Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rebuilding the Makita 2040 planer - part three

It really is rewarding to rebuild an old tool - and the work on the Makita 2040 planer is progressing smoothly. In the first post about this, I discussed taking out the old rollers, to have some work done on them

These rollers were in horrible shape! The foam on them had rotted, and they were sticky and impregnated with bits of sawdust.

 An Internet searching led me to Western Roller Corporation in Bend, Oregon. They couldn't have been more helpful, and knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned these particular rollers. 

I packed and sent them off, and started doing some final adjustments to the other rollers on the bed of the planer. 

This was very simple stuff - involving some straight edges and feeler gauges. If you're going to work on old machinery, you're going to need a GOOD straight edge!

 Adjusting the bottom rollers would have been easier if the manual wasn't so lame.  

The manual only gives you basic instructions, so it's up to you to figure out the tolerances you need. 

The bed rollers were adjusted to be just slightly above the bed surface - that way the boards slide just above the surface of the bed.  

And those two rollers were adjusted, I put a long straight edge across the whole planer, to adjust the two outside roller supports. 

This all sounds tricky, but honestly - it was the easiest part of the whole job. Here you can see the roller is too low, by about a quarter inch.

When I'm working on tools, I often wish I had an extra pair of hands - but clamps work just as well. With the straightedge clamped down, it was a breeze to adjust the two outside rollers into the correct position.

The re-covered rollers came back in about two weeks - covered with a neon chartreuse  polyurethane material. Damn, I forgot to take a picture of them before we started installing them - but suffice it to say that WRC did an EXCELLENT job covering them for about $90 a roller. New rollers cost close to $300 a piece, so covering them was the best option. 

Installing the newly covered rollers was just a bit tricky, and it helped to have an extra set of hands. As always, Eric is a godsend in the shop. He loves working on tools as much as I do! (Thanks for taking all the photos, Lupe!)

 Each end of the roller had to fit into a small bushing, and then secured in place with a plate and a couple of screws. the only difficult part was the spring that had to also be inserted. The spring put downward pressure on the roller, while we needed to compress it in order to attach the roller in place. 

 The picture below really shows what was involved, and we used a large block of wood under the roller (while raising the table) to compress the springs. 

Once the roller was in place, it was easy to screw the plate into place. There is not a lot of room for your hands, but I've worked in more cramped spaces than this. 

 It took a couple of attempts before we muscled everything into place. 

 The first roller took a while, maybe a half hour, but once we got to the second roller... piece of cake! It went in very quickly. 

Next was re-attaching the sprockets on the ends of rollers, and then mounting the chain, which was thoroughly cleaned. There was a crust of 30 year old grime on it!

 The chain went back together using its master link, and then we buttoned everything up - attaching the guards back into place, and the dust hood on top. 

Time to fire it up!

Let me just say that the surface of this wood after it was planed was remarkable. It felt nearly as smooth as hand-planed wood, with a perfect sheen and absolutely no chattering or machine marks.  Seriously, if you were building something with this wood, you could probably start sanding with 180 grit paper, right out of the planer. Maybe even 220 paper. 

So there you have it - a 32 year old planer that works as well today as it did when it was new. This is one of those times when I'm reminded that buying good quality tools is always preferable to saving a few dollars. 


Joel Halpine said...


I see one of these in my area for sale. Wanting to upgrade my lunchbox, and thinking about going this direction. a google search turned up your work. Basement shop though. Do you think a guy could successfully make/find a dust collection hood?

Wood It Is! said...


Makita used to make a dust hood for this machine, but it was pricey and I was a poor young woodworker when I bought this machine in the early 80s. I fashioned my own.

If you look at the picture of my machine - you'll see a dust port coming out the the top of the machine. I cut a hole in that top cover, and attached a piece of sheet metal from the inside, using sheet metal screws.

I think the sheet metal piece I used was originally designed for a roof vent in new construction. I had to add some duct tape over two openings on the front and back of that top piece. It's not a perfect system, but it picks up maybe 90% of the dust, and it only cost a few bucks.

