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Thread: Bandsaw dilema: To powermatic or not to Powermatic?

  1. #1
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    Bandsaw dilema: To powermatic or not to Powermatic?

    Question 1:I have an opportunity to get a Powermatic model 81 20" bandsaw for under $500, it needs some cosmetic repairs (dents, paint), otherwise seems to be in functional shape. I would have to bring it home via a pick-up, and unload it by a cherry picker ( it weights 1040 lb, but I can strip it down to about 700 lb). Anybody out there done anything like this or have a better idea for unloading it off the back of a truck? Question 2:I currently have a 3 h.p. 18" craftsman bandsaw, made in Germany by Elektra Beckum , and don't know how much to ask for it. I would like to get close to what I would be paying for the Powermatic ( that's the only way I have of affording these kind of machines, buy them in beat up condition and refurbish them), what do you guys think? I've included a pic of the craftsman. Is the Powermatic worth all this trouble? Any input would be appreciated, thanks. 002.jpg
    Last edited by Calvin Jamison; 06-30-2013 at 1:49 PM.

  2. #2
    THe paint job won't affect the saw's performance. The craftsman saw looks quite nice! $500 is a heck of a deal for the PM if it works.
    To unload it think about an engine crane.
    When I move heavy machinery -- my daughter and I moved a 24" jointer into the barn last year. raised it with a jack, bolted 4x4s under it and used 3/4" iron pipes as rollers under it. The thing has to weigh more than a ton -- I rent a trailer from Uhaul which is much lower than my truck bed and very solid. You can use shallower ramps too.
    What does it mean when you've accumulated enough tools that human life expectancy precludes you from ever getting truly good with all of them?

  3. #3
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    How often is the 18" inadequate? If it is a constant pain in the rear then the effort to get the PM is definitely worth it. The 81 is a beautiful beast and a common saw in many large classrooms and pro shops but, it comes with quite a footprint. The extra 2" of throat would really have to pay its way.
    “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,”
    -Jonathan Swift

  4. #4
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    I'm happy with the 18", othere than the fact it's a craftsman, but the Powermatic makes it look pretty chinsey, and it's in my price range.

  5. #5
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    If you have the time and energy to sell the craftsman and space for the PM's larger footprint if it was me I'd be really strongly tempted. I don't think anyone other than you can say if its "worth it" but imho in the end you'd have a lot nicer saw probably assuming the PM is in good shape.

  6. #6
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    Its not in that bad of shape, the craftsman was in worse shape when I got it. As for the foot print, I've done some measuring and I wont be losing that much useable space. As for selling the craftsman, CL makes that pretty easy, Im just not sure what an appropriate price would be. I would like to ask $550. What do you think?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin Jamison View Post
    ...bring it home via a pick-up, and unload it by a cherry picker ( it weights 1040 lb, but I can strip it down to about 700 lb). Anybody out there done anything like this or have a better idea for unloading it off the back of a truck?...
    Calvin, I have loaded/unloaded/moved as many large bandsaws as anyone. Here is my advice:

    When you load it into your truck (assuming you have a plastic bedliner; if not, throw a piece of carpet or heavy cardboard down first...), load it in head first (head toward the back of the cab). The base may or may not stick out the back but use a ratcheting strap to secure the pedestal to the two hooks in the bed.

    When you get home, just slide the machine back out and allow the lip of the tailgate to be the fulcrum as the base falls down onto the ground. If you have a helper, you can then either stand it up or what I often do, since I am moving the machine alone, is lay it onto a couple of low furniture dollies, then roll it wherever it needs to go. If you have no helper, then use the engine hoist to support the weight of the head of the machine so that you can ease it down onto the dollies. I would not strip the machine unless you absolutely must. Not worth the hassle. You can then use the engine hoist to help get it standing back up once it is in place.

    Hope this helps,

    Erik Loza
    Minimax USA

  8. #8
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    500 you can't go wrong,if you don't like it you can easily sale it and make a profit.While you have it at your house,just open the doors on both and compare,look at the tables and ask yourself which one is better(don't judge by one being shiny)but by which one is flat,which one is sturdy(webbing underneath)or by weight along heck.The PM is a beast,the craftsman wish it was,like the other poster said these were in schools due to the abuse that they can take from kids and they were also in alot of commerical shops.Now going from 18" to 20" if both were PM's I would not do it unless the cost was fantastic which yours is,but from what you have to what your getting is a big difference which you will notice right off,this is where big is better due to just the weight along.I have 2 PM's,2 Crescent,1 Rockwell,the 20" cuts so much smoother and alot quiter.I must say that I am a big PM fan so maybe my thoughts are one sided,with what I now have and if I was closer to your saw I would buy it.
    Now on my Crescent 20" I remove the table and the bracket that holds the table,remove the motor.I back up my 86 ford ranger with broken cables on the tail gate up to the saw and just layed it over into the bed then slide it up next to the cab.Tied it down then drove another 5 hrs back home to where I unloaded the same way,dang it was heavy but doable.Good luck post pics when you get it home----Carroll

  9. #9
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    Thanks, that's a good idea, is was going to have it loaded on standing up, strap it in, drive it home and take it off with a cherry picker, but I like your idea better.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, all your advice has persuaded me to go for it.

  11. #11
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    I can't imagine you'd have much trouble getting what you want out of that saw--looks really nice. I say if you enjoy rehabbing old machines, go for it.


  12. #12
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    I picked up a 20" mini max with a ford ranger. Took off the tailgate, 2 of us tipped the saw against the truck bed , lift, shove it in and I tied it down . 700 pound range. Reverse procedure to unload.

  13. #13
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    They excepted my bid, the saw is mine and hopefully coming home with me on Friday. Now that you guys talked me into getting it, who wants to help? Hello....guys?......whats with all the crickets in here?

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