Consolidated Omnibus Shop Maintenance Schedule - ????

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Forum topic by NBeener posted 02-21-2011 08:58 PM 2069 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3200 days

02-21-2011 08:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop tools maintenance alignment lubrication cleaning schedule

Just thought of this … again … and was going to tack it on to the thread about cleaning planer rollers.

But ….

Anybody done ANYTHING like this ???? Anybody have any thoughts about it, or … have any other thoughts about how to make sure you stay current with these things ?

Anybody else just … wait until something goes wrong, and fix it, and … that’s good enough ? ;-)

I pretty much have every manual for every machine in my shop.

I would LOVE to copy the maintenance section of EVERY manual, for EVERY machine, AND …..

Using that info, make a spreadsheet that tells me—roughly—by time, timing, hours of operation, board-feet through, or … some other generic interval that I’d have to take a stab at deriving ….

What to do to each machine to keep it running smoothly, according to [a combination of manufacturer’s advice AND “conventional wisdom”]

My hope would be that …. things LIKE waxing planer beds, and cleaning infeed rollers (and the dozen things that we should regularly do to our table saws, and on and on and on …..] would prevent these problems from ever arising.

Like many such things (for example: aligning all your machines), if you get in a habit, and do it regularly, you get GOOD at it, you can do it QUICKLY, it’s not drudgery, and …. everything …. I mean EVERYTHING … works better, lasts longer, produces better results.

Lots of people have “document holders” affixed to each machine, containing extra parts, the manual, etc., and … I think this is good.

But … to me …. having a consolidated list that … every couple months … I follow—taking maybe half a Saturday morning—that KEEPS my shop in top form …. might be a much better option.

Have you done anything like this ?
Have you thought of doing anything like this ?
Do you follow such a maintenance schedule, now ?
Is this sort of thing great, in theory, but … you’re nowhere near that anal, so … it’ll NEVER happen in your shop ? LOL !

-- -- Neil

12 replies so far

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4053 days

#1 posted 02-21-2011 09:06 PM

That sounds like a great idea although I usually wait til i’m up to my tool belt in alligators when something goes “squank” and then fix, clean, replace, and finally swear to never let it happen again until it does the next time. Maybe a list for each machine like you say may work. Thanks for the ideas.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3601 days

#2 posted 02-21-2011 09:53 PM

I keep all my machine manuals in a book shelf by my work bench, and will go over a machine before starting a project that I know will need that machine a lot, but mostly, I’m kinda like Jack above.

If I walk past the wax and I’m not currently doing a project, I might do a quick machine waxing and then go in & tell my wife that I’ve been killing myself in the shop; have a sandwich and then hit the couch for a while…..

Great post

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View chrisstef's profile


17426 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 02-21-2011 10:12 PM

Im in the planning stages for a new project right now and while i was drawing up some sketches i started to realize which tools i was going to be using the most. I figured it was my hand planes, so i took a few hours saturday to tune, sharpen, and wax them all.

I think it was a good idea and might try implementing that before every project. Tune up the tools you will be using the most and little by little everything will stay in good shape. Maybe.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3190 days

#4 posted 02-21-2011 10:45 PM

I see this as a complex issue, primarily because the maintenance schedules are usually tagged to hours of use, and that is tough to compute.

I guess if you want to be totally organized, you would scan in your manuals so it was all on the computer and in your case, you could magnify the pages. (I think Dave Owen scans in all of his, if I recall correctly). Then you would have to guess the usage rate, and come to some compromise between time intervals and usage. Then construct a five year schedule, or if you wanted to be complex, make a spread sheet, where the schedule for any given date was computed. Actually that wouldn’t be too hard. Most likely, other than routine shop cleaning chores, maintenance would be no more than quarterly I suspect. So it would be doable. Then you would have to make it easy to execute, meaning not too many things at once. That would be a very personal thing. Some would want to spread it out, some would devote a day or a morning at a time.

The simplest approach would be to just schedule tasks by tool, and have a simple paper list for each tool. You would scan that tool’s task and checkoff list to see what needed to be done that particular session, and check it off on the piece of paper. In other words, maintained in a looseleaf notebook.

Besides tool maintenance, you could also include tasks like restocking of supplies such as nails, glue, screws, bolts, sandpaper, finishes, etc. That would be important to me. I do not like to run to the store for every little project.

Very doable, probably useful. But…........would it be worth the organizational effort, and would you follow through with the schedule, or would it kinda slip into the back of one’s brain until it fell off into a sawdust pile and got disposed of with a lot of other good intentions…......(-:

Happy to talk about this one…....I could probably be talked into making the spread sheet, not for a month or so though. I currently have all my manuals for all my tools, as well. In three large looseleaf notebooks, filed in plastic covers.

What’s going on…......did the lengthening days give you a dose of spring cleaning mania or some such?.....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3134 days

#5 posted 02-21-2011 10:57 PM

With the four seasons here in Michigan, I get programmed to perform certain maintenances every few months. The usual stuff, flip the mattress, change the furnace filters, change the fire alarm batteries, etc. With the tools, it is more of a sound/feel thing. Kind of like the car. You don’t notice the need for maintenance when the pistons are blowing out of the hood, but more when it has a sound or feel that seems to say that it could use a little TLC.

