Delta Planer, Mike Pekovich, Workshop
Comments 7

Repairing My Delta 22-580 Planer

Quite a while ago, I heard some particularly good woodworking advice: “Don’t point out your mistakes.” For the most part, I have stuck to this recommendation ever since. I’ll admit a stupid mistake from time to time (especially while a project is under construction), but mostly, I just keep quiet especially when a friend or acquaintance is looking at a finished project. There was a time when a compliment would be replied with, “Thanks, I had this terrible tear-out down there near the base, you can’t hardly see it, but it’s there.” Or, “I really wanted the quarter-sawn grain on that fine piece of oak to pop more.” Now, I usually just smile and take the compliment.

I do need to come clean on a never before revealed mistake. It’s my new workbench top. While I was bringing the top down to its final thickness, I noticed the top wasn’t flat. In fact it had a strange dip or broad gouge across the face of both tops which make up the split top design. Even though these two top slabs looked flat, I could feel an uneven surface. A straight edge confirmed my suspicion: there was in fact a shallow gouge or cup present. A fix was achieved by simply using the planer at my woodworking guild. But the extra passes through the planer meant my workbench top is not as thick as planned. Instead of the top being 3-1/2″ thick, it is more like 3-1/4″. Not a big deal, but at this point in my woodworking life, this inaccuracy was unwanted.

By the way, there is a good back story on how I obtained my planer. It was a gift from Christopher Lindsay, a woodworker I knew online. I had complained in this blog post about needing a planer (the blog post is dated 11/28/2010). Christopher had one he wasn’t using and offered it to me if I could come get pick it up. Ultimately, I paid the cost of freight and Christopher shipped it to me. It was a kind thing that Christopher did for me.

But for the life of me, I could not explain how this odd surface happened in the first place. My planer is a Delta 22-580. I initially thought the knives had become worn from all the ash and oak I had been sending through it. So I decided to do a little investigation by taking the knives out and inspecting them. This video gives you an idea of the process…

In all the years of using this planer, I haven’t touched these knives, so I suspected it was time for a new set. The knives came out easily and surprisingly, these knives are two-sided. A new edge could be obtained simply by turning them end for end. The first knife did not reveal anything unusual, a couple of nicks in the cutting edge which wasn’t a surprise. But the second knife was a different story…

A clue as to the problem.

A close-up shows wood which shouldn’t be where it is.

When I removed the second knife, there was a sliver of wood under the knife. This wood isn’t supposed to be here; I easily removed it and moved on. The knife is slender and wasn’t bent, but I noticed the mounting bar which holds the knife in place was bent.

The bent mounting bar.

What I think happened is this: while running my workbench front and back stretchers through my planer, I had a pretty severe cut; one that was potentially dangerous (see this blog post). This cut, made in error, took off a large chunk of wood and I think some of it jammed under the blade. Subsequent passes with oak and ash only made the problem worse ultimately bending the mounting bar which is kind of thick steel. This in essence created a curved planer knife causing the odd-shaped cut to my bench top.

I decided to order a new mounting bar to replace the bent one. Since my planer is now getting old, it is not unusual to find that replacement parts have been discontinued, and this was the case with the mounting bar. I did find aftermarket mounting bars at Renovo.com, a company I had never heard of. It took about two weeks to get two new bars; you have to order them in pairs so as to maintain balance on the spinning planer head.

Original mounting bar in front, replacement bars in back.

I attached the new mounting bars and cleaned the rollers and waxed the planer bed. It was time to make a test cut; I picked a piece of ash which had a rough surface…

Before.

After.

You can easily see in the “after” photo a couple of lines indicating nicks in the planer knives, but the surface is otherwise flat and the nicks are acceptable right now. The lines are nothing a card scraper couldn’t easily remove (or a pass with a smoother). I’ll most likely order a new set of knives to get the planer where I really want it to be. I consider this a successful repair and my Delta 22-580 is back in working order. The mounting bars cost $57 including shipping costs.

Back in working order.

The lesson here is that routine tool maintenance is important not only for keeping your tools in like new condition, but keeping them safe as well.

One more thing…

On March 9th and 10th I attended a class at the Alabama Woodworkers Guild. Mike Pekovich was on hand to demonstrate the unique steps for building his display cabinet on stand. The class was sold out and we had several people travel quite a distance to take the class. A big success for our guild and a great time to learn from a master woodworker and designer.

Mike Pekovich at the table saw.

His kumiko tools.

I got Mike to sign my copy of his book.

Pretty cool stuff. In my copy of his book “The Why and How of Woodworking” Mike wrote, “Jeff, It’s a great craft without an end of challenges.” So true.

Still one more thing…

I have added a banner in the right sidebar of my blog formally announcing a service where I will custom design woodworking plans for individuals. I have begun calling the plans I make “woodworking guides” since they guide the woodworker through the process for completing a project. My starting fee for project design is $75 and plan documentation starts at an additional $75. Complex designs or lengthy plans will have a higher fee. I receive requests for design and plan service a few times a year and in some cases I have actually created custom plans for individuals. I don’t expect this to be a lucrative endeavour but if I can make a little money and help a woodworker build something, then that’s a win, win.

* * * * *

Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

7 Comments

  1. A bent bar? Wow. I wouldn’t have expected that. Glad to hear you’ve got it running. I finally bought a planner last year – I love having one in the shop.

    • Yep, I thought that was odd too. I wondered if it had always been bent which would have allowed the wood to jam under the knife but when I removed the bar, all the screws were super tight. So who knows.

      • That’s a possibility I hadn’t considered. Makes more sense that it was damaged at installation rather than operation. It would be a lot of force to bend a bar while planning.

  2. Chuck Decker says

    I mentioned this in your earlier post when you announce your intention to do this project; what was your experience in testing for parallel across the width of the cut?

    It’s been my experience with 2 different planers that the factory table-to-blade calibration is NOT parallel at all. That is, if I ran a 13 inch wide board (about 1 1/2″ thick) through the planer one edge will be thicker than the opposite edge by .005-.015 of an inch. That much difference can cause much grief later. The factory seems to not train their call center on how to address this problem, and different brands require different steps to correct this, so I was on my own.

    Did you use a digital caliper to test for parallel? What did you find? Did you attempt to adjust it?

    Chuck

    • Hey Chuck, as I said in the post, I am pleased with how the planer is working. I don’t own a digital caliper, have never owned a digital caliper and in the nine years I have owned it, I have never checked this machine to the level you mention. And I have not experienced any significant issues with it being out of parallel.

      • Chuck Decker says

        LOL. 😊😊 Heaven knows that you do great work! 👍

        Man, I obsess over that kind of thing. If one edge of a board is thicker than the other side it will not be square with another board. Eventually, there will be a gap in the project which was caused by this minute difference.

        In fact, I will run the boards through the planer multiple times (reversing directions each time) until I don’t hear any material being removed. After all the knives will necessarily leave little valleys along the length of the board. (You can even see them.) Then I use the Wixey Digital Caliper along both edges at multiple points until the variances are as small as possible. Only then do I plane and cut the edges to final width.

        Chuck

        • My personal view currently is that none of the mass-produced hobby woodworking tools are going to be precision tools. I once saw online where a guy was complaining about miter saws available from a big box store, that none of them were square to their fence. I am not sure if mine is truly square. But I know that it isn’t a problem for me. Other people want the tools to be more accurate, and that is OK. It is sort of a sad state of how power tool are these days. The guild I belong to got a new wide belt sander and had a major issue with it. Took quite a while to get it running right. Thanks for your comment.

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