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J.A. Fay & Co #1 Bandsaw 1879ish


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Hi All!

I rescued this one from a farm that had a small sawmill system setup for harvesting indigenous forestation. It's was fitted with an obviously non-factory system of guards, and a 70's vintage AC electric motor and dual-B-belt drive system.

In order to remove it from the building where it was being dismissed, my son and I disassembled it into pieces mostly carryiable via 2-wheel hand cart. We had to lean the frame in order to walk it out from underneath low ceiling and doorway, then lifted it onto trailer with bucket of a tractor loader.

I got the whole works home, and unloaded it with my forklift truck, but due to winter weather, was not able to get it anywhere suitable for reassembly. Frozen ground permitted me to place it where I wouldn't normally be able, which was both good, and bad, as this spring's ground conditions didn't allow me to retrieve it. The last two months-or-so of basically no rain granted me respite to extract it with the long reach of my hoisting boom, and place it on solid concrete of the driveway for a quick cleanup and basic reassembly.



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So there's my pal Brent at the controls of the pressure washer. There was at least a half-dozen coats of paint on this old gal, and there were many places where iron was bare, and paint was holding onto paint, but not metal. I COULD have taken it to a local guy to have it professionally sandblasted to bare iron, but I chose against that for several reasons, part was expedience, and the other part, was that my intention was not to make it a museum piece, but rather a functionally operative, and effectively preserved machine.

To be functionally operative, it needs to be back together... and to be preserved, I needed to protect the areas that were exposed, or soon-to-be. With lots of flaking paint, the pressure washer removed dirt AND knocked off lots (but not all) the loose stuff. There was a considerable amount, however, the paint that was still intact was holding very well.

The other part of preservation is historical... machines of this age did NOT have the advantage of chemical protective coatings we enjoy today... their paints were rather crude by our standards. I could have stripped it all off, but in doing so, the original paint that was STILL down there, would be erased from it for eternity.

I chose to prime over it, for the purpose of KEEPING that original paint protected under there for as long as possible. Someday, there might be some guy who decides to strip it to give it a period-correct restoration, he (or she) will need to know not only what that paint looked like, but what it was made of. SO... I've stored samples in it, specifically for them.

This is a basic white primer... and the patent dates and name show up nicely at this point, so I'm sharing it with you.



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And now for the real gem... with the lower wheel, and both table surfaces in place...

And look at the ornamental design of the upper wheel...

And the iron pointer finial up top... These two features grant absolutely nothing to the function of this 36" bandsaw, but it shows that the builders felt it worthy of some Victorianesque decor.


Pete Spaco

Good for you!!!!

I did a revitalization of a pretty old 36" bandsaw myself a couple of years ago.
Very satisfying to get 'er going again.

Mine still has the ancient paint on it, so I am jealous of your cleaning and repainting work.

What will you be doing with it once it is operational?
What blade speed will you set it up for?

Pete Stanaitis


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Hi Pete!

Well, I could have stripped it to bare metal, but I decided that I didn't want to strip a future generation from the opportunity to see what that first layer looked like... but it'll get a little more scrubbing, more primer tonight, and I've got some green Alkyd similar color to what it would've orginally worn. I don't have good info on what the other colors may have been, so I'll guess on the rest, but it should look nice from 4ft away... and be well protected... when I'm done.

Blade speed... well, I plan on using it to cut wood mostly, but sometimes I'll need to cut larger sheets of thin metal. That means i'll have a variety of blades, and thus, need some speed adjustability.

My other thought, was pseudo-portability... meaning, you see it's sitting on steel rectangular tubing right now. I'll be adding to that, so that I can use pallet-jack and forklift to move it around between buildings while I"m doing my building replacem ent, and there'll be times when I need it in one area, and then need to move it to others... work it a bit, move it out of the way, move it elsewhere... so ONE option would be to put a small gasoline engine on it. The other, would be an electric drive that would allow me to use it without dragging a dedicated power source... and in this case, what I've done elsewhere, is use a VFD to run a motor through a substantial reduction, and program the VFD for overspeed... meaning, higher running frequency than 60hz... so I can have a high cutting speed, or low cutting speed, with just a knob-twist, but also the added advantage of dynamic and DC injection braking to get it down to a quick stop... and they're quiet and smooth drives...

I dunno yet. It'll be something... :shrug: