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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tool Tune-up Time

Yesterday was "tool tune-up" day in the shop. In addition to changing the blades on the new planer (the ones I ruined last weekend), the band saw was in need of much attention.

Planer Blade Change

Let start with the planer, as I have especially been curious of whats inside these things. The insides are basically: a motor, dust hood, three blade cutting head. This particular model DeWalt 735 provides a single T-handle allen wrench to remove all the bits needed for regular maintenance.
Inside a thickness planer. Silver strip (lower) is the cutting head.
The rotating cutting head has three very sharp blades, held down with a clamp using eight screws. The supplied allen wrench, used to remove the screws, also has magnets embedded in the handle to lift out/replace the blades without touching the sharp edges. Blade replacement is easy, though you could install a blade upside down if you are not paying attention (I almost did). The blades on this unit are double sided. If one edge goes dull, rotate it 180 degrees for a new edge.

The manual says one can replace only the blades that are damaged or dull, but I wonder if  one should always replace all three (which I did). After reassembly I planed a couple pieces of teak. They went through smooth and effortless. Of particular note, the planing was MUCH quieter, due to the sharp(er) blades. I suppose, as with most tools, a noisy cut often indicates a dull blade.

Finally, the admiral came home last week with a set of infeed/outfeed extensions for this planer. These help to support long pieces of wood during planing. Got those installed.
Infeed extension (lower left)


Band Saw Bearing Replacement

For the most of this project, the band saw has been used, not to cut wood, but composite materials (foam, fiberglass, coosa board, etc), usually with a carbide grit blade. I have rarely used a toothed blade or cut much wood. Admittedly, I have abused this tool such that some of the blade bearings have seized up and gone way out of alignment. The saw needs some TLC if it is to cut wood for finish trim. Last week the admiral also came home with band saw replacement bearings and new blades (various widths and teeth per inch).
Dis-assembly for maintenance
Blade bearings used, abused, seized up and out of alignment
After addressing all this, I ran some teak through the blade. I think "hot knife through butter" is the appropriate phrase. And, the cutting was very quiet (quiet cut == sharp cut).
Test cuts of  some scrap teak
Moral of this post?

"Keep your tools sharp." 
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