Powermatic Model 15 Planer refurb--vintage 1995 #3: ...I should call this Blog fixing up old stuff, but I need help fast.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Retseih posted 10-08-2010 02:41 PM 4016 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Power cords don't really need they? Part 3 of Powermatic Model 15 Planer refurb--vintage 1995 series no next part

It’s Friday morning 0’Dark thirty…can’t sleep thinking about the days challenges. I’m trudging through the snow out to my workshop waiting for the coffee to brew while I fire up the wood stove…(OK I made up the snow part, but it is supposed to get really cold next Tuesday.)

I will get right to the point. I have this Powermatic Planer I picked up from the local High School when it was deemed too dangerous for the kids making clocks to use. No offense to the high school kids as I have seen some pretty impressive projects come out of those programs, but just how many of these projects require a 3HP Baldor capable of creating a 1” bullnose in Jatoba with a single pass? $350 later, I’m hauling a Powermatic into my shop. The cabinet door bit set was probably worth that.

So here is the jewel. Just one little problem. As mentioned in the earlier blog I am converting a staircase to hardwood and am currently making the treads. I have an Amana cutter head which has a capacity of over 1 1/8”. It is a very nice cutter…

...I am struggling with the result. I have set the height of the cutter to fall between the top and bottom of the tread which is 1 1/8”. This should result in a bullnose that might be slightly “square” on the top and bottom. This is easily remedied with a ROS. The problem is I am getting an edge on the bottom of the leading edge….

and an edge on the top of the trailing edge.

...this photo was generated this morning at aforementioned really early, and is not as bad as what I was producing yesterday but still not good. Yesterday I checked everything starting with the spindle which is easily removed from the machine. I took it apart and made sure the 3/4” universal spindle fit snuggly in the bearing assembly. The table appears to have a sag that I tried to remedy with the old “beat on the cast iron” method of restoring it to its original state with no luck. I was able to shim the table to get it flat from right to left as you are looking at the machine. Obviously the machine was guts and feathers on the flloor. There is no adjustment to perpindicular for the spindle. It either is or isn’t. Just eyeing it looks to be perpindicular.

I have seen this problem on every tread which I was very careful to machine flat during the glue up process. Anyone see or solved this problem? I can recover with a card scraper and sander but yikes. Please share your solutions.

thx, Dick

-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

7 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3258 days

#1 posted 10-08-2010 04:03 PM

Sorry for stating the obvious here, but…

To solve that problem you can…. #1. Use a router with a roudover bit, in 2 passes and get your bullnose. #2. Get a shaper bit that will give you the bullnose profile to match the thickness of your stock.
OR… #3. Run the stock through the planer until it matches the height of the cutter…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View mrg's profile


827 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 10-08-2010 04:16 PM

Good morning Dick,
You are feeding the board from the left to the right. The lead edge would be riding a little higher now you loose the ridge and go smooth and then get the ridge at the top of the board at the end. Is this happening with everything you put in? If so look at the throat plate make sure that it is perfectly flat.

Another thing to check is are the boards perfectly flat? Are you putting more pressure on the lead end with your right hand?

-- mrg

View Retseih's profile


27 posts in 2869 days

#3 posted 10-08-2010 06:49 PM

Thank you for your suggestions. The profile of the shaper bit does match the thickness of the stock. I can use a router in two passes, but as you know the roundover of the first profile creates a ridge in the center. I use this method with 5/8” thick stock and a 5/16” RO for doing hand mirrors. A straight edge can be controlled more easily with a fence on a router table and the ridge in the middle can be minimized. Finally the stock does match the thickness (....insert the “Beast” which is what I used to generate the final thickness.)

MRG—as you stand in front of the machine looking down on it the cutter is rotating ccw, cutting and pushing the stock into the fence just like you would on a router table. I am starting at the right side of the shaper (infeed) and pushing to the left side (outfeed) so I believe this is right to left not left to right. If you are referring to the board I guess it would be the left (front) side of the board to the right (front) side of the board. I think the lead edge is actually low putting the ridge on the bottom and yes it goes smooth in the middle and then the edge forms on the top where the board is riding higher and hitting the cutter at the top giving the ridge at the top. This is difficult to photograph, hopefully the description is sufficient. Yes it is happening on every board the same way. The boards may not be perfectly flat, but if you set them down on a jointer table no light is visible. I have measured the throat and as I described looking from the front the table and throat appear to be very flat. From front to back there appears to be a sag. There is no adjustment for this and since a Powermatic PM26 holds down the table with 3 bolts it is difficult to get all of the sag out of the table even with shims. I don’t believe I am shifting my weight improperly during feed but perhaps i can exaggerate and compensate by heavy pressure on leading edge and light pressure on trailing edge. I have quite a bit of experience with a router table but am trying to improve my shaper knowledge/skill. This really is the tool of choice for this task. Keep those suggestions coming!

thx, Dick

-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 3053 days

#4 posted 10-08-2010 07:07 PM

Easy solution Get a bigger Dia. cutter sometimes a bit or cutter will be machined to tight of a tolerance and any slop or play in the machine will only amplify the problem with the power off check spindle play, motor and power train assembly. play up and down and left to right my guess would be these things first then the other you mentioned:)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View Retseih's profile


27 posts in 2869 days

#5 posted 10-08-2010 07:17 PM


Easy solution, but it costs money…perhaps I should thin down the treads to 1”...but it looks like most for sale are 1 1/8” and I am trying to give my client as close to what he would purchase as possible. You are right this would amplify the problem…I will noodle on this. I think the spindle play is fine, however I am suspicious of the up and down since the lock down on a PM26 is kind of marginal. I also think the play left to right as adjusted by the gibs on the dovetail slide assembly is ok. Can’t really detect any slop there. The Only trouble I am having with the up down is it is always bottom on leading edge and top on trailing edge. If up down were an issue you would think next board would start on top of leading edge. Make sense?

thx, Dick

And I do trust in the lord…trouble is he has not given me any Shaper knowledge to work with…maybe I need to ask.

-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3960 days

#6 posted 10-08-2010 07:45 PM

This wouldn’t be in the vein of permanently solving the problem, but…if the defect that you’re seeing is as consistent as you say, could you make a sled for the part to ride on, then shim the part on the sled to correct the defect? I don’t know if I”m explaining it well enough, but it sounds like you could overcome whatever the variable is this way, as long as its effect is consistent. If you’re getting that fillet on the bottom of the leading edge, raising it slightly relative to the trailing edge on the sled might correct it, right?

-- Robb

View Retseih's profile


27 posts in 2869 days

#7 posted 10-10-2010 05:41 PM


So here is how it came out. I think everyone was right with their comments. First of all, despite the fact that the cutter was sold as one to bullnose stair treads, in order to get a full 1 1/8” tread with bullnose everything has to be perfect. Upon measuring final thickness of the treads I came in probably 1/32” proud of that. I virtually had no margin for error with this thickness and the cutter.

The flatness of the top on the shaper is not there. This is something I need to work on. Again anyone with experience flattening the top of a PM26 could really help me out. I stuck with the shaper and worked the ridge off of each board.

My plan is to purchase the Acurra after market fence for my shaper when I can afford it ($150), which reportedly has dust collection…I will write a review when I do. Finally, I need to blog on sharpening a card scraper….I got pretty good at it during this project.

Thanks to everyone that responded to my blog.


-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics