My Shop #3: Band Saw Blues

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Blog entry by DannyBoy posted 11-24-2009 06:45 PM 2549 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Table Saw Fence Part 3 of My Shop series no next part

The third in this series was supposed to be about a couple more additions to the table saw that I made last month. However, during a weekend wood-binge of trying to knock out Christmas presents, I had a bad moment.

I won’t go into detail on the presents since some of the recipients like to lurk on my blogs, but I will say that I was cutting cedar on long curves. I mean, a lot of cedar. Aside from the dust clouds I was dealing with (yes, I was wearing a respirator and yes I had my air filter on) the band saw didn’t seem to be performing very well at all. Finally, about halfway through a cut (right at the relief cut thank goodness), there was a shudder and then through my earmuffs I could hear the distinctive metal on metal grind of a band saw blade hitting the cover.

Well, after taking the entire upper assembly apart, I found my problem. The tracking arm for the upper wheel had broken. The rather cheap aluminum (this is a 1980s Taiwan knock-off of a Delta) had finally given up. Now, no more band saw.

Well, after cursing and quitting for the day (I had put in about 6 hours already so I was due), I finally started to think about what had happened and what my plans were. I considered fixing the saw but this would mean not only trying to find a rather rare part of making a common one fit, but it would also make me continue to live with the saw that I wasn’t 100% happy with.

My gripes on this saw have always been about the same. It uses a blade that is roughly 1” shorter than the standard 14” blades that are available at Lowes and most wood stores. The knobs are old plastic that is tough, but kills your hands to turn it. There is no gauge on the tension knob (not that it would be accurate) and de-tensioning is a pain. The motor is good, but the switch scares me both in placement on the machine and also in the fact that it has no safety key. Lastly, it is severely top heavy (cast iron on an aluminum frame).

So, after listing off the gripes and doing a small bit of searching and coming up empty on exact parts, I’ve decided to amend the shopping list for tools.

My goal had always been to replace this thing eventually but it was about fourth down the list (1. Dust Collector; 2. Replace the Drill Press; 3. Spindle Sander). Now, I’m moving it up to number one. So, as funds become available (I’m guessing January), I’ll be getting a new one. Yes, I’m actually buying a new tool this time. I figure a $400 budget will at least get me a 14” from Grizzly that will probably last as long as I need.

In the mean time, I’ve been able to continue the work with my trusty jig-saw. It isn’t as fast as the band saw was, but at least it is getting the job done. The real draw back is that a large bed project has gotten pushed back since I need the band saw for resawing some rescued oak (from church pews).

More to come as the holidays go on!


P.S.: I’d go into more detail, but I didn’t want to make it a big post. When I say budget $400, I mean cash. Eventually, I would love to run my woodshop as a business that pays for itself. But, in the mean time I’m funding it myself. Even if I made a switch tomorrow, I would not borrow money. New businesses can fail for hundreds of reasons, but the most common is that the new owner’s borrowed money and then couldn’t keep up with the payments. Sure, it is a slow growth, but it will be more positive than having a $500 monthly payment.

-- He said wood...

3 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5101 days

#1 posted 11-24-2009 07:07 PM

sorry to hear the misfortune of the BS (that’s Bandsaw… not the other BS). good call on the “say no to borrowed money” that has been my life’s motto, and I see many people left and right losing everything they have because they just couldn’t keep up with the payments.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dbhost's profile


5906 posts in 4684 days

#2 posted 11-24-2009 07:41 PM

It will max out, and go over a little with shipping, but the Grizzly GO555 is a really nice saw. I would steer clear of the GO580 as the 3/4 HP motor is a bit undersized…

The current Taiwan imports are all more or less identical at the foundation anyway, where they differ is on the bolt on stuff. Guides, wheels, motors etc…

If your older Taiwan band saw was more standardized like the current ones are, I would say fix it…

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View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4573 days

#3 posted 11-24-2009 11:17 PM

Well at least you’ll get a new saw out the mis-adventure

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

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