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Wadkin Bursgreen?

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Gary Sutherland

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Hi all. I'm in California, and although I've never posted here, I do like to read occasionally to see what's the same or different in your part of the world. Mostly, I make big wood into smaller wood, but have fun doing it.

Anyway, I like big old tools, and have a few (mixed in with more conventional home shop machines). There's a Wadkin Bursgreen table saw for sale nearby. I've never seen one in person, but there were apparently machines made for sale in the US (60hZ, etc.), so they do come up for sale, but because they are not well known here, they tend to sell at what I consider bargain prices.

Since these are probably pretty common in the UK, I'm hoping to get some opinions about this saw. No model number given, but here's a pic:


Maybe someone will recognize this model. I may get a chance to go take a look at it, to check it's condition.

Thanks for any feedback...

Gary
 

Scrit

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Hi Garry

Wadkin were a British maker based in Leicester. They started in 1907 and by the late 1940s had become the largest manufacturer of woodworking machines in the UK. They were successful importing and converting Vonnegut moulder/planers from the USA in the late 1920s / early 1930s and eventually designed their own machines in the late 1930s. The company still exists in a much reduced form as Wadkin Ultracare and they still have a US operation as well

I believe that Burroughs-Green or Bursgreen were set-up just before WWII in the North East of England (Co. Durham) to build a new generation of "lightweight" classic woodworking machines and quickly established a range of machines popular in joinery shops, etc. By 1947 they had become a subsidiary of an old established woodworking machinery manufacturer, John Sagar of Halifax, West Yorkshire. Early machines (pre-1955 to 1957), whilst rare, are sometimes found with only a Bursgreen plate and no reference to Wadkin.

Around 1955 John Sagar sold out to Wadkin. Within four years most of the production at Halifax had ceased. Wadkin did, however, expand the range of Wadkin Bursgreen products and Bursgreen eventually grew to encompass several factories in Co. Durham, Colne in Lancashire (routers/CNC routers) and Scarborough (band saws).

If your saw has a Bursgreen plate it is probably a 1950 to 1955/57 period machine. If the makers plate says "Wadkin Bursgreen" it is a post take-over machine - more probable as Sagar were never very active in the US export market. Wadkin made inroads into the USA market in the 1960s to 1980s with table saws, pin routers, band saws and from the mid-1970s with CNC routers, but they dropped out of the market to a great extent in the late 1980s when they hit a trouble period.

The battleship grey machines were made up until the late 1960s or early 1970s, so your machine is probably a 1955/57 to 1970 period machine. The fence was radically redesigned in the mid to late 1970s, and this machine has the earlier "fore and aft" locking claw rip fence mechanism. I'm assuming that there is no sliding portion to the left side of the table top (which would make this machine a model BGS), so from the photograph it appears to be a Wadkin AGS14 table saw, which will probably have a 1in or 1-1/4in saw arbor and run a 14in blade. These machines were considerably larger than the 10in and 12in AGS saws and generally came with either a 3HP or 5HP motor in the UK. One aid to dating is the trunnion - some time in the very early 1960s Wadkin changed the AGS from having a splitter mounted at the rear of the saw to using a crescent-shaped riving knife mounted directly on the trunnion. The later machines have lugs cast into the trunnion to accommodate the riving knife. The riving knife was able to take a cast iron or cast aluminium crown guard. Your machine has neither, so if you do buy it I'd strongly recommend finding or replacing those two parts. I'd also recommend adding an auxiliary short ripping fence as recommended by Barb Siddiqui & Richard Jones (who posts here from time to time - hi Sgian!) on Wood Central

Main things to check on AGS/BGS-type saws is that the rise/fall and tilt are working smoothly and aren't too sloppy. The cast gear teeth can wear if they aren't greased regularly as can the worm gears - the worm gears are expensive but replaceable, the toothed sections cannot. Beyond that there isn't much to go wrong as these are relatively simple machines. Personally I think this saw will knock a Unisaw or PM66 into a cocked hat - but then again, I'm biased :lol:

Hope that helps

Scrit

Edited to repair broken link to Wood Central. Thanks, Sgian!
 

DaveL

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Hi Gary,

Welcome to the forum. :D

Well that is the big brother of my saw, take a look here to see the one that I bought. Its only an AGS 10, but its a very nice machine to use. Many of these machines sell quite cheaply, they were not fitted with a brake so do not meet the new health and safety rules for professional shops and are large for a small hobby shop. The other problem is 3 phase supply very few UK homes have it so changing the motor or getting hold of a phase converter adds to the cost of setting one up for use. But I think you would not be disappointed if you do buy that big lump of cast iron, after checking the rise/fall and tilt are working OK. Please post us so more pictures if you do buy it. :^o
 

Gary Sutherland

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Thanks for the responses. I hope to see the saw in person in the next day or so; I'll let you know how it turns out.

Gary
 

Sgian Dubh

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Hi Scrit, thanks for the mention and the link to the article I made a contribution to over at Woodcentral.

When I clicked on it the link only worked in part and the images included in that article didn't load, so I thought I'd try to post another link in case anybody else found the same problem. Slainte.

http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/read ... _108.shtml
 

Scrit

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Hi Sgian

I've found it an extremely good article and to be frank it really saves me having to explain the same thing over and over. Thanks for pointimng out the fault in the link. I've corrected it now.

Scrit
 

porcupinewood

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Thanks for all the info on Wadkin! I just won a BZB 24" bandsaw on Ebay and I will be picking it up in the new year. I remember this same machine in my high school shop. Nice solid lump of cast iron!
Happy Christmas!
Mark
 

Scrit

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porcupinewood":2sezayg5 said:
Thanks for all the info on Wadkin! I just won a BZB 24" bandsaw on Ebay and I will be picking it up in the new year. I remember this same machine in my high school shop. Nice solid lump of cast iron!
Happy Christmas!
Mark
Hi Mark and welcome to the forum!

Congratulations on winning the BZB 24in bandsaw. They are really a pretty good bandsaw, but I don't know if they are readily convertible to single phase, other than by using an inverter. You'll also need a truck with a Hiab (crane) and a pallet truck to move it around as it's a big cast iron beastie weighing in at over half a tonne if I recall right. Have fun! For those here who don't know what a BZB looks like then look at this BZB 24in (from a Wadkin catalogue):

The all cast-iron BZBs were made in 24, 30 and 36in sizes I believe, and Wadkin also made a fabricated steel small BZB 20in as well:


Scrit
 

DaveL

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Hi porcupinewood,

Welcome to the forum. :D

Looking at the picture that Scrit posted of the 'small' band saw, its got the same fence as my AGS table saw. If I had the room and the phases I would love to have one of those. :mrgreen:
 

porcupinewood

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Thanks for the welcome!

I contacted Wadkin and the machine weight of the 24" BZB is 617kg! It is manageable.
I have some machinery rollers, a pump truck, chain winch and a pinch bar to move it. I have moved a few machines but this will be a challenge with the high center of gravity on bandsaw. I am going to take off the table and upper wheel to help with the move.
I know that the wheels will need new rubber in the near future. I am not sure if Carter bandsaw products will be able to help me out. I have been told there is a center spline on the casting that holds the rubber in place that is a little uncommon. The alternatives are going to be $$$!
I have a phase converter in my shop that I built a few years ago so the motor and electrics can stay. I am hoping to have it up and running in short order to do some resaw work! I will take some pics.
Merry Christmas!
Mark
 
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