electra Beckum hc 260 toast or saveable?


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Im pretty stuck on this chain business still. And can’t seem to feed it on to all four posts/gears and the tensioner.

I can get it quite close but just can’t quite make it.

The tensioner is just a metal plate that pivots on a bolt with a gear on the other end, I didn’t notice a spring and there is no extra give for me to push it far back enough to fit the chain on again.

As the tensioner was dismantled when I discovered it and I reassembled it I’m not even sure if it is in the correct configuration and I haven’t been able to find a schematic or even a better a picture how this should look. I will post a pic of how it looks currently.

If anyone has any further tips I would very much appreciate that as I’m totally stumped at this stage.

If I can get the chain back on I’m fairly confident I can sort it out,
Im pretty sure there is some sight deviation in the left corner but I am eager to fix this and thought I could use a some nice melanin coated material to stick down to the bed and shim the low part.

best regards,



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If there is no spring on that fifth sprocket then its an idler gear, not a tension sprocket, the chain does not have to be under tension, just held in place, I would try to take the pivot bolt out of the idler gear carrier and fit the chain to the other four sprockets, then try to fit the idler gear carrier in place from above, in its correct position there will be some slack in the chain, but not enough to fall off the teeth.
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If there is no spring on that fifth sprocket then its an idler gear, not a tension sprocket, the chain does not have to be under tension, just held in place, I would try to take the pivot bolt out of the idler gear carrier and fit the chain to the other four sprockets, then try to fit the idler gear carrier in place from above, in its correct position there will be some slack in the chain, but not enough to fall off the teeth.

Thanks Mike,

That really useful to know.as you suggested I did take the pivot bolt out and fit the chain around the four gear sprockets and then the fifth gear and rebolted the plate to the pivot bolt. but I could not get the gear system to work in unison thus not making the bed raise. perhaps I put it under too much tension.

Guess I need to spend more time playing around with the loseness tightness of everything. very cumbersome and awkward progress so far.


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Good to hear some progress, but thinking about the continuing problem of chain tension, anyone of the four drive post would only need to be out by one tooth on the chain and it would probably bind sufficiently to prevent unison between the four post and jamb up, I think it's now all down to trial and hopefully not much error, with the unit upright level the planner bed and then check the thickening bed also for level, without moving anything turn the unit back over and check and mark the position of the posts/sprockets, then fit the chain with the sprockets all in the previously marked position, only then fit the idler gear.

Good luck, but do let us know of any further progress.
Have you made any progress since your post yesterday.?
Have you tried raising/lowering the bed with the tensioner sprocket removed, but maintaining chain tension by hand?
That may tell you if there is a seizure somewhere or if the tensioner is over tensioning.
I have checked the exploded view diagram in the operating instruction manual and there is no spring on the tensioner
(contrary to what I expected) suggesting that tension is meant to be fixed to the extent of not allowing the chain to fall off the spindle sprockets.
Thank you Both @MikeJhn and @galleywood for the very useful advice.

After some trial and error I have now got the bed raising up and down in unison and have the hang of attaching it (I think) I think I need to review how tensioned the chain should be as you have mentioned @galleywood that it needs to be fixed to just the extent so that it does not fall off.

On my first go I got the whole bed moving up and down although with a little more squeak and resistance then I previously remembered it, I then reattached the motor and gave it a test run. running some pieces of test wood through the thicknesseser again it produced stock with a slight taper of about half a mm across the width of the bed. after winding the bed a bit more the chain the fell of again.

upon inspection it was the idler gear sprocket which had come loose from its hex bolt on and fallen off causing the chain to slip. I expect this was because maybe the chain was under too much tension.

This is also what must of happened when the chain initially came off the first time causing the bed to twist as upon inspection I found the idler gear loose.

I have now taken off the motor again and reset the chain. I have yet to reattach the motor but the mechanism now feels a lot smoother when rasing the bed up and down, as I tightened the bolt on the idler gear plate a little less giving the chain a bit more slack (not sure if I have hit the sweet spot this time or not).

As I mentioned in my previous post I do think in one corner there is a little dip but the rest of the bed seems pretty flat so as long as I have set it in the right place I should be pretty close to getting things back to normal maybe with a shim here and there.

@MikeJhn thats a really good suggestion about marking the gear sprocket locations once the bed is level.

my question is though how should I aim to get the thicknesses bed level before attaching the chain again.
should I reference the four corners of the bed to the cutter block?
Do I need to get my hands on one of those callipers with a stand so you can measure point to point or is there any other methods.

So far I have wound the bed down until it bottoms out on the metal plate below it in the hope that when I reinstall it it is level again.

