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Author Topic: New here, got a Belsaw  (Read 2874 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.

Offline 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?

Online 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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Offline jaygtree

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2018, 07:37:22 PM »
a friend used an old washing machine motor to power his saw dust drag chain, but he had electric close to the mill.  jg
i thought i was wrong once but i wasn't.   atv, log arch, chainsaw and ez boardwalk jr.

Offline Don P

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2018, 08:16:12 PM »
I'm not certain, vague memory from old manuals, but if it is babbit bearings I think that would date it before WWII and it would have come with a solid blade rather than inserts.... I think ball bearings even predate insert teeth on the older ones. I think Belsaw started around the Depression.

If you can fabricate a new mandrel with the nut threaded the other way I think the L/H question just opened back up.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2018, 09:26:12 PM »
Somewhere I have a pamphlet  showing the first belsaw in the 1930's.  It was all wood, and very short. I will say it was not really a sawmill but a bolter mill. At some point they added a set works at the back of the carriage where you cranked the feed. Insert tooth saws would have been an special order item,  almost always a style 3, as they go back before 1900.  Bell saw sold car motor pto adapters for ford, chevy and buick and other sawmill supplies.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2018, 09:40:42 PM »
I believe those early ones came push feed, as in you push, hand crank feed and the feed off the mandrel that is on all the ones I've seen 

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2018, 06:56:01 AM »
I'd consider an electric motor for the sawdust chain but probably 12V off the tractor, I don't really want to have to run cords to the mill, just back the tractor up and go. 

The ads I've seen show the hand crank feed for the 10' model with the 18' base, and power feed for everything longer than that. Haven't seen one for the push model.

He said it's an insert saw for sure that comes with it, just a little slow digging it out so i'm just waiting impatiently.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2018, 12:24:21 PM »
 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2018, 12:34:54 PM »
I also scooped up this 3spd GM trans while i was picking the mill up. Has a 3:1 reverse gear, so 1620 engine rpm would give me 540rpm equivalent turning the proper way. The engine I was planning to use if not my tractor was a 152 Perkins out of a 135 Massey, which takes a 1.125-10spline clutch, the same as the input shaft on this transmission, it's almost too good to be true. Unless the trans wouldn't hold up to constant running in reverse, then it is too good to be true.
 

  

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2018, 01:33:03 PM »
One of the drawbacks of babbet  would be heat getting to the saw. Just a few degrees in the saw makes a difference in how the saw runs so you want to avoid mandrel bearing heat near the saw.  If you had to make a new mandrel you would press off the fixed collar and heat shrink it on the new shaft and remachine the collar with the correct taper. The interfearence  shrink fit would  have to be known as would how much to heat the collar.    I would not be afraid to run that transmission in reverse , it's a lot less work and $ than my way.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2018, 02:45:33 PM »
I can figure out the interference fits, do that all the time. 

The best part of this project just arrived, 44" saw, just like new. Not sure if it's the original but it's sitting in an original belsaw crate with the tag still stapled to the back. I had no idea this was the blade i would be getting.

 

 

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2018, 07:09:03 PM »
Now your getting some where. A good mandrel and a good saw is 98 percent of the circle mill.  As I always say, if the mandrel is not right nothing is right. The saw can be all kinds of problems but only one nut holds it on.  Get that shaft in good shape [ read up on circle mill trouble ] and with a good saw the rest is just nuts and bolts and common sense.  It's fun to saw logs and I hope you do it.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2018, 07:29:37 AM »
Glen, if your lean on power you want to use a sawdust drag chain. Both of my circular mills used a length of 2 1/2" fire hose ends connected with clipper lacing. If your anywhere near electric its well worth your time to run direct burial wire to the mill, you will thank yourself in the future. No power, run the drag from a belt on the arbor it takes little power. You lucked out on the saw it looks good and perfect size. Belsaw mills were developed during hard times for farmers to save or make a little money sawing. They must have originally used solid tooth cordwood saws as they used 1 3/8" hole saws wile most large mills use 2" with two pins. You can use 2" with a bushing on 1 3/8 arbor. The very thing that makes the Belsaw so handy and usable as a one man mill limits the size of the logs you can cut. Basically the carriage is a log on a creeper as the wheel have to travel over the arbor. Regular wheels on the carriage and you wouldn't have much saw left. They will cut lumber and many sawyers got there start on a Belsaw. Be careful flipping logs on the carriage Belsaw recommends flip up log turners to take the pounding off the carriage as much as possible. Frank C. 
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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2018, 09:24:28 PM »
Moodnacreek, I'll be giving the arbor a good going over, thanks for the encouragement, I'm totally committed to getting this together so you'll be seeing my sawing progress soon. By soon I've mean I have a about a 5 month plan going for this thing, but I'm having a hard time taking it slow. I took the carriage apart today down to every single nut and bolt, everything down to individual pieces. A few new bushings to make, but mostly just glass bead blast and paint.

