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Planer/thicknesser issues

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WidisGuid

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Aye aye folks.
Been having issues with my '74 Wilson planer thicknesser. When thicknessing, I've been getting a bit of chatter as the timber leaves the infeed roller. The other day I noticed that the thicknesser table was rocking slightly as the wood passed through so today I took the top tables off to investigate and found it was an easy enough job just to tighten up the bearers on the vertical slides and hey ho the table is now solid as should be. The problem is that the wood still seems to take a slight kick as it comes off that infeed roller. We're only talking a mil at most and if I take the weight of the wood as it comes out it's fine but for shorter pieces it's not too handy. I've checked the trueness of the table (just with a 4 foot level so not hugely accurate) and it does seem to crown ever so slightly between the rollers, under the cutter block.
The queries are, is this normal, is it 45 years of wear and is it rectifyable?!
 

Trevanion

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You probably need to either put more tension on the outfeed roller springs or you may even need new springs.
 

WidisGuid

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You probably need to either put more tension on the outfeed roller springs or you may even need new springs.
Ah. I thought maybe the opposite.
The outfeed springs were screwed up about twice the length of thread as the infeed. I backed them off to equal tension and it doesn't seem to have made any odds.
The wood seems to dip on the outfeed side kicking up the tail end onto the cutter. That was why I thought maybe the opposite of your suggestion.
What do you think of the possible crown in the table?
 

Mike Jordan

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As already mentioned it looks as if there is a lack of downward pressure on the out feed roller. As suggested the springs may be tired or out of adjustment or you may find that chippings are packed in the area where the roller bearings normally move down to grip the material. Try using a piece of wood and fulcrum From the out feed end of the table to test the roller movement.
 

WidisGuid

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As already mentioned it looks as if there is a lack of downward pressure on the out feed roller. As suggested the springs may be tired or out of adjustment or you may find that chippings are packed in the area where the roller bearings normally move down to grip the material. Try using a piece of wood and fulcrum From the out feed end of the table to test the roller movement.
Cheers Mike.
Nothing packed in around the roller ends. Was some loose shavings which I blew out while the top tables were off but these weren't an issue. Pretty sure the rollers rise and fall as they're meant to but I'll check that in the morning.
As I was wondering in the last message, would increased pressure on the outfeed roller not increase the lift on the tail end as it leaves the infeed?
 

Trevanion

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Ah. I thought maybe the opposite.
The outfeed springs were screwed up about twice the length of thread as the infeed. I backed them off to equal tension and it doesn't seem to have made any odds.
The wood seems to dip on the outfeed side kicking up the tail end onto the cutter. That was why I thought maybe the opposite of your suggestion.
What do you think of the possible crown in the table?
To me, it sounds exactly as if you haven't got enough pressure downwards on the outfeed roller. Although with longer and heavier pieces you do need to support the overhanging weight regardless of how hard the pressure on the rollers is as the weight will lever off the back edge (Or front edge on in-feeding) of the table which in turn will push the roller and springs up and the workpiece snipes into the cutter block.

As for a crown in the table, I would say get something a bit more accurate than a level to check it like a proper steel straight edge.
 

Mike Jordan

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A machine of that quality normally has a table roller, that's the one set into the bottom table directly beneath the out feed roller if that is not set a the correct height it can produce some strange effects. Have you checked it?
 

WidisGuid

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A machine of that quality normally has a table roller, that's the one set into the bottom table directly beneath the out feed roller if that is not set a the correct height it can produce some strange effects. Have you checked it?
Morning Mike.
Aye lower rollers beneath both feed rollers. Issue is there no matter where they are set. Generally use with them fully retracted or barely touching the timber unless for big lumps that need a bit less friction to draw through.
Just about to go and check the roller movement now.
 

WidisGuid

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To me, it sounds exactly as if you haven't got enough pressure downwards on the outfeed roller. Although with longer and heavier pieces you do need to support the overhanging weight regardless of how hard the pressure on the rollers is as the weight will lever off the back edge (Or front edge on in-feeding) of the table which in turn will push the roller and springs up and the workpiece snipes into the cutter block.

As for a crown in the table, I would say get something a bit more accurate than a level to check it like a proper steel straight edge.
Morning Trevanion
Aye that's exactly the problem and how I deal with it but it's the fact it still does the same with shorter lightweight pieces too.
Away to check the roller movement and try different tensions this morning. Fingers crossed.
 

