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I have been in the market for a bandsaw for quite some time, and I have been waiting patiently for a 14 inch bandsaw after getting a lot of advice from many of you. Last night, I thought I had found the bandsaw that made it worth waiting. It is a RIDGID 14 inch bandsaw posted here:

http://fayar.craigslist.org/tls/4656544574.html

Now I know that this bandsaw is known for vibrations and has been discontinued, but through this site and youtube I did a lot of research and thought I would be able to make some of the same modifications. Considering he was asking $150 and willing to deliver at no additional cost (I don't have a truck), I thought it might be the saw for me. Well, last night, I went to take a look at it, and it did vibrate a lot. Plus, the guy selling it had not used it much and didn't know much of anything about it. There was no throat plate, manual, or rubber tire on the bottom wheel .. it was metal on metal. To be expected for the price so I didn't panic. So here's where I decided not to make the purchase and I wanted to what you all thought:

The upper cast iron wheel made a subtle to reasonable audible grinding noise, even without the blade on it. I couldn't see the wheel grinding on the metal casing and I tried to adjust the tilt of the wheel with no success. Is this a deal breaker or am I overthinking things?

The seller was a nice guy he just didn't know much about the his bandsaw. He was willing to take the price down to $125 due to missing the rubber wheels and throat plate. I don't have more than $250 for a bandsaw, and I don't have a lot of knowledge about tools, but I am willing and ready to learn. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I would pass on this without a doubt, but then again if I buy something I craigslist I'd rather get to using it, not get to repairing it, unless the price is an outright steal. If you don't mind doing some work on it, it could be for you. I'd tell the guy "I'd pay $150 for this saw in working order. It's not in working order. It needs parts and labor before it's even ready to cut wood. Throat insert, new blade, new tires, potentially bearings." and offer $75, but go no more than $100. Used 14" bandsaws popup on CL often, and they're usually in the $150-200 range, and in working order (or at least need no parts/fixing). This thing might go for a lot new, but its got known issues, its used, and it appears to have been abused in the 2 times he claims to have used it. And, there are plenty of older units out there in that price range that have a reputation for being solid performers.

You already know this thing needs, at minimum, tires, blade, and throat plate. Maybe bearings, maybe not. The grinding noise may be as simple as adjusting the upper wheel. Edit : Just saw that you adjusted the tilt to no success, so plan on spending more time/$$ on that.

I have a 1984 Delta 14" that I paid somewhere in the 125-150 range maybe 4 or 5 years ago. Just needed the table cleaned and a once over with some orange blast cleaner, new blade, nothing else. So there are good saws in your price range, they just may take a while to come around.
 

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Just additional info, you're looking at $35-50 for a set of tires. Around $30 for a blade. $5-10 for an insert.

So, you're going to be putting another $75+ into it, before you address the wheel noise, and assuming nothing else needs to be replaced. Then add in time you spend fixing it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Ed. I appreciate the advice. You are probably right on and I am glad my excitement/desperation did not get the best of me last night.

I really wasn't scared of the vibration issues and expected them. The bigger surprise was that grinding noise on the upper wheel. It sounded like it was coming from the back of the wheel, not the center. I just never saw anyone mention this issue with this saw and figured it might have been something he did himself during a move or something. If anyone can think of a reason this would be grinding like that, or if there is an easy test to rule things out that I could do, let me know. I would pull the trigger on this for $100 if I could expect to spend another $100 in upgrades. There are not many 14 inch bandsaws available on craigslist in my area that are listed in this price range. Thanks again Ed.
 

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The grinding of the top wheel is actually most likely not much of a concern and here is why. Without a bottom tire, the top wheel has to be raised higher to get the right tension on the blade. Raising it too high will cause the back of the hub of the upper wheel to rub against the top housing, which has a bump that allows for the tracking mechanism on the back side. How do I know this? I have an older Grizzly band saw that I put new urethane tires on. Those tires were thinner than stock, so I tried raising the top wheel high enough to get enough tension. Upon doing so, I heard the same grinding noise. I checked it out and it was what I described above, with changing the tracking adjustment not solving the issue. I solved it two different ways. First way was that I made a short riser from aluminum, less than .5" thick. I decided I didn't like that approach, and just ordered a shorter blade. I also could have put thicker tires on, but I needed a new blade anyway. The saw now cuts quite nicely.

