Powering the Shopsmith Bandsaw with the PowerPro Headstock

If you don't already know this about me, I have a few quirks that often make me wonder why my Bride even likes me.  For one thing, I get obsessed with something new, and the next thing I know I've purchased books, videos, spent countless hours online joining discussion groups, reading blogs and web sites and watching Youtube videos.  Name a topic and I've probably had a brief obsession with it.  In the shop my obsessions include a love for all things relating to Shopsmith tools, routers, Jigs and Fixtures and shop-made tools.  But my REAL tool obsession centers around bandsaws.  I've often said that if Congress ever made a law requiring all woodworkers to select a single saw, and all others would be collected and carted off, my choice would be a bandsaw.  With a bandsaw I can cut curves, crosscuts, laser-straight rips and best of all I can cut thicker boards than with any other saw; and all without the fear of kickback.  I currently own four bandsaws, with one of them even prominently displayed in our living room!  (Thanks again Hon.)

I mention all this in order to explain why the first thing I did with the PowerPro that I'm testing for Shopsmith is to connect it to the bandsaw for some serious resawing.  I was sent several 2" thick, 6"+ wide and 18" long red oak boards for the testing, which are perfect for resawing.  Actually, the board I grabbed first was a hair wider than 6", so after adjusting the fence to compensate for the drift in the blade I took a couple 1/8" slabs off one edge in order to bring her down to 6".  With the PowerPro driving the saw the first thing I noticed was that there was absolutely no drag on the motor.  So far so good.

I was now ready for the big test.  I adjusted the upper blocks to their max and turned the headstock back on and started into the cut.  WOW!  Now folks, I've used some powerful bandsaws in my day, and while the Shopsmith bandsaw has always been my favorite saw due to it's auto-tracking and other easy to adjust settings, it has been a little underpowered in these maxed-out resawing situations.  I've made thousands of those cool bent-wood Shaker Oval Boxes, and accurate resawing is a must or the wood will split in the middle of the bending process.  Usually I find myself feeding the wood painfully slow through the saw in order to prevent the blade from slowing and therefore introducing more chatter and washboarding, but with the PowerPro providing the power I was able to shove the wood into the blade faster than I have ever cut a piece of 6" stock on ANY bandsaw!  In fact, I was able to feed the stick so fast that I was able to clog the blade and cause some bellying in the cut, but the saw never slowed down at all.  I'm not in that big of a rush in the shop, but I just had to do it in order to see how much power this baby had.  Before I knew it I had three perfect 1/8" X 6" X 18" sheets in my hand and a stupid smile on my face.  Trust me, that smile repeated itself several more times that night.

More to come.

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