Craftsman Bandsaw: Disassembly

Thanks to the wonder that is Craigslist I picked up a 1940s 12″ Craftsman bandsaw last year.  It’s a model number 103.0103.   I was able to see it run before purchasing it so that was a plus.  Still I tore it down and fixed it up.  Here’s the post on tearing it down.  It’s mostly going to be pics instead of a step by step so as not to bore you.   I don’t have all the pictures I’d like to have for this post but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

Here’s the bandsaw as I picked it up.  Not much to look at but it was solid.  Note that it came with a pretty cool Century motor.  It’s only 1/2 hp but it’s pretty massive.  It’ll get it’s own post later.

You can faintly see the outline of the Craftsman sticker that it used to wear.  Wish I could find a replacement.

Here’s a view from under the table.  It’s a little rusty but all the parts for the tilting mechanism (pictured here) and the lower guide (on opposide side).

Here’s a picture of the top of the table and upper guide.  The table had a nice coat of rust on it but it was pretty even with only light pitting.

Here’s the inside of the saw.  It’s much more massive than what you’d find today in the small bandsaw class of machines.  The tube is 1/8″ walled steel while the arms and wheels are cast iron.  Heavy wheels are desirable because they have a lot of momentum and keep the wheels from stalling if you hit a tough spot in the wood.

After removing the tension adjustment knob and a lot of screws the stamped metal cover can be removed.  Four bolts hold the table to the adjustment mechanism allowing you to remove it as well.  Both wheels are press fit to bearings which ride on metal axle shafts.  They’re removed using a puller or by hammer depending how much space/luck you have.

Here’s a view of the back.  While four bolts mechanically held on each cast iron year of rust had pretty much glued them together.  A lot of penetrant and a large mallet convinced them to separate after a while.

From here it’s just removing the feet and some of the sub assemblies.  Here’s a view of the lower guide and table tilt subassembly.  The “wheel” seen face on in the picture is the thrust bearing for the blade.   The  bandsaw blade contacts the face of the “wheel” off center and spins the bearing when the blade is pushed against it during use.  Below it are two slotted set screws.  They hold two pieces of brass which control lateral deflection of the blade.

This is the upper axle assembly.  Another should be on the right edge of this picture but is not shown.  The wheel is sandwiched between the two bearings which are pressed onto the axle shaft.  The shaft is then pressed into the bracket on the left.  A bolt fits through the two holes in the bracket allowing the wheel to be tilted to adjust the way the blade tracks.

Being a 70 year old machine there were a few issues encountered.  The picture shown below is the pulley end of the lower axle.  The lower axle has a pulley on it (you can barely see it in pic 3) that connects to the motor with a V-belt.  Unfortunately, the set screws in the pulley had loosened over time and ate away at the axle shaft.

Here’s the inside of the pulley.  It was damaged as well by being loose.

This is the upper blade guide.  It works like the lower one but is unfortunately broken.  There should be set screws on both sides but the area around one is missing.  The Phillips screw to the right was a poor attempt to fix the problem by the previous owner.

At this point everything was disassembled and ready for cleanup and painting.  Another couple of posts on the motor and putting it back together will be out next…


Check out my other posts on the Craftsman Bandsaw:  Motor and Finished

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24 Responses to Craftsman Bandsaw: Disassembly

  1. Terry says:

    Have you assembled the saw? What do you think of it?

    • davidjbod says:

      Yes, I have reassembled it. I actually meant to post about that but it looks like I forgot. It works pretty well in the rough cuts I’ve done with it. It seems to have a lot of power and doesn’t tend to bog down. I still haven’t gotten a replacement top guide assembly so the blade wanders a bit. I hope to find one sometime in the future. I’ll try to get a post up about the reassembly soon. Thanks!

      • Amy R Kreiger says:

        Dang! I really need that reassembly info! Especially a video of how to do it! Atm, I’m trying to put the blade on and am not having any luck!. Mine bogs down with each cut, and Idk what needs replacing 😦 Maybe the belt? I’ve tried tightening the tension on the top to pull the blade tightly (before it popped off), and that didn’t make a difference. When it’s bogged down, the motor continues to go around. Can anyone please help me?! BTW, it appears I have the same model as this one above. Mine is an 18″ blade, model # 103.0103. Thank you!

        I just saw that you don’t have this saw anymore! Dang! Can anyone else help me please?

      • davidjbod says:

        Even though I don’t have my saw any more I still think I can help you with yours as most band saws are similar.

        To mount the blade first put it on both wheels and put light tension on it. Then spin the wheels by hand and see how the blade tracks on the top wheel. If the blade isn’t riding in the middle of the top wheel adjust the top wheel angle a little bit and spin the wheels by hand again. After you get it adjusted correctly and the blade stays in the middle of the top wheel you should be able to turn the machine on have the blade not come off.

