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Author Topic: New here, got a Belsaw  (Read 2596 times)

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Offline glendaler

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New here, got a Belsaw
« on: May 04, 2018, 03:06:11 PM »
Hey all, new to the forum, I have a couple woodlots I take some firewood and saw logs off, and I just purchased and old circle mill. As far as I can tell it's an A-14, it has the 6ft carriage with the two 2ft extensions, so 10ft carriage. They had a 42ft base under it though (all rotten) so who knows what kind/size of logs were being run through this thing. Anyway, I hope to get it home soon and start cleaning it up and painting it, next will be building a new bed for it, planning on a 30ft one because that's what the original literature says goes with the 10ft carriage to cut up to 14ft logs. Most of my stuff will be 8-12 anyway though.

Online Chuck White

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 06:38:07 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, glendaler!
~Chuck~
Retired USAF (1989), Retired School Bus Driver (2012), and now a Mobile Sawyer
1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG2425 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.
I LOVE MY SAWMILL

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 08:13:43 PM »
Welcome Glen, that mill looks to be easily restorable. Did you get a saw with it, that's the most critical piece. Theirs a lot of information here and all over the internet on Belsaws. What are you planning to use for power.?? Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 06:11:37 AM »
This guy runs a band mill as a business but bought up some old circle mills and has them laying around the yard, including this belsaw. Luckily he took the blades off and put them in a shed, so he just has to dig it out for me. The size of the blade will determine the power source. If it's a 36" I'd love to run it PTO off my tractor, much bigger and i'll be looking at a dedicated power plant. I own an engine machine shop and specialize in diesel so I pretty much have my choice of engine. 

Offline Don P

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 06:46:19 AM »
Nice score! I like your dog mechanism much more than the ones on my M-14

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 06:53:11 PM »
Thanks, i don't have any experience with it yet but when researching these belsaws i liked the look of these ones better. What size blade is on your M-14 and what are you using for power?

Offline dbroswoods

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 07:47:14 PM »
Nice Score that should be a real nice saw.

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2018, 08:01:58 PM »
thanks, i'm hoping so.

Is there a way to figure out what year this was made with the serial number?

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 08:10:26 PM »
2 things: If it's been sitting out side, put in new bearings and try not to under size the shaft. [ I have had good luck with 609 locktite]. If you do machine work you should eventually design a better ratchet system that holds back. This is a very weak area on any bell saw. It is good you have the raised bases the newer bell saws don't.

Offline Don P

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2018, 08:20:52 PM »
I've been running a 46" blade with a tired old gas Massey Ferguson TO35, way underpowered. I ground back half the teeth so it is really running on 15 teeth, sort of the same theory as a swingblade, low hp so have fewer teeth in cut. A friend and I recently purchased APM's '84 model M-14. I got the 6 cyl Deutz power unit, around 100hp, and 48" blade, my friend got the mill and the 36" blade. He'll run off his diesel TO35. He may run my 46" but it is nearing retirement. The larger logs will come over here or we'll use the Lucas on the really big ones. Without a larger mandrel and drive lugs I wouldn't go any bigger on the blade and at high hp I'll keep soft bolts in something to shear or a slip clutch to avoid twisting the shaft. APM, Greg, was running an 8" flat belt from the engine pto at the tail end to a tire on the mandrel with no trouble. I'm kind of pinched at both ends for the power unit but can put it where my blower is at the head if necessary. After work today I drug up an old truck from the weeds and am going to play with the rear end trying to make a drive that puts the engine where my tractor sat centered on the off side at the end of the mandrel.

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2018, 08:17:45 PM »
moodnacreek, I'll have another look, but I think this saw has the babbit bearings. I'm not sure what would be involved in converting to ball bearing but i'd love to if i could. 

Don, i like that your using that old tractor to run the old mill. Just rebuilt one of those TO35 engines for a guy. I'm hoping buddy will dig out the blade in the next couple days so i can come up with a concrete power plan, or look for a smaller blade, depending. With the rear end, would you be locking up the pinion so your driving one wheel end while the other one goes the opposite rotation? or using the actual gearing of the rear end to change the rpm as well?

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2018, 08:45:54 PM »
Glen, be sure to get an inserted bit saw some early Bsaws had solid tooth saws that required  swaging to spread the tips often. I believe most mills came with a 40" "B" series bits and shanks. The Belsaws I've seen have an 1.75" arbor shaft, which is light duty for a circular mill. Some guys use large saws 48" and 50" but its not good form as the arbor is just not ridged enough. Personally I wouldn't go over 46" and would be careful with that. I cut for years with a 44" and don't remember having a log I couldn't mill. Belsaws work well and are designed for a tractor PTO, rotation wise. If you use a standard diesel power unit the rotation will not be right, there are ways around it but it requires jackshafts or transmission. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline Don P

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2018, 10:38:46 PM »
I need to measure but I believe it is a 1-3/8" eye. My 46" blade is stock, it came with the mill. The 48 is not and needs to be bushed down. I also have another 36" from yet another M-14 and some parts from that saw, there were lots of them out there. That may be the easiest way to get into ball bearing housings but babbit can be repoured and takes low speed/high load well.

I'm going to experiment with locking one axle and setting the engine sideways to reverse rotation and gear down the engine. I'll grab both front and rear axles, I'm not sure which is better locking an axle or welding the spiders. Or it might be an exercise in futility in which case I'll probably put that engine at the head with a long belt.

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2018, 08:57:20 AM »
Bandmiller, i don't plan on going any bigger than 40", no interest in a 48-50"+ saw. There's hardly any wood around here that requires that size, and if there is, i'm not milling it for my hobby/home use boards and lumber. Even if you get an engine to spin the other way there's still the need for a clutch of some kind, the whole thing would just take away from the simplicity of it in my mind. When I first saw the mill I was hooked on it because of the simplicity so I'm pretty much committed to sticking to PTO now. Not saying I wont bump up to a bigger tractor.

From the bits I've read yes Don, the shaft is 1.75 but where the blade goes is 1-3/8". I could be wrong in my theory but i think if you lock one wheel the other will spin twice as fast. I think the best idea would be to find a limited slip diff or just weld the spiders. Then you could even cut off the far side axle tube and axle and cap it off to make it nice and short and neat, once you've proven it works.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 01:10:19 PM »
When I ran a bell saw I extended the mandrel [ whit a automotive drive shaft assembly] and turned the motor around and belted it to this rig. The long belt set up could bend the mandrel.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2018, 02:44:21 PM »
Would it be possible to flip the blade on the arbor and move your feed mechanism to the left hand side and run it left to right? Then a regular engine would be turning the right way, especially easy if your running hydraulic feed.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 06:16:36 PM »
That would be a l/h sawmill and the nut that holds the saw on would be wrong, not self tightening . The set up I mentioned worked very well.  It involves putting the engine on an extended [wider] frame with a shaft mounted in pillow blocks along side the engine and  tractor style pto to mandrel. This takes all the over hung load off and runs a cooler mandrel.

Offline glendaler

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 06:30:40 PM »
Ah! forgot about the thread direction.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 09:22:17 PM »
If it's babbit it's older than I thought.  The shaft wear would probably spoil it for modern pillow blocks, you would have to measure and see. A new mandrel and bearings and mountings. This is how it always goes with old mills.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2018, 06:02:13 PM »
It's pretty old, 40's i think. The babbit seems good and tight but still spins. I have a crankshaft grinder that i can do extremely precise shaft sizing on so if it came down to it I'd make a brand new shaft to accept pillow blocks, probly bump up to 2" while I'm at it. As long as the old stuff stays together though, that's what I'll be using. 

How were the the sawdust chains run? gearbox to change direction, twisted belt, or what? haven't seen any pictures online of this specifically.


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