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Checking Bandsaw Wear


ihocky2
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I am going to look at a used bandsaw this afternoon. It is a 14" but the gentelman doesn't know the brand or much about it, since it is his son's and he is just taking phone calls. I know what the features that make for a good bandsaw are, and I'll be looking for those. But I don't really know what to look for on it to make sure that it wasn't used and abused. The ad says that it is only a little over a year old and wasn't much, but that doesn't mean they are being completely honest either. So any tips on wear spots to look at and what to look for on a used bandsaw would be appreciated.

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You will probably at least want to check the tires to make sure that they aren't cracked or bulging too much. Also, try to determine what kind of tension they put on the blade and whether it was constant or not. Also, check the guides to see what kind of shape they are in. Worn guides (at least in such a short period of time) can be indicative of misuse. Also, see if they will let you turn it on and see how it runs. Listen for strange noises and maybe take some scrap wood to make a few cuts on if you can and see how it feels. Those are my best suggestions.

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Depending on the age and how much use it has recieved you would want to think about several things. The parts like tires, guide bearings or guide material and such are normal wear items. Figure those items will require replacement within a reasonable period if they do not already look like they need to be replaced(adjust price acordingly). You certainly want to run the machine to check balance, and vibration(this can be clues to more costly issues). You also want to check the tension they have been applying, and type of cutting they have been doing. Wheel and motor bearings as well as shafts get expensive, and pushing the machine too hard will lead to failures in these parts. Same applies to the motor and its bearings, caps, windings, and starter overloads. Closely inspect wheels for signs of cracks, same with the frame, and if you notice loose parts on bolted steel frames be cautious. The cost of many of these parts are more than many used 14" saws are worth, so pay attension to clues that may indicate tuff wear. Ideally I would look for a well cared for(someone who new how to properly use the saw) and or a very low milage machine that the individual just never used as much as they thought they would. Ideally a larger machine is going to be a nice find if the person just bought something they decided they didn't need (they are much tuffer machines usually, when put to common woodworking tasks).

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I've been wanting to get a used bandsaw for a while as well. Unfortunetly, the only things that were showing up on the local craigslist where tiny ones that would be a step back from my not-so-great saw I use now, or giant industrial machines the size of a small import car. and of course, no matter what I get, I need to figure out where I'd put the darn thing, so nothing coming my way for a while.

I would say, that a good bandsaw book is a thing to check out even if you don't have a saw yet but are planning on buying one. I have Lonnie Bird's book, and another one my father has that I can't recall the title of. Both of those books have information on what to look for if you're buying a used bandsaw, which would be helpful. The information on tuning and setting up a saw also opened my eyes up to how the whole tool works as a whole, and understanding the principles also gave me a lot of insight into what to look for when I'm looking at saws.

Of course, many of the used saws I've seen lately haven't suffered from being abused, they just weren't very good saws to begin with.

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