Sedgwick MB Planer Thicknesser Full Refurbishment

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14 Oct 2011
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The next project Sideways and I are going to get are teeth into is a Sedgwick MB planer thicknesser. This is the 12” wide model, which sits in the middle of their range. The largest they make is the CP at 16” and the smallest the PT at 10” wide planning capacity. This machine is one of the older vintage, original green hammered paint. We really like these older machines, the quality of the castings is excellent, and the overall thickness of the castings and the fabricated base is in our opinion more substantial the later Sedgwick machines. This makes them better machines, stiffer and heavier which will reduce vibration and give and better finish. The really nice thing about the Sedgwick MB and CP (old and new, I can’t comment on the very latest redesign they brought out) is that the spindle and feed rollers are powered by two separate motors that use a very simple system. The 10”PT has a different mechanism using only one motor. For me, the simpler and more robust the engineering the better. I bought this machine off a fellow member of this forum a while ago, it was working, but he advised that it needed some attention to get it back to its former glory. The machine had the two planer tables removed to aid transport / moving it. I haven’t bothered to put them back on for the initial photos. However, the machine had clearly been kept in a dry environment with little if any rust visible.

We will strip it down, every nut and bolt will be removed. The paint will be removed and then spray painted in the new livery of Sedgwick, Blue and White. All the bearings will be gone through, set back up to perform like it did originally. We will then be selling it, as neither of us need a PT. My own machine is a Sedgwick CP Planer Thicknesser which I really like, Sideways has a Sedgwick PT ……so we are both fans of these machines and will hence have a little biase!

So first off, what did it look like when we got it.


One of the many things I value about the Sedgwick machines is that that everything involved with doing the work is supported by cast iron. The frame holding the thicknesser bed as well as the planning tables consists of three substantial cast iron blocks bolted together. The planer tables, thicknesser table and the fence are again all proper good quality cast iron. Nothing will bend, twist or move when it’s setup.
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Excellent, have been looking forwards to this since you said you would be doing it :)

I have the same machine so would be grateful if you let us know what grease etc you use (and where) when you get to that stage as I must admit to being a bit slack when it comes to machine maintenance.

I have been meaning to ask you a question about the V belt on my MB but will start a new thread to save littering up this one.
What is the diameter of the cutter head and the number of knives? It's a little hard to tell from the pictures but I'm guessing 4"+/- with 3 knives. I'm curious that's all and it subscribes me to the thread. 😊

Thickness table

Below you see the helical gears that convert rotation of the handwheel to rotation of the rise and fall leadscrew. In this case, the gears were massively over lubricated with thick bearing grease.
The casting is impressive !

Top of the thickness table's column. This is attached by 4 bolts to the bottom of the thickness table. Shims are inserted to get the thickness table parallel with the cutter block.
We'll measure and re shim this on reassembly.


Feed motor with attached gearbox + bottom of the column where a cast end plate has a thread cut into it. The adjacent threaded rod rotates and pulls the column up and down.

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@deema @Sideways i am enjoying your restorations and looking forward to seeing this develop.

Incidentally, seeing your detail of the rise and fall gearing, reminded me that I have never shared my modification to my own planer/thicknesser to motorise the rise and fall with use of a cordless drill that I did as part of a complete overhaul - every machine will be different, of course, but if there is a way of adding this, the payback in future usability of the machine is very rewarding.

I’ll show a few details below:
I basically dipped into the parts diagram for an additional shaft with bevelled gear plus a bracket - the gear was turned to face the other way and the bracket modified such that the gear could be mounted at 90degrees to the manual shaft, with a suitable hole and mounting to the front of the case - a 13mm hex was filed on the end of the shaft to take a socket that I run on a little right angle cordless drill, that I just keep handy.

Two pictures and a little video to show it in action:

This has been going strong for about 10 years now, so I am sure I have now saved more tedious time winding than it took to install!

I have added a corresponding mechanism to my drill press (using different stuff of course).

Anyway, it occurs to me that many P/T’s could be adapted in this way….

Help, does anyone have a copy of the manual for this vintage of the Sedgwick MB They could let us have a copy of?

Richard at Sedgwick who is always very helpful has informed us that unfortunately they keep manuals for the PT dating back to this machine. The machines have changed very little over the years, it would be nice to supply the exact manual for this vintage of machine to the new owner as well as checking that nothing has changed over the years that we weren’t aware of.
Tomorrow, Hopefully all of these parts will be off to get stripped. A disassembled machine takes up a fair bit of for space.

The motor that drives the in-feed and out-feed rollers is attached to a reduction gear box. In order to exchange the motor bearings it’s necessary to remove the gear box. However, it’s important to clean it as much as possible before separating the two. The gear box is designed to be in one orientation otherwise it will leak oil. We will be replacing the oil on the gearbox as it’s probably the first oil change it’s had since it was made,


Inside the gear box.

The two motors are completely apart, we have noted the bearing numbers and will be getting new ones ordered. We put the armature back into the motor just to keep things together and clean.

We’ve decided to have the shot blast guys powder coat the parts as well as strip off the old paint. We’ve not had them do this before for us so it’s a bit of an experiment. Powder coating is a more durable finish.

Most of the replacement parts have now arrived, just need to organise for new sprockets. The bearinsg will be a mixture of FAG and SKF. We are replacing the infeed and outfeed bushes with new Oilite bushes. The spindle bearings are upgraded to sealed for life bearings with the advantage that dust also won’t get into them for longevity.

The press is used to remove the bushes that are in through holes, however there are two that are in blind holes. Normally blind hole pullers will get these out, however they were pushed in so far that the puller couldn’t get a grip. In these circumstances a bit of lateral thought is required. We used a 1” tap to act as a puller. You use tap to thread the bush and when the tap reaches the bottom of the hole it pushes up the bush!
The shafts of the infeed and outfeed rollers arnt worn, the bushes were. The shafts are measured both where the bushes sit and also on ‘virgin‘ shaft to determine the extent of any wear. If wear were present we would have sorted this out by having the shafts built up.
Interesting, the normal size for the shafts is 25mm, they are about 30 micron below that. The Oilite bushes have an ID of 25mm which reduces by about 10 micron when they are pushed in to make a reasonable fit. The Oilite bushes are soaked in oil and a film of oil will form around the shaft in use.
(the micrometer digital readout is set using a 10mm standard at zero, so the digital readout needs 10mm adding to it)
The parts are all now back after being shot blasted and powder coated. They look really nice, please excuse my dirty finger prints on them. Commitments this week mean that we are not likely to make a start putting it back together until next week.

The company has done a really excellent job at ensuring that all the machined surfaces were protected and not shot blasted. It’s always outs a smile on my face to see parts after paint, they are totally transformed from the machine we started off with.

Powder coating like most paint finishes takes around a week to fully harden, until then it’s still a little soft, so it’s always best to try and leave painted parts a while before handling them too much.

You guys get all the neat P/T machines over on your side of the pond!

Just an FYI, but I've been very hesitant to powder coat anything cast iron with precision machining on it as the extended heat periods can cause pieces with unrelieved stresses to warp, so I would double check everything is still within expected specs... also with cast iron you should always specify they add a high zinc primer layer as well. Rust can propagate under the plastic powder coating depending on the environment it is in.

I do like the white and blue though. I decided to paint the inside bits on my AGS white, so I'm definitely a fan.
@KT_NorCal Thats really interesting, but not my experience. Before I retired I used to run a first tier automotive supply company making underbody components. A lot of parts were precision machined castings that we powder coated initially to achieve 1000 hrs salt spray test levels. We found that this could be achieved without a zinc primer. We later moved to KTL with powder on top for UV resistance / greater corrosion resistance. Powder gets about an hour at circa 180C, not that hot.
I think almost any form of paint is better than what is typically found on wood working machines😂😂 we often find paint on top of original rust, that’s not caused by water permeating through the paint…..just rusting parts painted🤣
Having said all of that we always check parts as original machining / wear can cause, as you highlight, stresses.
Hi Deema and Sideways,

Always enjoy your threads. As a non-engineer the depth of your skills really shines through as does your thoroughness, not less your willingness to improve on what the maker did in the first place if you do not consider good enough. Speaking of which, something I have always hated on Sedgwick P/T's is the horrible yellow painted pressed steel blade guards which always seem to bind in their slots and lose their paint - to me they look and are cheap and nasty and I entirely unworthy of a quality machine. I am sure you could design and make something which would be far more satisfactory; do you have any plans to do so?

Life has to be lived, and both Sideways and I have had projects that have kept us from the workshop. I’m hoping Sideways will start a thread on what he has been up to. It’s completely off topic for this forum, but really interesting none the less!! Hint hint Sideways😜
I’m hoping we can start to make progress next week on the machine….,,I think the weather is turning inclement again😉 so indoors stuff is back on the agenda. I love being retired…..but need to retire from retirement!! Sooooo much to do!
Hi Deema and Sideways,

Always enjoy your threads. As a non-engineer the depth of your skills really shines through as does your thoroughness, not less your willingness to improve on what the maker did in the first place if you do not consider good enough. Speaking of which, something I have always hated on Sedgwick P/T's is the horrible yellow painted pressed steel blade guards which always seem to bind in their slots and lose their paint - to me they look and are cheap and nasty and I entirely unworthy of a quality machine. I am sure you could design and make something which would be far more satisfactory; do you have any plans to do so?

Hah !
Thanks for the kind words Jim :) This is a game. I think we egg each other on a bit. Once you accept that the worst you might do is kill a machine and end up trying to sell off the remaining parts, you may as well have a go and complete each project as well as your abilities allow. There are so many rabbit holes to go down once you begin.

I have no plans to tackle the Sedgwick guard challenge right now but I realise that you are right in your description. They are all rather naff. They scratch and the slides (vertical and lateral) don't.

My old kity 3636 with long arm, plastic guard, cam lock, etc was actually way easier to use and never felt unsafe. The arm being spring loaded, a plank could be put down on top of the guard, which would lower onto the table but never contact the blades.
We'll let that idea vegetate for a while and look at the mechanisms when we reassemble the MB guard in case there are some mods that would improve the sliding action. I suspect a self coloured plastic guard would be better than the pressed steel but maybe Sedgwick don't make enough to amortise the cost of tooling an injection moulded plastic part for each size of planer.
Mill from solid plastic ?
3D print ? (Great but it's about 14 inches long :)
Blingy gold anodised aluminium ?
Stiffen up the existing design ?

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