Of course, a new manufacturer might make a dummy light system that monitors itself at all times and sends out the dummy light for routine maintenance… :)

Good topic Neil.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3699 days

#6 posted 02-22-2011 12:08 AM

Thats a good idea Neil!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3190 days

#7 posted 02-22-2011 12:24 AM

Why David Craig, where is the techie in you. Left it at work? We both know, we merrily use our machines, and then when we realize that expensive QSWO Aunt Tilda gave you to make a vintage pie safe for her….well the face frame is all skewed 3/32’s of an inch, and she won’t accept anything less than perfect… know, just like her cross stitch, and then we try to match the wood, down at the local specialty wood store…....about a weeks salary….......

You should have checked the alignment on the table saw…......duh…..what were you thinking?

Now you are a trained precision craftsman… your day job…...and you recheck your work, error routines, bounds checking, round off errors, reentry issues…........whatttttt… don’t check your wood working machines ......... until you have a disaster?????

......dummy lights…..that a new thing in your latest editor….....?

OK, OK, OK…......this isn’t work, but the economic consequences may be significant….......we have to be organized, and systematic…....quality control happens during construction, not by culling the defectives.

Gotta check those woodworking super machines dwelling in the mancave on a regular basis. Youse is gonna wait till you screw up to fix ‘em…........?

Well, that’s the way I do it…........just thought you were a little better than me…...........(-:


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3134 days

#8 posted 02-22-2011 01:29 AM

Jim I think we might have put a few words in my digital mouth my friend. I check my machines quite frequently (thank you very much ;). As I said, you get a feel for your machines. You start noticing the slightest of performance degradation quite away. “Hmmm, that board seemed to catch just a tad.” “I see there is just a touch of slack in the belt connected to the motor housing…” If you know your machines, you know what they sound like when they are purring. When the purring is a little less comforting, you automatically do your maintenances. I didn’t say wait until the darn thing is sounding like its tail is caught in a rocker :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2680 days

#9 posted 02-22-2011 01:58 AM

I have regular maintenance tasks for each of my machines. As a production shop I can’t just take machines offline to do maintenance. Instead, because I’m running projects constantly, I perform machine maintenance at the end of one or two project and before the beginning of the next. Sometimes I work for 16 to 18 straight hours in 1 day to get all the maintenance done. All bits and blades are changed, tables are rubbed out with WD40 and nylon pads and rewaxed with paste wax, gears are greased, tables and fences realigned, nuts and bolts tightened, etc. The most time consuming is changing and aligning planer and jointer blades. This takes time, even though I do it so much I can do it with my eyes closed. I don’t wait until blades get dull, they go into the sharpening bit/blade bucket at the end of a project. Like David says you just start to know your machines and all their little quirks.

Yes, I do have 2 sets of backup blades for everything (planers, jointers, saw blades, etc.) because I can’t afford down time. My sharpener can turn things around for me in about 3 to 5 days.

The same goes with my CNC machine (main workhorse of my shop). I closely track hours/sheets of plywood, etc. on a specific bit. For example, I can cut 85 sheets of 3/4” plywood with a 3/8” diamond like coated (DLC) mortise compression bit before I have to change to a new bit. When I reach the known limitation of hours, # of sheets, etc. the bit goes into the sharpening bucket. Once a week (normally Sunday afternoon) I do a regular maintenance routine on the CNC machine. There are a lot of moving parts (lots of greasing) and the vibration tends to loosen things up so tightening nuts and bolts, motor mounts, etc. is a big issue to ensure accuracy (.001”).

I attempted the written/computerized maintenance schedule a few years back and found it was as much effort to maintain as the machinery. I do it so regularly now that I can feel when a piece of machinery is not quite right. It is very slight, but enough to know I need to stay in the shop that night to tune up that specific machine. Just goes with the territory.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3360 days

#10 posted 02-22-2011 01:20 PM

Surely a good approach to keep you tools in top form Neil if you are willing to do the paper work and follow the routine.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3005 days

#11 posted 02-22-2011 02:00 PM

I don’t go to the lenghts of spread sheets on b/ft through the machine, although I have kept a simple log book for all my machines for years, generally just to log the maintenance I performed and the parts, if any replaced, including the date on which work was done. I don’t have a regime where I religiously change blades every three months for example on shop machines or service them all on a particular day. Being just a hobby shop it could be months since I last used a machine and would therefore only use my log as a reference should I notice a decline in performance. I personally don’t prolong the under taking of maintenance work for fear of causing long term and serious damage. I am of the opinion spend a little (on spares) save a lot (on grief, frustration and money)

However, I also have a log for all gas powered tools and my truck, this was a tip passed down to me by my dad when he serviced his own vehicle in the days when cars were simple to work on. (He had a Morris Minor for over 20 years, did 200K miles in it and never had to undertake a major rebuild) I do religiously under take maintenance schedules seriously on these tools and truck.

The process you describe is defo worthwhile although you run the risk of being consumed with checking the “gudget springs” on a particular machine because it seems so long since you last did rather than woodworking. This said, if you are like me, knowing a machine will perform everytime you turn it on is very reassuring indeed.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3190 days

#12 posted 02-22-2011 05:01 PM

David Craig
”............the darn thing is sounding like its tail is caught in a rocker”

Now I know what to look for…...................(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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