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Getting an older 15” Bridgewood planer going

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 07-18-2018 11:31 AM 372 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


07-18-2018 11:31 AM

Ok so yesterday I came across an older (10 years or so, guessing) Bridgewood 15” planer with a great price so I picked it up. I am planing to clean it up real good and put it into service. The feed rollers and pressure rollers are all spinning ok, but they are covered in rust as is the cutter head and the four post that it rides on. Now I have bought and restored a Delta UniSaw and a Sheng Shing wide belt sander. Never a planer, so I was hoping to get some guidance from you fellows.

Would you guys recommend that I pull the feed rollers, pressure rollers, and cutter head in order to clean the rust off? Is this a difficult task in pulling them? I just want to make sure before I do so that when I go to reassemble them, everything goes back on correctly. I can probably clean the four post pretty easily with PB blaster and sand paper. I don’t want to risk getting the cutterhead and platform out of line with each other as I have no idea how to realign them. Any advice? See pics below.


12 replies so far

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SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


#1 posted 07-18-2018 11:33 AM

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CaptainKlutz

382 posts in 1575 days


#2 posted 07-18-2018 08:18 PM

IMHO – Changing adjustments should be least of your concerns. Pictures suggest that planer needs a full tear down and rebuild, which means complete reset of ALL adjustments.

Rust on cutter head is not an issue, as long as blade mounting area is not damaged. Rust on feed rollers will transfer to wood, and they need to be removed and cleaned up. The feed rollers are relativity easy to remove/replace. Looking at all that rust, bigger issue is condition of bearings on cutter head, gear box (bearings/oil seals), and condition of drive chain for feed rollers?
Thanks to ready information on WWW, rebuilding 15” planer is not any harder than a Unisaw, except is has more parts and you must organize/label things as you remove them.

Have rebuilt (2) 15” planers, an antique Grizzly and most recently Delta DC-380. While I am not an expert, can tell that most generic 15” planers are clones based on original Delta designs. There is tons of information on WWW regarding 15” planer rebuilds, shellix head conversions, and repairs, Since most models are similar – you almost do not care what the brand label may be, only care if your version has moving or fixed table. All you need to do is search various forums; here on LJ, OWWM, etc; for rebuild information.
Here is one sample thread to help you get started: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/281049

PS – If you have never used/maintained a 15” or larger planer, you need to realize they are designed for heavy use, and require more maintenance and have many adjustments not found on smaller lunch box planers. As example – They have gear box that is supposed to have oil changed annually, plus a couple of locations that require daily/weekly manual application of oil. Manuals for planers are usually very good at detailing adjustments and required upkeep.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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GR8HUNTER

4319 posts in 793 days


#3 posted 07-18-2018 08:53 PM

when I usually take apart something like this … I like to have room to work … and lay bolts , parts all in order as they come off … then assembly after clean up is just reverse ….GOOD LUCK :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


#4 posted 07-19-2018 09:40 AM


IMHO – Changing adjustments should be least of your concerns. Pictures suggest that planer needs a full tear down and rebuild, which means complete reset of ALL adjustments.

Rust on cutter head is not an issue, as long as blade mounting area is not damaged. Rust on feed rollers will transfer to wood, and they need to be removed and cleaned up. The feed rollers are relativity easy to remove/replace. Looking at all that rust, bigger issue is condition of bearings on cutter head, gear box (bearings/oil seals), and condition of drive chain for feed rollers?
Thanks to ready information on WWW, rebuilding 15” planer is not any harder than a Unisaw, except is has more parts and you must organize/label things as you remove them.

Have rebuilt (2) 15” planers, an antique Grizzly and most recently Delta DC-380. While I am not an expert, can tell that most generic 15” planers are clones based on original Delta designs. There is tons of information on WWW regarding 15” planer rebuilds, shellix head conversions, and repairs, Since most models are similar – you almost do not care what the brand label may be, only care if your version has moving or fixed table. All you need to do is search various forums; here on LJ, OWWM, etc; for rebuild information.
Here is one sample thread to help you get started: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/281049

PS – If you have never used/maintained a 15” or larger planer, you need to realize they are designed for heavy use, and require more maintenance and have many adjustments not found on smaller lunch box planers. As example – They have gear box that is supposed to have oil changed annually, plus a couple of locations that require daily/weekly manual application of oil. Manuals for planers are usually very good at detailing adjustments and required upkeep.

