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Thread: Inherited a new (very old) bandsaw

  1. #1
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    Inherited a new (very old) bandsaw

    I cut my teeth, so to speak, on this dinosaur of a bandsaw that my dad inherited from my grandpa when the latter died. My grandpa was a cabinet maker, and my parents were into making crafts and selling them at craft fairs. I was a kid so the stuff that I was doing at the time was super simple things for scouts, pinewood derby cars and making rough shapes that I would whittle away on while at camps and such (and really, not even a whole of that). When my parents got out of the craft business the saw disappeared from their house.

    I didn't really got into woodworking until fairly recently, I had some saws I was borrowing from my neighbor to put in a pergo floor and I took the opportunity to try my hand at making a few items that I had seen and was interested in trying to make myself and I really enjoyed it.

    So I've started trying to acquire some cheap and/or free tools from here and there so I can see if this was just a one time thing or if I would really like to make a hobby out of it and I remembered this saw and asked my mom about it. It turns out that it was out at my uncle's farm and he hadn't used it but 2 or 3 three times in the last 15-20 or so years, so I went out and picked it, and a few of other pieces that he didn't mind parting with, up and brought them to my home.

    So now I have this old band saw, it's a craftsman model 103.24300

    The body and the motor are both in quite good condition, the table has a little bit of rust on it, and my uncle told me that he thinks it needs a new upper blade guide.

    I found this forum while searching around for information on other tools that I've considered buying and the people here seem very knowledgeable, so I joined up to ask if anyone knows anything about this saw model or whether there's anyone making parts that would still fit it.

    The rust on the table is slight, it's at the stage of starting to discolor but still very smooth. Would a few layers of paste wax be fine for it or would the suggestion be to go ahead and sand it down to clean metal and then wax it?

    Which manufacturer would you all suggest for sourcing blades?

    Are there any particular parts inside the case that I should pay extra close attention to that might not be readily apparent without investigating thoroughly. I used this saw before but I never had to maintain the saw and those who did are no longer around so all help is appreciated.

    My mom warns me that she has always thought that this particular saw is a death trap (so far there have been no casualties nor lost digits but I could always be the first, and I don't want that), any thoughts on that?

    Edit: added pictures

    IMG_20180809_182202.jpgIMG_20180809_182238.jpgIMG_20180809_182554.jpgIMG_20180809_182604.jpgIMG_20180809_182614.jpgIMG_20180809_182620.jpgIMG_20180809_182626.jpg
    Last edited by Drew Walton; 08-09-2018 at 7:43 PM. Reason: adding pics

  2. #2
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    Could you post a couple of pictures?

  3. #3
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    Pretty sure your saw is a three wheel saw. And if my memory serves me the were made in the 1950's by King seeley.
    Three wheel saws are notorious for breaking blades but they did make blades specifically for that saw.
    It should be great for scroll type work but for resawing probably not so much.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cav View Post
    Could you post a couple of pictures?
    I'll take some when I get home this evening. But the saw looks like this (pulled off of google)

    123-A.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by daryl moses
    Pretty sure your saw is a three wheel saw. And if my memory serves me the were made in the 1950's by King seeley.
    Correct, and I believe the second part is correct as well. The label on the front at least says "Craftsman, Sears and Roebuck & Co. Made by King-Seeley"

    Scroll work was what it had routinely been used for. I found some reference to Craftsman selling the blades for this saw originally as "Super-alloy", those blades, as far as I can tell, no longer exist. I don't know what the composition of them was or if there's anything on the market today that is the type. For what it's worth, the reason my mom maintains that the saw is a death trap has to do with what she portrays as a constant balancing act between the blade warming and slackening, thus requiring tension, and the risk of over-tensioning and snapping the blade.
    Last edited by Drew Walton; 08-09-2018 at 3:19 PM.

  5. #5
    You can measure the size blade required by listing the tension and running a string around the wheels. You can then adjust the tension for a tighter fit and run the string again comparing the two measurements. Somewhere in the middle to lower end of these two measurements of your blade size. People who sell bandsaw blades will make them any size you want. Unfortunately, the small wheel diameter is what contributes to the band fatigue and failures on these machines and there’s not a lot you can do about that. I would stick with carbon steel or silicon carbon steel blades. Just my humble opinion :-)
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  6. #6
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    I added pics to the OP. Right now it's just bolted down to a piece of plywood, which I've got sitting on a palate on top of some saw horses. I'll obviously need to build a new stand for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley
    You can measure the size blade required by listing the tension and running a string around the wheels. You can then adjust the tension for a tighter fit and run the string again comparing the two measurements. Somewhere in the middle to lower end of these two measurements of your blade size. People who sell bandsaw blades will make them any size you want. Unfortunately, the small wheel diameter is what contributes to the band fatigue and failures on these machines and there’s not a lot you can do about that. I would stick with carbon steel or silicon carbon steel blades. Just my humble opinion :-)
    Appreciate the pointers and I love your signature. As I was taking the pictures I noticed that there's a big 62 1/2" on the back of the saw. I'm guessing that's the blade size I'll be looking for.
    Last edited by Drew Walton; 08-09-2018 at 7:58 PM.

