Steven's bandsaw

Steven writes:

I bought your plans in about 2014 November.

With support from my family and school, I finally finished building my bandsaw from your plans. I have read a lot of other readers building their 16" bandsaw, and so far, for a couple of years, the youngest to build one was 15 years old. However, right now I am 14 years old - just 3 weeks till I am 15, but doesn't it still make me the youngest person to build a bandsaw? I took over 130 photos from the build, and I am showing some here. Anyway, thanks for such comprehensive plans, they were just a joy to follow through.

All the parts for the bandsaw frame: I took apart a big old pine cabinet and cut it into bits to make the bandsaw frame. It had a thick coat of varnish that prevented any glue sticking to, so I used a belt sander to strip it down. I made the inner mortise and tenon a very tight fit and used a calliper along with a dial indicator to make super accurate cuts. In my experience, it's better to start off very accurately.

Dry fitting everything first to make sure they fitted. The one to one drawings were very useful for doing this. I broke one of the triangles when making it, so the two clamps on top of the frame in the picture is me gluing the triangle back together.

Gluing down all the layers, here in the picture all the clamps I had, so I had to glue the frame layers one by one, it took over a week to do but there was nothing I could do. Luckily, at Christmas, I got six clamps as a Christmas present. The build article of your 14" bandsaw was very helpful - I therefore avoided gluing on the bottom rails, so I could drill holes for the bottom wheel mount afterwards.

The frame all glued up, some of the varnish I haven't sanded off yet.
I don't have a jointer or table saw big enough to flatten any of the sides, so I had to flatten everything with a smoothing plane, belt sander and orbital sander. The split top workbench I built was very useful for clamping the frame securely.

These are the parts for the top and bottom wheel mount. In my area, hard Maple and any domestic hardwood are very hard to find, exotic hardwood in comparison is much easier to find. I picked up a huge red gum post at work (my kind employer gave it to me). I also collected a lot of Australian Jarrah from my local hardware store. The other thicker bits of hardwood pieces were mainly made by laminating thinner pieces of Jarrah.

This is an old motor that I took out of a green Dewalt radio arm saw, which a good friend of mine gave to me. I made a simple holder for it so I could bolt it down to the frame.

Here in the picture is me gluing the layers of the wheels together with all my old clamps plus 6 more new ones. I used a router with a circle cutting jig to cut out the individual wheel layers, and lined up the centres as I glued it together.

Turning down the wheels while it is turning on its own bearings. I had no turning experience at all, not even the most basic turning tools. But with a regular half inch chisel I was still able to true up the wheels.

Both the wheels had over 1 mm of side wobble, and I couldn't get the wobble out while turning it on its own bearings. So I used a dial indicator to see where the high spots were, and sanded it down. I sanded both sides of the wheels carefully until I had less than 0.1mm of wobble. The wheels were made of MDF, so they were very well balanced and I didn't need to adjust it at all.

Both the wheels coated with some varnish and a bicycle inner tube stretched around. I don't have a metal tap to tap the threads in the shaft ends for a screw, so at that moment I only had a block of wood clamped to the shaft so the wheels don't come off. I later tapped the threads into the ends of the shaft when school started. I asked my design and technology teachers to assist me in tapping the threads.

Here is me gluing in the rest of the bottom frame, since I have already mounted the bottom wheel mount.
Here is me using a handsaw to make that 45 degrees cut out on the trunnion beam, again, I am using parts of the red gum post. I quite enjoy using hand tools, because I don't annoy the neighbours since the metal walls of my workshop amplify sound.

Here are the bottom and top blade guides made. Lucky there were one to one drawings to reference off when making those complicated cuts. The knock down screws are brass, because they only got have knock down screws in my local hardware store. They were also M6, which is metric size, and the t-nut and tap I bought were in imperial, so brass vs metal, the brass gave away.
I don't quite trust how accurate I drilled in the end grain of the trunnion beam, so I used some dowel markers to mark the exact position of the corresponding dowels.
Homemade paddle switch, or dead man switch. My dad insisted that I should either get one or make one, because of safety. He was also driven crazy by the fact that I was using the band saw without any enclosures on to make the trunnions. In the background, my glue bottle seems to be trying to steal the spot light.

Homemade electric box, couldn't be bothered to go and buy one, plus, I had to have a hole drilled on the side for the wire to come out. I later painted it white.

When everything was working and fitting together, I took it all apart and did half a day of tedious sanding (lucky human beings invented music), right up to 240 grit, which is the highest grit I had. Then I loaded everything on a wheel barrow and transported it to the dustless car garage.

I painted all the enclosures with 3 coats of merbau deck oil, then an extra coat of water based varnish to give it a bit of shine. The rest had 3 coats of water based varnish, except for the wheels, which had 5. The knobs were painted black and had a coat of varnish, the electric boxes were painted white. At the end, everything looked shiny and smooth.

I noticed Steven was Chinese from the name in his email (为什么受伤的总是我啊), and asked about people building their own machines in China. Steven replied:

I used to live in China, but 2 years ago I moved to Australia and have since started woodworking. I also go to an English school to learn English. There is very limited space in China, and people don't usually do woodwork for fun, they do it for money. I don't know anyone in China who would build their own machinery either for fun or for money, but if I ever get to know someone in China who does, I will send pictures of his/her creation.


More reader built bandsaws