New Band Saw or Rebuild the Old One?

I have an old 14″ Delta band saw that has been in my family since I was a kid.  It is an ok saw, but resawing was impossible.  It was just accepted that this was an old saw and never going to preform like I wanted.  The problem is I really need resawing capabilities, a lot of the projects I build are small and utilize thinner stock.  Planing a 3/4 or 4/4 board down to 1/2 is a big waste of material.  Also, I have wanted to experiment more with shop cut veneers.  So I decided it was time to buy a new band saw.

After shopping around I was almost ready to purchase but the Woodworking Shows were going to be here in Atlanta so I decided to wait and see if I could find a good deal there first.  Last year while at the Modern Woodworkers Association booth all weekend at the Woodworking Shows, I pretty much had memorized Alex Snodgrass’ demonstration as we were right beside the Carter/Band saw Clinic booth.  I even teased that he should throw “it slices….it dices….” into his routine, but honestly I didn’t think it would probably help my band saw as much as I needed.  But this year I decided to give them a try and picked up a band saw conversion kit that included a new set of upper and lower guides and guard.  I also took there suggestion and bought a 3 teeth per inch resaw blade.

The guides were super easy to install and took less than 20 minutes.  Once the guides were installed I put on the new blade.  The adjustment were quick and so much smoother that the original set of guides.  The only negative on the Carter guides is that the guides don’t come with a lot of instruction on how to install or adjust, I suppose the reason is that they push an instructional video with the conversion kit.  That said it was not that difficult to figure out.

Delta Bandsaw guides

Original Delta Guides Installed

Once the blades was installed and adjusted I was ready to test it out.  I expected to have a few adjustments after the first cut but was amazed that with the first cut I was able to slice a consistent 1/8″ off of a 4″ thick board!  I have been using the band saw for a few weeks now with the new guides and blade and am really satisfied with the results.  I am still limited to about 6″ on resaw width but with narrow boards the performance is great.

One last note on the replacement blade.  I was concerned that with the coarse 3tpi I would get a really rough cut.  But after playing around with feed rate I can get a cut that requires not more than usual finish prep.


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5 Responses to “New Band Saw or Rebuild the Old One?”

  1. April 9, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Looks like a great conversion kit,I think I would probably need to invest in the instructional video to be on the safe side.

  2. March 2, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Hey Chris, your saw looks great and I’m glad you were able to squeeze some more life and usefulness out of the old saw. I just got a hand me down delta 14″ that was my grandfather’s and I was able to clean it up, get a few new parts, and it’s working great. The original motor (circa 1935) spun right up and runs like a champ!

  3. May 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    I am very tempted too Dyami. It is a major investment so I may do a bit more investigating first before I go for it.

  4. May 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I recently picked up a used jet 14″ saw that had the Carter guides – 3tpi blade set up and I have been very impressed. I’ve got a 6″ wide piece of maple burl that I plan to use as veneer on s jewelry box and I was able to slice off a sub 1/8″ piece without much effort. I have been considering adding a riser block at some point, I think that even with just the 1hp motor I could easily re-saw 8″+ boards.

  5. April 30, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    Looks good, Chris. You’re really tempting me. I’ve got a Grizzly 17″ on my short list, but you’ve given me pause. Should I invest in my existing Ridgid or just upgrade? Mmm . . .

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