I’ve been wanting a bandsaw for quite some time so every now and then I would check out craigslist to see what was out there. I randomly took a look and noticed this Ridgid bandsaw listed for $100. I did some research on it and found that it was a about a $400 saw but has some vibration issues that were remedied with about $60 of aftermarket parts.
I contacted the owner and attempted for a couple days to come check it out. After we finally worked out a time I headed over. I found it in his back yard neglected and full of rust. He pulled out an extension cord and said I could test it out but the tires were cracked and broken plus everything was rusted so I told him I didn’t want to start it up in this condition and couldn’t pay him the asking price. I tried to negotiate to $40 but he was set on $60 which I agreed to. I told him I would give him cash right then if he helped me put it in my truck but apparently it was too heavy and needed a dolly of some sorts. I tried to get him to help me move it but he refused even though I tried to suggest that it wasn’t that heavy. He kept refusing and joked that he would knock the price down $10 if I could move it myself. At that, I crouched down, picked it up with my knees and waddled through his back yard to place it in the back of my truck. He gave me the $10 discount and as I counted out the money he gave me an additional discount for a total for $48. (I already planned on spending at least $60 to replace specific items whether they were worn out or not so I was in pretty good shape.)
When I got it home I took it all apart and found that most everything was full of gunk but the only thing that was really rusted was the table top. I cleaned everything off and wiped it down with a wax to hopefully protect it for a while and got started on the cast iron table.
I spent at least a few hours working on the table to get it back into a good condition. Luckily most of it was just surface rust except for one corner where it looked like a can of some sorts spent a decent amount of time. I started out with with just a scotch bright pad and WD-40 but quickly moved to 120 and then 220 grit sandpaper keeping it lubed while I went. When I was all done I cleaned it up with denatured alcohol and waxed everything up.
I reinforced each level of the frame with 3/4″ MDF and added some locking casters because I have a small garage/shop and things get moved quite frequently.
During my research I found that replacing the standard belt with a v-link belt would greatly reduce the vibration. I purchased one and put it on the kitchen counter before going on a short vacation just to come back to find it in hundreds of pieces by my coffee table. (My wife’s dog…) I was sad about the $35 loss but quickly ordered a new one so I could get it installed. After testing with the new belt everything seemed to run much smoother and quieter.
The next modification was the standard urethane tires which I planned on replacing anyways and also couldn’t do without since the previous ones were dry rotted from being outside in the Arizona heat for who knows how long.
All said and done I probably spent about $120 on my 14″ band saw including the 3 pack of different sized high quality blades. I’ve even tried the nickle test
and it has passed. I do get a little bit of vibration but I think it mostly comes from the cheap HarborFreight caster wheels I used. (I can’t get past that cheap deal but I guess you get what you pay for…)
With the modifications I made I think it is a better saw than if I were to buy it new from a big box store. (Yes I know there are super nice band saws out there that don’t need modifications but I’m just a hobbyist.)
The night I got it put together I had to find a project for it so I quickly used the rest of my 3/4″ MDF to build this extended table for my tabletop drill press. I’ve really enjoyed both my new drill press table and the band saw. I have been using it all of the time and already look forward to getting a fence and possibly a riser.
- Most old and used tools can be reconditioned to be just as good or even better than new. If you need a large piece of equipment, don’t throw out the idea of buying used.
- Removing rust can be a dirty project so make sure you have lots of paper towels around and don’t wear anything you like.
- Crack heads on craigs list can give you great deals, especially when they have tools they don’t even know the intended purpose of.. (He didn’t know if it was a metal or a wood saw!)