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Picture of How to Restore a Band Saw

Howdy, i'm Dave from Parts and Restoration and today, were gonna fully restore an old band saw! LETS GET TO IT!!

Step 1: ACQUIRE a BAND SAW

Picture of ACQUIRE a BAND SAW
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To restore a band saw, you first need a band saw worth restoring! Chances are, sombody in a 10 mile radius of you is selling one! Keep an eye to Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, Craigslist, and eBay. Also, machinery auctions (bidspotter.com) and estate sales (auctionzip.com) are great places to find quality used machinery!

Things to look for:

-CAST IRON! Old machines were built well! They were made with heavy castings that cut down on vibration and flexibility! Old castings are smooth, they were cast in clay, modern castings are made with sand and are rough. avoid modern

-Big Heavy Table - Also cast iron, you want the band saw table to be ground flat and made of cast iron. For me, a band saw with a stamped or light weight table is trash.

-Signs of AGE - If its made primarily with plastic, avoid it. Get something made well back when old tools were made with the workman in mind, not with SHAREHOLDERS in mind!

takomaW6 months ago
I like using a piece of plastic screening as you would get to fix a window screen to remove grease with a degreaser, it works great for thick grease and is gentle enough not to usually stratch metal or paint
PartsAndRestoration (author)  takomaW6 months ago
Holy crap! That’s such an incredible idea, I never would have though of that. Definitely wanna give that a try ASAP and I have just the job for it too!! Thanks for sharing!!
Galt6 months ago
As a fellow lover of old iron I applaud anyone working to keep old, quality tools and equipment viable. I myself have a pair of old SCM bandsaws that purchased from an estate where the seller had no interest in anything but quick cash from his deceased grandfather's shop (drug habit I surmised), so I paid $450 for a 2 hp Mini Max S45, AND a 4.8 hp MM24. Then, as I was loading them and a bunch of other great steals up, the guy offered me an old Grizzly that had had water dripping on it for a while. He asked for $200, I countered with $50, and that's all it took. Turned out the water had only gotten into the table and trunnions (which is bad enough) but a little electrolysis in a RubberMaid tote, using sodium hydroxide (lye) and a manual battery charger uncovered amazingly pit free iron underneath. There was some very minor blemishing, but overall I can only surmise that the water damage was all fairly recent.

I would strongly urge that anyone considering a repaint avoid the chemical strippers altogether, as they are the worst of the worst in terms of dangerous chemicals that are available from home centers and hardware stores (although probably not for long). There are a variety of media recycling blast-type alternatives that can be employed that won't destroy the metal underneath and put you at risk of growing tumors for your trouble.

As happy as I was with my rehabbing of three 1990's era saws, they were nothing compared to what I discovered in a new neighbor's shop a few weeks later. He had a 1929 I think it was, Tannewitz 36" bandsaw, and it was simply amazing to behold. His is still being used almost daily, and still sports the original paint! This is not his, but the only image I could find. It's a beast, but standing before this nearly 100 year old machine, it is truly something to behold.
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PartsAndRestoration (author)  Galt6 months ago
That’s an amazing saw!! Great story!! Thanks for sharing!! Keep rescuing that old iron!!
ArthurS186 months ago
Almost any high quality power tool can be rebuilt, and that started out as a very nice bandsaw. It wasn't mentioned, but I'll bet that saw still worked fine despite the battered appearance.

I found an old Craftsman bandsaw beside a dumpster and rebuilt it last summer. Mine is nothing like the professional level quality of that big Delta saw, but the mechanisms are all very similar. In my case some savage had tried and failed to fix it several times so there was a mishmash of missing and incorrectly assembled parts. My saw is 30-40 years old but I was still able to find a manual online. There is probably a manual available for that big Delta too. The parts diagram in the manual was crucial for me to figure out how the washers and bearings on the drive axle were originally stacked. Otherwise a bandsaw is a simple machine, so cleaning and greasing are the biggest parts of the overhaul job.

All bandsaws do have consumables and wear parts. The blades and rubber tires will be specific to the guide wheels of individual saws, but those parts are specific to the guide wheels—NOT the brand. Any 14" wheel will use a commonly available 14" tire. The same is true of the little guide blocks that keep the blade aligned at the cutting area. Likewise, I could read the bearing numbers and order more of the same bearing sets. That Delta saw looks like it was built in the 1940s-1950s and I'm sure all of its wear parts are commonly available.

I've overhauled quite a few power tools so I have an estimate of the cost and savings in doing so. Start by looking at the current price for something of equal quality. It's tough to compare a 70 year old saw, but depending on features that one might be worth up to $2800 new. Suppose you don't need a $2800 saw. A $1200 saw is still really nice. It typically costs 1/3 of the new price for me to overhaul a power tool. I would aim at $400-500 in total cost, meanwhile hoping to get $2800 worth of saw even though I'd be perfectly happy with a $1200 saw. If that Delta saw has all new wear components, wire and motor it is worth $1200 regardless of its age.
PartsAndRestoration (author)  ArthurS186 months ago
Aurther,

Thanks for leaving such an insightful post! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

You would be surprised to know that thensaw didn’t run in thrncondition purchased. Thisnsaw was used exclusively for metal work (it has back gears) and the gearbox was frozen solid as well as all of the bearings.

