Tuesday 3 April 2018

General 190 Bandsaw tune up

Our General 190 will be fully restored one day, but for now we just need it to cut well and be reliable for everything from regular cuts to resawing for planking, ribs etc. Built in 1966 when cast iron was the norm, these machines will last for generations compared to todays plastic and aluminum offerings.  A quick visit to R&D Bandsaws in  Brampton, Ontario provided all the necessary parts. A great company, their blades are excellent quality. 

A brief history of General below, from http://www.vintagemachinery.org

For many years General was the dominant maker of light industrial woodworking machinery in Canada. In 1982, their production of woodworking machinery was 5,000 machines per year. Besides woodworking machinery, at one time they produced hydro towers and highway guard rails.
General began in 1945 as a family business reportedly producing machines under contract from Porter-Cable; the General Manufacturing Co., Ltd. name was first used in 1947.
In 1987, General bought Jos. Poitras & Sons, Ltd., another respected Quebec maker of woodworking machinery. Some machines still survive from the Poitras line: the V-154 14" radial arm saw,the 2800-B 3/4" spindle shaper (recently discontinued), the SS-032 1 1/4" shaper and the No 1 and No 4 exhausters. All of these machines are labeled with both the General and Poitras names.
Poitras had, in turn, purchased Joseph Côté, Inc.. So far as we know, none of the Côté designs survive in General's product catalog.
General's Model 220 hollow-chisel mortiser design was purchased from Yates American.
General briefly sold a 4" jointer that is identical to the Craftmaster 4" jointer made by Henry Power Tools, Ltd. We do not know if this was a temporary arrangement or if General bought the line from Henry Power Tools.
The rarely-seen 3501 sliding-table accessory (which fit most 10" tablesaws, including the Model 350-1 General tablesaw) was made by Robland. In 2003 General bought Sommerville Design, the makers of the Excalibur line of scroll saws and accessories, including a sliding table that was better suited than the Robland to handling sheet goods.
In June 2012 General announced that they were ceasing the manufacture of machinery in Canada and would henceforth only carry their General International line of Taiwanese-made machinery.

Dating General Machines

The following list summarizes some clues in dating General machines
  • So far as we know, the first General-branded machines were produced in about 1947.
  • In 1962, at least some General machines were painted green, somewhat darker and bluer than the later General green. This color may have been used before 1962 as well.
  • Other early machines (up to the mid-1960s) were painted a speckled gray and white.
  • The red oval "General" tag means that a machine is from before the mid-1960s.
  • If your machine's tag is a silver oval with black "General" then it dates from about 1965.
  • A new serial numbering system was introduced in 1962. Machines produced that year have serial numbers prefixed with "A". The letter was incremented each year until 1987 when they reached "Z". The 1988 machines have prefix "AA", changing to "AB" in 1989, etc. This seems to hold up to at least 1995, but a couple of machines of mine, purchased new in 1998 and 2003, both have serial numbers prefixed with "G".

Mid 60s emblem

190 model, 1HP  15" bandsaw

At 350 lbs, solidly built and smooth running

Cast iron construction,no plastic on these

As found, needing a basic tune up

New rubber tires, phenolic cool blocks and thrust bearings along with general purpose blades, and a resaw blade in Swedish steel

R&D Blades

Old dry and cracked tires

New rubber tires

New thrust bearings and guide blocks. Table insert needs replacing too

Lower thrust bearing and blocks

Running in tires and setting clearances

Cutting straight and true. Off to work for another couple of decades, until it can take a break for a new paint job