Can I use a 2 hp compressor style motor in a Harbor Freight bandsaw?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by derhul posted 12-03-2018 03:50 PM 844 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View derhul's profile


5 posts in 524 days

12-03-2018 03:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw harbor freight central machinery motor compressor motor resawing

Hey guys.

I just bought a harbor freight 14 inch bandsaw for resawing hardwoods.

The motor that came with it is lacking the power needed to cut through hardwoods.

Harbor Freight is selling a 2 hp Compressor motor.

Will this style of motor work? Or, do I need a different style of motor?

7 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6834 posts in 1322 days

#1 posted 12-03-2018 03:57 PM

blades have a lot to do with resawing hardwoods :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View WhyMe's profile


1208 posts in 2171 days

#2 posted 12-03-2018 04:02 PM

If it fits and is the correct RPM, it will work. But as already stated use a correct blade.

View Holt's profile


280 posts in 3239 days

#3 posted 12-03-2018 04:19 PM

Compressor motors are not usually intended for “continuous” operation. They are intended to cycle on, run a bit, then cycle off. I’m not sure at what point you would be running the motor too long. I would guess the biggest weak points would be bearings and the ability to get rid of heat…

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View shampeon's profile


1900 posts in 2793 days

#4 posted 12-03-2018 05:27 PM

Don’t use a compressor duty motor on your bandsaw. You need a continuous duty motor, especially if you’re doing resawing. My guess is you’ll burn the motor.

You’re about to throw good money after bad.

First of all, you just bought this saw. The HF 14” is a Delta clone, and for what it is it’s fine, but it’s not supposed to be a dedicated resawing saw. It will work though if you:
  • have set up the saw properly
  • use a new, sharp, wide, low tooth count blade
  • go slow
  • [did you buy the riser block for the saw to give you more resaw capacity?]

All a higher HP motor will allow you to do is mess up your wood faster if you don’t have your saw set up correctly and are not using a sharp blade.

This is why you’re about to waste even more money: You just spent roughly $300 on a saw, and you want to spend another $150 on a different (incorrect) motor. That 2HP compressor duty motor draws 17 amps at 120. Do you have a 20 amp circuit to handle it? If not, that’s going to cost some money for the new breaker, wiring, and outlet. Same thing if you want to run the motor at 220 and you don’t have a 220 circuit. This applies to any motor that’s more than 1.5 HP, by the way.

So assuming you’re got to do some electrical work you’re looking at spending at least $200 more to upgrade your HF 14” saw. For the $500 or so you’re looking at putting into this project, you could have bought a larger used bandsaw on Craigslist, if you’re patient. For example, there was an old 16” Powermatic beast near me for $550 recently.

If I were you, you already have the saw. Buy a high quality resaw blade, get the saw set up properly (google “Snodgrass bandsaw setup video”), and figure out how to use what you have for a while. If you then determine that the problem is for sure the motor and not the saw, look for a good continuous duty motor on Craigslist, and make sure the RPM and spindle size are compatible.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View JohnMcClure's profile


846 posts in 1250 days

#5 posted 12-03-2018 05:41 PM

Yup, snodgrass setup. Weaker motor only means you may have to move slower. Blade choice and setup determine your success or failure.
Spend 3x the money on a blade, and nothing on the motor, and you should be happy.
Oh and if its dry and hard, like hard maple, you can try a bimetal blade.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View CharlesA's profile


3395 posts in 2407 days

#6 posted 12-03-2018 05:48 PM

I have a similar situation with a Craftsman 12” (Rikon clone) bandsaw. Snodgrass setup, 0.5”, Woodslicer blade, and slow feed rate.

It’s one of the reasons I have my eye on a 14”+ steel frame 220v saw, but yours will work, albeit alowly.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View WoodenDreams's profile


888 posts in 520 days

#7 posted 12-03-2018 07:07 PM

The blade in my band saw has a high tooth count. designed for cutting steel. I like this for smoother cuts on wood. But the 2 big disadvantages are; must feed the boards slower, and cutting any sort of round pattern is more work. The blade type makes a large difference in performance.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics