Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The bandsaw

A small step on the road to the completely equipped wood shop. Already I have a radial arm saw and a drill press. I've been watching Craigs list and Ebay for a good used bandsaw that would let me cut curves and resaw thick wood down to thinner wood. This calls for a machine of some size, not one of the little bench top units. And, as usual, price was an object.
The best price on a new bandsaw was $399 for a 14 inch Delta at Lowes. So, when a used 12 inch Craftsman turned up I had to check it out. So, with snow still falling, I ease the Deville out of the garage and drive down to Alton NH, a very small town way out in the Lakes region. I93 is clear and drivable, but the back road to Alton has been frost heaved badly, bumps deep enough to bottom out the springs and bang your head on the head liner at only 35 mph. Plus they haven't plowed the snow yet.
Found the place (google maps worked yet again) and the owner is expecting me. The saw is medium old, and dirty, but it runs, blade stays on the wheels, and wood is cut. So I write a check, we take the machine apart. The base goes in the back seat, the works go in the trunk. The back seat leather cringes at the shower of dirt and rust flakes.
Back home in my warm dry shop I start the cleanup. WD-40 loosens the rusted bolts. Rubbed around with a rag it makes the sheet metal look better. Shop vac sucks 20 years of crud and sawdust out of the nooks and crannies. I find the the dataplate with the Sears model number, and lo and behold, the Sears web site still lists the model and some parts are still available. A posting on Old Woodworking Machines (owwm.com) draws a reply stating that this model was on sale new back in 1987. So, it's twenty years old for real.
A belt pulley is loose because a locking key is missing, and the built in worklight has a strange looking burned out light bulb. A visit to Franconia Hardware yields the missing key and , after the owner rummages around, the light bulb. It's the last one in stock, and apparently it has been on the store shelf for a long time, waiting for a buyer. Franconia Hardware stocks everything.
Today I'll put it back together and see if it still runs.

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