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General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 05:13:20 AM

Title: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 05:13:20 AM
Mornin'.  I'm a longtime lurker with a slooooow plan to build my own mill; just collecting parts and info right now, and have been for a while (as evidenced by my original join date...).

Has anyone scavenged the wheels from one of the old C-frame bandsaws to use for a mill? My plan is for a stationary mill based on Matt Cremona's design, and the big wheels have always been a bit of a stumbling block because of the expense.  I've seen several of those old bandsaws come up for sale though, often in the $500-1K price range... cheaper than a single wheel from Carter or Cook's depending on the exact size and deal.

I jumped on one recently; a 32" Crescent that I picked up for $700.  She's a beaut...  actually kind of torn between cannibalizing and restoring.  But that's beside the point for now.

That decision may depend partly on this question:  why don't I see more of these being bought to strip the wheels for a mill?  They're not that rare; could probably find a couple more on Craigslist of FB Marketplace if I went out and looked right now.  Seems like at that price point it's a no-brainer; why even bother with rigging up car tires, etc. if you can pick up a couple large diameter wheels for <$1K?

I've searched through the forum to the best of my ability, and haven't really found any references to using these wheels.  Makes me wonder if there's a problem with using them?

Thanks...

Edit.. see if I can add a pic...


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw3.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1574677545)
 
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: kelLOGg on November 25, 2019, 06:47:11 AM
IMO they don't look very heavy duty as I would expect for sawing logs. Fine for a vertical sawing in a woodwork shop. 
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: Crusarius on November 25, 2019, 07:09:19 AM
My 19" wheels look very similar. the only difference I can see in the pics is mine have 5 spokes. Those have 8.

I see no reason why those will not work. The real question is what size band are you planning on running? They may not be wide enough if you are going with a super wide band.

I am sure you can make them work. You may need to get a roller setup to flatten blades though. The narrow wheels may have a tendency to crown the blade depending on where and how it rides.

That really is a nice saw. I think the main reason you don't see ppl cannibalizing them is because they are such nice saws. I would love one of those in my shop.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 07:30:46 AM
Yeah, I hear ya on the 'nice saw' thing.  It's not without turmoil that I'm considering the two options!  I love old equipment; should she end up as a mill, it will be with the honor and respect due her, and an opportunity to extend her lifespan in another form for a few years.  ;D

Already trying to figure out how to explain to the wife why I need two of these suckers.  smiley_annoyed01

I believe the wheels are 1.75", though not convenient for me to measure right now.  Would probably run 1.25" bands.

The wheels look pretty dang heavy-duty to me, but I don't really have any firsthand experience with other mills to compare to so ??.  For what I've got in it, if they work they work, if they don't I'll go with something else.

One interesting thing about it is that it's a left-hand saw.  The pic isn't reversed; feed side is opposite of most bandsaws.  I think it may originally been part of a Crescent 'Universal Woodworker' setup, but so far haven't had any luck locating any identifying info anywhere on the saw.  Haven't had time to de-gunk it yet though - all of that rusty-looking stuff in the photo is greasy sawdust, not rust - so there may be a number under there somewhere.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: Crusarius on November 25, 2019, 07:41:25 AM
Well if you are just going to use the wheels you can always put it back together again if you find the need to.

