Gil-Bilt 18" Band Saw build

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Blog series by mountainaxe updated 08-29-2016 02:01 PM 9 parts 26558 reads 26 comments total

Part 1: The kit

08-13-2016 12:19 AM by mountainaxe | 3 comments »

I’ve always wanted a big band saw, but never wanted to spend a pile of $$$ for one. I’ve suffered with a C-man tilt head band saw for a couple of years and it’s simply terrible. I found a couple of threads regarding Gilliom Manufacturing, Inc., Gil-Bilt 18” band saws on this site and started looking for one on-line. The company has been making woodworking machine kits since the 1940s…and I believe they’re still in business. After a lot of searching, I...

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Part 2: First steps

08-14-2016 09:41 PM by mountainaxe | 5 comments »

One of the selling points for this kit was that you only need to use one sheet of plywood and some hardwood or pine. I opted to use HD materials…3/4” hardwood plywood and solid oak. The plans thoughtfully provide a materials list and a cutting diagram. Cutting the plywood pieces using the full sized templates was simple as you just trace the pieces and cut with a jigsaw. I decided to use oak for the vertical spine as this is where a majority of stress is placed on the saw when...

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Part 3: Drive Shaft Assembly

08-16-2016 03:02 PM by mountainaxe | 2 comments »

I fabricated the bearing support beam by laminating three pieces of 1/2” plywood and trimming it to 1 1/2” x 9×21 1/8” dimensions. I then drilled 11/32” holes in two edges to mate with holes in right and left ends of the carcass. The kit included four special half round washers to hold the bolts. The beam has the ability to be adjusted forward; the purpose is to tilt the lower wheel downward to off-set the tendency of the wheel to be lifted up by blade tension....

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Part 4: Motor mount, etc.

08-18-2016 01:05 PM by mountainaxe | 2 comments »

I spent some time cutting/installing pieces (from templates) on the right side that will support the tilting table. They are basically a sandwich of plywood/hardwood you can see on the attached photo…nothing too complicated, but the notches and holes have to line up exactly. Also bolted the rear and right sides to the carcass with bolts and screws. Spent some time bolting the motor down and installing the blocks and pulleys. I’ll start working on the table next.

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Part 5: The table

08-23-2016 06:08 PM by mountainaxe | 3 comments »

The tilting table took more time and consideration than I’d expected. First, I decided to make the table by laminating two pieces of 1/2” plywood with sandwiched strips of flat-iron, ala “Mr. Sawdust.” This will ensure I have no future warping. So the table is basically two pieces, that when combined, measure about 24” x 28”...a big work surface. The table is mounted to the saw via two hinges; the table has notches that I cut out by hand and filed with ...

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Part 6: Wheels, tensioner, etc.

08-24-2016 01:38 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

Last night I used a jigsaw to fabricate the pieces that make up the top wheel cover and supports based on the full sized templates. I attached the tensioner to the back piece and then attached it to the support column with screws/bolts using two horizontal supports. I made a slight modification to this piece by adding a spring; this should take some of the tension off the structure itself when the blade is tightened. I also installed the previously built drive shaft assembly ...

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Part 7: Attaching table to frame

08-26-2016 07:15 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

The next step was to attach the assembled table to the frame. I first placed the blade on the wheels. Then I removed the front channel from the table and set it in position on the frame with hinges against the hinge support. I ensured the table was square and then drilled 1/4” holes in the table hinge support to mate with the top holes in the hinges. Bottom hinge holes were located and drilled through the 1” diameter access holes in the right end. I bolted hinges to the suppo...

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Part 8: Rip fence

08-27-2016 04:29 PM by mountainaxe | 1 comment »

The plans call for a rather simple rip fence fabricated from hardwood. I decided to use some leftover 3/4” oak to make my fence. I laminated two pieces together and dado’d a channel in the top to accept stops, clamps, etc. The shorter piece bolted to the metal clamp/indicator (that runs on the aluminum channels) and I attached this piece to the fence proper with a single dowel. The fence is simple to remove from the table when not in use. Think it looks good.

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Part 9: Completion!

08-29-2016 02:01 PM by mountainaxe | 8 comments »

The last steps in this project didn’t take too much time. First, I attached the front top panel to the two hinges. Next, I attached a guide support made from two 1/2” plywood pieces to the rear upper wheel cover. This piece also has two hanger bolts to mate with holes in the front upper wheel cover. There are also two thumb nuts and bolts for adjusting the blade guide. The blade guide fits over these bolts and can slide up and down by loosening the nuts. I next screwed the m...

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