Happiness is an estate auction with old tools and little competition.
If you found this page because you’re looking for information about your Walker-Turner bandsaw, please read my Walker-Turner Bandsaw FAQ page. I get at least one or two e-mails every week from someone how has one of these saws and found this page from a Google search. Chances are my Walker-Turner Bandsaw FAQ page will get you the information you’re looking for, or at least pointed in the right direction.
On with the story of my particular W-T bandsaw:
I obtained this marvelous piece of `murican arn in the summer of 1999 for the princely sum of $100 U.S. Almost got three hernias getting it home – it’s nearly 500 pounds, all told, and back then I didn’t have any real experience in moving heavy machinery. I just used my hand truck and brute force.
It’s really a nice machine and very solidly built. Everything is cast iron; there’s no sheet metal here. The base and wheel covers are all cast iron. And it was all original, including the original Driver Line motor. Perfect candidate for restoration. I believe it is a BN1135, based on the old W-T catalogs and paper I’ve seen.
This was my first piece of really old arn (I’m estimating it’s from late 1930s/early 1940s) and ended up being my first whole-hog woodworking machine restoration. It (ahem) aged in the garage for about a year and a half while I maintained good intentions regarding its full dismantling and restoration. Then in the late summer of 2001, I wrestled it into the basement so it would be out of the way and not taking up space in the garage. To get it in the basement, I had to lighten the load, so I took off the doors and removed the motor. This got me going, so a couple weeks after I had it inside the basement, I decided to dismantle it completely.
I spent many hours de-rusting all the smaller bits and pieces with a wire wheel chucked in the drill press, steel wool, and silicon carbide paper.
I purchased a sandblasting attachment for the small Karcher electric pressure washer I had at the time and spent a few hours messing up my driveway. It ultimately wasn’t worth the hassle. It used a lot of sand and left a huge mess to clean up. The nozzle on the sandblasting attachment wore out before I finished all the parts. Nevertheless, the results actually were pretty good.
Then in July 2002, we moved from New Jersey to Virginia, and I had to pack up my whole shop for the move. The fact that the bandsaw was completely disassembled actually made it much easier to move.
In July 2004, I finally re-started the restoration. I started with the base castings, since I figured it would make sense to rebuild from the ground up. I hit everything with a wire wheel and wire brush, then wiped everything down with paint bonding solvent, then primed and painted. I’ve had several e-mails asking about “paint bonding solvent” – it’s simply a blend of organic solvents (xylene, acetone, and maybe one or two others) used to remove surface dirt, oil, grease, whatever, and soften up any paint already there, to improve adhesion of the new paint. I’ve seen it sold under the name “Paint Bonding Solvent” and also “Liquid Deglosser.” It’s designed to remove any grease or sticky stuff and leave a clean, fresh surface ready for paint. If you’ve already got a painted surface, it also cleans up and slightly softens the existing paint, which helps the new stuff stick a little better. You can find it in the paint section in Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.
For the new paint, I used Rustoleum Hammered spray paint in light blue. There’s a whole story in the saga of the paint – suffice to say that the stuff was hard to find in that color, but I liked it and managed to secure enough to finish the job and then some.
For mobility, I bought an HTC2000 mobile base. It’s rated for only 400 pounds. As I reassembled the band saw, I weighed all the parts and the total assembled weight is very close to 500 pounds, so I’ve actually exceeded the rating of the mobile base. I’ve now had the saw on it for a few years and it works o.k. But if I were to do it again, I would get the Jet 708118 Universal Mobile Base. Not only is it rated for 600 lbs., it’s surprisingly inexpensive, if you shop around on the web for the best price, and it actually is quite well made and snaps together with no tools in about 3 minutes. And it rolls very easily and smoothly. I have one under my Delta 15″ planer, and I have the bigger version, the Jet 708119, rated for 1200 lbs., under my Rockwell-Delta 12/14 table saw.
As you can see from the photos, I added a dust panel in between the main casting and the base to keep sawdust from falling down onto the motor. It’s just a piece of 1/4″ luan plywood that I finished with linseed oil and varnish.
I also polished all the bolt and screw heads and gave them a shot of clear lacquer to try to stave off surface rust. Plus they just look nice that way. The handwheels and a few miscellaneous pieces are finished in black Rustoleum Hammered paint.
Here’s the table tilting mechanism all cleaned up and pretty. The trunnions are quite often broken or missing on these machines, but I was lucky enough to get a machine that was completely intact and original.
It’s one of those things that you put together, bolt onto the saw, then take back off and completely disassemble to re-insert the part that you just realized you had forgotten the first time,then reassemble and put back on the saw. Which is how one really gets to know a machine intimately anyhow.
And here’s the top wheel adjusting mechanism. For some reason, this assembly appeals to me. It’s a nice beefy construction – all cast iron and machined steel. Another thing that took two and a half tries to get reassembled correctly – but now it’s all in there, working great and looking fine.
On the right in the picture you can see the steel rod that the top blade guides hang off of. One thing I can say about that steel rod is that if you’re bending over to look at the table tilt mechanism and have your head under that rod and then stand up, the bottom end of that steel guide rod won’t move out of your way. Instead, it will make a kind of a dull “thunk” sound as it contacts your skull and you’ll say some bad words. I mean, maybe, that might happen, if you were stupid enough to do something like that. Not that I would know or anything.
January, 2005. The bearings are in, the wheels, covers and doors are on. It’s starting to look like a bandsaw!
I then completely disassembled the motor, and stripped and repainted the motor castings and other miscellaneous bits. I also installed new bearings in the motor. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the cleaned up and repainted motor. It really came out looking sharp.
One little design feature I like on this bandsaw is the nice knurled steel knobs that hold the doors closed and hold the blade guides in. There were a couple missing, however. I was lucky enough to have connections via the internet with people who have some metalworking machinery and ability. In this case, it was a certain mysterious dude known as the “Wrecking Crew Chief”, a/k/a/ Mr. Michael Haynes, somewhere out on the left coast of the U.S. I sent him some drawings of what I needed and he proceeded to fab up some first-class replicas of the existing knobs. Which is the old one and which is new?Answer: the one on the left is original; the one on the right is the reproduction. Pretty damn good, no?
In this picture, you can see two of the new knobs – the larger one on the right, and the one in the far background that locks the table tilt mechanism:
Just for the hell of it, here’s the upper guide assembly, just because it looks so nice:
After this restoration, I installed polyurethane tires. I can offer one simple word regarding that choice: don’t. In 2009 I bought Carter rubber tires and threw away the polyurethane tires. Rubber tires should be crowned, to make the blade track properly.