At one point in my first build I talked about making the head easy removable with a portable base so I could move it into the shop as a vertical bandsaw in the winter. As much as I liked the idea, and still do, I found having to pull the engine and mount an electric motor to it along with removing flipping and everything else to not be worth it.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: moodnacreek on November 25, 2019, 07:54:18 AM
The bigger the diameter the less blade flexing. If it was me, wider face for 2" band.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 08:03:51 AM
The bigger the diameter the less blade flexing. If it was me, wider face for 2" band.
That's the kind of stuff I'm here to keep figuring out, and I've still got as much time as I want to do it.   ;D
2" bands would be nice, but they'd also require more tension, and if the strength of the wheels is questionable then maybe best to err on the side of caution.  But I dunno; again this is why I'm asking the questions.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 08:09:01 AM
Well if you are just going to use the wheels you can always put it back together again if you find the need to.
...
Yup, at this point I've got a whole lot of disassembly and cleanup to do anyway, so I may as well be methodical about it and not tear anything up if I don't have to.  Maybe I'll find that second 'can't pass it up' deal along the way!
That's a benefit of taking forever to get something like this done. 
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: Crusarius on November 25, 2019, 08:12:16 AM
I doubt you have to worry about wheel strength. I bet those are real cast iron not today's cast iron.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: Den-Den on November 25, 2019, 08:26:15 AM
I am sure the wheels are strong enough and if they are 1.75" wide, that is plenty.  How about the bearings?  Are they heavy enough to handle the tension on a band-mill blade (it takes a LOT more force to tension one than the blades usually on shop band-saws).  Are the wheels crowned?  I have one of those old band-saws (different brand) and it's wheels are flat, the crown is shaped on the rubber tires after they are installed.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 08:28:13 AM
I doubt you have to worry about wheel strength. I bet those are real cast iron not today's cast iron.
I was confident enough about it to lay down seven Benjamins on the gamble, but doesn't hurt to ask the experts.  Honestly, seeing so few references to what seems to me like an ideal solution for home-builders on a site with the depth and breadth of knowledge as this one also made me wonder.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: btulloh on November 25, 2019, 08:37:28 AM
I'd rebuild the Crescent as is and buy the standard solution pulleys that a lot of people have used.  Run v-belts on the pulleys to create the crown.  It's a proven solution.  Just my opinion.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: TKehl on November 25, 2019, 08:43:48 AM
I have a friend who is working on one using wheels from a 32" Delta that had a broken table trunnion.  His is still in fab though, so can't comment on how it works...

Car tires have their place.  I had one of the neighbors mills for a little while and the whole thing was built for well under $500.  Would only cut 10' long and 20-25" wide, and more waves than I'd like, but for farm lumber, it was great.  I sold it for less than $1k when it moved along.  

That said, my current mill doesn't have inflatable tires.   ;)  ;D  :D
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: BigZ La on November 25, 2019, 09:17:44 AM
I'll be watching closely as I have basically the same saw wanting to use the wheels. I bought mine for $200. The wheels have rubber bands on them. My concern was whether or not I could still get the bands and just how wide to make the mill. Hope you have success as I might be right behind you. Thanks Jeff
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 09:18:38 AM
I'd rebuild the Crescent as is and buy the standard solution pulleys that a lot of people have used.  Run v-belts on the pulleys to create the crown.  It's a proven solution.  Just my opinion.
That's a perfectly sensible solution for any reasonable person.  Then there are folks like me.  :D
But actually, Cremona's design is for a wide slabbing mill, and that's what I'm shooting for.  It's a niche not well-covered in this area (not that I'm looking at this as a commercial venture), and I just like the idea of being able to dump a 5' diameter walnut on there and see what's inside.  The way I see it, a slabbing mill of that design can do everything a standard mill can, PLUS make slabs... so why not?
But the wisdom of having that long a band slapping around there over that distance on 19" wheels just seems questionable.  Maybe it'd be fine; I dunno, again I'm hear to learn, not teach.  I also like the deeper throat depth... another 'why not'?  And there must be some reason folks opt for the larger wheels when building these.  I'm sure it's somewhere in Cremona's docs.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: TKehl on November 25, 2019, 09:30:56 AM
Remember that  Cremona's is not the only one out there to look at.  Check out the Super Ax at Cross Sawmill in GA.  Also Cooks makes and extra wide as does Woodmizer (their commercial stuff is HUGE) and others as well.  Do keep us posted on progress!

Also this:  [url=http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=84823.msg1297441#msg1297441]I cut my sawmill in half (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=84823.msg1297441#msg1297441)[/url]
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: btulloh on November 25, 2019, 09:43:23 AM
That's a perfectly sensible solution for any reasonable person.  Then there are folks like me. 


That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.  From the sound of it, you'll end up with a good solution.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 09:44:21 AM
Remember that  Cremona's is not the only one out there to look at.  Check out the Super Ax at Cross Sawmill in GA.  Also Cooks makes and extra wide as does Woodmizer (their commercial stuff is HUGE) and others as well.  Do keep us posted on progress!

Also this:   (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=84823.msg1297441#msg1297441)I cut my sawmill in half (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=84823.msg1297441#msg1297441)
Indeed; good advice.  Actually I'm not even building - er, planning to build - Cremona's design part-for part.  I'm a tinkerer, and there's a few things on that mill I might do differently just to reduce the expense, if nothing else.
But every source of info is valuable!
A couple more pics now that the sun is out:



(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw4.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1574692939)
 

(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw5.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1574692939)
 
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: muggs on November 25, 2019, 10:06:35 AM
When me and my brother built our mill, we used 3 ft. wheels. came from a line shaft. Worked fine.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 10:24:10 AM
I have a friend who is working on one using wheels from a 32" Delta that had a broken table trunnion.  His is still in fab though, so can't comment on how it works...

