Saturday, August 19, 2006

Old machines

32" woodworking bandsaw, manufactured by
"The Silver Manufacturing Co."
For anyone who does woodworking or metalworking, when you are in need of a particular machine consider buying an older one. There are many advantages to buying new although depending on your budget, the quality may not be up to spec. Most older machines ( at least the professional type) were well made and unless they were abused will only need new bearings and some electrical re-work, along with some wd40, scotchbrite and elbow grease to get them going again. Common mechanics tools and a little spare time is all you will need and the result will be a machine that will perform for a lifetime. The bandsaw in the picture was made around 1900 give or take a couple of years. I bought it for $300 from a guy who had it stored covered with a tarp in a horse corral. It was originally powered by a line shaft so I had to put a motor on it. Fortunately there were pre-existing holes in the cast c-frame where the line drive pulley assembly mounted so I didn't have to alter the machine. I made a swing type motor mount for it so I could adjust belt tension easily and with a nice strong motor retreived by my freind Kenny D from the local dumpster and a switch from the spare parts drawer ,the machine had power. Because it had sat outside for years it had a nice coating of rust everywhere but no deep pits so after several hours of scouring by Ken and Pat the machine was rustfree, lubricated and ready for the last phase of replacing the wheel bushings and tires. The bushings were available from a parts supply. They were a standardized size which was nice considering the age of the machine. The new bushings were a little tight which is the way they come. The intention here is too be able to hone the bushing to a perfect fit, that being accomplished with a standard automotive brake hone. The tires were a bitch to put on. They had been purchased years ago by the previous owner and were very dry and stiff. After a great deal of wrestling and the aid of a hand wench, they were on, the wheels placed back on their axles, greased and that was that! Because the machine was made before OSHA in a time when there was little regard for worker safety, I needed to make covers for the wheels and a guard for the exposed part of the blade. It has been 10 years or so since I bought the saw and it has performed everything I've asked it to do. At 32" in diameter with a cutting height of 15" it cuts virtually anything (except it's too fast for steel) including re-saw work on 12" oak. I've got a 14" steel cutting bandsaw with a blade welder so I can make my own blades for either machine, but that's another story..........


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