
you may be good to go

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2338 days


#4 posted 11-08-2012 01:10 AM

looks like it has a VFD which makes this saw running a 220 3 phase motor, but you should be able to run it on single-phase. at $900 for this saw it’s a good deal considering the VFD is included, but I would try to negotiate the price a tad bit lower. this saw could just run and run and run..

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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JL7

7275 posts in 1655 days


#5 posted 11-08-2012 01:25 AM

Hey Randy – that’s a real beast! You have a basement shop right? If so, the main issue is the ability to get it down the stairs without dying and if you have 220 available to fire it up….....cool saw for sure…...

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#6 posted 11-08-2012 01:26 AM

Thanks guys.
3 replies and 3 “Good to Go”s…..

Loren,
The add says it will run an 3PH or single phase.

David,
My next interweb search will be “upgrade” parts. Yeah, Carter is where I’ll be looking!!!

PurpLev,
I know NOTHING about VFDs. I’ve heard about them, so I guess it’s time to LEARN about them.

Sounds promising. I do need to travel 3.5 hours to pick it up, so I NEED TO BE SURE, before I travel. Luckily my company pays for my gas, so it will only cost me my time to travel there.

Again, Thanks for the help and input. It is GREATLY appreciated.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#7 posted 11-08-2012 01:28 AM

Jeff,
I do have 220 available. Lucky me, although my bank account might groan a little. I also have an electric winch, to help lower the saw into the basement.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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Loren

7739 posts in 2338 days


#8 posted 11-08-2012 01:30 AM

With a VFD you can cut ferrous metals with it.

You have to make sure to power up the VFD now and
then even if you aren’t using the motor. There’s
a capacitor or something in a VFD that can die if
it sits too long; so I’ve read.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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patron

13103 posts in 2031 days


#9 posted 11-08-2012 01:37 AM

if it needs vfd (volunter fire department)

let them get it down those stairs
get them a case of beer

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#10 posted 11-08-2012 01:47 AM

Loren,
Thanks for the heads up.

David,
I’d buy them 2 cases, to get it down stairs, but not until they put the fire out!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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Nicky

636 posts in 2782 days


#11 posted 11-08-2012 02:15 AM

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/655/5008.pdf , a poorly scanned manual.

I have a friend that bought his in the mid 90’s through a government auction. He paid at the time around $400 w/o the motor. I helped load and unload. It’s built like a tank. My friend put in a 2hp motor. He had done some tuning and has been running it ever since. No problems that I know of. I’ve brought over from time to time some larger logs, and stock for re-sawing, and it’s a dream to use. The shear mass of this monster keeps any vibration in check.

Before you buy, be sure all the parts are there, all operator adjustments work, upper and lower wheels spin freely etc… This is a well built machine. My friends saw had a manufacturing date of 1971, so I would be concerned with spare parts if yours is missing anything, or something is not operating correctly.

I also think that the machine maybe on the high side. You really have to ask yourself what its worth to you. Start out low, and test the waters. Sometimes you have to make your own great deals.

Good luck, and keep the board posted. Lots of fans of big iron here.

-- Nicky

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#12 posted 11-08-2012 02:49 AM

Nicky,
Thanks, for the link and the good advice, that I will surely put to use. The seller (just) provided a PDF manual that has a 1964 date. I also found a PDF manual from 1970. The manual you linked to is from 1993 (obviously, a newer version). So I would say the saw is the older model.

I really wish we could share files on this site!!!

I will definately keep this thread updated with the outcome…...

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1311 posts in 1499 days


#13 posted 11-08-2012 03:33 AM

Randy that is an ok price. This is not so much about price as it is availability. There are a lot of them out there but you dont see an abundance for sell because they flat do not wear out. Go get it. ( in nice condition 12-1400 would be in line) JB

View Dave's profile

Dave

11184 posts in 1530 days


#14 posted 11-08-2012 03:57 AM

Randy,
Saw BIG
Green
has a P on it.
Looks heavy.
You know what I know.
I cant help ya but good luck on what you choose to do.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

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DIYaholic

13778 posts in 1365 days


#15 posted 11-08-2012 04:31 AM

cabmaker,
I only seem to see C’man, Jet and Delta 14”, 9-10” bench tops and huge 36” rusted relics on CL. I did see a 14” Rikon recently though. It is a fine line (price wise) between “old Iron” with needed upgrades and “NIB” 14-17” BS. It is a question of durable/reliable “old Iron” VS warrantied “NIB” with more frills than substance? What is a guy (or gal, to be PC) to do?

Dave,
Sometimes, size does matter.

P = Performaance
O = Old Iron
W = Weight
E = Expensive (usually)
R = Resaw
M = Massive
A = Accuracy
T = Tennessee
I = Indestructable
C = Cast Iron Table

Can ya tell which way I’m a leanin’?

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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