  7. #7
    Drew

    You should go to http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=1253. The original owners manual is available there as a pdf that you can download.It is not a very good copy but it will be a start. You should be able to get the blade length from that. Then you can buy a new blade from a company like HighlandWoodworking (there are many companies that sell bandsaw blades in a variety of lengths)

    Doug

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    Thanks for that Doug. It at least gives me some part numbers for pieces to look for. I've been out looking at it and I think the guide looks just fine. I do think the thrust roller on the upper guide might need replacing though.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about the rust on the table?

  9. #9
    Drew,

    Sears parts direct is not as useful as its predecessor was in the heyday of Craftsman tools. (ah, the old days.) You certainly should try them but I would not expect much. It is possible that someone at vintage machinery.org has parts or can point you at someone who does. Be patient, it may take many attempts. If the bandsaw has ball bearing blade guides, they may be a standard size that is commercially available.

    You can remove rust from the table in many ways. It looks as if coarse steel wool would remove it, after which you can give it a few coats of Johnson's Paste wax (or any brand that does not contain silicones). If the steel wool cleans off the red rust but leaves the black oxidation, that;s a good place to stop. Black oxidation is more adherent and may offer some protection. (You still need to wax it.) If it were mine, I would not sand it down to shiny bare metal. Naval jelly (phosphoric acid) also removes rust.

    If you want to play with old tools, vintagemachinery.org is a wonderful resource, at least it used to be. I know this from personal experience.

    Doug

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Walton View Post
    As I was taking the pictures I noticed that there's a big 62 1/2" on the back of the saw. I'm guessing that's the blade size I'll be looking for.
    That made me laugh. I have had more than one experience where I have taken pics of things for the forum and while editing/posting them I will notice something I never saw before.

    I was looking around to see if you could just pick up a blade at the BORG but, 62-1/2" doesn't show up as a common off the shelf size like 62" sometimes does. A 62-1/2" blade from somewhere like 'bandsawbladesdirect <dot> com' is around $12 to $15 so, pretty reasonable for a band or two to get started. I tend to look for free shipping on small dollar items and Hartville Tool often has that. You have to call them to order sizes they do not carry. Again, something like a 1/4" x 6 TPI is about $15 from them.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  11. #11
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    As a previous poster mentioned, three-wheel bandsaws tend to cause more blade fatigue than two-wheel saws, which can lead to broken blades. Supercut makes several blades specifically for three-wheel bandsaws. The blades are thinner, which reduces blade fatigue. They custom make them to the length you need. http://www.supercutbandsaw.com/threewheeler.html

    --Geoff

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I was looking around to see if you could just pick up a blade at the BORG but, 62-1/2" doesn't show up as a common off the shelf size like 62" sometimes does. A 62-1/2" blade from somewhere like 'bandsawbladesdirect <dot> com' is around $12 to $15 so, pretty reasonable for a band or two to get started. I tend to look for free shipping on small dollar items and Hartville Tool often has that. You have to call them to order sizes they do not carry. Again, something like a 1/4" x 6 TPI is about $15 from them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff Crimmins
    As a previous poster mentioned, three-wheel bandsaws tend to cause more blade fatigue than two-wheel saws, which can lead to broken blades. Supercut makes several blades specifically for three-wheel bandsaws. The blades are thinner, which reduces blade fatigue. They custom make them to the length you need. http://www.supercutbandsaw.com/threewheeler.html


    Thanks for those suggestions, I'll check out both of those companies.

    I found a reference to this saw that said that it was designed for a 62" blade. As it's, apparently, a more standard blade size, and I'm not certain who made the 62 1/2" measurement, should I try one of those and see how well it works or should I just special order one of 62 1/2"?

    A more general question. What is the thinking about sharpening band saw blades? The manual that Doug linked makes a reference to sharpening the blades and I'm familiar with sharpening hand saw blades where the teeth are set up in line, so it's something I could do. My concern is that with a blade whose depth is only 1/4" it seems like sharpening might compromise the integrity of the blade pretty quickly. Am I just vastly over estimating how much metal is removed from a few strokes of the file?

  13. #13
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    Sharpening smaller (under 1") bandsaw blades is a waste of time. BTDT. Just get some new ones from bandsawbladesdirect or one of the other web suppliers.

    Rust on the table can be cleaned off with steel wool and WD40 or a similar product. Tighter rust will come off with a single edge razor blade and WD40, etc.

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