Bandmiller, good info, i was seeing some peoples log turners and I wasn't seeing how they work exactly. Are they meant to turn the log for you like i've seen on full hydraulic band mills or just flip up to take the slam of the log as you turn it yourself with a peavy or something?

What's the simple explanation of the application difference between the regular, long and stand-all bits?

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2018, 08:53:17 AM »
Think of sawdust as small chips. The stand all teeth have a nub in the gullet area that holds or handles the chips differently  than traditional design. These teeth cost more and take more power but are sometimes necessary. Long teeth are regular teeth made longer to last longer. however they exaggerate poor filing and manufacturing problems and are not recommended for frozen wood.    These teeth are called bits or points and the holders are called shanks.   Keep up the good work, Doug

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2018, 08:21:15 PM »
Glen, the log turners I'm talking about are hinged wedges that flip up to turn logs/cants and fold down to roll logs on the carriage. After you take a slab cut and maybe a board you flip up the wedges and with a cant hook you pull the log towards you it lays on the two wedges and slides back on the carriage. This eliminates the shock of flipping the heavy log on the carriage. Its my understanding standall bits were developed primarily for frozen timber. Some sawyers use them all the time myself I prefer the standard bits they seem to run easier and use less power. Frank C. 
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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2018, 08:57:29 PM »
With very low HP the best combination I came up with was running half the teeth, grinding the other half out of the way and running standalls to clear the chips.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2018, 06:39:22 AM »
Okay, got it, they're to take the slam of the log, not actually flip it over.

This blade has 26 teeth, based what I've been seeing alot of people have more teeth than that even on a smaller blade. Is this a fairly low tooth count for the size of blade or am I wrong? I assume like a chainsaw these teeth are lower as they sharpen and wear so putting half new teeth in and leaving half in would be the same as grinding half down? That would only be 13 teeth on a 44" blade. I'm guessing the answer is just to try it the way it is.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2018, 07:30:20 AM »
They do narrow and lower as you sharpen, swaging rewidens the narrowing if you do that but you are also advancing so one more variable in there. I rarely swage, I usually just replace and bear the cost which isn't that great on my humble scale.

My 46" has 30 teeth so I've been running 15. I think in Lundsford's "Circular sawmills and their efficient operation" He gives optimum feed per tooth. From memory, and it varies from softwood to hardwood, I think he was specifying around 1/10" feed per tooth in hardwood, that is the "bite" per tooth. With more feed the bite is too great and can fill the gullet before it clears and hang the saw, too little bite and you make fine dust that spills out the sides, rubs, and heats the blade causing tracking problems. I didn't adjust the feed when I ground the teeth back so there is obviously a good bit of wiggle room. The Lucas runs a 5 tooth blade and manual push feed just as another way to think about it. Another way, many people when they are having stalling problems with an underpowered tablesaw switch to an 80 tooth blade or similar and make the problem worse, they are dragging a ton of teeth through the cut. If they switch to a low tooth count or smaller diameter, or both, and adjust their push rate things get better. A large production saw is all teeth, high power and feeds very fast. I haven't counted teeth on the new 48" saw but there are quite a few, I won't mount that until I have the new diesel I got from Greg hooked up. This is all just for that back of your head, run what ya brung and if it doesn't work there's some stuff to think about while you're experimenting around.

The main thing with turning is don't slam the mill, it is lightweight. Just nurse things around as much as you can. I've worn the back pockets off my jeans before :D.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2018, 08:42:09 AM »
The low tooth count is for low power but also increases chip size on a mill with a slow feed. This is what you want and will be cheap to run.

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Re: New here, got a Belsaw
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2018, 05:36:46 PM »
okay, I'll plan on trying to get a box of teeth and put 13 new ones in and leave the others.

how many wraps are meant to be on the feed drum? My gut tells me enough to get good traction so it doesn't slip without an excessive amount which would give you a wide wrap and sharper angles to your pulleys on either end. Is there a standard number?


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