Based on my first experiment, having replaced nothing but the guides and thrust bearings, I was concerned about the performance of the saw, but was reserving judgement until I replaced the blade and the tires, since both of these can make a big difference in the cut quality.
After hunting around online for a while, I found several recommendations for the Olson MVP blade (72 1/2″ x 1/2″) and the urethane tires from Peachtree woodworking (11″ x 3/4″)
Before installing the new tires, I had to replace the old ones, which were glued in place. I took off the upper wheel since it was only held on by a snap ring.
I had to cut off the tires, which I did by scoring the same line over and over with an X-acto knife, being careful not to score the aluminum wheel.
It was then just a matter of peeling off the old tire.
I thought about really trying to clean up the surface of the wheel, but decided that it would ultimately be more work than it was worth, since any small irregularities would be smoothed over by the new tire.
The urethane tires do not require glue as they are held on by the friction due to a tight fit.
I’m not sure how tight the fit is normally, but wow! I had quite a wrestling match to get the tires on. I used a clever strategy composed of pinched fingers, teeth, and a neck cramp, and was successful at installing both tired.
Now I re-installed the wheels and aligned them before mounting the blade.
Because the Inca band saw has flat wheels (no crown) the blade is not centered on the wheels, but is rather run along the front edge of the tire, with the teeth extending beyond the front of the tire to prevent them from damaging the tire.
I got everything beck together and made a test cut on some 3/4″ white oak.
Wow. That made a difference. I have mostly used cheap 9″ saws in the past, so I cannot say how this compares to a finely-tuned top-of-the-line saw, but it was by far the straightest, most effortless cutting I have ever done with a band saw.
I also free-handed a little bit of resawing on a piece of red oak about 4-5 inches thick and was able to easily shave off a 1/16″ slice. The wood didn’t slow the saw down at all, but the surface of the resawn piece was a little wavier than I’d like, but I have little enough experience with band saws that I’m not sure what a purpose-built resaw machine would produce, so I’ll be happy with the fact that I could easily control the direction of the blade and make a thin slice off a relatively thick piece of wood.
My next improvement will be to make some sort of fence for the band saw, but for now, I have the most usable band saw I have ever worked with.