Old 14" HB Bandsaw Restoration (maybe)

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
Sorry for the long post. I know many eyes glaze over at such a long post but the point is right below in my request. My in-laws had an old Harbor Freight purchased "Delco" 14" bandsaw that have noticed sitting for over 20 yrs that I wanted to restore for periodic use. I thought it would be much better/lower cost than buying a new or used bandsaw and having to deal with fixing it up too. Well the more I dove into this project the more issues I found.

Request for Feedback
  • In the end I'd like your thoughts on if you didn't truly need the bandsaw but had already spent $95 in parts to repair it only to find out you need a lot more parts (i.e. ~$120+ not counting a good blade),new tires even though just purchase new tires but got a bad batch and the potential deal breaker, the upper guide post seems very misaligned and not fixable; would you spend the $120 more to see if that fixes everything or cut your losses ?
  • If I spent this ~$215 to get it up and running good, that's still likely cheaper than purchasing a used one that I would have to likely make repairs as well and far cheaper than a new saw I do not need.
  • What would you do ? Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace, yard sale it to get my money back out of it if possible or spend more to fix it up...

Issues & Repairs
  • Table trunnions were broken - purchased new ones that fit perfectly....after lots of grinding
  • Guide bearings stuck due to pitch/dust - purchased 2, replaced one since one I purchased came broken already (thanks China)...was able to clean up and use one of the old ones though
  • Tires rotted & new ones are bad - replaced with urethane tires only to suspect I received bad tires (Thanks again China....lots of reviews out there with new tires causing vibrations due to variations in thickness); ~$25-30
  • Upper wheel alignment assembly is cracked in multiple places and is believed to be contributing to making it difficult to align the blade properly; ~$75 for new assembly
  • Blade tracking handle broken off so have to use a wrench to adjust blade tracking; knob would come with a new assembly
  • Upper wheel alignment - huge gap behind the wheel that requires shimming w/ washers to keep it from rubbing heavily on the enclosure back
  • V-belt for the motor was twisted and suspect warped due to sitting so long - believed to contribute to excessive vibrations; need to purchase new belt; ~$15 for new one
  • The blade guard/shroud on the left side of the table was split in half and upon gluing it back it rubs on the blade (was told it always did this, which is very annoying); make one our of wood ? guess ?
  • Missing table insert - can make out of wood or purchase some and hope I don't have to grind them to fit...~ $10-15 or make them
  • Blade guides were torn up metal stock which I replaced with Cool Blocks
  • These didn't come with a fence which is not ideal but not a show stopper....would use an aluminum bar or 2x4 clamped to the table before I spent $120 on a fence for this bandsaw
Major Issues Remaining
  • Excessive vibrations I think are a combination of the drive belt & bad batch of new tires
  • Most concerning is the upper guidepost being misaligned (by far) to the blade. See pics below. I've never seen or heard of such a misalignment. See the blade virtually touching the guide then the 2nd pic shows how far the guidepost is off in order to have the blade be centered in the guides
    • I'm not sure how this is even fixable being how far off it it from the blade center to the center of the blade guides & guidepost and the post is hexagonal rather than a round bar. Even if it was a round bar, it's so far off the blade guides / cool blocks would be contacting the blade at an angle rather than flat against each side of the blade
    • I was told it's always been that way.
    • Is this just annoying (having the blade so close to the guide on the left) or would it be a show stopper to make any further repairs in your mind ?
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tvrgeek

Scott
User
The guide bar should be adjustable. Is it offset uniformly? That is all the way up to all the way down? Or is it skewed. In any case, probably fixable by adjustment or shims. Look carefully or post some pictures of how it is put together. If th epost is in line, maybe you could modify the guide block. How is the lower block?

An AX series cogged Gates belt should fix any issue there unless the wheels are not balanced. A bit if lead tape can balance them.

Got to have good tires.

The upper tracking assembly being broken seems to be SOP with this entire generation, HF or Delta. There are aftermarket ones. I do not know what they are made out of, I assume Zinc, so not repairable. Don't know. If iron, could be brazed.

