Monday, October 29, 2007

Table Saw is Running

No time for a full write-up right now, but I got the Rockwell table saw component of my combo running. After running some test scrap wood through it I found it to be MUCH nicer than my Black & Decker 8" Benchmount table saw!

I'll get a write-up with pics and everything soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Completing the Rockwell Jointer

The jointer is ready to go!

I forgot to put the model and serial numbers in the previous posts, so...

  • Rockwell Model 4 Jointer
  • Model No: 37-290
  • Serial No: KW6690
Anyway, while the most time consuming part of "restoring" this tool was resurfacing the fence and wings, figuring out how to take it apart and put it back together was actually more difficult.

The fence is obvious. Just a block of steel that slides along the end of one of the wings, and is tightened by a cap nut and cam lever.

The outfeed wing came off easily. Remove the 3 setscrews, use a screwdriver to push the aluminum bushing plate out through the bottom, unscrew the adjustment knob all the way, and lift the wing out. The photo on the left shows the three setscrews and the photo below shows the bushing peeking out (arrow).

In fact, it was so easy I didn't mention it in my previous post.

The infeed side wasn't as forgiving. The hook that goes around the cutter head kept it from being fully backed out like the outfeed wing. So I had to find another solution.

When I flipped the jointer over, I found that each wing had 2 bolts. Happily, a 13mm socket fit it since I had lent my SAE tools to a friend. The two bolts attached the part the adjustment screw threaded through. Removing the bolts allowed me to lift the wing off once the setscrews and bushing were removed.

Now that I was down to the core of the jointer, I had to figure out how to get the cutter head out. Turned out to be easy. There are two long threaded rods that go down through the casting from the cutter head and just have nuts with lock washers under them.

I also removed the riser base. It's a cast iron skirt that raises the jointer up to where the pulley is at the same height as the one in the table saw, allowing the use of the shared motor.

With everything apart, I scrubbed it up with Purple Power cleaner. The paint was in excellent condition, so other than cleaning, I didn't do anything else. I did find some runs from resin or something that wouldn't come clean. (I doubt it's resin but whatever). It appeared it would take an abrasive or something to get it off. The risk of damaging the paint wasn't worth making more effort to remove it. It's purely cosmetic, so I'm leaving it along.

As I mentioned before, this is *NOT* a true restoration, but is instead a "let's clean it up and use it".

I applied a dry lubricant per the instructions on the bottle: Spray the components, work them through the full range of motion, remove and spray again, let dry. This product in the photo worked great.

Once everything was dry, I reassembled the jointer. It moves smoothly, the tables don't move at all once set (the set screws on the bushings can be tightened to increase the resistance if necessary, or loosened to reduce the resistance.)

I can't wait to finish the table saw so I can try this puppy out!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Resurfacing the Rockwell 4" Jointer

The rust on the horizontal surfaces of my "new" Rockwell combo saw/jointer was worse than I expected. In some places it penetrated pretty deep.

I initially tried to use steel wool and mineral spirits. No real luck . Then I brought out the heavy guns...

I used a 3m Rust Stripper wheel attached to my drill. Working it so the brush marks ran in the same direction as the workpiece will travel, I slowly removed every trace of rust from the iron surface.

What I was left with was a brushed steel look. Smooth enough probably, but I wanted it smoother.

I started with 220 grit wet or dry paper, lubricated with mineral spirits. I did one pass across the brush marks from the rust removal, and one with the brush marks, rinsing the paper with mineral spirits each direction change.

Using that method, I worked up through 400 grit, 800 grit, and finally polished with 2000 grit. The end result was a nearly mirror shine. I was tempted to go one step further and use my buffing wheels but thought that would be too too much.

The photo at right shows the texture of the jointer's fence. You can still clearly see the mill marks. But while they're visible under some conditions, in the next photo you can see just how smooth the surface really is.

I only got to the fence and the outfeed wing on the jointer last night, but there was some trial and error involved that I had to work through. I'll finish the infeed side tonight, and this weekend clean up the guts and paint.

The Rockwell Family Has Moved In!

This set was from the mid 70's I think.

9" Table Saw with a tilting arbor
4" Jointer
1 HP dual pulley motor (single phase)
Stand to tie it all together.

Aside from the rust on the table saw's top and the jointer's wings, the thing is *really* clean.

The following posts will document my efforts at getting this gear ready for use. I'm not calling it a restoration, because I don't want the stuff to look like new. I want it to be functional and clean. The paint is in excellent shape throughout, so no need to re-paint.

All the bearings and gearing move smoothly, if a bit stiff. Who knows when the last time this thing was run. But no rust on the gears that I can see.

The motor feels tight and when plugged in spins up instantly and quietly. The cords are clean and undamaged as well.

All said, I'm happy with this purchase. Now time to start getting it ready!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Inbox for the desk

I just started a new job (at a church!!!), but am at a temporary "desk". What does that mean? A folding steel table, an old eMac, a chair, and a phone.


I've got papers scattered all over the table, so I decided to toss together a little inbox to help control the flurry of printouts.

The vertical posts are scraps of my blue mahoe wood left over from my pen holder. The rest is purpleheart I picked up at Rockler, and the shelves are 1/4" lumber core birch ply. I used my "new" scroll saw to cut out the shapes in the shelves and dowels between the posts and the horizontal bars.

Finish is a wipe on semi-gloss poly.

I made this without any plans, drawings, etc. Just a general idea in my head of what I wanted and I started cutting. So there are a few oopsies in there, but I like it. I think I'll revisit this later and draw a proper plan. My wife is kinda jealous so I need to make one out of oak and ebony (or ebonized wood) for her roll-top desk.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The $20 Scroll Saw

Yep. $20.

I love Craigslist!

It's an old 80's (I believe) Craftsman hobby scroll saw. It uses 3" pinned blades, has a tilting table, a nice long throat, and something I've never seen before: A mount for a disc sander!

If anybody reading this has a line on getting the disc sander attachment, PLEASE let me know! (Post a comment, or email me at durocshark at gmail dot com )

The seller of this saw complained that it didn't cut smoothly. When I got it home I discovered why... The saw blade had a kink in it. A quick run to Ace Hardware for blades and I was cutting smooth.

I do have a couple issues with it, though they could be because I've never had a scroll saw before.

The first thing is mass. Because it's a hobby saw, it doesn't really have enough mass to be stable during use. I found clamping it to my bench made a real difference.

Second is noise. It's MUCH louder than either of my handheld jigsaws. This could also be a function of the lack of mass.

Last is the blade jams easily. It grabs the wood and the wood with the blade attached goes up and down instead of just the blade. I think it's a horsepower thing. This saw is only 1.4 amps, not much power.

But the good news is that with care it works quite well. I've mostly just done 'foolin' around' cuts to learn how to work with the saw. Avoiding the blade jams was a technique I really needed and I think I have it down now.

Hopefully soon I'll be able to apply it to a neat project!