About a year ago I bought a Delta 14″ wood and metal cutting band saw at a pretty decent price (here it is fresh off the truck). I hadn’t found any dual speed saws in my area, and had to make a three hour trip to Pennsylvania to pick it up. Thats the price for living near the nation’s Capitol; there isn’t alot of old iron around unless you rub elbows with the type of clowns I do. This saw worked pretty well, but I tend to push the limits of good judgement when it comes to my tools. I had bought this saw to “replace” my Silver 20″ saw, because I need more floor space. The Delta hasn’t learned how to earn its keep yet, and I still have the Silver. The main problem I have (had) with the Delta was that it would throw the blade when I pushed it a little. It was getting annoying, and a while back I bought a set of Urethane tires from Sulphur Grove Tools. I bought mine from their Ebay store (Ebay ID: ohioblademan). I think the set was about 25 bucks, and they carry Fenner Power-Twist segmented belts too (a real boon to anybody that messes with old machines). The tires laid around for about six months before I got tired of moving them. Tonight I decided to throw them on.
Heres a shot of the pulleys that make the magic happen. I cut mostly metal, but its real nice to have the ability to adjust the speed to cut wood too. I had to make some repairs to the saw before it would change speeds properly, which wasn’t a real big deal. (Those raggedy V belts from the 60s have been replaced with Fenner Power Twist V belts).
This is the set of tires I got from Sulphur Grove Tools. So far, this is the biggest bang for the buck I can think of for this saw. It really brought the saw to life.
This is the source of my problems. The tires “seemed” OK, but the blade would fly off the tires when pushed too hard. It took me a while to realize that the tires (while they looked pretty good) were the problem. Once I got started, the whole fix took no time at all.
These are the only tools I used to replace the tires. The old tires came off in about 30 seconds with the pick, and then I cleaned up the wheels with the scouring pad. I was ready to mount the new tire in about three minutes.
I had the new tires on so fast, I didn’t have time to get a shot of the process. I had heard that soaking the tires in warm water would make them more pliable, and easier to install. I didn’t soak them, just held the starting point with a clamp, and they slid on with some careful persuasion. The clamp was the key on the upper wheel (as it wants to turn), but the lower wheel stayed put because it was in low gear. It took about five minutes to fit the tires on each wheel.
Here, both tires were mounted, and I had to roll the outward edge of the tire into the lip on the wheel. I just rubbed the edge of the tire with a screwdriver, and it slid right in. This gave the tire a nice crown (necessary for proper tracking). At this point I was wondering if these things were going to work, as they are very hard, slick and shiny. All that was left was to mount the blade and give it a try. I knew the saw would cut pretty good on medium sized stuff, but decided to give it a “torture test” on some aluminum scrap I pulled out of the dumpster at work. I get lots of this stuff, and usually try to cut it small enough to fit in a six inch crucible for my casting furnace.
This cut through an old quick-connect took a little over a minute, and I expected the blade to fly off the wheel when the cut terminated (thats what it usually did). Apparently the connector was a little sprung, because it pinched the blade when it hit the end, and STALLED THE MOTOR! The blade never launched itself. I was stunned, the blade had flown off the tires so many times, I never put the guards back on. With the new Urethane tires, the blade could cut much faster, and without me worrying about where it would land. This was a major improvement to the saw. I guess I’ll have to track down the covers, and put them back on!
Heres the second cut. I took my time with the 2nd cut, cause I was wary of the blade binding again at the end, but this time it slid right through. The 2nd cut took about a minute and a half, and I was taking my time. No slipping at all, and the tracking was dead-on. Just to give you some perspective; the slot in the table is 3/4″ wide.
All in all; this “repair” was like dropping a V8 in a Model T, and only took about a half an hour (while I was shooting pics). As it sat (before the repair), the saw was a LONG way from reaching its potential. After the new tires were installed, all the power of the motor was getting to the blade. I have never been able to cut a piece like the one shown before, but now that I can get the power to the blade, it seems like child’s play. These tires WORK! I would advise anyone with a Delta Band Saw (or any other for that matter) to contact Sulphur Grove Tools at WWW.sgtool.com , and get some. I have ordered from them a number of times, and have been pleased with the service, price and speed of delivery every time. For the record: their price on Fenner drive belts is about what you would pay at Harbor Fright. Good folks to deal with. I intend to get some tires for the Silver band saw in the near future. If it does as much for that saw as it did for the Delta, I’ll be walkin in high cotton.
In light of the more frequent use this saw is getting; I decided to lump a few improvements into this post, and modify the title. There should be more to come….
