View Full Version : H.F. Band Saw

Norman Warfield
12-09-2005, 07:25 AM
I needed a band saw to make some parts, and since I didn't have a cut off saw ( I've been using a chop saw ) I bought a $209.00 combo' saw from Harbor Freight.

For $209.00 it's a bargan! More cast iron than I expected. I thought it would be a throw away. I not only cut out my parts but I've been using it for cut off work. it's a lot cleaner than using the wheel.

Lately I have been using it mostly for a vertical band saw and sitting on the bed portion while cutting out the work. Pretty comfy with a pad under.

I was waiting for it to go to pieces, but it hasn't yet. However the motor does run pretty warm. It's been a good chunk of iron for the money. It also has an automatic shut off so when the cut is through it don't destory itself.

It comes with a 14 T.P.I. blade,it had a very bad welded joint and was quickly replaced. And I also installed a "Powertwist" belt on it.

I have no affiliation with H.F. this is just a heads up to anyone who may need a cheap convertable saw for some right away work...


If it's not broken, why do I keep trying to fix it....

12-09-2005, 09:42 AM
HF Bandsaw:

I bought one when they were on sale for $129.00 years ago. It is cheaply made but has paid for itself many times. The first thing I did was replace the HF blade with a Bimetal blade. I have built a different stand, small vice to fit in larger clamp for small items to be sawed. There are several web sights dedicated to up grading the 4 X 6 horizintal/vertical bandsaws. The Harbor Freight, Grizzly, MSC, ENCO, Jet, and others all appear to be made in China most likely in the same factories. This is one piece of equipment I bought at buster knuckle tools that I have not regreted.

Your Old Dog
12-09-2005, 10:22 AM
I have the same saw. Don't go nuts tightening up those roller guides. Mine stripped out very easily. I had to drill it, re-tap it, tap a rod to fit the roller guide and then thread the rod to fit the new cast iron hole !! Now that that is done, it works pretty damn neat. I also thought the motor ran hot so I removed the belt guard so it wouldn't restrict the air flow to the holes on the motor. I also have a Sawzall and a chop saw and a vertical bandsaw but I like the horizontal the best. I'm still on my chi-com blade and it seems to be holding up pretty well.

12-09-2005, 10:55 AM
One of the best tools I have bought too, on the recomendation of many here. Bimetal blades are the way to go. I just love the way it can make a straight, clean cut in a piece of 1" steel plate.

Alistair Hosie
12-09-2005, 02:47 PM
I dont know this model can you show me it, or give me the H F number so I can look it up.Also is it a woodsaw used for metal ? or is it designed for metal from the off go ?Alistair

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-09-2005, 02:47 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Norman Warfield:
I was waiting for it to go to pieces, but it hasn't yet.</font>

That's the problem with them... I have the 1 HP version from H.F. that I bought around 1.5 years ago. It just keeps cutting and cutting and won't die. I paid $159 for mine at the time and I had no idea how valuable this "Hort/Vert" bandsaw was going be..

I want to replace it with a faster 7x12" unit when the 4x6" dies but I'm not having any luck killing it yet.. I abuse it constantly by pushing down while cutting. I freeze the motor a lot with the extra pressure but it just keeps on keeping on. I've lost count how many times it has paid for itself.. I think almost every cut actually http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


3 Phase Lightbulb
12-09-2005, 02:53 PM
Also, if you like the H.F. Horz/Vert bandsaw, this is another "winner" in my book:


I bought mine when they were onsale for $49.95.

It cuts even faster than the H.F. unit. The blade that comes with it is unbelivable. I cut a motorcycle frame in half with it in seconds.. I cut VW bus trailing arms in half with it in seconds.. It also cuts 1/4" plate like butter..

It gets a 3 Thumbs Up from me.


12-09-2005, 02:55 PM

It's a metal saw only. This is the one I got from Busy Bee tools for $235 cdn.


12-09-2005, 06:59 PM
i have had one for over15 years now.it is one of the most used machines in my shop. the only thing i did to mine was to brace up the base as shown in a hsm artical.

12-09-2005, 07:12 PM
Yep, great little saw. There is a yahoo group dedicated to them and all the upgrades folks do.

If they would make a dedicated vertical saw with a deeper throat they'd have another winner.

12-09-2005, 10:29 PM
I have one that was bought for my fathers shop in 1992 that ran for 6-8 hours a day for 3-5 days a week for 7 years. It is on its 2nd set of roller guides. I have it now and use it alot, it is old enough that there is no plastic on it other than the knobs and it has an American mad UL rated motor on it. I don't know if the motor is an option anymore, back then it was. These little saws are just about like the Energizer Bunny.

[This message has been edited by Mcruff (edited 12-09-2005).]

12-10-2005, 02:29 AM
I also have one of these "chicom" saws,and have been happy with it for the 2 years i've been using it.I put the whole saw on a mobile frame,fashioned out of old bed-frame angle(I'm too cheap to buy new http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif).Put the original wheels under one end of the frame.and a couple of castors at the other end.
But........,suddenly,it won't cut straight anymore.Vertically,that is.I checked all the guides,but couldn't see anything wrong.Can someone please help out a dumb dutchman to figure this out? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif.
Sorry,Norman,I didn't mean to hi-jack your thread.My motor does run reasonably warm too,but as long as it doesn't "let out" the smoke,I ain't wurryin' http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gifI also put a 1/4" plate under the motor mount to strengthen it,as i found it would gradually bend over time.This is not a criticism of the saw,rather inexperience on the part of the operator,i.e. abusing it ever so slightly.
I also replaced the motor tension adjustment bolt with a hex socket screw,cause it's a pain to get a spanner in that tight space.
I guess you could call these saws "cheap and cheerful",it certainly beats the old hacksaw!


12-10-2005, 07:30 AM
I bought the swivel head saw and added coolant(used one of those cheap 3 gallon parts washer pumps). I love it.
Setting it for angles only takes seconds. I was going to replace this with a 7X12 asap but I like the swivel head so much that I don't see the need for now.
Yup...it's slow on the thick stuff. Even worse now. I was using 14/10 bimetal blades(that cut really well) but my supplier screwed up and brought in 14 tooth blades instead. I was in a hurry so I got two from him. The first one has been on the saw for about 8 months now and won't die.
The little motor does heat up, in fact it starts to stink sometimes. I think it is boiling the poggy.
I have to have a look at the belt guard suggestion. I don"t want to remove it but maybe it can be modified to allow more air movement.
With more air movement and a conveyor belt...it might just take off http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

12-10-2005, 10:24 AM
i bruned up the motor in about 3 years replaced it with a leesion and it is still there cutting off parts.

Alistair Hosie
12-11-2005, 09:35 AM
O.K Evan now I know the type it is !Alistair

12-11-2005, 07:29 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb:
That's the problem with them... I have the 1 HP version from H.F.

Well, I went and did it. I found an HF store nearby and paid $160 for the little saw. I really liked being able to see it and its bigger $700 cousin side-by-side. The one I got sure is a cute little thing. I initiated it by cutting a 1.5" diameter bar of tool steel. I guess I'm not used to this type of saw - it took forever. And the rumors about the motor are correct - the nameplate says "60 degrees C", and it gets at least that hot. But it cuts metal, and it beats the methods I've been using, both for ease and quality of cut. Thanks, guys.

In another interesting note, I saw a couple of Central Machinery lathes, mills, and mill-drills at the same store. (Gaithersburg, MD) One of the lathes' nameplate identified the maker as "Cemtral Machinery". http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Also, all of the lathes and mills there (there were 4) had "not for sale" tags on them. On further inspection, another tag said that they were not for sale in this location due to a UL issue in Montgomery County. WTF? What does the county have to do with UL? Interesting. Scary?


12-11-2005, 07:36 PM
That little bandsaw is like the South bend lathe everyones grandpa had. Should take a poll of who does NOT own one, lol.

12-12-2005, 12:33 AM
I got my bandsaw in 1981 from Enco ( at that time I lived in Chicago) Since then it has resided in 4 states,ate 1 motor (about 3 years ago), got a new set of blade guides, and a lot of blades.

I use Lenox blades and get good life from them

That saw is like the Energiser bunny, it just keeps on going, and going, and going...


Bill Pace
12-12-2005, 09:00 AM
I got my saw---I think---sometime in the early eighties....long time past, anyway. What a workhorse!! I agree with the Energizer Bunny comparison.......just keeps on going and going. I have modified this thing so many times, I've lost count, but, believe it or not, I'm on the original motor.


If you keep one of these little saws long enough, they will start cutting on a slant, and I found a down and dirty quick fix for the problem. (If these pix come through....) note the white strap/strip protruding from the lower part of the blade guide-- thats being used as a shim to change the angle of the blade, theres another at the rear guide. Mine had got so bad, was almost unuseable, and after much head scratching over elaborate methods, this simple fix was the answer.


Steve Steven
12-12-2005, 10:01 AM
I had slanted cutting problem with mine, and finally found the problem to be worn out blade guides (ball bearings). Replaced them, and solved many problems. The removed bearings were very sloppy, badly worn. BTW, I got mine in the late 70's and its still on the origional motor, but then I don't use it heavily.

12-12-2005, 12:30 PM
These saws can start cutting at an angle when the blade gets worn, if everything else checks out okay on the saw (guide bearings, guide alignment) try putting in a new blade.

I bought one of these saws over 20 years ago, gritting my teeth because I couldn't afford a better one and I thought this one would last about 2 months. Its made it 20 years now, still looks like crap but probably the best bang for my buck I've gotten out of any tool in the shop. I built a roll-around stand for it out of angle iron, the flimsy sheet metal stand fits tightly in that and it really firmed the saw up. The blade tightening knob on mine did crack in half after 2 months and like a dumb-ass I've been using it that way ever since.

Paul T.

[This message has been edited by PaulT (edited 12-12-2005).]