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My Delta Bandsaw Refurb

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Forum topic by Chris208 posted 541 days ago 1761 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris208

174 posts in 903 days


541 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw rebuild refurbish power tools

Last September I was cruising my local Craiglist’s tools section and saw an ad for a 14” Delta band saw. The seller was asking $60. I had seen examples of this band saw advertised for upwards of $400, so I was intrigued. I called the guy, and he told me that a bunch of people had called, and that a guy was on his way to come look at it, but he would call me if it fell through. I was a disappointed, but got on with my day. At lunch, my phone rings – it’s the seller of the band saw calling to tell the other guy had flaked out. Awesome! I stopped by the ATM, and high tailed it to take a look at the saw. When I got there, the saw was upright in a landscaping trailer. As I got closer, it’s more major flaws began showing. The power switch was nothing more than a light switch, and was dangling by a wire. The table was rusted, but not too badly, the tires were rotten, and the thrust bearings were seized, and partially cut through – by the back of the saw blade! Also, much of the band saw’s smaller parts were coming to me in a plastic bag. The seller informed me that the saw had belonged to his grandfather.

It was in pretty rough shape, but I figured for $60, the motor, and the cast iron frame were worth more than I was giving. I paid the asking price, and the seller helped me wrestle the saw into the back of my Subaru. I was now the proud new owner of an American made Delta band saw!

With a little research I learned that the saw was manufactured in 1994. The previous owner had clearly been very rough on the saw. The entire inside of the wheel housings were coated in a black, tar-like substance, as were the adjustment mechanisms under the table. It appeared that no routine maintenance had been done. I got it sort of put together that night, and turned it on. A terrible grinding, knocking ruckus spilled forth from the machine, as it stood shaking violently. I shut it down and pulled the plug. At that point, I decided to undertake a thorough refurbishing of the saw, which would be my first experience in bringing a machine back from the grave.

I started by completely disassembling the saw and cleaning each piece with soap and water after removal. I took a ton of pictures along the way to ensure things went back on the same way they came off. This was extremely helpful during reassembly. As parts came off, I found that all of the major parts were present, and only a handful of hardware was missing or broken. I also decided to replace all of the bearings in the machine (8 -2 for the top wheel, two for the bottom wheel shaft, two thrust bearings, and two bearings in the motor). Based on the condition of the thrust bearings, I feared that the rest were original to a saw that had clearly been abused. I began researching the small parts I needed using an illustrated parts breakdown I found online. I ordered the parts only to find out that the parts were on back order from Delta. I tried another parts place – same deal. Crap! Apparently Delta is going through some problems, and as a result, it’s currently almost impossible to get parts from them. I posted a thread on Lumberjocks.com inquiring about the parts I needed. The great members at LJs informed me that all of the parts I needed were available, and were not in any way, proprietary to Delta. I ordered a specialized finger spring washer from McMaster Carr, and sourced the rest of the hardware locally. I bought the bearings from McGuire Bearings here in town. They were very helpful, and answered all of the questions I had. I spent $53 for the 8 bearings I bought, which I thought was fair.

Next, I bought new urethane tires ($30), a Kreg band saw fence ($107), Olsen Cool Blocks ($15), and a replacement switch from Grizzly ($23).

With all of my parts having arrived, I began reassembling the saw. Again, the pictures I took during disassembly were indispensable. Combined with the illustrated parts break down, I’m confident that I put the saw back together correctly. Removing and replacing the bearings was the most difficult part of the rebuild, as I didn’t have a bearing puller or press. I had to use quite a bit of ingenuity to get them replaced. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did finally buy a bearing puller to help with the motor bearings. They wouldn’t budge for anything. The bearing puller came from Harbor Freight, cost about $18, and worked great!
Replacing the tires wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I simply scraped off the old tires, and cleaned up the wheels. The new tires were soaked in warm water to make them more pliable, and then stretched over the wheels with the help of a couple clamps to hold the tire to the wheels, a large screwdriver to stretch the tire over the wheel, and my dad for an extra set of hands.

Next I replaced the on/off switch. Initially I tried wiring up the new switch the same way the old switch was, but it caused my breaker to pop when it was turned on. With that, I grabbed the multi meter I had liberated from my high school electronics class 16 years before, and set out to figure out what was supposed to go where. An hour or so later, it was done. I don’t know for sure that I wired it correctly, but it turns on, the motor spins in the right direction, and the circuit breaker doesn’t pop, so I must have gotten close. I had to replace the metric mounting hardware that the Grizzly switch came with with standard hardware to fit the saw. Easy enough.

The Kreg band saw fence went on easily. The holes aligned perfectly, and it presented no problems. It’s a sturdy fence, but it does seem to deflect slightly when it’s locked down. This might be operator error. I went with the Kreg over other offerings, because overall, it seemed to have the best reviews.

The saw came with hardwood guide blocks, I think maple. I replaced these with Olsen Cool Blocks, which are spoken of highly. I looked at the Carter bearing guides, but they were way out of my price range. I also replaced the tension hand wheel with a crank I bought from Amazon ($20). I originally bought the crank for my Harbor Freight 14” band saw, but it was a poor fit, and wouldn’t work. It was made to work in Delta saws, and it does. I can now quickly tension or de-tension the blade with just a few cranks.

I follow the Alex Snodgrass band saw setup technique, and after doing that, my saw has no discernible drift with a sharp blade. The saw works great, and should serve me well for a long time (unless I sell it to help fund a larger saw).

From the time the saw rolled into my shop, to now, was about six months, and the total cost was far more that the $60 I paid for the saw. All told, I have just about $300 in the saw. This makes it an OK value, but no great bargain. This also does not include all the hours I put into it. That being said, it was a great experience, and a lot of fun. I can now say that I have completely disassembled and rebuilt/refurbished a band saw, which I would guess not many people can say. Also, I now know the saw like the back of my hand, and maintaining and repairing it doesn’t intimidate me in the least. Although it was a great experience, I’m not sure I’ll do it again – unless I run into another “great” deal.

Because now I’ve got two 14” band saws, I decided to give the Harbor Freight saw to my father in-law, who recently retired, and wants to get into woodworking. Hopefully that will earn me some woodworking karma points.


15 replies so far

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2724 days


#1 posted 541 days ago

Great write-up. Great refurb!

I like all the upgrades. Mine still going strong after 25 years.

-- Nicky

View Chris208's profile

Chris208

174 posts in 903 days


#2 posted 541 days ago

Thanks, Nicky.

The upgrades are nice, and were a no brainer given the original price of the saw.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

View Alan72's profile

Alan72

94 posts in 665 days


#3 posted 541 days ago

That’s a nice bandsaw and $300.00 is still a great deal! The Kreg Fence was 1/3rd of your total cost. Now just spend an extra $100.00 and get the riser kit.

View Chris208's profile

Chris208

174 posts in 903 days


#4 posted 541 days ago

Thanks, Alan.

I decided against the riser kit for a few reasons:

1. 3/4 HP motor would be under powered for that big a resaw. It might work with a slow feed rate, but still not ideal, and I’m definitely not replacing the motor.

2. I already had some 93.5 inch blades on hand.

3. During my refurb, I discovered some very small cracks in the cast iron near the lower wheel shaft, that I didn’t want to get worse by tensioning a longer blade.

4. I think 14 inch saws with riser blocks are ugly. I love the way my saw looks. Lol.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3173 posts in 640 days


#5 posted 540 days ago

Good job! I have the same (but much OLDER) saw. Got it for little or nuthin’ and it’s paid for itself many times over.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Chris208's profile

Chris208

174 posts in 903 days


#6 posted 481 days ago

UPDATE: this saw is great.

Also, the fence movement I noted in my original post is just the fence squaring itself as it was tightened down. It locks down completely square. Great fence on a great saw.

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

232 posts in 897 days


#7 posted 165 days ago

Chris, not sure if this thread is dead or not. But I was wondering if the lack of dust collection is a problem. I do have a link to a lower cover with a provision for dust collection. At first I was going to hack a hole in the lower cover and put a connection for my dust collector. I really hated to do that so I will attempt to do something different.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2724 days


#8 posted 165 days ago

My 95% solution. Put this on many moons ago as a quick fix to help get some of the dust. Worked much better then I imagined. I use quick connects on 4” hose, simple friction fit.

-- Nicky

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

232 posts in 897 days


#9 posted 165 days ago

That looks a lot simpler then this one sent to me by another LJ member. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/67210
If your does the job I might, at least temporarily use your idea.

Charlie
P.S. I am about to post some photos in a new thread referencing my rehab project.

-- Charlie75, Alto

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2724 days


#10 posted 165 days ago

That’s a very elegant solution. I was embarrassed to add my pic, but it works.

I’d like to see the refurb, looking forward to the pics.

-- Nicky

View Chris208's profile

Chris208

174 posts in 903 days


#11 posted 165 days ago

Charlie, dust collection is a must on bandsaws!

Here’s what I did on mine. I stole the idea from a tip in Fine Woodworking. It works incredibly well, and was dirt cheap.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/93645

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

232 posts in 897 days


#12 posted 165 days ago

Chris, interesting. I agree that it has to be done. I think that is one of the reasons my saw is in such sad shape. In part anyway. when I get to that poiint I will be adopting some sort of dust control.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2181 posts in 2179 days


#13 posted 165 days ago

Very nice and you must be very proud. I love seeing threads like these. To me there is more to be gained from rescuing older American built equipment rather than what others prefer with just slamming larger money on new foreign models.

Is the Delta you have American? I have had a couple 14” Delta bandsaws just like your bandsaw that were mfg in America, however Lowes used to sell a very similar Delta bandsaw that I believe was foreign made. I have never given much for any of my Delta bandsaws but have always sold them for around 400.00 cash, and that would be with no added fence like you have. So you did great on price / value.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

232 posts in 897 days


#14 posted 165 days ago

I don’t know about Chris’ saw but if you were talking to me mine was built in 1955 in Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s American. This will be the second vintage tool I have. I have an old jointer that I found on Craig’s list 2 years ago. Cleaned it up and had the knives sharpened and use it regularly. My table saw is also and old 10” contractors saw. Other then cleaning up the top I didn’t have to do much with it.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View NormG's profile

NormG

4112 posts in 1636 days


#15 posted 165 days ago

What a great find, great rehab also. From what I can tell these seem to be very dependable tools and last for along time with periodic maintenance

-- Norman

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