As for vibration, I found a link belt on mine helped a ton. I was this close to throwing my saw away when I first got it (hand me down from my dad), but I stuck with it. With proper adjustments of pulley alignment, a new link belt, new tires, new spring, and new blade, it works very nicely. All those upgrades cost approximately $100 total.

This could be a usable saw if many don't pop up in your area often. Maybe go take another look at it, lower the upper wheel down pretty far, spin the upper wheel again, and see if it still grinds. Likely not. As always, this is just my experience and yours may differ, so take it for what it's worth.
 

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Chris, when you took the blade off and you said "I tried to adjust the tilt of the wheel with no success"...do you mean you could adjust the tilt and the sound didn't go away, or you could not adjust the tilt? Maybe I just misread it.

Ripthorn has a good point on that. Mine will make a slight rubbing noise if the wheel is adjusted too far either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well … First I will saw I was a little apprehensive to be doing a lot to the saw in front of the owner which was my first mistake. Basically, we took the blade off, and tilted the wheel using a knob on the back of the saw, and the grinding noise continued sporadically. I can't remember if the wheel was lowered or still pretty high. I remember thinking that he had the tension of the blade set way too tight at one point, and this is based off watching the youtube video from Alex Snodgrass.

Anyway … thinking about this more after reading Ripthorn's posts, I do remember a time where I was spinning the wheel (with the blade removed) and the owner was pulling back the metal housing slightly, and there was no grinding noise. So, it might be what Ripthorn mentioned, or it might be that the wheel or metal housing is bent. Am I on the right track?
 

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Although I agree with the above, you can get a better bandsaw on CL, but probably not with included delivery.

You can easily make a zero clearance throat plate (if you have a router and disk, spindle, or 1 inch belt sander, or hand sanding/rasp perseverance.) Measure the insert hole. Using a compass (so you have a center mark) draw it on a piece of hard wood (say maple, or even better laminated flooring). Draw a diameter. Take a table size piece of plywood, ease it into the blade as a temporary insert/hole cover. Clamp it in place. Now use the bandsaw to cut out the insert. Use the sander to true it up. Use the router and rabbiting bit to cut the lip. Use the bandsaw to cut along the diameter a little pass the blade end and you now have a zero clearance throat plate (make two passes or use sand paper if you want the kerf wider). (Make sure the thickness of your hard wood insert does not interfere with the lower blade guides.) (Actually you can get by with the plywood if you add a lip so that it can be clamped to the edge so that the clamp does not interfere with sawing operations.)

So your extra cost is new blade+tires less delivery. Thus I think you only need to put an extra $60+ into it not $75+. Hence is does fit in your budget, but you may be able to do better (if you have a buddy with a truck).

Lastly, you could get the saw, tune it up best you can as is, and get tires. Then use it, while waiting to have more money, for linked belts (which I have read mixed reviews on) and a new throat plate and …. more.
 

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It may have been fine, but like you, I would be concerned. If the bandsaw was only used twice, why was it missing the lower rubber tire? With you not being familiar with tools you might not have been able to tell if the grinding noise was a problem. It is a great price if there isn't a major problem but it doesn't seem right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I actually don't even think he assembled it correctly which is the reason for the missing rubber tire. He didn't even know there was supposed to be another rubber tire on there, and did not even know how to tilt the wheel. I have never owned a bandsaw and I knew more than him based on looking at youtube videos and reading countless posts on lumberjocks ha!

This makes me nervous because there could be other things he didn't assemble correctly. On the plus side though, it was pretty obvious he really only used it 2x. When he tried to cut a 2×4 scrap .. well … I am not even going to go there. It worked but it wasn't pretty.
 

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Looking at the manual, it appears that the bulk of the saw comes assembled, so the tires and wheels should have already been taken care of, so no idea where that tire went to.

But, since you have the manual now (see link above), you can disassemble it and redo it per the instructions, so you know it's done correctly.
 

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You either buy a tool A=to use right away ,or B=to repair and then use or sell,this bandsaw is not in a condition to be used right away but it's priced that way,when it's all said and done,it is a $200 plus bandsaw with a not so good reputation.

I would rather pay the $200 if it was already ready to work ,with no hidden surprises,unforeseen problems/repairs.
It is not such a great deal unless you are willing to spend time,money to fix it up,and the seller lets you have it for under $100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for the input. A special thanks to Aaron for messaging me when this was posted in my area. I will remain on the hunt. I really appreciate all the help. The day I get a bandsaw I will be posting in on this website!
 
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