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Power tool advice after tough weekend...

2244 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  toolie
Jocks, I need help/advice with my tools. I had such a frustrating weekend so let me give you the back story and vent a little…

I'm in the final stages of building my radiator covers. The only piece left is the french cleat to attach them to the wall. I figured I would just bump the table saw to 45 degrees and rip a board to get my two pieces. I have an older 1950's craftsman 8" saw where the arbor tilts, and the motor slides on a metal pin in the back. When I went to fire up the saw, the belt flung off. After some minor tweaks to the motor position, I ended up getting the saw to run at 45 degrees. As I was half way into the rip, I noticed some akward vibrations and the wood stopped feeding into the blade correctly. I didn't panic, I held my push block down and I just bumped my knee to get the safety switch off (thankfully I installed that switch). Turns out the wood was drifting away from the fence a bit and I was headed for a kickback. The fences on these saws are notoriously bad, they don't really self square. I tried my best to measure the fence to ensure it was parallel with the blade at front and back, but I must have been off a tiny bit. I usually set the back of the fence a bit further away to ensure I don't get binding, but even that didn't work. Anyways, it scared me, so I decided to use a different tool for the job.

I have two band saws. I tried my smaller 10" first. As I tilted the table to 45 degrees, SNAP! The aluminum bottom blade guide snapped off. That saw is now scrap because the time to buy a replacement part isn't worth it in my eyes. It is just an el cheapo craftsman from an estate sale.

So … I headed to the second band saw. It is the same set from the 1950's as my table saw (Pictures in my workshop gallery). So I went to tilt the table and fired it up … worked fine. I clamped a temporary fence to the table and ripped my cleat at 45 degrees. However, I went to start my second piece, and the blade fell off the tires. I opened the case and inspected what happened. Couldn't really figure it out, so I put the blade back on and tried again. This time, after getting about 1/2 down the board, I hear another loud sound and the blade is loose again. Opened the cover to find two tires actually came off the wheels. I have the original owners manual so I read through and set the saw up according to the instructions. I made sure the wheels were all in alignment and the blade guides were all set correctly. I think part of the problem is the tension mechanisms aren't working properly. Also I read the tires probably need replacing. I don't know if they still make tires for my saw, but I don't really want to spend the time and effort in these old machines if they're not going to yield what I want. Plus this bandsaw only has about 3.5"-3.75" resaw capacity, which isn't critical, but something I will hate in the future as I get more into this hobby.

After spending almost all weekend working on my tools rather than my project, I had a thought:

Do I abandon these older tools and start looking for newer ones?

Here is what I feel would last me a long time for my needs:

10" Table saw with a proper fence. Riving knife/blade guard would be nice. Contractor or cabinet?
14" Band saw with tilt table. Two wheels. Fence would be nice.

Again, I'm now leaning more towards quality and reliability over good value. What are your thoughts?
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The HF BS is a great buy, you'll need to clamp on a fence though. The table is nice and accurate, but it's small. A piece of MDF could fix that easily though.
Ridgid has a good TS, it's basically the same thing as the older Craftsman TS so the feel is very similar and it's got a good fence.
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