(Given the length of time that has passed since the last post, I figure this might not be helpful for everyone but I wanted to post this here for future passers-by.)
A few months back I acquired a Delta Rockwell Homecraft 28-110 bandsaw from a guy who no longer wanted as he was moving and needed to downsize. He had inherited it from his grandfather and didn't really know what to do with it. When I got it, it was running but clearly had been neglected for years.
When you come across such a saw, one has to decide for themselves if they want to restore it to its original manufacture's state or to make it most functional given today's knowledge and technology. I chose somewhere in the middle--keeping the paint as is; update moving parts as needed to get a fine-tuned cut; don't modify structurally (as some mod the wheel covers to add dust collection ports or the like). Each person has to make these decisions for themselves.
For those looking for parts or information, I wanted pass along what I have found. Below are some links to information as well as list of the things I did to fix/update my saw.
Stock blade: 71.75" (max 1/2" wide)
Other names: In Canada, it was sold under the name Rockwell Beaver
Similar: A later version was manufactured by Delta under the model number 28-100. Many of the parts are shared. You can see both designs in the Service Manual I attached to this post.
Age: It was sold from 1946 to 1951. There is a way to estimate the age of your from the Serial Number
PDFs scans of the Manuals that are OCR'd (text searchable) attached to this post
Owners Manual (8 pages) from March 1955
Service Manual (56 pages) which has exploded view diagrams and original part numbers
Rockwell Delta Homecraft Catalog (23 pages) which contains info on the whole Homecraft series of tools.
The thrust bearings (Delta part number 1231546; old part number 426-01-380-0002; original part number HBS-755-S) is a part that is consumable and wears out and thus it often needs to be replaced for the bandsaw to function well. Unfortunately, they are no longer stocked or sold by Delta and are very hard to find. I eventually found a set of custom made replacements on ebay from seller bandsaw-tire-warehouse
for $63. They are the same people that sell a wonderful set of urethane replacement tires for the 28-110. Another possible route, suggested by some on the interwebs, would be to contact http://www.accuratebearing.com/
with the dimensions and see if they can source one.
Rather than replacing the thrust bearing, I opted to go a different route and replace the upper blade guide completely. I opted to go with a blade guide that uses modern, easy-to-source ball bearings. I ordered from an ebay seller called 4trvl
. He makes a series of aftermarket upper blade guides for Powermatic, Delta and Craftsman bandsaws. Unfortunately, none are a perfect match for the 28-110. Although it might not seem logical, I went went with the one made for the Delta 12" bandsaw (part number DE-12-U) as it's dimensions were closest to the 28-110 and gave me some room for custom fitting. I will say, this is not a direct fit. It requires some patience and little elbow grease to get it working properly but provides a wonderful cutting experience once fitted to the saw.
For those opting to replace the upper guide as I did, here is what I had to do to modify it to fit. Because the space between the guide post and blade is less than the aftermarket upper guide was designed for, I lengthen the oval mounting hole in the guide by drilling successive holes with a drill press. I then cleaned up the newly lengthened hole with a metal file. With the hole lengthened I could now mount the guide back further on the guide post to accommodate the narrower space between the blade and post.
The modified upper guide works just fine mounted with the mounting hole modified as described above. I chose to create an additional keyed washer stack (you can see that in the pics attached) to help give the mounting post more leverage on the guide to keep it from being bumped off center. I was looking for something similar to a Model T Starter Bendix Spring Screw Lock Washer:
I fabricated mine from stainless steel washers by using a small triangular metal and only creating a tongue on one side to fit into the slot in the back of the guide post. When mounted with a serrated hex flange bolts, the additional connection point keeps the upper guide completely immobile.
If I were to do it over again, I might just try to use some Vibra-TITE 125 or 135 Threadlocker on the surface between the post and the guide to reduce the possibility of it drifting from dead center first and, only if that did not work, then go the route of the additional keyed washer if needed.
The stock blade guard (original part number HBS-726) on my 28-110 had been, well, abused. The blade must have been tracking poorly and wore a slot clean through to the front of the guard. This actually made things more dangerous as it appeared there was a guard but if pressure was applied to the guard, the blade would appear through this hard-to-see slot. Ugh. As it turns out, changing the upper guide required me to fabricate a new blade guard anyway. I opted to use some galvanized sheet metal from a steel wall stud. I traced the general shape of the old one on the sheet metal with a scribe and then extended the depth (front to back) to meet up with the mounting screw on the new upper guide. After an hour or so with a hacksaw, a pair of tin snips and a metal file, it fit. It can be seen in the pictures attached.
I opted for the Blue Max Heavy Duty .095 thick urethane tires purchased from ebay seller bandsaw-tire-warehouse
. They went on well, fit right and perform great. Highly recommended.
I would recommend pulling the wheels and inspecting and cleaning the needle bearings that support it. Mine was very gummed up with decades old grease and saw dust. Some break cleaner cleaned things up well and some high temp bearing grease has mine working great. Note that even if you did not bother pulling the lower wheel (requiring a wheel puller) there is an Oil Hole Cover (original part number SP-2486) that can be seen in the exploded view diagram which provides a means of means of lubricating the wheel bearing even without an disassembly.
Upper Wheel Tilt Adjustment Thumb Screw
I the process of removing the upper wheel and inspecting all the moving parts, I noticed that the upper wheel tilt adjustment thumb screw (original part HBS-729) was badly bent. It appears to have been made from aluminum or some sort of soft pot metal. I looked around for the correct length thumb screw at stores and online. I did not find one that had enough length or enough surface area on the thumb screw to provide enough torque for you to turn it. I opted for a eye bolt which was easily sourced from my local big box store. I rounded the end a bit to match the same of the original thumb screw it works great as a functional replacement.
Upper Wheel / Blade Tension Knob
After all the other fixes to the saw, I have had a really enjoyable time using the saw. It tracks well, cuts accurately and overall a joy to use but there is one last thing which I have had to attend to and that is the Tensioning Knob (original part number HBS-706-S). It has a tendency to loosen to do vibration. This originally manifested itself as a blade that would not track properly but with a little investigation, I realized what was happening. To fix the problem, I used some Vibra-TITE 213 VC-3 Threadmate Threadlocker. The Vibra-TITE 213 VC-3 is designed to allow fasteners to be easily adjusted, removed, and reused while also keeping them from loosening due to shock and vibration. A small coat on the threads of the Tension Knob did the trick for me--it does not loosen with the vibration of the saw yet it can be easily adjusted by hand. Hopefully this helps you if you experience something similar.