Best Luck.

- CaptainKlutz

Thanks for th me help Captain! Unfortunately I didn’t realize it at the time but the pics are of the bottom of the platform and not the feed rollers. lol, I forgot that I had the platform raised all the way up. I will try and locate a manuel and read up on the various adjustments and necessary maintaince.

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SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


#5 posted 07-19-2018 09:43 AM

Ok so the feed rollers are metal and not rubber. Plus the have a little rust on them but not too much. I will post some pics of the feed rollers here shortly. Are rubber feed rollers preferred? Are there any drop in replacements for switching them out from steel to rubber?

The chain is good on the bottom that controls the height. The gears in the gear box look good. On this model it’s the platform that raises up and down, not the cutterhead.

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CaptainKlutz

382 posts in 1575 days


#6 posted 07-19-2018 12:21 PM

FWIW –
Folks seem to” think Bridgewood 15 is similar to older Jet JWP-15H
Manuals for Jet are easy to find.
Grizzly has similar discontinued version #G1021, and has manual/parts available online also.

Some of the 15 inch planers used a serrated out feed roller, and others used a solid/smooth version. Grizzly offers a rubber out feed roller to replace serrated version for users that complained when taking light cuts, serrated out feed would leave marks on softer wood varieties. Have no idea if they offer one that will fit a Bridgewood.

After you deal with rust,
IME hardest thing to deal with regarding proper setup on 4 post planers is height set up. It’s all in manuals.
There are 7 height settings; (2) bed rollers, table to head (controls cutter head), in-feed roller, chip breaker, knives, and out-feed roller. It can be very frustrating to get everything co-planer using the manual defined guide blocks and feeler gauges. I find it is much easier with Rotocator (or poor mans version – made mine with 123 block & 1/4 inch bolt).

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


#7 posted 07-20-2018 12:13 PM

Ok so I took the cover off the top and it looks pretty bad. My intentions are to check all the adjustments and make changes were necessary, and clean the top end out. My questions to you guys are:

First, judging from the pics, do I need to pull the cutter head to get it clean? Or can it be cleaned without removing it?

Second, if so, l how do I pull the cutter head? Is it difficult or complicated?

Third, what is the best way to set the knives and ensure that they are all set properly? The manual spoke of a knife setting jig, but I don’t have the one that probably came with the machine. I do own a dial indicator and magnetic base. Just now sure how it would help in this scenario. This is my main concern right now.

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GR8HUNTER

4319 posts in 793 days


#8 posted 07-20-2018 01:48 PM

1- I would dismantle the whole machine and go over it all at this stage

2- dont know without seeing it (sorry)

3- should be pins to set knifes at proper distance … not like a jointer … but be careful might be small springs under knifes … and handle them with much care … as they are very very sharp :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

382 posts in 1575 days


#9 posted 07-21-2018 02:27 AM

1- The new pictures show a fair amount of rust, might suggest machine was used to process green or wet wood? Like I posted before, IMHO needs a full tear down, inspection, cleanup and rebuild. I would remove cutter head, gear box, feed rollers plus bearing blocks, chip breaker, replace anything worn or damaged.
The 1st pictures show the table feed rollers are heavily rusted, they have 2 bearings, one in each end that likely need to be replaced. There are also bearings at base of 4 posts for raise/lower mechanism that should be checked for condition, as the posts are open on sides, and debris/water can sit on top of them easily.

2- Cutter head disassembly is easy, sort of, just weighs a lot.
Pictures are worth 1000 words: FineWoodworking site has a thread from 2017 on replacing fixed cutter head with Byrd shellix segmented cutter head. It shows how typical 15” planer head is disassembled and re-assembled. Google has link. OWWM has threads on rebuilds as well.

