Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    316

    Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)

    I'm doing a job that requires quite a lot of mitre cutting and my choices for doing this are limited to a 14" Makita Abrasive saw and an old 9x11 Wellsaw. I chose the Wellsaw but spent quite a lot of time tuning it up to get good cuts.

    It occurred to me that some of this info might be of use to someone else who uses a small metal bandsaw for this kind of work, especially if their bandsaw doesn't like to cut very true at the moment. I've been forced to learn how to set up my two woodworking Bandsaws to do all manner of ripping and resawing over the years and all the same principles apply to the metal cutter.

    The Wellsaw is not a bad little machine, although I have read accounts on other BBs by people who think they are junk.
    I don't think I would pay 2.5 K for a new one, but this one cost me $200 about five years ago and came with a coolant pump and reservoir.

    It's very important to get a good blade on there. I'm using a 10-14 TPI Bi-metal vari tooth by Simmonds and it works well for most things. I have had some cheap and some not so cheap blades on the machine that could not be made to run true no matter what.

    The bearing guide assembly needs to be set up properly for the blade to run true. One of the bearings tightens into a fixed postion, the other is on an eccentric for adjustment. I remove the blade and use a short piece(3-4") of old blade to adjust the bearing clearance. It's too hard to tell what is going on in the guides with the full length blade in place. The twist in the blade makes it impossible to tell when the bearings are set perfectly.

    I like to set the bearings up with enough clearance for the blade plus a few thou to spare.
    If the bearings are set so tight on the blade so that they squeeze the blade rather than just guide it, the blade gets distorted fairly quickly and won't stay on the machine.

    The plate that the bearings mount to is also designed to be adjustable. I use trial and error here. Start with the top and bottom guide plates tightened up in a postion that is flush or in line with the pads they mount to.
    If the machine moves into the cut as it drops, then loosen the cap screws that hold the plates and rotate them a tiny bit away from the cut, vice versa if the machine was moving out of the cut as it dropped. After a few tries it should cut nice and plumb as it drops.

    About the only other thing is to maintain enough tension on the blade so that the horizontal part of the finished cut is true when checked with a straight edge. Don't overdo the tension though. I found out the hard way that this tends to cause blade breakage.

    These few items are about all that is needed to get nice true mitres out of this little machine, which though compact has pretty decent capacity and a really nicely made, very skookum vise.

    Hope the is of help to someone.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    316

    Re: Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)

    Here's another little bit of info from the same job that could be of help to someone.

    If your table is less than perfect and you want to make sure there is no "rack" or twist in a frame you are building before welding, use winding sticks to determine when the item is all in one flat plane.

    These can be almost anything as long as they are straight and of uniform width.
    In this case I used two four foot levels(not looking at the level vials tho) but I could have just as easily used two four foot long by 3 or 4" wide rips of 3/4" or 1" plywood or straight pieces of lumber.

    The winding sticks need to be wide enough that they stick up above the clamps.
    Put one stick toward each end of the frame, roughly at right angles to the length of it.
    If the winding sticks are twice as long as the frame is wide then you can get a pretty accurate job. It is easy enough to see 1/32 of rack in the sticks and this correlates with 1/64th of rack in the frame, plently close enough for most jobs.

    Stand back a few feet behind one end of the frame and get your eye down so that you are sighting thru on a plane with the top edge of the winding sticks, You will see any twist that is there immediately. Shim the low corner as needed then resight. When you get it shimmed so that you aren't sure which way it is out anymore, Clamp it to the table in that position then weld it up! I didn't bother to clamp the light frames I'm building here, just tigged them in the flat position and none of them moved appreciably.

    This is a woodworking method for door or panel construction and it seems to work well on metal fabbing too.
    Before using the winding sticks I had some very interesting methods for getting a flat plane when building custom entry doors. All of my methods were very time consuming and none of the methods worked as well as the winding sticks, which is a centuries old method of finding a true plane.
    Two years ago I built a set of Monstrous 320lb 3" thick Honduras Mahogany Church entry doors and laid them up this way. They came out perfect, zero rack.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    458

    Re: Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)

    com-on over and do my ENCO saw....I have been fighting with it for hours, In a 2" blade drop it is about 1/8" off, I know it's because the blade is twisted, but i can't seem to get it out.... The manual is worthless as far as tuning goes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    316

    Re: Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)

    Does it have a good blade on it at the moment? If the teeth on the blade are sharper on one side than the other then it is impossible to get a straight cut.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    458

    Re: Tuning up the Wellsaw 58B(or any little bandsaw)

    actually that is what started the problem, I pinched the blade that was in there (was cutting great) so i put a new blade on, but it kept popping off the drive wheel as soon as it hit the metal, so i forked around with the wrong stuff and get it all out of wack, after hours i got it pretty good, but not close to what it used to be. So, yea....the blade is new, and i know it is twisted to much, I will give it another go when the mosketers allow me to get out there....

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