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Thread: WWII Era Moak Super 36 Bandsaw Restoration

  1. #1

    WWII Era Moak Super 36 Bandsaw Restoration

    Hi all,

    Looking for anyone with experience restoring a Moak Super 36 bandsaw. I see a few threads on here with great photos, and I can tell already I have more questions than answers on my particular machine, which I should be picking up from the seller this weekend or next.

    He claims it's a 1940s model, although he's unsure about the date. It's mostly all there, but unfortunately missing both the direct drive motor and the hub that connects the missing motor to the lower Carter wheel. She's been sitting outside in the Tucson desert for the better part of ten years, so I'm certain there will be some remachining of parts broken and missing, Blanchard grinding of both tables, and possibly some handscraping to fit the tilting arbor after the rust is removed. I'm not afraid of any of this as I'm just finishing up a full restoration of a 1943 South Bend 16" x 60" metal lathe that was in much worse condition than this when I started that one. Having a working metal lathe will be a big benefit as I tackle this saw.

    Even with all the bad news, the good news is it's all there otherwise and, hey, it's a Moak Super 36 that was running when it was purchased ten years ago.

    Any advice on finding the correct frame motor (I believe this one was a 900RPM model with 5hp, but Lou's thread about correct SFPM for resawing has me thinking perhaps I want to find a replacement motor at the lower end of the speed option range).

    Thanks all,

    Tom Utley
    Tucson, Arizona

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Utley View Post
    Hi all,

    Looking for anyone with experience restoring a Moak Super 36 bandsaw. I see a few threads on here with great photos, and I can tell already I have more questions than answers on my particular machine, which I should be picking up from the seller this weekend or next.

    He claims it's a 1940s model, although he's unsure about the date. It's mostly all there, but unfortunately missing both the direct drive motor and the hub that connects the missing motor to the lower Carter wheel. She's been sitting outside in the Tucson desert for the better part of ten years, so I'm certain there will be some remachining of parts broken and missing, Blanchard grinding of both tables, and possibly some handscraping to fit the tilting arbor after the rust is removed. I'm not afraid of any of this as I'm just finishing up a full restoration of a 1943 South Bend 16" x 60" metal lathe that was in much worse condition than this when I started that one. Having a working metal lathe will be a big benefit as I tackle this saw.

    Even with all the bad news, the good news is it's all there otherwise and, hey, it's a Moak Super 36 that was running when it was purchased ten years ago.

    Any advice on finding the correct frame motor (I believe this one was a 900RPM model with 5hp, but Lou's thread about correct SFPM for resawing has me thinking perhaps I want to find a replacement motor at the lower end of the speed option range).

    Thanks all,

    Tom Utley
    Tucson, Arizona
    Good luck and we like lots of photographs!
    Try OWWM (old woodworking machines) you will learn more than you ever wanted to know about the machine.

  3. #3
    Good luck on finding the right motor. Going to be some fabrication work for sure, plus 8 pole motors are expensive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    If you haven't already jumped in you may rethink it. A low rpm DD motor is gonna be a pain to deal with. There are tons of quality 36" saws out there for a song that you won't have to spend the time and money dealing with the direct drive motor issue.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central WI
    Posts
    5,268
    The motor will be proprietary and you will likely need to buy a second saw and make one out of the two. By the time you are done you would be better off finding one in more complete condition. that machine is either a parts saw or for someone seriously into rehab with access to lots of parts or buddies with parts. A yates or Tanny DD motor with the correct wheel may work but a lot of effort when complete saws go for less than most proprietary motors. Dave

  6. #6
    Why shouldn't I consider converting it to a different drive arrangement, perhaps belt drive with multiple pulley ratios for different wheel speeds? I take it from my cursory initial research that vintage bandsaw aficionados would have a coronary if I were to do such drastic surgery to a Tannawitz. With it being a Moak, however, I don't get the impression that too many people would freak out, and it might make the machine easier to get running and also more usable for different materials, including steel.

    I'm not a professional machinist, but I have enough experience to make any wheel-to-motor adapter that's required and I've been through a handscraping class with Richard King (lots of practice needed, but I'm on my way now). Any talk of "that's gonna be hard" won't scare me off from doing what's required to save the machine. Adding a late model Baldor motor with a big VFD or rotary phase converter is not a concern, for me, with this particular saw. I don't see it having any special historical value based on what I know so far. I want a reliable, capable bandsaw and by those measures I think the Moak measures up.

    Does that change anyone's opinion of how to proceed?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    If it weren't for the generally plentiful supply of complete and operational 36" saws at good prices I can see it making sense but honestly from my POV is seems like a lot of work even if the saw was basically free. That said I don't know what the market is in Arizona but you see them in So Cal fairly often which is just a day trip.