3- In my experience, there are no pins, or references for setting blades. You will need to obtain some sort of knife setting gauge.
I know Grizzly and Delta versions can still be found online. Due Bridgewood similarity to Jet, might able to get factory version from Jet also?
Alternative planer knife setting gauge can be made from wood and dial indicator (search LJ), or buying magnetic knife setting dial gauges sold in many places (Amazon, Ebay, etc). Principle challenge with non factory versions is you either need to know what exposure distance to use, or must measure/record the existing blade height with adjustable gauge BEFORE you remove old blades. This topic has much discussion in WWW, and no reason to repeat details.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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TheFridge

9853 posts in 1567 days


#10 posted 07-21-2018 06:11 PM

Tear it down

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

337 posts in 741 days


#11 posted 07-21-2018 06:11 PM


1- The new pictures show a fair amount of rust, might suggest machine was used to process green or wet wood? Like I posted before, IMHO needs a full tear down, inspection, cleanup and rebuild. I would remove cutter head, gear box, feed rollers plus bearing blocks, chip breaker, replace anything worn or damaged.
The 1st pictures show the table feed rollers are heavily rusted, they have 2 bearings, one in each end that likely need to be replaced. There are also bearings at base of 4 posts for raise/lower mechanism that should be checked for condition, as the posts are open on sides, and debris/water can sit on top of them easily.

2- Cutter head disassembly is easy, sort of, just weighs a lot.
Pictures are worth 1000 words: FineWoodworking site has a thread from 2017 on replacing fixed cutter head with Byrd shellix segmented cutter head. It shows how typical 15” planer head is disassembled and re-assembled. Google has link. OWWM has threads on rebuilds as well.

3- In my experience, there are no pins, or references for setting blades. You will need to obtain some sort of knife setting gauge.
I know Grizzly and Delta versions can still be found online. Due Bridgewood similarity to Jet, might able to get factory version from Jet also?
Alternative planer knife setting gauge can be made from wood and dial indicator (search LJ), or buying magnetic knife setting dial gauges sold in many places (Amazon, Ebay, etc). Principle challenge with non factory versions is you either need to know what exposure distance to use, or must measure/record the existing blade height with adjustable gauge BEFORE you remove old blades. This topic has much discussion in WWW, and no reason to repeat details.

Best Luck.

- CaptainKlutz

Ok so I have been watch videos and reading up on this style of 15” planer and I have decided to pull the gear box, cutter head and feed rollers. I plan to clean the rust off the cutter head, replace the cutter head bearings, and all of the bearings inside the gear box. Then I plan to get a rubber outfeed roller and replace those bearings too. In addition to that I plan to put new bearings in on the in feed roller as well. It’s not as hard as I originally thought. I also plan to replace the knives in the cutter head. They are expensive but way less than a $900 spiral cutter head which is not going to happen due to my budget.

My next question is with regards to setting the knives. I wonder if it would be easier to replace and set the knives with the cutter head out of the machine?

I was thinking that I could come up with a cradle of sorts that would be dead flat to hold the cutter head. Then I could use a dial indicator with a magnetic base that I could use to set the knives much the same way as is typically done on a jointer. Would this work?

I have tried the magnetic jigs on my jointer with no success and have always felt much more comfortable using my dial indicator with the magnetic base when setting my jointer knives. I am afraid that by using a magnetic jig on the planer blades that it won’t be precise and they could be off by many thousandths and thus not make a perfectly parrelell surface after being jointed and then planed on the opposit side. I want them dead on. What do you guys think?

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CaptainKlutz

382 posts in 1575 days


#12 posted 07-21-2018 09:26 PM

hmmm, me thinks you are making knife change too complicated:

Why not set knifes inside machine, as mfg intended, and manual explains, with a knife gauge?

Bridgewood parts are available from CH Wilke.
Google shows Jet JWP-15H version knife gauge is available here, and Grizzly G1021 version gauge is also avaiable.

If you do like following mfg manual, There are massive number of existing threads here on LumberJocks site , these range from extreme low cost DIY jig by DonW to using Planer Pals
Bob Vaughn from Fine Woodworking even has complete how to set up a planer video on youtube.

There are many more discussions spread across WWW on planer knife jigs. You can spend many days researching various proven alternatives.

#Unwatch

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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