Benchtop Surface Planer Jointer Calibration


I bought myself a Christmas present – in the form of this six inch cast iron bench-top planer or jointer. It’s over 40 kilos and a really nice fella called Alan who I bought it off, even drove it too me. I think he wanted to know his tools were going to someone who would actually use them, and not just re-sale them on Ebay. And he spent well over an hour in the workshop talking to me and looking at some of thing I’ve made.

The machine is in pretty good nick, but I want to give it the once over and then calibration it. With any new second hand tool you have to get to know it’s peculiars – how it like to operate.

The first thing I did was use an engineer’s straight edge to check the surfaces. The in and out feed tables seem flat but were not in-line. And there also seems to be a slight bow in the cast iron fence.

That thing there looks like it’s come off a bloody ship or something.

I’m going to take apart as much of the machine as I can, and slowly rebuild it – checking moving parts and giving everything the once over.

I place the bench planer on its side upon some blocks of wood, removed the base plate, and cleaned and examined the innards.

The nice thing about some older tools is parts which would otherwise be made from plastic are made from metal.

This is a brushed motor, so I should probably make sure I get a spare set of those. The motor runs the blades but there is also another pulley that comes off to a fan / impeller that’s in this section here, which forces the chips out here.  That’s pretty standard stuff for a machine like this. I have noticed there’s a section here that is open. I’m not sure whether that is to draw air out of this area as an exhaust – or to keep the airflow going through the impeller when there is no additional extraction being used and the airflow is being restricted by material.

You get some of the dust I’ve found here – some of it looks like it’s from the pulley but they don’t look too bad.

While on its side, I checked the air movement in and out of the motor. This is a really loud machine so it would be nice to change the motor to a brushless type, if I can find the right replacement.

I’m tempted to block the opening and drill some new holes for the motor to exhaust air, but first I should concentrate on the feed tables.

So that looks good on this side of the bed but on this side you can see there’s quite a bit of a gap.

You can see I’ve already spilt coffee on my manual.

The in-feed table is held on by four machine screws and there are also four grub screws which level the entire section which access from underneath.

I then placed the planer on two lengths of oak timber which were clamped to two benches. I could then lower myself under the machine to adjust the four grub screws which level the in-feed table. This obviously felt quite dangerous and if anything slipped, I would have had a flat head.

I check the in-feed against the out-feed by placing a straight edge flat on the out-feed end and checking the gap between the bottom of the edge and in-feed table using a feeler gauge.

That’s 0.1mm and I need to do a turn over here to raise it 0.1mm.

I worked my way outwards levelling the screws closest to the knives working outwards, and several hours later I had a bag back but a pretty level in-feed table.

I’m down to 0.02 of a mm.

So it’s a little bit high on this side but I mean at this point I think it’s good enough.

I’m now taking the blade out of the machine to sharpen them.

Come on be a double sided blade – no it’s not.

I actually took this set to work to sharpen using a Tormek machine – but its whetstone wasn’t ground properly flat and despite making it really sharp the blade didn’t out flat. So I ended up making this Jig which in my case holds the blades at 38 degrees to the abrasive surfaces in the channels I’m cutting on screen now.

This is what my jig looked like with the knives held in place. I could have made it a little narrower, and I never seem to be able to install the slotted insert nuts without becoming crooked but it seemed to work quite well.

There’s a few videos of these jigs but the source seems to be an image of an aluminium jig which must have been supplied with a planer –the associated article was in Cyrillic and I couldn’t find any additional information.  But I’ll link to that in the description.

Anyway I am reassembling the machine now, and going over the parts of the fence. Making sure things are installed level and de-burring any faults with the casting.

The fence was a bit bowed when I checked with the engineer’s straight edge, but its surface seems quite square to the table.

I then put the knives back but I don’t have any sophisticated jigs to do this. I will only use the engineer’s straight edge and my feeler gauges.

So I’ve adjusted these two machines screws so the tip of the blade where it’s at its highest point on the arc against this plane here, just catching onto this and moving it a little bit forward. I think that’s good enough for my level of accuracy.

The one thing I will add, is it’s probably worth screwing the blade clamps down just so you only need a couple turns to fully tighten them. I noticed things moving around otherwise.

0.04mm so that’s pretty good. I’ll just do the other side. It’s still a bit high. The feller gauge is not going underneath but it catches – so that’s good enough for me.

I’ve got a bit of scrap hardwood here.

It seems to cut well enough, clean and square although this is definitely now the scariest machines I own. It is very loud, and the extraction didn’t seem to get all the dust.

I still need to build a movable table for it, simply coz it’s too heavy to shift from some storage place potentially underneath the workbench.

To this I need to re-jig the space for it when I have time, and I wouldn’t mind replacing the red retractable guard with a spring loaded variety.

Planer Knives Installed Backwards = BooBoo

Ok Since the last video I have re-set up my work-space here. I’ve clad the wall and move the smaller CNC machine to where I can work on it. That’s there and the big one is over there for now. I’ve also put the surface planer over here with the chopsaw and the compressor on some shelves underneath. This flips around like that. And this locks in place like that.
So it came to my attention in the last video that I placed the planer knives in the wrong way around. Yeah that’s definitely the wrong way around. I put the bevel facing towards the infeed table which means at this position here the knife is at almost 90 degrees to the material coming in from the infeed. Which means that this is acting more like a scraper – like a cabinet scraper than a plane.
I got a good finish on the passes that I did in the previous video but I think that only happen because I was taking less than 1/2 a mm off the material on each pass. If I was to try take more than that I’d probably find that the material and the machine would chatter and vibrate a lot more. So I’m glad although a little bit embarrassed that a few people astute hawk-eyed viewers have noticed my mistake. There you go, I’m also a mere mortal once again.

I’ve got some new blades which I’ve added a micro bevel too so I’m just going to install these now. So this is the surface I’ve just planed which the knives the correct way around – I went over the surface I planed incorrectly. And I can feel just by passing my hand over the material it’s so much better so I’ve definitely learnt a lesson from this today. Make sure you put your blades the right way around. That feels really really amazing and it looks almost like it’s been polished. These are new blades, which I put a micro bevel on them but they are installed the correct way. I think what I might do is play the video of me planing this material with the blades the wrong way around and again the correct way around just to show you the difference. I can tell it’s a lot more quieter. I almost can’t even hear the material catching onto the blades itself. All I can hear is the motor which is a massive improvement. I’m absolutely amazing in the difference switching those blades around has achieved. So this is the sound of me planing with the blades the wrong way around.

And this is what it sounds like when they were put in correctly.

This is what it sounded like when I ran the pencil to mark the surface I was going to plane after I had planed it with the blades the wrong way around.

And this is what the pencil sounded like when the blades were installed correctly.

So thank you to Hermann and Gregor for pointing out the mistake in my previous video. I hope you found the correction and the comparison interesting. I’ve definitely learnt something today. I’m going to have to concentrate on some videos on my second channel. I moved everything around in here so I could work on the new CNC machine, and it’s controller and I also have a few videos about some of the bits I’ll be using coming up on that channel. Thanks again and you’ll catch me in the next one.

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