As promised, I am blogging today about a new piece of equipment that I just purchased for the shop. It will amaze some to know that I have never owned a jointer. It was never a matter of not wanting one; no, it was that I wasn’t able to find the one I was after. What is the one? A Porter 20” Jointer, and I have been hunting for it for the past 15 years.
During that time, I have come across a couple of them. However, something always seemed to interfere with the actual acquisition of one. So, I continued to do all of my jointing by hand. Not a bad way to do it, but a jointer sure would have made life easier.
A few months ago, during a casual search on Craigslist, I came across a General (Canadian) 16” jointer. I know. I know. It’s not the Porter. It’s not 20 inches. It’s not the dream jointer. But, the timing was perfect, it was only three hours away from my location, and it was within my budget. When life throws good things your way, always jump at the chance. So, I jumped; hooked up the trailer; loaded up the straps; picked up Lauren, long-time shop helper and friend; and headed south to get it.
Well, we got the General back to the shop and unloaded and in a pre set up position. There might be a teeny tiny issue with space...as in I don’t have enough. It’s fine. I will just notch a hole in the shop wall for now. Eventually, I will have to build an extension onto my shop to house my dust collector (Stay tuned for a future post on this project.) and truly make enough room, but for now, the General is squeezed in.
With the jointer roughly where it needed to go, I couldn’t wait to get it up and running. So, I tore into the machine to see what I was dealing with. It didn’t take me long to realize that the General was in need of new bearings, and since I had it apart why not order a new Byrd Shelix cutter head. I found exactly what I was looking for online, and ordered my cutter from Hans at mywoodcutters.com. Hans and the company were great to deal with throughout the ordering process. The Bryd cutter took about two months to get to me. It was one of my quicker online ordering encounters, and with the great product that I got it was well worth a little wait. When the cutter finally got here, I installed it and started up the beast. That lasted two seconds. The belt had no interest in staying on and jumped itself right off the pulley.
This belt jumping happened for several reasons. One, despite ordering the same tri-banded belt configuration as what came on the machine, it was the wrong configuration for the 3 groove pulley. And two, the motor was also mounted in the wrong position, resulting in the pulleys being misaligned anyway. To correct the problem, I repositioned the motor to align the pulleys. Part of this repositioning meant that I had to grind down a motor bracket on my disc sander, and I might have almost caught my sander on fire during the process… What can I say? I’m a wood guy not a metal guy. But, I got everything remounted and aligned properly. Unfortunately, the banded belt still didn’t work, so four hours and who knows how many auto parts stores later, I got 3 single belts of the right size, got them attached, and turned on "The General".
This is going to be great..See you next time in the shop!