Thank you all for your patience and guidance with this which has been extremely helpful. I am now much more confident and things seem close to getting back in to action.
Re getting the bed level.
I can't think how you can reference the corners of the bed to the cutter block, but you could try and level the bed across the length of the block.
Try slipping a piece of hardwood between bed and cutter block - like the way you would do with a feeler gauge.
What I would do is remove the knives from the block and level the planning beds referenced to the cutting block with a spirit level, then put the spirit level on the thickening bed with a bit of work winding the piers up and down (chain removed) this should give you a level bed, reference the sprockets as suggested before and put the chain back on, re the idler gear falling off, does it have a decent locknut on it, if not try putting two nuts on wound against each other to hold the gear in place, but leave it lose enough to turn.
thanks for these ideas guys. going to have a stab at this this afternoon so will let you know how I get on.

Re- Idler gear. Im not sure what the original nut looked like as when I discovered it it was long gone. so I Have replaced It with a regular hex nut with a little nylon insert the thread in the end itself is very short.

Thanks again for the solid tips.

watch this space.....
Difficult to tell from the pictures, but does the idler sprocket turn on it's spindle or is it fixed?
Hi Mike,

it turns on its spindle I think. will have a look at this later

many thanks Nick


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If it turns on the spindle then it should be some kind of shoulder bolt, i.e. the projection at the sprocket side would be larger than the threaded shaft, so that a spacing washer can be fitted and the nut done up tight against the washer and the sprocket will still turn, this would mean the bolt is acting as a bearing and needs to be clean and when in place with the nut done up the sprocket will still turn easily, difficult to explain, but you should get the idea.
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Looking further into this, the centre hole in the bracket seems to be a pivot point, the bottom slotted hole is for adjusting the tension on the chain, with a captive nut and bolt to tighten against the casing, is this assumption correct?
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Please accept my apologies @MikeJhn I missed the notifications of your messages. thanks very much for doing some research on this and your assumptions were spot on with regards to the tensioner.
I have reset the bed and think maybe I have the sweet spot in terms on chain tension and it seems to be operating smoothly with no chain slip yet.

Unfortunately I haven't had much time to head into the workshop and fettle with the planer the last days.
on my last go at setting the bed level I tried as you suggested @galleywood by sticking a piece of hardwood along on the bed and raising it up so it makes contact with the cutter block and measuring the spindle count on each four posts.

after resetting the chain and re-attaching the motor which is a pretty fiddly operation in itself. I ran some test pieces through the width of the planer bed and examined each corner of the board with a pair of callipers. at the moment it appears there is a slight taper difference of half a mm at one end which is obviously not acceptable.

I'm really dreading detaching the motor/taking the chain off and movin sprockets in tiny increments and hoping for a better result.

As it seems the bed is already slightly distorted in one corner maybe my best route is finding some nice melamin coated mdf or something and shimming that so it produces flat stock but still mulling over that one for now.

Thanks again guys for all your help.
Glad you have it near completion, but try thicknessing a piece of long timber, say 1m to judge the taper it may be acceptable over a longer length.
me again. I know this is turning into a bit of a saga but would grateful on some advice again.
I'm pretty sure the bed is quite distorted so I have decided to go for the shim route.

I found a good dead flat piece of melamin coated mdf and cut it to size leaving it a little longer then the original beds.

my plan was to take a flat parallel faced piece of hardwood roughly the same width of the whole bed and label each corner of the wood with its corresponding position going through the planer i.e RF- right side front, RB -right side back, LF- left side back and so on and so forth.
then running the piece through I would be able to see which corners are high spots and which are low and attempt to shim under the mdf piece to compensate for any low or high spots.


so far I have been using double sided tape and applying secondary or third layer on corners that were to low.

I was able to get the board close on all four edges sometimes having all three Corners the same and one off by a quarter of a mm.

after a while though of ripping the mdf board off and reapplying tape, debris wood would get stuck to the tape and create unwanted interference and mess with my results.

I just wanted to see if anyone else had some smart ideas that I could give a bash tomorrow.

I remember earlier on @RobinBHM you mentioned something about putting a router on a 'skid' to make a tapered bit of mdf

Im not quite sure what a skid is and how to make one but would love to know what you were talking about.

thanks again guys
I think you may be being a bit obsessive if 0.25mm is worrying you, couple of swipes with a sandpaper block will true that up, don't forget timber expands and contracts with the humidity in your workshop and sometimes at different rates in different areas on the same piece of timber, but It does sound as though you are enjoying yourself and keeping occupied during the lockdown, more power to you.