Harvey Swailes

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Morning. I think I might be running the same machine as you. I've certainly had all the same issues. The bottom table crowns in the middle slightly. I went to the trouble of taking out the bottom bed because one corner of the bottom rollers was sitting ever so slightly proud causing some strange (infuriating) problems. The roller on the bottom bed was seized in one corner and would never fully go down. After freeing it up with a gallon of wd40 and a hammer, got it set level I started getting better results.
 

WidisGuid

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Morning. I think I might be running the same machine as you. I've certainly had all the same issues. The bottom table crowns in the middle slightly. I went to the trouble of taking out the bottom bed because one corner of the bottom rollers was sitting ever so slightly proud causing some strange (infuriating) problems. The roller on the bottom bed was seized in one corner and would never fully go down. After freeing it up with a gallon of wd40 and a hammer, got it set level I started getting better results.
Morning Harvey.
I'll check that out although I'm pretty sure they're all ok.
Andy
 

WidisGuid

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Morning everyone.
After looking at all the various advice you've given and making a pile of shavings testing the different theories, the conclusions are...
The lower table is definitely crowned and as a result increasing the outfeed roller tension exacerbates the problem. I'm now getting the best results from both feed rollers being set so as they are doing the minimum required to get the wood through. I should also say that the problem is much more noticeable as the timber gets thinner. Presumably this is due to it bending over the crown.
I'm going to speak to some engineering mates next and look into the feasibility of having the table trued up but I think I'm looking at just just having to live with the issue.
Cheers for all your input folks, it's much appreciated.
Andy
 

Trevanion

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It must've done a hell of a lot of work in its time to generate such a crown in the table, unless it was a factory defect from 40+ years ago.

Getting it re-surfaced and ground would be your best bet but will probably cost a fair whack to have it done nicely. Alternatively you could possibly fit a sub-table like this fella:

 

Doug71

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Does it have 4 rollers in the bottom table for the timber to ride on, are these all in line? On the Wadkin I used to have there was quite a lot of height adjustment on these. I always think on the big old planers the timber was meant to run on the rollers where modern ones rely on a slippery base.
 

WidisGuid

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It must've done a hell of a lot of work in its time to generate such a crown in the table, unless it was a factory defect from 40+ years ago.

Getting it re-surfaced and ground would be your best bet but will probably cost a fair whack to have it done nicely. Alternatively you could possibly fit a sub-table like this fella:

Aye. I've seen add-in lower tables being used for very thin pieces before and it would certainly be a cheaper option. Still to speak with engineering mates to see what they reckon.
Cheers for your input.
 

WidisGuid

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Does it have 4 rollers in the bottom table for the timber to ride on, are these all in line? On the Wadkin I used to have there was quite a lot of height adjustment on these. I always think on the big old planers the timber was meant to run on the rollers where modern ones rely on a slippery base.
Just the 2 rollers top and bottom Doug. Doesn't make any difference to the issue where I position them.
 

Droogs

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If it has a crown, wouldn't any substrate put on just follow that unless it is very thick?
 

Mike Jordan

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I think it's unlikely that the crown effect was caused by wearing way the outer ends of the table by use. Is it not more likely that the casting has distorted for some reason.
I have a friend who has operated a 24" wadkin with a side to side dip of about 6mm in the top bed. (The thickness table was unaffected)This is reputed to have been caused by the machine being exposed to high levels of radiated heat in a workshop fire many years back. I'm sure that the casting had not reached anywhere near melting point but had been distorted by unequal heating. Surprisingly the chap concerned managed to get excellent standards of work from the machine for years and as far as I know still does.
I would be interested to know what a true expert thinks of this theory and also if castings can continue to ( relax )or cure down the years.
 

Droogs

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I seem to remember some posting a picture here of a load of castings for lathes, I think, from one of the old manufacturers that had been sitting out for a few years waiting to rest enough before being machined
 

Trevanion

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This is reputed to have been caused by the machine being exposed to high levels of radiated heat in a workshop fire many years back. I'm sure that the casting had not reached anywhere near melting point but had been distorted by unequal heating.
I've seen this before with some machines that have been in workshop fires, the heat does indeed warp the casting (When you try to braze or weld cast iron and you pre-heat it any cracks open up and flat surfaces distort, same goes for most metals though) but the ones I saw were terrible because they had been doused with water by the firefighters tackling the blaze so the rapid heat reduction caused even more stress and distortion and made the machines only really fit for scrap, aside from everything that wasn't metal being burned away.
 

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