Car tires have their place.  I had one of the neighbors mills for a little while and the whole thing was built for well under $500.  Would only cut 10' long and 20-25" wide, and more waves than I'd like, but for farm lumber, it was great.  I sold it for less than $1k when it moved along.  

That said, my current mill doesn't have inflatable tires.   ;)  ;D  :D
I'm not dissin' the car wheels... doesn't take long to find out tons of people are milling successfully with those mills.  But by the time you source everything you need and rig up a drive mechanism, etc., seems like you could find one of these saws and use real live bandsaw mills for not much more $, if any.
I'm all about frugality and resourcefulness, though.  I'm kinda the homesteader type.
Of course, there is the matter of moving the thing.  I was fortunate in that the seller was both gracious and well-equipped enough to load it on my trailer (thanks guys if you ever read this!), and I'll either dismantle it in place to unload, or ask a neighbor with some tractor forks to help.  At any rate, moving it - including about 30 miles of Interstate - was something of an ordeal and could challenge a lesser man.  ;)

Or maybe a smarter one...
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 10:33:56 AM
About that move...


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw6b.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1574695775)


I forgot about the dust collector... included with the deal, sitting in front of the saw.  RotoClone Type D.  Haven't really begun researching it yet but if it works (and it should) it defrays the cost of the saw, since I can use it somewhere in my shop.

That top strap on the saw is mostly cosmetic, just hanging on the guard.  Had an extra strap so figured why not.  it rode OK with the straps crossed over the table, but if I was doing it again I'd break it down enough to get good access to the saw frame itself.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: charles mann on November 25, 2019, 02:17:20 PM
Larger diameter wheels are used to reduce blade flexing. I paid just under $900 for my 26” wheels from cooks and i too am building from cremona’s plans. 
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 25, 2019, 04:18:25 PM
Restoring one of these bad boys would be a hoot.  She's breaking down nicely:


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw7.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1574716358)
 

Restoring one of these would be a dream.  Every original nut and bolt I've removed just eased right out.  No trouble anywhere; I'm so used to having to compensate for cheaply manufactured crap that it brings a little grin every time I put a wrench on a square nut that hasn't budged in a hundred years and it just gives a crisp little 'snip' and glides right out.

They really don't make 'em like they used to.  This thing is a jewel of American craftsmanship.

Found her pedigree:


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/35440/saw8b.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1574716638)
 

No serial number yet though.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: markdvsmo on November 27, 2019, 11:31:51 AM
I think I'm gonna keep it.

The theory that this saw began life as a Universal Woodworker component (pedestal base) led me to Shane Whitlock's magnificent restoration of one of those machines.  As I'm breaking it down and everything's basically perfect - to be honest it probably doesn't really even need paint, just some cleaning and touch-up - it's been getting harder and harder for me to picture her curvaceous iron carcass sitting on a pallet in the corner of the property with a couple tarps slung over to fend off the worst of the weather.

I need a new resaw in the shop, anyway.  Yup.  Sure I do.  Anybody wanna buy a sweet little Delta 14" set up with a riser block and a 3/4" Timberwolf?  smiley happysmiley  (kidding...  I love that saw).

These saws seem to come up for sale frequently enough at around the $500 point that I can just keep my eyes open and maybe pick up another one in lesser condition that wouldn't be such a tragedy to sacrifice.  And I've got plenty of other stuff I can work on with the mill before I have to decide on the exact wheel config anyway.

There's also that Roto-Clone dust collector next to the saw on the trailer in one of the pics above.  While information on them is proving to be pretty elusive (and on this exact model, apparently nonexistent), it's an interesting piece of equipment and might be a neat thing to restore alongside the saw.

Now I gotta figure out how to get the dang thing into the shop and where to put it.
Title: Re: 32" Crescent "C" frame bandsaw wheels for mill?
Post by: ljohnsaw on November 27, 2019, 11:53:20 AM
When you started describing how good of condition it was in, I was cringing at the thought of it being sacrificed.  :'( Then I saw that you changed your mind and my spirits were immediately lifted! 8)  Karma will reward you with another, more appropriate, candidate soon!