She’s a real champ now though!! Thanks again for your comments!!
billbillt6 months ago
GREAT JOB!!.. MY KIND OF PROJECT: "USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO, OUR DO WITHOUT"...
PartsAndRestoration (author)  billbillt6 months ago
A man after my own heart
ShelS26 months ago
Like the MythBusters say, I am an expert, but don’t try this yourself at home.

your instructable is a complete roadmap of how to do things and in the correct order. Despite that I think that the person who follows these instructions successfully, already has the tools and experience to do this on his own. Band saws being the simple things that they are, can be disassembled and restored with your guidance alone, but the parts list is major support element. Since the original home shop bandsaw design has not changed since the Tool was invented, almost any technical information from traditional band saws will work. Newer makers like Rikon and Laguna have introduced improvements and refinements that do not relate to what rehabilitation requires.

while the roadmap covers the steps, the inexperienced needs detailed instructions on how to replace the tires and to pull of bearings and replace them. If constrained in how many pages or words can be in the instructable, leave out the details of cleaning, derusting, degreasing and painting. No offense to you or your readers, but even Homer Simpson & Krusty the Klown can figure that out.

All in all, good work.

PartsAndRestoration (author)  ShelS26 months ago
Shel,

Thanks for the compliment, the sale turned out really nice and I’m proud of the work!

I’ll take your commentsinto consideration, however, if you watch the included bandsaw videos, I think inexperienced folks will have all of their questions answered. I didn’t use pullers and I show how to replace a tire. Check out the vid, not only will you see my point, but I think you’ll enjoy watching it!

Take care!!

Dave
billbillt ShelS26 months ago
A LOT OF IT IS JUST COMMON SENSE... LIKE A ROUND SHAFT GOES INTO A ROUND HOLE SOMEWHERE.. THINK...
GFire6 months ago
Nice Job, I have an older model of the Delta band saw that was my grandfathers. I'm hoping to clean it up as well. Luckily for me its in pretty good shape.
PartsAndRestoration (author)  GFire6 months ago
Awesome! It’s great to get a tool that just needs a little love to run strong again! Good luck!!
rmelchiori6 months ago
I have this exact model. It also has a 6" riser block installed. I acquired it in working condition about 20 years ago for $100 along with an Atlas floor standing drill press, also for $100. Both were owned by a machinist The bandsaw needs new tires. Where did you source yours?
PartsAndRestoration (author)  rmelchiori6 months ago
Hey, thanks for chiming In !! I got new tires for mine on amazon. There were a ton of similar deals on eBay as well.
you can find them at the usual places from rockler, woodcraft, amazon or ebay. I got tires and a full set of bearings on ebay. there is a guy who specializes in woodworking machine parts for rebuilds.
mf706 months ago
She does look good. What would your "Don't buy this" warning signs be on an old power tool?
PartsAndRestoration (author)  mf706 months ago
Excellent question! I look for signs of abuse or misuse! Broken cast iron parts are very difficult for anything but an expert to repair. Those are total deal breakers for me (I’m learning to fix them now, it ain’t easy). I look for broken gear teeth, I look for seized bearings. I look for signs that it’s been dropped or damaged by other machinery (forklift forks etc). You can check for wear on ground (grind-ed) surfaces with a straight edge by laying it across what should be a perfectly flat surface and looking for a gradual wallowing out of that flat edge from years of wear. This is especially important on the “ways” or the sliding tracks of lathes and other precision tools but is important on any precision ground surface WHERE IMPORTANT PARTS SLIDE ACROSS ONE ANOTHER. I look for rust in critical components. I’ve got to say it again - I check bearings! Bearings are the doughnut shaped doo dads that spinning shafts rest in contact with. If you have a machine or tool that has bad bearings, it’s may be shot. Some old machinery has cast in place bearings that are not easily replaceable. If you aren’t sure, and if doesn’t spin well, don’t by it! Pass on machines with major major corrosion that have been living outside for decades. Odd on stuff with sketchy electrical unless you are comfortable rewiring. It goes without saying, but try and test out the machine before you buy it. I feel like generally common sense prevails with this stuff. Trust your instincts! If you feel like somethings not right, walk away! This is a very general list and I could go into the weeds with different machines but this is all I’ve got for now. Hope this helps!
EcoExpatMike6 months ago
This is so cool. The question I always have when looking at stuff like this is I don't know how much I should be willing to pay for it. So, a used machine like yours (bascially in good shape, but old) should cost about the same as a new cheapo import? Half as much?
PartsAndRestoration (author)  EcoExpatMike6 months ago
Hey mike, thanks for reaching out! These old machines are build as a band Saw should be, without any cost cutting, cheap parts, or engineered failure points :) That said, their value is subjective. If you needed a Cadillac bandsaw for your business, paying 600-2000 bucks for a fully restored golden age bandsaw would be money well spent. If you were a home gamer who wanted a primo 12-14” delta bandsaw for your shop that was in fair condition and running, I’d say 3-500 bucks is a fair price. If you’re me looking for a project, I’d pay between 150-250 for a machine like mine and be thrilled at the deal I found. My first bandsaw was a 12” craftsman plastic fantastic that I paid 50 bucks for. The going rate on that saw is 100-200 bucks. The deal are out there but patience is key.

Good luck!!
Cool. I was just wondering how you decided where the cut off is. And the reason that stuff like this is no longer made in the US to top standards is because it is expensive to build stuff well, with fairly paid workers.
audreyobscura6 months ago
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing your restoration tips! I see these come up on craigslist from time to time and I've been wary of buying a cheap old machine that 'needs work' because the work seemed daunting.
Hey Audrey! You can TOTALLY do it! Jump in with both feet and go for it! The old machines are far superior in every way, just look out for stuff that cant be fixed (easily) like cracked castings. Otherwise, with TLC, they usually are the best money can buy!