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Author Topic: First 4 stroke bandmill, old homebuilt unit.  (Read 327 times)

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Offline T_H_J

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First 4 stroke bandmill, old homebuilt unit.
« on: June 15, 2020, 10:16:53 PM »
Hey Guys, 

So, I've been lurking here for years reading threads on various topics. I'be been looking for a bandsaw mill for about 13 years. I was going to buy a HF unit and then they stopped doing the coupons on them so I decided to go used. I missed out on a killer timberking 1220 earlier this spring for $2,000. I was driving to Nebraska for work and while making a quick rest stop I checked marketplace and up popped a portable home built unit with a low hour Honda GX390 for almost half of that timberking that had only been up for 10 minutes. I chatted with the guy on the phone a bit, got some rough measurements, and pulled the trigger after he told me he built his whole cabin using it and also cut veneers. 

He had over 50 people contact him after I did, one threw out double his asking price after he marked it pending. Luckily for me he could hear my excitement on the mill and he had been burned by many big talkers in the past while selling stuff. 

I got my first look at the mill on my way home from Nebraska two days later when I dropped off payment. Some things I liked, some I didn't. I pulled the honda off and took it home to get the old gas and oil out of it after sitting for three years. The bearing housings looked really nice, the non drive end even has cooling fins. It had quick release 16" band wheels on it and a .625" blade which is smaller than I know most of you run. He said he bought blades for it from Hobart as suggested by the previous owner who I believe also bought it used. 

The height adjustment is really nice. It has enclosed threaded rods and a ratcheting roller chain mechanism under the cover. The trailer frame is built from pallet racking cross beams which in some ways is good (low weight & relatively high strength) and some bad (not as durable or ridgid as .125 steel tubing. 

Some of the welds are downright horrible, nothing some grinding and new welds can't fix. The saw guides were pretty cobbled together and used tool steel holders with carbide inserts that I've never seen before. 

Saturday I went back for the mill with my truck. I hooked up a light bar, strapped the head down with 3 straps, checked every area I thought could loosen up or fall off and pulled it home. Unfortunately my truck rides like a lumber wagon and the two lane county/state highways I was driving were unbelievably rough. One of the guides which seemed to be rusted in place and held in by a set screw came loose at some point on the trip. It's gone for good, to me at least. I was planning on coming up with a better guide system anyways but I was going to try out the mill with the existing guides, I guess I can't do that now. 

So... after getting it home I did some research. I read a thread that mentioned meat saws had band wheels with a grove to ride in and a backing lip for the blade as well. After reading that I looked up hobart meat saws and sure enough, that's where the wheels, bearing housings, blades, and guides came from. That is a bit of a bummer because I know it's not ideal, and 16" is the biggest bandwheel hobart makes for their unique quick release wheels. 

The blade on there now is about .028" thick. 

Do you guys have an recommendations on mods to make this thing perform as good as possible? I was going to make new blade guides with a roller bearing for thrust and I haven't decided on if I should use bearings or cool blocks for each side of the blade. I'm leaning towards cool blocks as they are supposed to work better with wet wood. I also need to add a water tank and decent guarding. 

From what I read the positives of the smaller blade is the smaller kerf and lower hp requirements. He said the GX390 wouldn't even slow down in a cut. The negatives are they dull quicker and can wander a bit more than a wider than thicker blade. He said blades were so cheap he didn't even bother trying to sharpen them and he never broke one either.  He could have been making stuff up too... 















Offline Nebraska

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Re: First 4 stroke bandmill, old homebuilt unit.
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 12:57:40 AM »
Welcome,  looks like a project, good motor to start might look at adding some Cooks guides to replace what you lost, and some sort of protective shields to stop a blade better when it inevitably  goes kerfluey. Not sure if you could run a 1 inch band o n thos e wheels or not.

Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: First 4 stroke bandmill, old homebuilt unit.
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 12:55:56 PM »
looking at the band wheels with the drop center where the blade runs looks like the wheels on my old (1950s) Craftsman woodshop bandsaw. The wheels have a rubber band glued into the slot for the blade to run on rather than down in the groove. That way the blade alignment is not as critical. 

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: First 4 stroke bandmill, old homebuilt unit.
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 07:27:23 PM »
Yeah, looks like those wheels should have tires.  Urethane would be better than rubber glued in there in my experience with upright bandsaws.  I would think you could run a bigger blade once you have tires on it.
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