View Full Version : Horizontal bandsaw HP, and older Wells saw questions:

Doc Nickel
10-19-2008, 02:28 AM
Last weekend I picked up a Wells Model 1000 horizontal bandsaw, and finally, this evening, had a chance to reassemble it. It's still not wired or tested, as the motor's 3-phase and I'll have to slide a VFD in there (or swap to a single-phase.)


Now, I was somewhat surprised to find the apparently-factory motor was only a 3/4-HP. I guess I'd expected more out of a big, older American industrial saw...

Now, on the other hand, there's some heavy step-down gearing on it: the motor drives a set of step pullies, as usual, which drives a spur-gearbox of unknown ratio, which in turn drives a small gear, which finally drives this interesting internal ring gear:


Apparently the factory figured 3/4 HP was sufficient, given that mechanical leverage... is it? I could, optionally- and with a bit of oddball fabrication, make a mount to put a conventional single-phase motor on it. I have a bunch of them, and running a single-phase would save me the cost of buying yet another VFD...

Second question: Anyone know what this dumawhatchie is?


It's on the legs below the motor end of the saw, there's that "adjusting" bolt, and the linkage with the hole in it can swing forward- or could if the bolt wasn't in the way. I'm assuming this is for a counterbalancing spring, but I'm not sure. Anyone got a similar model you can snap a pic of to show me the connection?

There's a broken tab on the motor end of the saw itself- you can see it in the ring-gear photo above, on the left side of the photo. I suspect that's where the other end of the spring goes, but I'm not sure. Anyone confirm?



Forrest Addy
10-19-2008, 03:00 AM
Smell the motor. If it aint fried then it had plenty of power until now. There's a place here for caution though. That's an older saw made for the band stock of yesteryear. Speeds were a bit lower. If you run a modern bi-metal band to capacty in ductile material you may exceed the motor's capacity. Not a biggie if you install a VFD. The VFD's over-current protection will prevent motor from exceeding its thermal time constant.

I'd install a NC snap action switch in contact with the stator iron just to be safe. Select a switch suited for the motor's insulation class to be found on the nameplate. Connect the switch leads to the VFD's fault terminals. That way the motor is double protected.

10-19-2008, 08:11 AM
Doc...That's the same saw I have. You are right...the linkage at the bottom is for a long counterbalance spring.
I'm not sure what hp my saw is but it is a 1ph motor..I'm thinking 1 hp.
These old girls run kinda slow. I use really aggressive blades on mine and it cuts very fast for an old saw.
Does yours take 3/4" or 1" blades?

10-19-2008, 08:19 AM
Only pic of the spring setup i have..

10-19-2008, 08:30 AM
My Johnson 14" x 7" came with a 2hp motor

It could have been an up grade as they also added a motor starter cabinet on the front legs

10-19-2008, 09:02 AM
The older motors would run at nameplate horsepower and over with little damage. That looks like a cast iron motor, I love them. When replacing them I would use a factor of 1-1/2 to 2 in rating. Direct HP to HP replacement usually resulted in failure in critical applications.

I would recommend turning the end bell or motor so the air intake points down, less chance of detritus entering the motor.

10-19-2008, 09:07 AM
Doc...your saw is missing a small arm that the spring attaches to and that the tension screw bears down on. Later I'll measure mine up so you can copy it.

10-19-2008, 09:26 AM
Ta da!!! Here you go..

10-19-2008, 12:51 PM
That is a super nice saw . very filimer with it . Me i would replace the motor 1 HP 110 volts. and it will cut any thing you can put in it . Yes the big spring is missing . bet you ca get one from W F Wellsaw Co.

10-19-2008, 02:09 PM
Here's the manual for the saw-


Which is one of three serial# groups found here-


Doc Nickel
10-19-2008, 04:55 PM
Thanks guys, very helpful information. Especially the manual- thanks, Weird.

Torker- It's tough to see in that pic, but there's a swinging link hanging down, in the dohickey on the leg. Unless there's a secondary linkage that attaches to that one, it looks like it's all there- on the lower end anyway, the upper spring mount is still definitely broken.

JC- I was thinking I'd do exactly that, if I kept the 3~ motor.

Now, as for the motor: My choice right now is to either buy another VFD (about $200 including shipping for a 1HP unit) or mount one of the single-phase 110 and 220V 1HP motors I have. I've got no fewer than ten, though a couple are pretty bulky for their power. All, though, would need some sort of new mount built, since the stock motor mounts to a large "pivot pin" arrangement.

I might have to root through my stash and ponder that one a bit.

Next question: Can anyone give me the length and diameter of the sliding blade weight? I don't imagine the exact weight is too crucial, but I figure I might as well stick with factory dimensions when I fab one up.

And last, I got six extra- new- blades with it, in various tooth counts. What's a good general-purpose blade, assuming I'll almost always be doing smaller pieces, like 1" pipe, 1" round aluminum bar, some 1" square steel tubing, and the occasional 2" angle iron. Speed of cut is not a top priority, blade life is, as these puppies is 'spensive. :D


10-19-2008, 05:12 PM
Doc.. I just looked at my saw. The doohickey that is hanging down under the bracket IS the right piece. The spring slips into the hole. The top spring bracket...hangs down about 4 1/2" from the edge of the frame.... very simple to make.
The weight...is a piece of solid round cast. 5" long X 3" diameter. The hole is bored about 3/8" off center through the weight. This makes it hang down so the clip works.
There is a flat spring clip on one end to stop the weight from sliding back as you lift the saw. Easily made from a piece of flat spring steel...or a piece of an old woodsaw or???

