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View Full Version : General Metalworking Powermatic 143 wood/metal bandsaw, restoration



Ron Brese
03-24-2015, 3:37 PM
I've been using a horizontal bandsaw in the vertical position for some time. It worked but for some operations it was awkward at best. I started looking for a Powermatic 143 only to discover that the 143 with gearbox was typically priced $1000 higher than the 141 wood cutting version of this saw. So I decided to look for a PM 141 with the idea I would add a speed reducing gear box to a motor and slow the speed down in that manner. I advertised on the OWWM forum that I wanted to buy a PM 141 bandsaw. I was contacted by a gentleman that had a 143 he was willing to sell. The price was fair and more in line with what I had been seeing on the 141s so I purchased the PM 143. This saw spent most of it's time in a Bay County school systems shop. This is the area around Panama City Florida right on the gulf coast. I guess when they closed down the school shop this saw and I'm sure several other machines were most probably moved to a non climate control storage area. High humidity and salt air is not good for machines. This one surely had it's share of rust and as usual with most school machines it had been painted some time in it's life in the school shop. Some parts were gray and some parts were gold.

Luckily the tires and bearings all seemed good and that certainly helped by eliminating a few steps in the restoration process. I disassembled the saw keeping all the sub assembly parts together in boxes. I cleaned everything and removed the rust. I painted the trunnion assembly and other interior parts satin black and the other parts Rustoleum Sage Green. Parts that did not get painted were cleaned and cold gun blue was applied. The blued parts then were buffed with carnauba wax for extra protection. I replaced most of the hardware with button socket head screws, bronze flat washers and some red fiber washers.

I've put this saw to work outfitted with new Lenox bi-metal blade. It's a much more appropriate saw for the type work I do.

Ron Brese

As purchased with the unusual paint job

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QKauBqgr6DM/VQmjJYcBN6I/AAAAAAAABq4/OuB3YC7k0wQ/s900/DSC_0410.jpg

Base, trunnion and very rusty table

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9SoFNUsPJK8/VQmkKwVeRNI/AAAAAAAABrA/hUAodY8ZpHI/s900/pm143-4.jpg

The main casting and the critical parts for function, dusty grimy and even a bit oily

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-X5oJR8rREKA/VQmmDqIXIoI/AAAAAAAABrU/3aJIeegA9mo/s900/pm143-1.jpg

See next post for the going back together part

Ron Brese
03-24-2015, 3:43 PM
A much improved table with nice gray patina

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bcx2EMGl18M/VQocHe0UcKI/AAAAAAAABso/KtrLt6Loads/s900/pm143-5.jpg
Main casting cleaned, inside painted and edges painted

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vqOlvi3WpbE/VQna-pCvMBI/AAAAAAAABsA/kY1BiL0lX7E/s900/pm143castingint.jpg

Completed front

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Xl4g9PwU5Hs/VQnaHC-brcI/AAAAAAAABr0/wtJ0f_daYcE/s1000/gumby-1.jpg

Back

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YrPmPu7Xxnc/VQnZBYlp_gI/AAAAAAAABrk/6T2NsIphT5Y/s900/gumby-back.jpg

Gold wheels to contrast with the black

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kp_oBQBOW8Q/VQnZsOIZP7I/AAAAAAAABrs/lFu6OY06P0U/s900/gumby-wheel.jpg

Ed Harrall
03-26-2015, 12:18 PM
That looks good!

Terry Beadle
03-26-2015, 1:07 PM
Super! You are one lucky and skilled fellow!

Enjoy the shavings !

Brian W Smith
03-26-2015, 2:30 PM
Very nice.It's funny,these are one of those pcs that until you have one.....they "may" mot make sense.We're sporting a W/T 14" wood/metal.It literally paid for itself on the first set of headers I built with it........maybe don't use it as much as we could(have too many BS's).I really need to tig up a mobile base for ours.

Ron Brese
03-26-2015, 2:57 PM
Thanks for the compliments on the saw resto. Of course just as I'm finishing up this saw a Walker Turner 16" wood/metal bandsaw shows up on CL in my area. Damkit! I am however quite satisfied with this saw. I added a brush to take the chips off the lower wheel and this improved the running of the saw a great deal. No more re-cycling chips between the band and tire of the lower wheel.

Ron

Mike Hollingsworth
03-26-2015, 4:19 PM
I just finished an extensive restoration of my 143. great kit on the auction site got me the tires and most bearings. Special bearing for the bottom wheel was available thru eReplacementparts.com for $60 and a six week wait, so I noted the bearing was a fafnir RA012 and found it on ebay for $15.

Don't make 'em like they used to.

Ron Brese
03-26-2015, 5:44 PM
Don't make 'em like they used to.

They also don't make them where they used too! As you know Mike the main casting on this saw sets it apart from other saws this size. I was looking for a saw with a small throat and stout construction to take the feed pressures of cutting metal. General also made a 15" saw that is very similar in construction. Oh, one more thing Mike, no pics, didn't happen. Post some pics of your saw.

Ron

Mike Hollingsworth
03-26-2015, 8:13 PM
That General 15" is the holy grail.
I used to drool on it at Eagle tools.
No longer made.

My restoration was purely mechanical, not much to look at.
Here's the Fafner bearing. I first thought it was out of round.
Seems it was made that way to adjust the lash in the reduction gear.
.310058

Rich Riddle
03-30-2015, 12:15 AM
Congratulations on the saw. I rebuilt a Powermatic 143 several years ago and frequently use it. Hope you enjoy it for years because they will last a lifetime. One bit of advice; don't move or lift the saw from the trunnion. I spent two years looking for a trunnion; they are rare as hen teeth.

310381

Jerry Bruette
03-30-2015, 7:22 AM
That General 15" is the holy grail.
I used to drool on it at Eagle tools.
No longer made.

My restoration was purely mechanical, not much to look at.
Here's the Fafner bearing. I first thought it was out of round.
Seems it was made that way to adjust the lash in the reduction gear.
.310058
That's a cam lock bearing. There should have been a metal ring on that end of the bearing that when rotated it cams against the shaft to lock the bearing to the shaft. IMHO they're better than the type that use a set screw to dig into the shaft because the cam lock doesn't mar the shaft and you can remove the bearing easier. Just be sure to rotate the locking ring in the direction of shaft rotation when installing it.

Beautiful job on the saw restoration.

Ron Brese
03-30-2015, 11:26 AM
Rich that's a great looking saw with a very nice fence. The Mustang looks pretty nice as well.

They are great saws. I have a friend that has the General version of this saw. It seems they sorted out the nagging little design problems associated with this saw prior to putting theirs into production. The guide system looks to be upgraded on the General version and a few other refinements were made as well.

There are some aspects of the design of this saw that I think are great and there are some that had me walking away shaking my head.

The closure clips on the wheel covers/guards are designed to ensure they will rub the paint right off the casting in the areas where the clips grasp. I replaced those with a magnetic catch made with rare earth magnets that draws to the casting. On a saw used mostly for woodworking these would be great, however each time I cut ferrous metal on mine the chips cling to the lower door catch and the rare earth magnets make them hard to remove. They however don't rub the paint off the casting.

Ron

Ron Brese
03-30-2015, 11:27 AM
Rich after looking closer it seems you've upgraded the guides on your saw. Did that make a marked improvement to the function?