        Per your other questions… Have you used this saw before or is it new to you? This question will narrow down the questions I have. I’ll try to help you get your saw working correctly.

        If you’d rather speak through email please send one to

  2. Joe says:

    Oh man! I just got one of these from a neighbor who is moving away. What did you use to clean up the machine and get rid of the rust? Did you re-paint yours?

    • davidjbod says:

      I used a combination of wire wheeling (on the tube and small parts), electrolysis and sanding (on the table). Yeah I ended up repainting and posted about it. I had just forgotten to link to the follow up post. You can check it out here: Thanks for the comment!

      • Joe says:

        Thanks so much! I got the saw in pieces…so it seems pretty daunting…and I’ve never done anything like this…but one way or another I’m going to get it back together…perfect winter project. Thanks for the info/advice. People like you make the internet a good place. Semper Fi, Joe

  3. don says:

    What size blade does it take?

  4. says:

    Where did find drive shafts at

  5. Vint says:

    I just inherited this particular bandsaw and will be refurbishing it totally. It was my father’s and it looks like he made a few changes. For instance he has light on his….does anyone know for sure if this bs actually came with an electrical light ?

  6. Chris says:

    I just picked one up in decent condition except for tore up lower shaft and all thrust washers and spacers were missing. What spacers did yours have on the lower shaft. I would guess that there has to something in between the lower pulley and bearings to keep the shaft from walking.

    • davidjbod says:

      I no longer have this band saw so I cannot check it. I looked at some pics I had of it though and found one showing 4 washers/shims on the shaft but I’m not sure of their size.


  7. chuck says:

    got one in much better shape just cant get parts works great only needs new tires

  8. Ralph Chianelli says:

    I inherited my father’s Craftsman 103.0103 bandsaw. Still works great and still has a GE motor from WWI era. My problem is the upper wheel tilt adjustment knob…it’s missing. Can anyone tell me if this would work with a standard threaded bolt and what size and thread it would be?
    Much appreciated, and love the old tools!

  9. Chuck says:

    I have the same saw but the upper blade guide has broken and seems nobody can weld the old cast aluminum. Any suggestions for repair or replacing are appreciated. I’m satisfied with replacing both if I can find a suitable substitute.

    • davidjbod says:

      I’m sorry to hear that your blade guide has broken. I think your best chance for a replacement would be to check ebay or post a wanted ad on You may be able to fit an aftermarket guide to your saw with some work if you don’t have any luck.

    • Vint says:

      I have the same bandsaw but I’m having trouble finding a new upper guide thrust bearing. Do you have any suggestions where to get a new bearing?
      Thank you

      • Scott Koue says:

        I just got one of these saws and both thrust bearings were missing. It had some other issues and I am fairly unfamiliar with the workings of a bandsaw (I’ve worked on one but never owned /repaired one) so I didn’t want to buy a bunch of replacement parts and then find out there was some fatal flaw that made it a parts machine. I only payed $20 for it so…

        Any way if you know a hobby machinist (or a real one) they are pretty easy to make. The disk is around 3/4” (going by pictures since I didn’t have one to copy) and the shaft is 1/4”. I took drill stock of those sizes drilled out a 1/4” hole in the center of the 3/4 cut the front profile, counter sunk the hole and parted off a disk. Polished up a bit of the 1/4” and dimpled one end with a center drill. There is a bump in the center of the bronze holder so I figured it had a mating dimple. I cut the 1/4” so that it was just in the counter sync with the right length of shaft (on mine it was about .85”) and hit the 1/4” rod with a TIG torch to fusion weld it to the 3/4”. I then did a truing pass in the lathe and rounded the edges a bit with a file.

        Sounds complicated but the whole thing took maybe 20 min each though I could probably do it in 1/2 the time now that I have done it.

        The first one I made was closer to 1” and that is probably going to be too big. Ill try it in the upper blade guide where I can see how it works, but I’m pretty sure I will be replacing it with a smaller version. I did one at 1/2” that might work depending on where the blade ends up but I thought it looked to small and is certainly smaller than the photos of the real one.

        I didn’t harden it figuring that it should not be harder or as hard as the blade, but then as long as it’s spinning… It is drill rod so it can be hardened.

        Anyway an option for those who are looking for parts, make a friend of a machinist!

        You can also find them on eBay but they run around $20 apiece with shipping.

  10. Art says:

    Do you have any pictures of the assembled upper wheel fulcrum? Especially any without the wheel? I acquired a modified bandsaw where the previous owner had removed the fulcrum and replaced it with a fixed block. I would like to restore the original functionality. I have no idea how the original fit together.

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