Inca Band Saw

A few weeks ago I went onto Craigslist to see if there were any interesting tools for sale. I was thrilled to see the exact Band Saw I was hoping to someday buy (the Grizzly G0555 ), for sale at an amazing price.

The ad had only been posted for about an hour, but when I called (after getting the OK from my wife), I found that the saw had already been sold.

At first I thought, “that’s okay, I have a good table saw and scroll saw, and I was okay without a band saw yesterday, I didn’t really need one today…”; but the more I thought about it, the more depressed I got. I kept dreaming of bi-metal blades, resaw capacity, ceramic blade guides, and riser blocks. Oh! The fun I could have had with such a saw!
“If only I’d signed on to Craigslist sooner!”, I thought, and thus began compulsively refreshing the “Tools” section of craigslist every 10 minutes for the next 2 weeks. I even installed the Craigslist app on my Android phone for when I was away from my computer.

My searching  ended (… at least my searching for a band saw ended) a little over a week ago, when I saw a post selling an Inca 342 for $300. At first I ignored the post, because it was only a 10.5″ bandsaw and seemed overpriced. But since I had never heard of the brand before, and there was very little detail in the post, I decided to Google it and see what I could find out.

I was surprised to find that this was a Swiss band saw, made by a company that went out of business some time ago, but whose band saws have a rabid cult of fans (like Festool). I found that these saws are pretty rare finds, since woodworkers buy them and then keep them until they die (the woodworker, that is). Consequently, the most common places to find them are estate sales.

I found a couple more for sale in the USA, and both were listed at well over $500, and I found stories of people paying this much for Inca saws that didn’t have a motor, so I replied to the Craigslist posting offering to buy the saw at $300 if it had the motor and was in good working order.

After agonizing most of the evening, trying to tell myself that the owner had probably sold the saw to someone else and I should pick myself up and move on with my life, I got a call from the seller saying I could come by and pick up the saw in the morning if I was still interested. I was.

And so I had a band saw. But I could tell, when I started cleaning it up, that it would need a little work.

I made a list and went to work. I would need:

  1. New thrust bearings
  2. New blade guides
  3. New Tires
  4. New Blade

All of these things are standard to replace on band saws, since they were over time, so I remained confident on my overall assessment that the saw was in good shape.

Note: Since I’m finding it rather easy to write 1000+ word posts on this blog, I’m going to break these each into separate posts, which will keep the suspense at its peak as you wonder:

“Will he be able to find parts for a saw that made by a company that went out of business 20 years ago ?”

“Will the Swiss band saw live up to its reputation ?”

“Will our fearless hero survive ??”

Stay tuned.

14 thoughts on “Inca Band Saw

  1. Thank you for this information! I have had a Inca 340 since the 1970’s it is the a delight to use ans has served me well. I finally ran out of guide bearings i stocked up before the Garret Wade no longer supported INCA. Your article saved my old friend

    • Happy to hear it! I suspect that the generic bearings may not last as long as those intended for use as thrust bearings, but they are so cheap that swapping them out periodically isn’t a big problem.

  2. Thanks again! Just a note from a happy user. I purchased my saw at a woodworkers show in Portland,OR in 1980. I was impressed with the vibration demo of running the saw and balancing a nickle on the saw table– I can still do that trick 30 years later ( you need a new nickle and a good true blade). — I have never found a better saw for my workshop TO BAD IT’S NOT AROUND ANY MORE!

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  5. Hello. Would be good to know if you find the parts you need. i am currently awaiting delivery of a 260 and wiil almost certainly require some parts

  6. just bought an inca 3 wheel bandsaw, looking for a few parts, need rip fence, mitre gauge thrust bearings will work but are a little gritty,

    • There is a very active Yahoo group called incawoodworking. I’m not particularly involved in the group, but I see messages all the time of people sharing parts and advice, it’s definitely worth joining in your situation.

    • It really depends on you, how much you are spending, and which saw from Grizzly you mean.
      I really like my Inca, but there are some drawbacks: Parts can be hard to find and the tires and blades are an unusual size, so your supplier options are limited.
      If you are looking at the 14″ Grizzly, and money is not a significant factor one way or the other, I would say go with the Grizzly. It is a good saw with more cutting capacity and finding replacement parts and consumables will be easy over the life of the saw.
      If the Inca is cheaper or you want something compact, or you really like esoteric and semi-vintage tools, go with the Inca.
      In either case, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets.

  7. Trying to find out what an Injecta Inca Type: 34202507, Nr. 12004(not sure what the rest of the numbers are), Bau-jahr 1984. It was our grandfathers and he took meticulous care of his wood working tools/machines. Unfortunately, my husband is not much of a carpenter and has decided he would like to part with it. Any information is helpful.

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