Things to look for when buying a used Bandsaw

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agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
Hi,

I'm in the market for an affordable (aka Cheap) 14 inch or greater bandsaw. I've seen a few on CL and have realized, I'm not sure I know what to look for when evaluating a bandsaw beyond: a) does it 'sound right', or b) does it bounce all over the place when turned on.

Anyone have any good rules of thumb to evaluate a used BS for sale?

thanks
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
A-
Your list first - what do you want your new tool to do?
1. Cutting radius' on "thin" stock 2" or less?
2. Resawing lumber to your dimensions?
3. Cutting logs into bowl blanks?
4. ???

I had a shopsmith 10" bandsaw that I found cheap - mounted it onto a cabinet, had a small motor 1/2 HP I think and I thought I was in heaven... It cut radius' on boards and ripped 3/4 stock into smaller width pieces and I was somewhat happy. UNTIL...

"Hey, I want to do some of this "resawing"
I bought a larger (3/8" because that is as big as it took) blade. But, surprise! the motor is now too small.

I upgraded to a 14" Delta "open-base stand" with a 3/4 HP motor and quickly found a 1 hp motor to put on it. This one had an open base, but I was working at a place where we were getting rid of machinery and there was a metal base cabinet for a surface grinder and I took it quickly and mounted the saw and motor. it works pretty well, but I have a little more vibration than I want, but not enough to tear it all apart and figure it out!

So long story, longer - determine what you need / want to do with the tool first. Then add that to your post and you will get more answers than you might have wanted!:D
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
First, size and power you need for the work you want to do.

add 50% because you know you want to!

check bearings, guides, motor, wheels, tires, look for any signs of abuse like bent metal, scraped paint, broken frame.
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
First, size and power you need for the work you want to do.

add 50% because you know you want to!

check bearings, guides, motor, wheels, tires, look for any signs of abuse like bent metal, scraped paint, broken frame.
Good stuff. Thanks.

I've got one 'picked out' that is aligned to my needs (general curve cuts on reasonable size stock and the occasional resawing of a 5/4 or 6/4 down to something thinner). I've anticipated my 'needs' as best I can...and balanced those with the 'realities' that are life...;-) Primarily looking for quick tests to make sure its not a lemon or a junker.
 

Mark Gottesman

New User
Mark
If you find something wrong like tires or bearings use it for bargaining. Tires get old and brittle. Bearings wear out and wheels start to wobble. Take a good look at the trunnions underneath the table. They are often pot metal and prone to breakage if over stressed. Bandsaws are fairly simple to rebuild and tune for accuracy. Keep an eye out for machines that owner says don't work. I've run across a couple that came home with me for short money. One the motor was wired for 220 instead of 110 and the other had a switch that was broken in the off position internally. Owners were frustrated and wanted them gone. You might also want to ask this question over at the OWWM.org site. They only deal with older American made machines, but since almost every 14" bandsaw is based on a Delta the info translates. Keep an eye out for a good deal on a Rikon.
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
Bandsaws are pretty simple devices. Start with a model that has a good reputation (so you know the model is capable of good work). Research the machine and understand its strengths and weaknesses..remember a used machine is rarely *fundamentally* improved after it leaves the factory. Ask to demo the machine by cutting some wood. Turn the machine on..does it run smoothly ? Does it cut smoothly and consistently (try to look past the effects of dull blades and misaligned guides).

Try to run the machine through the full range of adjustments, especially if the saw has multiple speeds.

Look for damaged and/or repaired parts - typically the trunnions supporting the table, the upper and/or lower blade guides, pulleys and the tensioning mechanism (in that order) are where you expect damage. Clean off any gunk and look for breaks or repairs. Breaks or seized parts are bad if its not an off the shelf part (like the thrust bearings). Repairs are not ideal but may be acceptable if you can demonstrate the part still has it normal range of function. Note that it is expected to see saw-cuts in the upper blade guard and the table insert..these are cosmetic issues only unless the damage is so bad the parts no longer function, eg no longer guard the blade.

The motor and power switch are another common area for damage/repair. Is the switch factory original or if not, is it an industrial looking replacement ? Does it turn the macine on and off as expected ? Otherwise budget $20 ish for a replacement. Is the motor factory original - if not, is it a brand name and is it appropriate in RPM and horsepower ? If not, you could be looking at $100-200 for a new motor eventually. If the motor is noisy or is 30+ years old, plan on spending $20 on new bearings.

Another thing that seems to go missing occassionally on bandsaws in the beltguard. I wouldnt run a saw without one but I'd expect a OEM replacement to be quite pricey. DIY replacement works but usually looks terrible.


-Mark
 
Last edited:

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
This 14" Delta is currently on Raleigh CL...

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/tls/4815204689.html

No price listed but may be worth checking it out. (w/all of the advice listed in this thread.)

(Purchased a used Delta 14" about 8 years ago and still running strong. Picked it up for $100 with an apparent dead motor. Got it home, hit the reset on the motor and has been running strong ever since!)

They are out there!

Wayne
 

Jim Roche

jim
User
A lot of people have mentioned to check the trunnions for cracks/breaks/repairs etc, so I wanted to give you some advice on when you purchase your band saw. Take the table off when you go to move it because it tempting to lift the saw by its table and this is often where the trunnions crack or break, since a lot of the older saws trunnions were made of pot metal.
Good luck on your search!
Jim
 

ttnc

New User
Tony
Read your post and the responses. If you could live with an olDer 12" Craftsman I have one you could pick up for 50 bucks or trade me some project wood.
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
Read your post and the responses. If you could live with an olDer 12" Craftsman I have one you could pick up for 50 bucks or trade me some project wood.
Extremely generous offer. Thanks Tony.

I have discovered my new neighbor has a 'baby' 10 inch that I can use. That will keep me in business until I find a good 14" laying around on CL. I'll leave you with your 12"er- I'm sure someone on NCWW would be thrilled to put it to good use.

Many thanks!
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
While you're looking for a bandsaw consider a pro level jigsaw. I have the Bosch 1591EVS which can be found used on Craigslist or refurbed from CPO Bosch w/full warranty. With it adjusted correctly and using the Bosch T308BXtra-clean blades and a zero clearance insert I get very smooth, chipout free cuts.

As far as your original question... before you buy, plan on taking the time to adjust the table to a 45-degree angle and return to 90-degrees to the blade on all 4 sides to check the trunnions. Remove and re-install the blade. Take a set of hex keys and a good square along. You'll see any problems associated with blade guides, tension adjustment, tracking issues.
 
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