Thursday, June 28, 2018

My carte blanche commissions...

There's no better feeling than when a customer gives me carte blanche to create something. Oh sure, I had a basic of idea what he wanted made, but how I accomplished it was up to me. 


When this Canarywood timber was delivered, 

my main goal was to create two of these wooden swords, used in martial art training. 

Along with the swords, I needed to make a walking stick, several pairs of wooden batons, and some miscellaneous pieces.  

I parted out the board, cutting it into various rough pieces, but I started making the swords... Job One. 

There were some semi circle notches that I had to drill, 

and some curves to cut into the handle. 

But the tricky part was the the dual compound bevel, which tapered down into a point. 

As I cut one side of the bevel, I saved the cutoff and taped it back onto the part, so that I could easily taper the other side. 

It's always easiest to work with flat, square sides, so taping the part back in place was helpful. 

I wound up with two rough swords, with matching bevels and tapers. A good start. 

Honestly, it took me longer to think about how to accomplish those tapers, than it did to cut them!

As the afternoon progressed, I pulled out a variety of routers, grinders, sanders and chisels to accomplish the final shaping. 

And - I love it when a plan works out according to plan, as these two new swords were PERFECT!


Making the batons was simple, and although I thought I might turn them on the lathe, I actual accomplished these "dowels" with a router. 

Watco Danish Oil makes Canarywood colors POP!

The swords might be my favorite part, but as I wound up this project, I had some small odds and ends of wood that I couldn't bear to waste. 

So I came up with these bottle openers - a favorite project of mine! 

These openers don't take much wood, but the WOW factor is pretty cool.... 

and they make wonderful gifts!

I am working on another wonderful project ...  a cabinet for a priceless heirloom, and another carte blanche commission. 

I'm so lucky that I get to build some of the coolest things!

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 18, 2018

As long as we're tearing the Delta Jointer apart....

Replacing the bearings in the jointer still didn't fix the problem of the sagging infeed table. 

Honestly, it was just one corner of the table that we couldn't adjust up any more, 

despite rotating the adjustment bushings. When you have a sagging corner on the infeed table, your jointed boards will have a hollow in between the boards you're trying to glue together. Conversely, if the back corners are too high, you'll have gaps on the ends of your  seams, not in the middle. Either way, you're looking for a nice seam, with no gaps, so adjustments become necessary from time to time. 

When you loosen the set screws, you can rotate the eccentric bushings to raise or lower the corners of the table.

(Warning - there are TWO set screws locking each bushing in place, so take out the first one, and loosen the second one.)  

When we couldn't adjust the table any higher, a little research led me to think that I possibly could add a shim to the dovetail ways, which are below the tables. A shim would raise the table up a bit, and allow the beds to raise or lower back to parallel. Over time, the dovetails wear, so adding a shim can help get them back to factory tolerances. 


Not. Going. To. Happen.

As it turns out, there aren't any dovetail ways in this jointer... so that solved that problem!

Instead a call to Delta's tech support team led us in another direction - pulling the jointer off of the base and inspecting the plates underneath, to see if they were bent. 

It really wasn't that difficult to flip it over - remove the eight Allen head bolts that were accessible from the base and find someone strong to help.  It's pretty heavy.

I suspect that sawdust might be 25 years old! 

When you're working with a former Army mechanic, you realize their first inclination is to take the whole damn thing apart, piece by piece. 

So we did. 

Everything came off, from the indeed and outfield beds, to the plates, the adjustment handles... everything.

If you have a poor memory, take some photos of what you're doing, so you'll remember how to re-assemble it.  

This spring was a challenge - not only to remove, but also to re-install. 

Honestly, the only parts that seemed damaged where these bushings, 

which showed some internal wear, so we rotated them into different positions. These bushings are obsolete, so coaxing more life out of them was our goal. 

Bobby, the Delta techie, had mentioned the plates a few times, and was worried that they might be bent. We were scratching our heads, trying to find them, but as it turns out - they were the small, thick plates of metal that hold the brackets to the shafts. Almost easy to miss. 

These plates are small, but very beefy, and I understand why Bobby said he hoped they weren't bent. They'd be almost impossible to flatten!

Here is the shaft without the plates, 

and here are the two plates bolted into place. 

In the end, rotating the bushings did the trick for us - allowing us to make the coplanar adjustment to the tabletops, and get everything back to working order.  We reassembled everything,  trued up the fence, and all that was left was installing a set of sharp blades.

All in all, this teardown only took a few hours, and on a scale of one-ten, I'd say it was about a solid FOUR on the difficulty scale. You definitely need some muscle to flip the planer beds over, but mechanically, this wasn't that tough. If you can replace the brakes in your truck, you can easily do this repair. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Replacing bearings on a Delta DJ-20 Jointer

No doubt, I have a love/hate relationship with my Delta Jointer. It's a terrific tool, and over the years, people have expressed interest in buying it. But I love everything about this tool, and since newer versions are way more expensive, keeping it in good working order is a must. 