Doc Nickel
10-19-2008, 07:39 PM
Thanks Tork! Cast, eh? I didn't know that. Thought it was just a chunk of solid round mild, which is what I'll use... Thanks on the offset note too, I'd assumed again it was center-drilled.

The local college machine shop has one of these saws too, I've used it several times. Part of the reason I wanted this one- a Wells in particular- since I've been impressed with the durability that one's shown after literally decades of heavy, and often unskilled, use.

I recall the spring-tab lock for the weight, didn't figure that'd be too hard to duplicate. But heck, a thumbscrew and a tapped hole'd work as well.

I found a couple of fair sized extension springs in my parts bins, I'll have to experiment a bit to see if they're strong enough for the counterweight, either alone or as a pair, etc.


Doc Nickel
11-02-2008, 03:14 AM
Quick Update:

While puttering around- I was waiting for a customer and didn't want to start a big involved project- I solved two issues on this saw: First, I made a replacement stand/mount for the weight bar (the 1" round bit on the right) and then faced and drilled the chunk of 3" mild round I'd picked up for the weight itself. (Both the mount and the weight were missing entirely.)


I was planning on making a leaf-spring clip like the factory one has, except I noted, when I was over at the college machine shop again, that theirs has worn to the point it no longer grabs- the inside edge of the hole in the leaf has worn smooth and doesn't bite well. The teach uses a spring woodworkers' clamp to hold the weight, instead.

I decided, then, to make something a little more positive, and went with a simple drilled hole and 1/2" coarse bolt. Now, I turned a tiny 'coin' of brass, and dropped it down the hole first, so the bolt doesn't mark up the bar itself and make it hard to slide the weight.

I then decided I needed some kind of handle or knob on the bolt. So instead of something easy like a coin of round stock as a knob, or even just a short section of roundbar MIG welded to the bolt head, I made three little ball-end knobs (rough-turned and hand-filed, no ball-turner yet) turned the bolt head round, milled three short channels, and brazed 'em into place.

It's not quite as cool and industrial looking as I'd hoped, but if nothing else, it looks better than just welding on a piece of bar stock to make a T-handle. :D


11-02-2008, 03:55 AM

For someone who lives at the end of the world where there isn't much equipment, a lot of stuff seems to follow you home. If you're not careful you'll have to do a major expansion of your shop.

Keep up the great work. I really enjoy reading about your treasures and their resurrection. Great photos too, you have a background in photography?


Doc Nickel
11-02-2008, 04:46 AM
For someone who lives at the end of the world where there isn't much equipment, a lot of stuff seems to follow you home. If you're not careful you'll have to do a major expansion of your shop.

-Well, it was already pretty cramped in here a year and a half ago when I hauled home a 10" shaper, two valve grinders, a blacksmithing setup, a drill sharpener, a brake lathe and some other bits.

Then I'd hardly had those sorted out when I bought the horizontal, 16" shaper and 10" Sheldon. (Though admittedly I sold the 9" Logan to make room for the Sheldon.)

And then those weren't even finished (except for the Sheldon, mostly) when I hauled the big grinder and Wells home- the latter which I traded space for the Carolina horizontal saw I'd brought home a few months before.

I am well and truly out of space. As soon as the Nichols mill is fully up and running (just have to wire the VFD as soon as I decide where it's going to be in the shop, and make an X-axis nut) and it's placed wherever it is I decide it's going to be (no easy trick at the moment) then I have to get the 16" shaper up and running. Not because I "need" it, but since it's the next-biggest lump of (at the moment dead) iron, it's going to need the most space.

Then everything else has to squeeze into whatever's left.

I wish I could add more space, but there's absolutely no way with my budget.

On the positive side, I'm about done with the heavy tools. I'll always snag hand-size tools when I run across 'em, but the only big iron still on my list is a surface grinder. Besides which, the brake lathe- an impulse buy- and one of the valve grinders will eventually go away, as well as some of the other junk in the shop (like a hay-baler sized old copier that was given to me. It works, mostly, but it's too big to move anywhere and the copies are mediocre at best.)

Keep up the great work. I really enjoy reading about your treasures and their resurrection.

-I'm having more fun rebuilding my own tools right now, than doing customer work. :D

That's not necessarily a good thing...

I also have to admit I lucked out on some of these. I bought the Nichols essentially sight-unseen, but it turned out to be in pretty darn good shape. Major cleaning and repainting, sure, but the ways were cherry (except the middle third of the X travel) and the castings were undamaged. The big grinder I saw was beat when I got it, and I'd have paid the $50 sale price just for the iron pedestal, really, but it, too, proved to be in pretty good shape, despite clear evidence of prior wheel-crashes.

This Wells I committed to buy even before seeing more than a single blurry Craigslist ad. And it turned out to have had a hard life- both legs have been rewelded, one twice. One of the blade guide arms has been cracked and rather badly rewelded- although it appears straight and solid. I didn't even know if the motor worked.

Great photos too, you have a background in photography?





11-02-2008, 12:00 PM
If you haven't been there, in Alaska everyone is a great photographer! Just stick the camera out the window and click a few frames, one of them will be a great shot!

11-02-2008, 12:50 PM
Carolina Band Saw ... http://www.pyrouniverse.com/forum/images/smilies/puke.gif
I had to use one of those at my previous place of employment - (recently solved that problem)
Once you get it tweaked in you'll really like that Wells saw. Very well built saw anyway, but just TONS better than Carolina sheet metal. I also have one of those Wells saws - looks almost identical - and I really like it.

That weight clamp ought to work fine as long as burrs in the bar don't affect it's ability to slide easy enough. The flat spring clip would have worked for years before it wore and started slipping. Maybe your lifetime. But your solution ought to work just fine too. I usually leave mine wherever it is and just sit on the upper end to speed up a cut ;) (not really).