I can post a better pick if you want me to. Let me know.

Michael Lester said...

I recently caught a 2040 at auction in good condition and have started playing with it. Being that I have zero tool building experience your info is invaluable. Couple of questions. The belt drive has started squealing. Can I apply a oil to the belt or crank to stop it? Also I've started to notice tool marks on the boards. Any advice on getting them sharpened? Thanks again.

Wood It Is! said...


Lucky you - that's a great planer to have.

I don't think you want to put oil on the belt, it will slip. Instead - you might want to try belt dressing, although I've heard that's a temporary solution and can gum up your pulleys. You might just want to just put a new belt on the planer.

What kind of tool marks are you noticing? Are the marks coming from chips on the blades? If so, getting them sharpened will eliminate those marks. I just send mine out to the local sharpener, there's nothing special about them as far as I can tell. Installing them is a little dicey. If you don't have a manual - I can scan and send you that page. Send me your e-mail address if you want it.


Anonymous said...

I am replacing the in/out feed rollers now. Your insight and photos were/are a huge help. May I suggest to anyone else who takes on this project, replace the panhead screws with allenhead socket machine screws. They are easier to install and remove and won't strip out. Less than $8.00 I replaced all the panheads.
Question: How do you get the 4 post booties back on??
Claude from Red Sox Nation

Claude P. Laflamme said...

Just got my inffeed/outfeed rollers back from JJShort in New York. Less than 2 weeks turn around and the shafts look brand new. $100.00 per shaft recoated in rubber. Better than new. If your on the East Coast and your Makita 2040 Planer needs new rollers I highly recommend these guys!!!!
Claude from Red Sox Nation

NC Pilot said...

I have one of these great planers. It used to belong to my dad many years ago. I replaced the rollers several years ago and they are still working well, but I'll keep the rebuilt rollers in mind when that time comes again.
This is a great planer and has also seen miles of wood pass through it without a hiccup. I figure I will be passing this on to future generations of woodworkers.

Anonymous said...

I've gone the cheap route and recovered the rollers with 1 1/4" vinyl tubing from Lowes (as I've seen others online have had success doing this). I can get it all together, and have the instructions to raise and lower the feed rollers.

As you noted, having a block of wood to help hold things in place makes the re-install easier.

The problem I've run across now is that my chip breaker (part #25--on the infeed side of the knives) is about 1/4" lower than the knives. I can't get any wood past the chip breaker, so it will never make it to the knives. This is a factory installed piece that should never come out, and doesn't have any way to adjust. My knives appear (from the manual and other planers I have) to be positioned correctly. I am at a loss, and don't want to take a grinder to the chip breaker, since that doesn't seem logical.

Did you run into this issue? I'm hoping to see a picture of your chip breaker in relation to your knives to see if something is obviously out of place on mine.

Jordan Irvin said...

I've gone the cheap route and recovered the rollers with 1 1/4" vinyl tubing from Lowes (as I've seen others online have had success doing this).

The problem I have is that it appears my chip breaker (on the infeed side of the knives--part #25 in the manual) is about 1/4" lower than the knives. I can't get any wood past the chip breaker, so it will never make it to the knives. This is a factory installed piece that should never come out, and doesn't have any way to adjust. My knives appear (from the manual and other planers I have) to be positioned correctly. I am at a loss, and don't want to take a grinder to the chip breaker, since that doesn't seem logical.

Do you have a good picture of the side of your planer showing the feed rollers, chip breaker, and knives? I don't think there is a way to lower the knives 1/4", and I can't move the chip break up. I'm at a loss!

Anonymous said...

dust hood for this monster, I just made a wood box with a spigot that works with a connection for my dust collection hose.. Piece of tin hooked under the uppper roller.

Just dropped off aa roller for rebuilding, 110 estimated cost (about 80 us$)

Dave Profitt said...