    My opinion of machines is like classic cars, the only reason to restore one that requires more than a simple straight forward rehab is if they are really rare and something you really want. Beyond cleaning, bearings, paint, tire and basic electrical it just doesn't seem practical in the face of the complete saws available.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Central WI
    Posts
    5,268
    You are farther along the learning curve for sure than most. Moak did make a belt driven saw. you would need to fab brackets and pillow blocks for bearings and spindle and make a spindle to fit the wheel or look for a 36" wheel and spindle from a belt driven saw. Everything would need to be heavy so you can tension a wide blade. Some old wheels used tapered spindles, some not. Carter wheels are expensive so a cast iron wheel would be cheaper to find. Might be an interesting project although not very economical. Most old machine rehabs are not very cheap in comparison to a plug and play but dirty, cruddy, machine. I've rehabbed lots of old stuff and either you fix a machine you will love to use, or one rare enough to at least allow you to break even- Wadkin PK, Oliver 217, Yates Snowflake, etc. If you want it, go for it. Just know it may be a labor only you will love. Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,011
    Sounds like you have the skills to make a arbor to replace the motor. then belt drive the arbor from any motor. Adjust pulleys to get rpm desired.
    Bil lD.

  10. #10
    For reference a 36 inch Yates American came up five miles from my house for $1500. I will look at it but probably not buy it. Agree with others here, restoration of the saw by the OP is a labor of love and not for profit.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Williamstown,ma
    Posts
    917
    Nothing at all wrong with a challenge if you are up for it. Seems like you are the perfect fit for this machine. Moak is a lesser known, and definitely underrated maker. Quality stuff!

  12. #12
    Update. I got to see the saw in person this past week, and it isn't pretty. The seller was a bit overly optimistic in his description of its condition (never seen that happen before, right...?).

    First of all, it's a 1987 model, not 1940s as the seller stated when we first talked. Not sure that matters much when you see what follows below.

    The motor (900 RPM per the US Government nameplate that was attached after delivery) and lower wheel hub are missing as stated earlier. Both Carter wheels are present and in good condition. They could use a strip and paint for oxidation, but otherwise are ready to spin. Even the rubber tires are serviceable as-is. That's about the extent of the good news.

    The foot brake pedal is broken and the brake cable has some rusty spots along its length. The table locking arm is broken off, as is the table tilt knob.

    The worst news is that someone lifted the machine by the table, probably using a forklift without slings. The semicircular dovetailed ways upon which the table tilts are broken on the table bottom portion. The mating moveable gib below is snapped off completely, and when it let go, it appears the forces twisted the table clockwise and the fixed side of the table dovetail gouged a chunk out of the left side way that's machined into the main casting.

    With a fair amount of time and materials, all of these items could be repaired. The tables are both in good shape. The broken piece on the table bottom comes off and could be used as a pattern to make a new one. The broken moveable gib below would be trickier to machine, but not impossible. Even the gouge in the main casting could be brazed with bronze filler and then the saddle surfaces line bored again.

    Everything else is present and accounted for, just crusty from sitting outside in the desert for ten years.

    I can still have the saw basically for free ($100), but it would cost me several hundred dollars to move it from its current spot to my garage shop where it would take up a lot of space for a very long time. I'm going to pass on this one and wait for something a little less battered.

    The seller is very motivated to see it not go to the scrapper. I gave him a gentle yet firm speech about how sometimes machines can only live on as organ donors for other machines. He understood, but was not happy about it.

    If anyone is interested in taking it on, even for a parts machine, let me know and I'll put you in touch with him. He's getting the property cleaned up to sell it, so I figure there's about a one month window before the scrap man comes to clean house.

    BTW, a bit unrelated to bandsaws, but there is another machine at the same location that he's willing to let go for free. It's an Edlund 4B-12" heavy duty drill press. If you're not familiar with the Edlund, imagine a Bridgeport milling machine base with an integral coolant tank and pump and the t-slot drill table sitting on an adjustable knee just like the BP table would be. The drill bolts upright to this heavy base and includes a motor, a four step cone pulley flat belt drive, and a long throw spindle with a taper shank quill opening. It's also lying out in the weather in a couple of big chunks disassembled, but the moving parts are not rusted solid, still turn by hand. If you need a very heavy duty drill, this one could make some big holes without breaking a sweat. Both machines for $100...you pick up and haul away.

    If anyone wants to see photos, let me know and I'll post them.

    Thanks,

    Tom
    Cell: 256-541-3741

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