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Foley Belsaw planer/molder question

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Forum topic by DMStewart posted 01-04-2018 10:57 PM 1283 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DMStewart

8 posts in 261 days


01-04-2018 10:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: foley belsaw planer question

My first post here but I’m hoping someone has an answer for me. I bought a Foley Belsaw planer molder model 984 recently. Runs great, I put some new blades in it but there is a gap of almost 1/4 inch between the knives and the wood. I have checked the feed roller tensions and everything appears correct. If I place a board on the table and crank the table up until the feed rollers contact it, I end up with the 1/4 inch gap. It’s as if the cutter head is too high but I can’t seem to find any adjustment on it. I checked the knife height when I installed them and those are correct. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.


19 replies so far

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2879 days


#1 posted 01-05-2018 03:30 AM

I have a Belsaw planer from the 1970s. I think your problem is you are not tightening down on the rotating height control enough. This planer has rubber covered powered feed rollers ahead and behind the cutters to feed the wood through the machine. These feed rollers have a strong springs to make the rollers put a lot of pressure on the top of the wood to make it move through the machine. When you tighten down on the height adjustment lever it will be easy until you begin to encounter these springs. Then it becomes more difficult in turning the height adjustment as the springs compress. I have a hunch you are tightening down and stopping when the turning gets more difficult. Just keep turning the height adjustment. The rollers will begin to feed the wood through the machine but it won’t begin cutting until the springs are compressed enough. Keep turning until the rotating cutters begin cutting. From that point, the further you tighten the height adjustment, the more wood it taken off.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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DMStewart

8 posts in 261 days


#2 posted 01-05-2018 04:23 PM

When you say “height adjustment” are you referring to the bed moving up? The cutter head is fixed. I actually tried to loosen the springs on the feed rollers to get them to ride higher, thus allowing the cutter head to contact the wood. That didn’t work either. It’s as if something is out of adjustment. If I can get a picture to post, I will. Thanks for your reply. It looks like a good machine if I can get this straightened out.

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2879 days


#3 posted 01-05-2018 04:33 PM

Yes, I am talking about the bed moving up. If what I told you doesn’t work, post some photos and I will follow this thread and respond.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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DMStewart

8 posts in 261 days


#4 posted 01-05-2018 04:53 PM

Sounds good. I did crank the bed up (with the machine off) to the point where the rollers pushed up far enough to allow the wood to contact the knives there was a lot of pressure. I’ll try again tomorrow and get some photos too.

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JBrow

1366 posts in 1038 days


#5 posted 01-06-2018 03:36 AM

DMStewart,

I have a Woodmaster 12” planer/molder. I am not sure but I am under the impression that Foley Belsaw machines became Woodmaster machines. The Foley Belsaw machine parts diagram looks a lot like the Woodmaster. Furthermore the advice by Planeman40 would also be applicable to the Woodmaster. Once the feed roller just contacts the stock, another 3 or 4 full turns of the bed-raising crank is required before the planer knives contact the stock.

I abandoned the method of raising the planer bed while the wood is engaged by the feed rollers; it works but is too much effort for me. I now use a short piece of scrap (12” -16” long) to set the planer bed height. The first step is to raise the planer bed until the infeed roller makes contact with the scrap. The scrap is removed, the bed is raised by 2 or 3 full turns of the bed raising handle (each full turn of the crank raises the bed 1/16”), the feed rollers and the cutter head turned on, and the scrap run through. If no planing occurs, the bed is raised 1/32” and the scrap fed back through. I continue this process until planing begins on the scrap. I then begin planing project materials.

I have found that it can be difficult to get the first board under the infeed roller due to the significant downward force of the infeed roller springs. I overcome this problem by starting a run with the bed height-setting scrap. Before the scrap board disappears from view, the first project board is butted against the end of the scrap board. The process of butting the next board against the end of the previous board before the previous board disappears continues. The last board run through is the scrap. In addition to making the continuous feed of several boards easier, this process also tames snip.

You mentioned changing the spring tension on the feed rollers. I found that ensuring the springs are properly tension plays a key role in avoiding stalling of a board.