Got one of these planers from a friend, who got it from his dad, who got it from his dad! It lost the covers on the feed rollers during his dad's possession and he elected to buy a replacement planer rather than fix it. So now I have it. Pulled out the rollers over the weekend (thanks for the article and pictures, btw, great help!). I had to use the impact screwdriver on all the screws, and found out it makes it a lot easier to turn the machine over to get a good angle on them. Anyway, spoke to Phil at WRC just a little while ago, and will be shipping them off to him in the next day or two. He quoted a bit over $95 ea to recover, plus shipping. As new replacements are now running about $250 each, I thought that was a great deal!

Anonymous said...

I have the vinyl tubing (I think it's for a hot tub), and it works well. It's cheap--about $3 per roller and appears to be holding up well. It's a pain to take it all apart, but if you do it once, it gets easier. If you don't plan on running it daily. Consider the cheap route!

Cherd said...

Installing new rollers how do you set the height of rollers (the piece that holds the spring and the bearing blocks) having trouble figuring out how set both sides even and at the proper height.

Unknown said...

I can't remember all the details since I did this a few years ago, but I took some pictures. What I did to install the rollers (I was by myself) was to get a long piece of wood (~36"x 6" tall). I placed this from indeed to outfeed through the planer. Then, across this I placed a piece of wood ~ 1" high x 2" wide x 8"long to support the roller. I could crank the bed up or down as necessary (to hold the roller steady while I put the ends into the plane bearings, get the springs into the holders, etc), but I'm not sure where I finally positioned the roller relative to other parts. I remember adjusting the two screws that compress the springs on either side of the roller several times, but I don't have pictures of the final setup. I might have supported both rollers with this setup at the same time so they were at the same height, but I didn't capture that in my pictures.

The manual (which can be found online) says to set the rollers with the following procedure:
Place a straight and level piece of wood on the outfeed table top. Turn the crank handle to raise the table and to bring the piece of wood into contact with the main frame. Then turn the crank handle a half-turn counterclockwise to lower the table slightly (1/16"). Insert the piece of wood so that it reaches under the outfeed roller. Adjust the right and left height adjusting screws so that the outfeed roller contacts the piece of wood evenly. Adjust the infeed roller in the same manner as the outfeed roller.
NOTE: Turning the height adjusting screw one turn clockwise lowers the roller 3 mm (1/8").

Dave Profitt said...

Got the rollers back, all the rust off the bed and posts. Recovered rollers wound up costing about $250 including shipping both ways. WRC did a great job on the rollers. A local sharpening shop put an edge on the blades and it cuts hard maple as smooth as butter! One question I have for you folks with these machines - this one came with a cast aluminum chip hood that clamps on - somewhere. Can't figure it out. Only place it seems to fit is on the front with the top cover turned backwards, but the chips clog up pretty quickly. Anyone have one of these hoods in use? If so, could you post a picture of how it's mounted? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I actually have two of these puppioes. one of which is being rehabbed.

Got the rollars rebuilt, new bushing blocks,

Still didn't sound energetic, and bogged down. Thought the belt was glazed, so got it replaced by a local transmission supply house here in Calgary, 19 bucks-about 1/4 makita replacement price

Put in new brushes (old ones badly worn

still not up to snuff, just a weakish sound, and still bogging down on 2" wide stock. Definitely not functional like new, so I pulled the motor. it is not an enclosed motor, but when I pulled off the back of the motor, I guess 30 or more years had worn them down and the copper armature was worn down about 1/8"- quite substantial to my mind, so I opted to order a new armature.....150 cdn$...there was some comment by the local makita folks that they hoped it wasn't discontinued. but they showed stock of 3 so I'm hopefull still.

The Makita folks say that some folks pay around 2k$ to have these units refurbished, a number I couldn't wrap my head around. But these machines have a reputation as a workhorse, which i agree with, as my original one is pushing 40 years of commercial usage.

Just love the beasties.

Eric in Calgary