Among bandsaws, the 3- wheeler is often thought of as a poor step child when in fact a properly tuned machine fitted with the correct blade is just as capable as it’s larger cousins like the classic two wheel 14 incher [35.5 cm]. I recently picked one up for cheap on Craigslist and knew it would need refitting before use, and as is to be expected, the tires and drive belt were deteriorated beyond use. Bandsaw tires help impart motor torque to the blade, along with keeping it in a stable position, also called “tracking”, their condition is vital for smooth and efficient operation, so here’s how to replace the tires if needed.
Step 1: Preparation
I gave the internals a good brushing and blowing out followed by hand turning each 6” [300mm] wheel to determine bearing condition. All went well so I proceeded to the next step of stripping off the remains of the old tire, most of the work involved using a solvent and wire brush to remove the factory applied tire adhesive. Contemporary tires are manufactured with advanced properties not available at the time of this machine’s build (1984), so thankfully gluing them on is no longer necessary as long as the surfaces are clean and free of contaminants. On this particular model, the cast wheels were machined with an included crown which helps in blade tracking, therefore the tires conformed nicely to them and so a crowning operation was unnecessary such as it might be with other models.
Step 2: Application Method
I had obtained a nice kit from www.bandsawtirewarehouse.com, properly sized for my make and model saw, containing 3 tires, installation tool and instructions. They can also offer a new drive belt as well, but I had one on hand and so used it (orange color). I employed three spring clamps with soft tips, rotating their position as I went round the wheel. Using a round shaft Phillips screwdriver was simpler for me than the supplied tool, but as I have done this type of procedure before, I was careful to choose one with a smooth and clean surface so as to not injure the tire.
To make the process easier, you must first warm the tires to make them more pliable, I did this by simply heating a large bowl of water and letting them acclimate in it for several minutes. Retrieving one at a time, begin by clamping at the 12:00 position and work clockwise placing the tire into the wheel’s groove. Attach or rotate clamps as you go around the periphery, using the screwdriver shaft as an aid in stretching the tire for a snap- in fit. When completed and the tire is wholly gripping the wheel, a final step is vital to ensure roundness of form, so carefully slip the screwdriver between the tire and wheel. Then, while holding it stationary, rotate the wheel at least twice, to equalize the tension. Wipe off excess water, let dry overnight before use and it’s “job done”.
Step 3: Parting Thoughts
My model saw- LUDELL BS14UL—was typical of a Taiwanese make branded for different resellers, it is very similar to the more popular CLARKE CBS-355 BAND SAW, so sourcing parts isn’t too hard. In the U.S. anyway, because of their unpopularity they tend to be dumped at very attractive prices.
If this saw was beyond economical repair, the motor alone would have made it worth buying as it is very robustly made, is an honest h.p. rating and not the fantasy numbers now in use, and is a 4 pole design, with much more torque than a 2 pole which is now more widely used since a 2 pole motor is cheaper to make.