Here is the link to the Woodmaster planer manual from which my comments are derived (exploded parts diagram at the end of the manual and feed roller spring tension adjustments on page 12)…

http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1764/7351.pdf

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MrUnix

6889 posts in 2317 days


#6 posted 01-06-2018 03:51 AM

Maybe I’m missing something here, but why would you be adjusting the height with the wood making contact with the feed rollers? I always use the depth of cut indicator. If it says you should be taking off wood, and you are not, then your knives are not adjusted properly. Where the wood hits the feed rollers only matters if it’s NOT feeding :)

This is on my Makita at least… is it different with the Belsaw?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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DMStewart

8 posts in 261 days


#7 posted 01-06-2018 12:11 PM

First off, thanks for all the replies. JBrow, your explanation clarified a lot. I’ll give it a try this afternoon. Brad – I can’t use the depth of cut indicator because unfortunately, being a usd machine, it went missing somewhere between 1983 and now. It’s on my list to see if I can repair it. But if it was there, I would certainly try it.
I’ll post again tonight with the results of everyone’s advice.

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2879 days


#8 posted 01-06-2018 02:19 PM

JBrow has a good point about the proper pressure of the springs. You may have created a problem when you adjusted the springs pressure. If you have trouble with the wood feeding, increase the spring pressure again. And he is right again about starting the board under the first roller. It can take a bit of force to get the front end of the board under the roller. I usually jam it in, or if its a short board, give it a bump with the hip.

When you get all of this sorted out, you will find the Belsaw to be a great planer. Just keep the roller bearings well oiled. And a word about changing blades. If the old blades are just dull but are well aligned, when you put in the new blades, just remove them and drop in the new blades. DON’T TOUCH THE BLADE HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT SCREWS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BLADE SLOT! The new blades will be precision ground and are parallel in shape. There will be no need to adjust the height of the new blades. The blade height adjustment only needs to be readjusted if the old blades to be removed were not even in height before removing and were giving a bad cut.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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JBrow

1366 posts in 1038 days


#9 posted 01-06-2018 04:48 PM

MrUnix,

Some Makita planers, as well as those made by other manufactures, adjust for depth of cut by moving the planer head up or down relative to a fixed bed. The Woodmaster planer, and I suspect the Foley Belsaw planer, adjust by moving the planer bed up or down relative to the fixed cutter head.

Speaking of the Woodmaster planer; while I think it is a well-built machine, the bed height indicator is lacking on the older planers. The measuring scale sets about ¼” -1/2” away from the pointer. As a result parallax can lead to imprecise measurements.

The measuring scale is attached to the removable hood (guard). The pointer that aligns with the measuring scale is attached to the planer bed and moves as the bed is adjusted up or down. The pointer could be bent closer to the measuring scale for better precision, but doing so could interfere when reinstalling the hood. Reinstalling the hood requires lifting the hood fairly high and setting down where it belongs. Since the hood is awkward and heavy, the hood could easily bump into a pointer that has been bent closer to the measuring scale and possibly require re-calibration.

I believe the newer Woodmaster machines feature a digital bed height indicator, which maybe could be used as you suggest. I am fairly sure a digital indicator can be purchased and retrofitted to the Woodmaster machines. A Woodmaster digital indicator may also retrofit to the Foley Belsaw. If not a precise and accurate shop-made indicator of some design could be retrofitted.

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2879 days


#10 posted 01-06-2018 04:55 PM

Personally, I have never trusted the “indicators” which are very primitive and inaccurate on most woodworking machines. I take measurements with measuring calipers or other trusted instruments when trying for a precise measurement. I never use the indicator on the Belsaw except to note when I am getting into the range to begin taking a trusted measurement.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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MrUnix

6889 posts in 2317 days


#11 posted 01-06-2018 06:27 PM

MrUnix, Some Makita planers, as well as those made by other manufactures, adjust for depth of cut by moving the planer head up or down relative to a fixed bed. The Woodmaster planer, and I suspect the Foley Belsaw planer, adjust by moving the planer bed up or down relative to the fixed cutter head.
- JBrow

My Makitas move the bed up/down, not the head. My Ridgid moves the head, not the bed. Both of them use a depth of cut indicator to show how much material will be removed. Wherever Zero cut is should match the tip of the knives, regardless of a moving head or moving bed.

