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Author Topic: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14  (Read 2284 times)

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Offline SRM

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What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« on: June 20, 2018, 05:08:24 PM »
Hi all,

I have a chance to buy a Foley-Belsaw M-14 Circular sawmill.  A guy had one that was given to him and wants to sell it.  He said it has a wooden frame,(?) a broken cross piece, no engine that I know of but set up for a belt drive, it has a 46-48" blade...(the guy couldn't remember). He said it would run with a little work, but I've heard that before.  I don't know anything about these but always wanted one.  I am going to see it tomorrow morning 9 am est.  He didn't give me a price upfront.  I'm thinking 800.00 if nothing else is wrong?  I have an old 65 Massey Ferguson that I could use with the PTO drive if that is possible.  He also said the blade was hammered for 540.   I did print out its manual that I found on this forum, so that will help me get some information before the morning.   

I can send pictures tomorrow if it is helpful.  Thanks for any advice.
 

Offline Darrel

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 07:40:34 PM »
I sawed some "big" (>16") logs a couple of weeks ago for a friend that has an M14. It's a nice mill.  He powers his with a tractor, not sure what it is except it is old and ugly. He said it had about 65 or 70 hp. It saws straight and his blade is also hammered for 540 rpm. 
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 07:52:14 PM »
I'm thinking $800.00 is a little rich for a Woodie Belsaw that needs work. Belsaws have name recognition but they are the bare minimum for a usable mill. I wouldn't go over $500.00 and even then it would need a good inserted tooth saw which is the most valuable part of the mill. There are heavy duty handset mills that can be had for the same money don't rush into a purchase. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline SRM

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 02:55:04 PM »
I'm thinking $800.00 is a little rich for a Woodie Belsaw that needs work. Belsaws have name recognition but they are the bare minimum for a usable mill. I wouldn't go over $500.00 and even then it would need a good inserted tooth saw which is the most valuable part of the mill. There are heavy duty handset mills that can be had for the same money don't rush into a purchase. Frank C.




 





 




Thanks for the advice.  I bought the Foley Belsaw for 300.00.  It has a 40 inch blade
and it is in really good shape.  I have to somehow take it apart and load it on my trailer.  I'm not sure what the best method is, but I'll start by taking the carriage off first and then...?

It will be my first ever rebuild.

Offline Darrel

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2018, 03:59:42 PM »
Two people can pick that carriage up and load it on the trailer. And it looks like it is on a wooden frame so if you have a helper it shouldn't be too bad. Take pictures before you take it apart for help putting it back together.  
1992 LT40HD

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Offline 03westernstar

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2018, 10:20:14 PM »
Hello, SRM   Darrel is correct  TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES BEFORE YOU DISASSEMBLE. I took apart a frick and moved it 200 miles,  i thought i had taken enough pictures before i moved it but i was wrong, when you think you have taken enough go back and take some more,  Thats my $02.00. 

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2018, 09:49:19 PM »
To do any real work with a Bell saw it will need to be modified. Start by putting the feed box out board or you will be sorry. If it has been out doors the mandrel bearings will need replacement. Don't be afraid to cut and weld anything on it except the mandrel as you can't make a bellsaw worse. I ran one for years and did ok with it after I changed things around.

Offline SRM

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2018, 05:58:42 AM »
To do any real work with a Bell saw it will need to be modified. Start by putting the feed box out board or you will be sorry. If it has been out doors the mandrel bearings will need replacement. Don't be afraid to cut and weld anything on it except the mandrel as you can't make a bellsaw worse. I ran one for years and did ok with it after I changed things around.
Thanks Moodnacreek,
I don't have any help taking this thing apart, and not sure where to cut the base.  It is mounted on a mobile home trailer frame which is rusted and can't be moved. I can cut the base free from the trailer, but then what?  The wooden sawmill base looks to be in good condition except for the carriage bumper and other the end cross piece.  I would like to pick up the whole base with a skid steer and place it on my trailer if possible.  The bad news is that a Carriage guide roller is seized to the track, so I can't do much until I get that off.  The other wheels/rollers look fine, but I won't know until I get that one off.  I've looked on the net for help on the rollers and I found that I have to get them fabricated.  The mandrel looks good, everything moves okay.  I'll start with removing the carriage and than take off the saw blade. That should be all I need to move it complete, (if possible).  If I have to cut the base, where is the best place?  I figure somewhere in the out-feed table, remove the guide track on that side and cut?

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2018, 08:02:38 AM »
If you have to cut the base, do it on the board end [of the ways]. All the wood was customer built buy the first owner. Get a reprinted manual off the internet. The bearings on the mandrel must be absolutely smooth not just turning. If you can get into my gallery there are photos of a feed I rigged up years ago.

Offline Remle

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2018, 09:29:29 AM »
If you have to cut the base, do it on the board end [of the ways]. All the wood was customer built buy the first owner. Get a reprinted manual off the internet. The bearings on the mandrel must be absolutely smooth not just turning. If you can get into my gallery there are photos of a feed I rigged up years ago.
You can get a free original pdf manual by googling " M14 bell saw in vintage machinery ". It has all the information and part list as well as the measurement for building the base.

Offline SRM

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 07:15:33 PM »
Well its been a while, but I got the carriage off and all 5 of the rollers that ride on the 2 angle irons
are shot.  I took them to a local machine shop and they said 5 hours each at 90.00 an hour to create new ones. That is not something I want to do, but may have to.  One of the workers suggested buying something similar like this pictured and adjusting as needed which would be cheaper. This one is just what he gave me as a suggestion, the dimensions are wrong, but he was just making a quick suggestion. I was wondering if anyone here has ever used something like this.  Maybe other shops will be cheaper.  I'll keep looking.





Offline Don P

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 10:20:49 PM »
If you switch that track to an inverted angle iron, a V groove caster would work on that side with a matching flat caster on the other side.

This is one quick google hit;
https://www.hamiltoncaster.com/Wheels/Track-Wheels/V-Grooved-Track-Wheels/Iron-V-Grooved-Wheels

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2018, 07:22:38 AM »
What Don says is a good option but be aware the larger diameter of your carriage wheels you will lose cutting capacity. You have a large saw (for a belsaw) and can afford to loose a little cutting depth. The typical belsaw wheels are just a short section of rod with a groove cut in the middle. As you have to pass over the arbor, everything you add to the wheels you loose in your cutting depth. We need an aftermarket supplier for belsaw parts, maybe Hong Kong Harry will pick up the torch. Frank C.  
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Offline dsaw

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2018, 09:51:11 PM »
I bought one last year for $1200, I overpaid (Newbie).  That said, it does have an insert blade, it's mounted to a medium duty truck frame with wheels, and he had a machine shop make all new rollers.  The issues we still have (I bought it with a buddy), is the bearings are bad; way too much wobble in the blade.  In the sellers defense, he didn't know that since he was part way through rebuilding it and never ran it.  My buddy is a few hours from me, and he has it now; but he doesn't have a torch to cut off the old bearings so I'll need to wait to get it back to change those out.  I played with it for awhile before letting him take it; and it cut pretty good when I could keep the blade straight; but it burned through the guides pretty quick with bad bearings.

On the one hand, I think I really overpaid considering what I've seen a few Fricks go for near me; but on the other hand; I think it might be a good learner saw before getting something bigger.  

Offline dustyjay

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2018, 06:43:39 AM »
Does anyone know where to get new mandrel bearings for the M14? I have not run mine for 2 years as we've been busy with other projects but I'd like to tinker with it this fall. I took the blade off to send away to be hammered but it hasn't gone yet (It's at a commercial mill waiting to go with their next batch).
 With the frame square and level I figure the blade and bearings are the next steps. The saw was run for decades without much maintenance but is in good shape. I'd like to set it up to go for a few more decades, and if I can, cut my barn beams with it.
 Has anybody bought those bearings before and has a good source? Any recommendations for where to take the blade myself to get it hammered near NH?
 No run on this project, but it's too nice to not repair.
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Offline SRM

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2018, 02:49:52 PM »
Does anyone know where to get new mandrel bearings for the M14? I have not run mine for 2 years as we've been busy with other projects but I'd like to tinker with it this fall. I took the blade off to send away to be hammered but it hasn't gone yet (It's at a commercial mill waiting to go with their next batch).
 With the frame square and level I figure the blade and bearings are the next steps. The saw was run for decades without much maintenance but is in good shape. I'd like to set it up to go for a few more decades, and if I can, cut my barn beams with it.
 Has anybody bought those bearings before and has a good source? Any recommendations for where to take the blade myself to get it hammered near NH?
 No run on this project, but it's too nice to not repair.
It would be nice to list extra parts that we have. (I ended up buying 2 more M14 mills even before my first one has been taken apart because the price was so good.  They are in pieces:(.  Now I have three mills to build,  but will still need a few carriage rollers and maybe bearings.   If any machinist out there wants work, let me, (us), know.  So far I haven't seen current old M14 parts for sale on this site.  If you have rollers/bearings that work, place a link.  Maybe a high school shop teacher can "assign" some lathe work to create carriage rollers.  The kids could make them and sell them on this forum.  Just an idea.


Thanks Don P. and Bandmiller2 on the V groove idea.  I think I'll keep looking for a carriage roller for the 1/4" angle irons. 



Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2018, 07:08:29 PM »
I would be surprised if there is a metal lathe left in any high school in NH
Lots of computers and liberal arts classes :)
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Offline Remle

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2018, 08:16:39 PM »
 Bellsaw had their own part number that is of no help. I had an M 14. With the shaft removed, you should be able to twist the bearing 90 degrees to the vertical and it should come out of the housing. Their may be a number on the side of it, if not measure the ID / Od and width, their just pillow block bearings.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2018, 06:58:11 AM »
Bruno, you are correct and when our generation is gone there will be know one that knows haw to operate a manual lathe. Frank C. 
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Offline Don P

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Re: What to look for when buying a Foley-Belsaw M-14
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2018, 09:30:23 PM »
I mentioned the idea about a year ago and our school shop might be interested. They cannot purchase and hold stock, they need I guess venture capital or a buyer. I kind of like the investor and let them run it as a business approach. I asked a couple of the online parts supply companies and they only buy OEM parts, doesn't mean the kids couldn't set up a website and run it all, good practical experience. Obviously I'm speaking out of school but it is a discussion that could be explored more. There is also a forum member that we could talk to about making runs of parts but again someone needs to finance a run and hold it until it sells. For instance on the carriage wheels the question of a shop might be "At how many pieces does the price drop to an affordable level?" Then put up a call here and on other forums and try to put together a pre-sold or mostly pre-sold run. If y'all remember I was trying to do that a few months ago for a planer gear when a reader on another forum told me where I could get the gear from another manufacturer, but there were folks ready to go in on a run. I was going to try to sell most of them in advance and then pay for the rest and put them in the for sale section hoping to eventually sell the rest. So we do have a few ways to go.


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