So when the jointer started sounding a little whiney, and the infeed table was sagging a bit, I knew it was time to schedule a tear-down. I don't know about you, but I have to get psyched up for a big repair!

My woodshop/work husband Denny and I decided to do this in two steps - first, to replace those whiney bearings, and then to address the sagging table later. 

Changing the bearings requires lowering both infeed and outfeed tables to their lowest settings, so that the entire cutterhead can be removed.  So the fence has to be rotated up and out of the way (or removed, which ever you feel like doing) 

and the blade guard removed.  

Keep track of all the parts! 

Next - remove the knives. 

When you're doing this, be careful not to leave these little height adjusters in the cutterhead;

 once you rotate the head to get to the next knife, thess parts will drop out, inside of the tool. I say this only because...I did this!  It's a PITA to find all of them.

There's a lot of dust that builds up inside those holes, so blow everything clean, too. Next disconnect your belt. Well, the belt on the machine, not your belt.

 It's probably easier to rotate the bottom pulley to get the belt off, and then push up on the belt a bit to get it off the top pulley.

 Four allen bolts hold the two bearing blocks in place. 

The bolts are different lengths, so make sure you keep track of what comes out of each piece. 

Finally, loosen the table stops (the manual calls them adjustment screws) and lower both the infeed and outfeed tables. 

With the tables both lowered, 

you can pull out the cutterhead. The bearing blocks will lift out with the cutterhead attached, and  taking the whole assembly can be a tight fit... you may have to coax it out with a pry bar. Carefully. 

Don't bend or chip anything! 

There was a ton of buildup/sawdust/crap inside, so keep your compressor and shop vac handy. 

This is what you're going to be working with... 

removing the bearings can be a challenge! It's best to support the pulley on both sides, and gently tap the cutterhead spindle out. Easier said than done, but it's possible. We used a metal punch, and damaged the shaft a bit. Try using a wooden dowel, or - better yet....

 A bearing puller helps immensely.  You can usually borrow one from a auto parts store for free.

 I walked a few doors over to my mechanic's shop and enlisted one of his guys to help me. This bearing pulled off in seconds, 

but the pulley side was stuck. Luckily, he had a few different puller attachments, and finally we found the right one to remove the pulley. 

But it took some muscle and ingenuity. And four hands.

Finally - the cutterhead with all the bearings removed - there are four bearings to replace. 

One on each side of the shaft, and one on each (inside) of the bearing block. Getting them out of the blocks wasn't that hard, but there is a clip (a snap ring) to remove, so you'll need snap ring pliers for that. 

Remove the ring,

 turn the block over and the bearing taps out pretty easily. 

 Bam, that's a lot of work just to get to these puppies!

Our one casualty? We chipped the pulley. 

 We had new bearings in no time, thanks to a bearing shop not too far from the shop. These bearings are two different sizes, so make sure you bring all the old ones with you.

We even had time for a burger run... Five Guys fries are the bomb, BTW. It was pretty easy to replace the bearings, and there are all sorts of tips for doing so. 

My best advice - if it's a tight fit, put the bearing blocks in the freezer, and heat up the bearings for 10-15 minutes on a light bulb that's turned on. Heating one, and freezing the other allows them to slip together easily. 

The shaft had a bit of wear that I was concerned about, but nothing too bad. The bearings slipped into place fairly easily. A light coat of oil to lubricate the shaft helps.  

Replace all the bearings, and here's a tip - when you replace them, always put the lettering facing out, so you can easily see what bearing you need to purchase. 

It doesn't work so well on this repair, because the numbers are all hidden.

 But when repairing something like a bandsaw wheel bearing, it's a handy thing to have access to... trust me. 

OK, so ... new bearings in place? 

Check  √

Time to reinstall everything...drop the cutterhead with the attached bearing blocks into place.

 Once it is bolted down, reattach the belt to the pulleys.

Bring the outfeed table up to where it was - the manual is pretty good about spelling this out... it takes a bit of time, but it's important to do it properly. Set that first, before doing anything with the infeed table.

The outfield table should be .012 below the cutterhead body. Use a straight edge and a feeler gauge. Once you get the outfield table set, re-install a set of sharp blades. I did a post about that here.

Finally, you can adjust your infeed table for a shallow cut, and fire the machine up. If all goes well, you should hear a nice, smooth hum of the motor.  

Nice job!

 We were still having some table problems... which I'll address in the next post - how to adjust your co-planar tables when they won't adjust anymore!

Stay tuned....