Now.. having the depth of cut indicator go missing is another problem :)

But you should be able to get it close for the first pass, where it is very light or no cut at all, just by eye – and you will get better at knowing exactly where that is with use. Once you get to where it’s removing wood (or just kissing it without removing anything), one turn = 1/16” depth of cut.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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JBrow

1366 posts in 1038 days


#12 posted 01-06-2018 08:37 PM

MrUnix,

I never gave much thought to a faster way to set the planer for that first cut without making any measurements until this thread. After thinking about it, a gauge block could be easily made that would consistently provide an accurate initial setup without the need for any measuring.

The gauge block would be dimensioned so that when bed is adjusted to where the infeed roller just contacts the gauge block resting on the planer bed the planer is set for an initial standard cut. If 5/4 stock is to be planed and the gauge block is made for an initial standard cut in 4/4 stock, the planer bed could be lowered by 4 complete turns of the bed adjusting crank (1/16” x 4 = ¼”).

The gauge block could be easily made by planing a board to a finished thickness, for example ¾”. Once the ¾” board is removed from the planer, the bed is lowered ¼”. This adjustment positions the knives 1” from the planer bed. The distance from the bottom of the infeed roller to planer bed is then determined and the gauge block made according to this distance.

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MrUnix

6889 posts in 2317 days


#13 posted 01-06-2018 09:07 PM

MrUnix,

I never gave much thought to a faster way to set the planer for that first cut without making any measurements until this thread. After thinking about it, a gauge block could be easily made that would consistently provide an accurate initial setup without the need for any measuring.
- JBrow

Man, you are way overthinking things. IMO, a ‘gauge block’ would be about useless except for the very last few cuts to an exact (single) dimension. On most machines, there is already a way to dial in a final dimension without the need for any external help. On my Makitas, it’s a rod that slides down and locks in place to prevent the table from going any higher. On the little lunchbox things, usually there is a mechanism to specify the minimum thickness via a dial or lock nut. But there is no way of knowing how thick the stock is initially, so there is really no way to pre-set the initial position.

On every single planer I’ve had or used, the depth of cut gauge is all you need for that first setting. Place the stock on the bed, raise/lower the head/bed until the stock just kisses the depth indicator, and wham – you are at zero cut regardless of how thick the stock is. From there, each turn of the crank moves it a known distance, and you can measure the stock after each pass to verify final dimensions (and lock the depth stop at that position when obtained).

In the case of a missing depth of cut indicator, a makeshift one could be utilized – heck, even just a piece of tape hanging down off the front, where the end of it matches the location of the knife tips. Don’t need to be fancy, just needs to indicate where the knives are.

Edit: I can think of one way a gauge block could be utilized… by putting one on top of the stock and raising/lowering the bed/head so that some portion of it eventually hits the gauge. If it were sized propertly, that would indicate zero depth of cut. Kind of like the tape idea, but removable (and probably easily lost as well :)

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Remember, we are taking about the initial setting for running the stock through, not getting to a final dimension.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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DMStewart

8 posts in 261 days


#14 posted 01-07-2018 01:31 AM

First – thanks for all the replies and comments. Following JBrow’s suggestions and warning about the strong force exerted by the roller, I was able to create some shavings. It planes well. I’m impressed.

New problem: I think my feed rollers are in need of replacement or rejuvenation (if that is possible.) Straight out replacement is an option but if anyone has suggestions on some possible fixes, I’m willing to try before spending the money. This specific issue is this: Feed rollers turn fine but they don’t grab. I’m guessing they are age hardened. This machine is from the early 80’s.

Depth of cut gauge: Probably not going to fix. I didn’t use my old one when I got close to the final cut.

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Planeman40

1239 posts in 2879 days


#15 posted 01-07-2018 01:52 AM

Try this on the feed rollers. Wipe them down with a rag or paper towel damp (not wet) with acetone which is a strong solvent that should take any crud off the rollers and mildly attack the rubber surface to eliminate any glazing. Then rub all over with some sandpaper or steel wool to roughen the rollers a little and give it them some grip. My rollers are from the mid 1970’s and they are doing fine so yours are probably O.K. too.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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