DIY fence is no big deal. Some even use magnetic ones.

Blades are consumables. Don't count them.

A good 14 incher ( like my C-14) is $1200, but a really nice 3 HP machine.
 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
The guide bar should be adjustable. Is it offset uniformly? That is all the way up to all the way down? Or is it skewed. In any case, probably fixable by adjustment or shims. Look carefully or post some pictures of how it is put together. If th epost is in line, maybe you could modify the guide block. How is the lower block?

An AX series cogged Gates belt should fix any issue there unless the wheels are not balanced. A bit if lead tape can balance them.

Got to have good tires.

The upper tracking assembly being broken seems to be SOP with this entire generation, HF or Delta. There are aftermarket ones. I do not know what they are made out of, I assume Zinc, so not repairable. Don't know. If iron, could be brazed.

DIY fence is no big deal. Some even use magnetic ones.

Blades are consumables. Don't count them.

A good 14 incher ( like my C-14) is $1200, but a really nice 3 HP machine.
Thanks for the input/thoughts. The guidepost is not bent at all and there's virtually zero play in it to be able to shim into alignment much less as far as it needs to move. The bottom guides are perfectly aligned but they are on a plate that and can move / adjust side to side if needed unlike the upper guidepost.
 

jfynyson

Jeremy
User
Got a picture of how the post is mounted in the upper shell?
Sure. see here...Also my father-in0law seems to think the best option may be to just milled down the bottom of the guidepost where the upper guide mount bolts on maybe my 1/8" but would also have to tap/thread the bolt from the side (like some mounts do these days for round stock guideposts).

I just replaced the new tires with the old ones by the way and most of the vibrations stopped thus proving I got a bad batch of new tires...
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tvrgeek

Scott
User
It looks like the lower casting is bored crooked. No adjustment. Well, Horrible Freight.
I would approach it several ways.

What suprises me is how far out it is. Build of tollerences maybe, or a spec got transcribed wrong.

First, are you sure the upper wheel does not have any fore/aft adjustment in how it is bolted to the C-frame? Could you slot it a little so it did?

Next is to see if the upper bore is in line, even if it is offset. If not, understanding you are just pinching the rod in a round hole, I would get out my files and cut a strait V on the side it needs to move to. Hopefully, it is strait and in the right place, so then to look at the guide block.
It looks like much softer metal and some file work might get it in.

If the post is true and you can't move the wheel, then the modification suggested seems valid. File/shim/pack/clamp.

Hard to tell from pictures, but that is how I would attack it. Too bad you're so far away. I love a challenge.
 

awldune

Sam
User
You can probably get $100 for it, even disclosing all the issues. Probably the best route, unless you are just enjoying the challenge and/or stubborn. If that is the case, I can sympathize.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Looking at your first two pictures, the post is not true to the blade. it is tilted. That tells me the upper hole in the casting was done wrong.
A lot of metal there. The "right" fix is to bore it and put in a bushing, but that would be expensive.
You need to move the post to the inside, which is good. You can file a V in the upper bore that is in line, then drill for a couple of brass bolts to use to snug the post into the V
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Is the blade guide in upside down? They're asymmetric in many Delta clones I think. You will know if the blade guide post is parallel to the blade if you move the guide up and down. If it's the same distance to the cool block at fully extended and fully retracted, then the post is parallel to the blade.

I would not throw good money after bad. Sell it for $150 on Craigslist, and buy a serviceable tool for $400. This post reminds me of the old joke "I've had the same axe for fifty years!" "Wow it's in great shape! " Yeah I just replaced the handle back in '82, and the head in '06."

Edit: did not fully appreciate the pic showing the non-parallel nature of the guide post problem. Yikes. You'd have to adjust the guide blocks any time you moved the guide. Run, don't walk away IMO.
 
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jfynyson

Jeremy
User
PROJECT UPDATE: well I seriously considered all of your input and talked it over with the wife. She told me to just buy a new bandsaw but I guess like some of you claim, I too can be hard headed or stubborn and like a challenge when I have time. I don't like spending a lot of money when I think I can get a good running machine for much cheaper and keep it from the landfill. Mostly I hate seeing things go into the trash/landfill and like to reuse/restore when I can. In the end I couldn't find any decent used 14" bandsaws like vintage Delta's for sale any near me and even then I'd pay as much as I put into this thing then would still have to invest at least half that much back into fixing up one of those machines. These were basically the same exact parts I'd have to buy for an old Delta anyhow as I found out. ~$210 total not counting the new Timberwolf blade and have a great running/cutting machine now. I can easily see why some said to run from this thing and normally I would've agreed but this was quite fun & a great learning experience.

Repairs Made In Order
  • Replaced the tires w/ the orange urethanes and even being made in USA I got yet another bad batch of tires !!!. These had a crack at the weld right out of the package ! Quick replacement from Amazon and problem solved. Vibrations were gone and the V-belt didn't need replacing. This thing even passed the ol nickel test believe it or not.
  • To move the guide post over ~1/8" I had to grind it but to mark it I found that it was also bored from the factory not plumb....by 3/16" !!!. Jigsaw w/ metal blade made quick work of hogging out the lines and used milling bits to refine it. Will eventually bore/tap/thread some inserts to hold the post plumb but thus far just the screw holds it true.
  • Next I went to adjust the upper blade guide only to see it crack as I tightened it to the guide post !!! Turns out the lower blade guide base was also cracked. So, replaced both of those while I was at it. I was able to buy just the brackets and keep my bear and cool block assemblies/posts. However, the cool block posts wouldn't fit in the new brackets so I had to grind down the posts to fit in the bracket slots.
  • Upper wheel assembly, installed and couldn't fully tension the blade still....turns out the blades need to be ~92" or so not 93-1/2" as my in-laws had been using (not properly tensioned I assume). So, rather than making the trip to Klingspors to return the blade then order a custom size I elected to make a relief cut in the wheel cover. This gives me more blade size flexibility now. I then learned the replacement upper assembly had a not original set screw that protruded so a slot had to be cut into the wheel cover for that too.
  • Many thanks to Hamilton Tool Supply in PA for being such a great help on ensuring I get the right parts or best fit with minor mods needed.
  • The black plastic blade guard to the left was also rubbing the blade due to the post that it's mounted to (also is the screw/bolt for the door knob) was milled from factory at angle instead of perpendicular. Only fix here was the grind the plastic until it didn't rub...also added some wood shims to keep it pushed over fully to the right when on the bolt. (no pics of this though)
  • Had some 1/8" birch ply that I used to make the table insert. Cut on the small benchtop Delta bandsaw and refined with the disc sander. Used a chisel for the little notch...fits perfect
  • Needed dust collection: I bought a 2-1/2" shop vac crevice tool, cut out an opening to shroud the lower blade guide assembly for dust collection. Idea similar to Rob Cosman and some others mixed in. I mounted it using large neodymium magnets (rare earth) and plumbers tape/hangers. Taped the narrow end and this works beautifully to keep the inside of the saw clean.
  • Finally I needed a fence: I bought 2 of the 65lbs MagSwitches and inset them into some MDF with threaded inserts holding the fence face in case I just wanted to use the 3/4" MDF as a low fence. Used cherry scraps for the angle supports and it seems to be very true and holds fast.

Here's a few pics of the process:
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Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
Both Iron and Zinc can be brazed, but they require the right tip to control flame and heat. Band Saws are not complicated, but you need to start with a plan and order of correction.

Check wheels for proper spin, alignment and tracking. They need to be inline with each other within a certain tolerance, that can be looked up. In line means they are in the same plane and angle pitch is near similar. Then, go from there. If you have a cheap laser you can use as a reference line and work from the register point. Then everything is measured from a constant. Remember you can do most machining by hand with a fil;e reamer and diamond plates. Slow but can be done.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Lots of good work there. Hope it stays working for you
 

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