RETRACTABLE CASTER SET
Once the tire change was completed, and the blade welder was back in action, I have been using the saw more often, and finding it very handy. I had a few jobs kind of “in the pattern”, waiting for the saw to be fixed. My shop is small, and I am a world renowned pack-rat, so space is at a premium. Some of my equipment is on casters, so that I can move it out of my way when needed. Being that I just bought two Delta tool stands at the CAMS yard sale, and already had this one; I decided to check the prices on Delta caster sets. I found a number of them on Ebay, and they all seemed to be around $100. I noticed one from a seller marcw330 that had been cleaned/repainted, and looked to be in real nice shape with new casters and fasteners. It was a bit more money, but I decided to grab it. Today it showed up:
This is what greeted me at the door when the mailman arrived today, every bit what the seller said it would be. The caster set is installed with only four nuts; couldn’t be simpler. I got started, and the caster set was installed in about ten minutes.
Here are the casters in the relaxed position; with the wheels up, and the weight of the saw on the stand. The saw is as stable as the original configuration in this stage.
This is with the casters down, and able to roll. In this stage, the saw is elevated maybe 1/4 inch, and is still surprisingly stable. I was expecting (because of the narrow stand width) that it would be less stable, but was surprised that the saw didn’t have that “getting ready to tip” feel to it. I think I’ll be looking for another of these kits for the longer Delta stands that I plan on mounting my brake/slip roll/shear on in the future. I’ll be checking markw330 for another one first.
IMPROVED BLADE TENSIONER
The first time I had to change/adjust the blade on this saw, I thought that Delta had really missed the boat. The tensioning knob is placed so that anyone with knuckles bigger than Barbie’s will hate the thing. Delta tried to remedy the situation by punching a scallop in the upper blade cover for clearance. This will be enough clearance for people with knuckles the size of Ken’s. I decided to extend the shaft, so that real people could use the tensioner.
Heres the factory set-up. Pretty tough if you’ve got big hands.
This seemed to be a better height for the adjuster to be at. I have seen some high dollar aftermarket shafts about this length, but why buy one when I already have one? (just needs a little work).
Heres the old one (it just unscrews). The handle is just pinned on.
The old and the new. The longer one will have to be threaded and drilled on the other end to pin the handle.
A few minutes on the lathe and the threads are cut and the nose squared up.
The pin was in a blind hole, so I couldn’t drive it out, it had to be drilled out.
The new longer shaft had to be drilled for a pin.
The new parts get a quick clean-up with some lacquer thinner so the thread locker will hold.
The new pin driven in and leveled. The knob is a nice tight fit.
I gave the screw a bit of oil before installing it, and treated the spring to a new thrust washer, too. The assembly took about a minute and a half, and adjustment is much improved. No more busting my knuckles to adjust blade tension. This is the adjuster that Delta SHOULD have furnished with the saw. I can’t think of a single reason why they didn’t. This job took about an hour to whip up, and was well worth the time invested. At any rate; theres one more job that will be easier to perform on a daily basis, and make my cutting jobs less of a task. I’m liking this saw better every day.
IMPROVED BLADE GUIDES:
Time to upgrade the upper and lower blade guides. I’ve had these parts lying around for quite a while.
First thing is to pull the table off. These knobs hold the table to the trunions.
Heres a shot of the lower blade guides; two blocks of tool steel, one at a 45 degree angle.
Pretty badly worn, and frozen in place. They gotta go.
The upper guides; same deal here.
First thing to do is remove the upper guide rod. This will give me a chance to clean it up and get it running smooth.
This is the new upper guide. The rollers should be alot smoother than the rubbing blocks. I cleaned up the threads, and lubed everything while it was off.
Moving on to the lower guide; the rear bearing is adjusted with the lower adjustment screw. This rides up against the rear of the blade.
This is the lower roller guide. it rides lightly against the blade, and is secured by a set screw. The other guide is the angled tool steel block. I had to re-use this as the roller would not fit the hole. I just cleaned the old block up and lubed it.
Fast forward to the upper guide re-installed on the saw. The back bearing should be backed off before the side rollers are adjusted. The rear blade bearing is adjusted from the rear.
This is the upper roller locking screw.
The upper rollers are on eccentric bolts, and you turn them until you get contact with the blade, then lock down the locking bolt.
With the blade squared away, it was time to move on to the table. There was alot of old paint and a few rough spots on the trunion and the table. I just scraped off the paint and hit the rough spots with a fine file.
The table moves smooth now, and all that is left is to square the blade to the table and reassemble. It was about this time that I decided it was time to clean some of the “patina” off the table. I never cleaned it when I bought it, and it is starting to look a little shabby.
Evapo-Rust works real nice on lightly rusted parts. I cleaned the table with a razor blade, then washed it with lacquer thinner. I covered the table with paper towels soaked with Evapo-Rust for about an hour. Once the worst of the stains were gone, I just rubbed the table down with a Scotch-Brite pad soaked in Evapo-Rust.
After a half an hour or so of rubbing the solution in with the Scotch-Brite, this is what I ended up with. A light coat of oil and the job is done.
I haven’t had a chance to evaluate the improvements to the blade guides yet, but I’m sure pleased with the way the table looks, and the miter gauge sure moves smoother, now that the rust is gone.