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Problem with Harbor Freight Portable Band Saw

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Col Defender, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Col Defender

    Col Defender

    Nov 11, 2011
    Hi everyone - i actually like my HF Portable Band Saw quite a bit. However it is now causing a bunch of trouble. There is wear between the wheels/pulleys on which the saw blade rides and the bushings inside the wheels. So now the wheels wobble and the blade comes off. useless! I'm trying unsuccessfully to get HF on the phone and will keep trying but in the meantime wonder if anyone else has had this problem and is there a fix?


  2. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider Stuff maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    Yes, I've had that problem. They replaced it for free and extended the warranty.
  3. Nic.


    Dec 8, 2014
    Good ol harbor freight quality...
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The problem with many of the HF tools is they are really cheap quality. The good thing is they are cheap price, and they will replace them with no argument. Get the warranty on any tool that costs more than $50 if you plan on using it a lot .... because you will likely replace it.
  5. Col Defender

    Col Defender

    Nov 11, 2011
    Thanks guys for the perspective. HF said they would swap my old saw for a new one but the process will most likely take a few weeks. In the meantime though, I have a few blanks already cut out that I can finish up. I wonder whether I can buy an extended warranty on the new one then will send me. I'll ask.
  6. phorizt


    Aug 26, 2013
    My HF bandsaw just bit the dust when I lent it to a friend to use. I went to buy an new one last weekend and they completely changed the design. The new one is bigger and more powerful and a little bit more expensive. Only problem is that it doesn't fit the stand I built for my old one and because they completely changed the design I couldn't figure out how I would be able to build another stand that would work with it. I found the very last floor display model of the old version available in the Dallas area and went ahead and bought that one for cheap.

    If you have the old version mounted on a stand and they send you a new one as a replacement you may have trouble making a mount for it. Then again I'm not exactly real great at that sort of thing and maybe I just wasn't thinking of a good way of mounting the new one.
  7. BonhamBlades


    Nov 13, 2010
    The only way to fix the problem is by buying a Milwaukee.
  8. LARRYZ10

    LARRYZ10 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 6, 2010
    I have a Milwaukee Portaband and it works very well except that the rubber wheel covers which the blade tracks on are prone to cracking. My first pair didn't last a year and I bought two more pairs from Milwaukee and the second pair lasted about 15 months and the third pair are still on the saw. I am going to order some more but try a rubber preservative on them. I think the saw is great but wondered now if should have bought the Dewalt equivalent. My other Dewalt tools are excellent. If anyone knows how I can get more life out of the rubber wheels please let me know. Larry Lehman
  9. Col Defender

    Col Defender

    Nov 11, 2011
    Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to see what they send me.
  10. Col Defender

    Col Defender

    Nov 11, 2011
    It may come to that. Thanks. Is the Milwaukee adaptable to a home made stand.
  11. phorizt


    Aug 26, 2013
    btw, I just went and looked at pics again and the new HF portaband looks like a carbon copy of the Milwaukee. Of course the quality isn't the same but if there's a stand for the Milwaukee the same should work for the new HF one.
  12. Will52100


    Dec 4, 2001
    I used a porta band for a long time before I managed to get a good vertical metal cutting bandsaw. I didn't bother with a stand, just clamped the handle in a vise and used a cord tied around the trigger and stepped on it to turn it on. Looking at he HF one, I'd probably have to come up with some sort of clamp to mount it to make it usable.

    A better choice would probably be this, http://www.harborfreight.com/horizontal-vertical-metal-cutting-bandsaw-93762.html I just got one for cutting a bunch of material for some projects I'm working on. Pretty well made and easy enough to fix anything that breaks or wears out. Get it on sale and use a 20% off coupon and it's 220$ after tax. It comes with a table for use vertically, but I'd probably make my own as it's kinda flimsy. Make a decent table, use a bundle of rags for a seat and you should be good to go.
  13. jms2021


    Jan 18, 2009
    For the Milwaukee portaband, SWAG off-road makes a stand for them I believe.
  14. Brock Cutlery

    Brock Cutlery KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 10, 2015
  15. pwheeler


    Dec 30, 2013
    You don't need to call harbor freight, just walk in to the store and walk out with a new one.
  16. Kevin McGovern

    Kevin McGovern

    Jul 31, 2015
    If it's under warranty. Only hand tools are lifetime
  17. Ilovetoolsteel


    Jul 28, 2003
    I've had that saw for over 10 years. Aside from a set screw on the motor pully loosening up and the pully slipping once I haven't had any problems.
  18. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider Stuff maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 2, 2014
    They don't seem to care much if the warranty has expired. At least at my store. Guess it depends on the employee. It's worth the few extra dollars either way.

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