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Startrite 352 - an overview

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condeesteso

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I may be getting a reputation for being a bandsaw nut, and it may be deserved.
I recently acquired a 352, and before I got it did some online research (though I probably missed some info) - couldn't find much in the way of an overall summary and 'review', so for the possible benefit of anyone thinking about getting one, I shall do one here. Maybe some questions for fellow-owners also.
Here's one - what does this do? It is not set as the bolt from top should presumably work on the cam below.
s5.jpg


So, this one is serial 111314 (no date on plate). I plan a trip to A.L.T. Saws in Gillingham for a few little bits for it, the odd knob etc. The man at ALT used to work at Startrite and seems to know a lot about these machines - handy he is close to me.
I bought it miles away, described as MINT... and it definitely is NOT.
But mechanically / technically it is good and working very well now, after a tune-up:
s1.jpg

Lower guides (Vee shape blocks) are same at upper so interchangable. I like the fact the lower assembly can be height adjusted, so once it is set, move the entire block up below the table, which is relieved around the blade aperture. I reckon the blade enters the lower guides maybe 5mm under the exit of the cut. Simple and very good indeed. (Here the lower yellow guard is dropped down for access.
s2.jpg

Here are the upper guides - one half-inch spanner (supplied) does everything. And this one has the circle-cutter attached also.
s3.jpg

The spanner does almost everything. I suspect they may go astray sometimes. I like the fact the cutting guide on rating plate lists bakelite, strawboard... and bone :)
s4.jpg

The trunnion is robust but simple. Mine is missing the angle indicator... may find one at ALT but I never rely on them anyway
s6.jpg

The safety switches (upper here) can cause issues, but mine are fine, and I suspect if the hinges and catches are well-adjusted all will be good.
s7.jpg

The fence on mine is the steel slab version (I think some later had extruded ali fences?). It is an outstanding fence, rock solid. I have added a larger hardwood fence for deep ripping but that is removable. Pics of that later. The steel fence also has a depth stop (tenons etc) which is also rock solid and might be handy sometimes.
The table was an issue. It is in 2 halves and they didn't align correctly with a slight dip in left-hand around the centre. ALT advised me the trunnion mount is structural and shims are normally used to level the 2 halves. So feeler gauges and shim material, half an hour later it's good now. I used my Tsaw table and laid the 352 table face down, then shimmed and bolted everything up.
4" dust extract shute emerges deep inside the base cabinet, so I will fit some extension to save crawling under.
So it isn't mint, but it sure works very well. i have ripped veneers 8" plus with great success - I think that is a very demanding test of the machine, blade and setup, and I am happy with the outcome.
I'll get back with pics of fence etc, but generally very pleased. These 352s are widely respected, and deserve to be. Simple, rugged, very solid where they need to be, wheel balance excellent, blade tracks very true and stable with all the guides backed right away. Currently running a Tuffsaws 3/4 fastcut [112"] which I think is the perfect blade for precision ripping hardwoods on a machine this size.
Any other knowledge on these machines, please do add, and when I get to ALT I shall add more no doubt.

edit: some numbers for it:
1790 x 545 x 670 mm
355mm wheels
throat 350mm
height under guides approx 275mm
weight 118Kg
.75Kw motor (1Hp) - so far that has seemed plenty.
Max blade width 3/4", length 112"
 

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Steve Maskery

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Very good Douglas, but could you get one of the Mods to put it under Tool Reviews, as that is where people will go to look for it in the future.
S
 

Steve Maskery

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Can't help you there, but if you contact them I'm sure they will put you right. It's a small, family-owned firm and they take customer service very seriously.
S
 

condeesteso

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Just found it Roger, thanks. Can't see any reference to that cam lever so far though... machine working well so don't want to play with it until I know what it does!
 

Harbo

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The cam raises the motor do you can change the speed pully/belt setting.
 

Jacob

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Harbo":qlh5y75h said:
The cam raises the motor do you can change the speed pully/belt setting.
I could never get this quite to work well enough so I lift the motor by grabbing the top edge of the frame, hold it up by tightening the bolt whilst I change the belt, then drop it down by loosening the bolt - the cam having been adjusted to make a reasonable drop for the belt tension.
I've had mine from new about 1975. Excellent machine. The flat spanner supplied is more useful than it looks as it is difficult to get a fat spanner onto the table-holding nut. I've lost mine - anybody got a spare?
 

condeesteso

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Jacob, what is the serial number on your '75 please?
And thanks Harbo re the cam device. I won't be changing speed I don't think, but it may one day need a new belt perhaps. I'll leave the thing well alone for now anyway.
 

Jacob

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condeesteso":38w1swyc said:
Jacob, what is the serial number on your '75 please?
.....
62170. Come to think we didn't have electricity in 75 so it must have been a bit later, 78 perhaps.
 

neilyweely

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Aaahhh, I've always undrstood it is used as a quick release tension thingymajiggy.
I have the same vintage same model. It is a brilliant machine and does all I have ever asked of it, with ease. Including 9" oak. And mine is the single HP single phase model.

In any event I use that lever as a tension release lever and it works just fine. I hope I haven't been compromising the machine.

Neil
 

fluffflinger

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Stonking machine I love mine. Just fitted lignum vitae blocks and they are even better than the roller bearing conversion I did last year.

Personally I don't see how they can be bettered if you find a decent one at the right price. Excellent depth of cut, very solidly constructed and with a blade or to from Ian it's a machine that's hard to fault.
 

condeesteso

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Thanks Pete - looks good and low-cost too. Must say so far the standard blocks have been giving me very good results. I did need to redress them (DMT fine 'stone') to get them back to flat.
Worth noting I think that the standard blocks (all 4) are interchangeable and normally only a part of face is in contact with blade so they will wear unevenly, so you can just flip them left>right (I mention that for anyone who does not yet own one). I had considered facing with end grain LV some time, but I may try the roller option. I think it is fair to say the standard guides well-tuned are surprisingly good though. Note so far I have only run rip 3/4" blade on it, not tried any thin blades yet (probably never will as I would use the Inca for curve work I expect).
The more I am living with the 352, the more I like it. Could be with me a very long time =D>
 

paulm

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Same here Douglas, the standard block guides work great for me, can't see what performance improvements would come from changing them, assuming they are in decent condition of course ?

Cheers, Paul
 

Mike Wingate

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105904. I have had mine 17 years. It was in a very good condition when I bought it. I have had the switch replaced and discarded the metal bar safety interlocks. Mine is a keeper. Spanner, radius aid, I have built up the cast fence and use Magswitch featherboards.
 

Racers

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Hi, Chaps

I find it cuts better with the bearing mod, there seems to be less friction and more power.
I haven't felt the need to change back to the blocks, its only a fiver and half and hours time to try them out.

Pete
 

condeesteso

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Pete - I'm sure it is good, I just wanted to say that the basic standard is pretty good anyway. I may try the bearing mod one day (top only). I really rate the way the bottom guides get right under the exit of the cut. In fact, so far I feel the 352 was designed by people who actually used it, and understood what little things make a difference in use. I don't think that can be said of many new machines (not all, but many).
Mike - interested re building the fence up, as there are times when the low profile of the main steel fence is good - is yours removable?
And when I get to ALT, I shall see if he has any spare spanners for Jacob, Christmas is coming... :)
 

condeesteso

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Tom here kindly got me an original brochure on the 352 - it's a fairly brief 4-pager but re the tensioner it says this:

352.2.jpg


I need to have a play with it as mine is out of adjustment yet all works fine. And I see no mention of this lever in the manual at all. Not bothered about it, but would be nice to get inside and understand it properly.
 

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