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I finally replaced the cutter head in my jointer

Barry Irby
Back before Christmas I started on the replacement of the cutter head in my 46 year old Rockwell 6" long bed jointer. Byrd company had about five slightly different versions for that machine since it had been manufactured by many different companies including Delta. To be certain I got the correct head they suggested I send in the old head. I sent it, thinking I would have the head back on a couple of weeks and be working again in January. They arrived several days ago and I just finished installing them this morning. I had them install new bearings.

Reinstalling them went about as smoothly as it could. I put a new belt and pulley on at the same time. The original pulley had come loose and worn the shaft on the cutter head down to practically a triangle.

The new head and bearings dropped into place. Had to move the motor up about 1/2" to accommodate the new belt and pulley. The usual difficulty getting to the bolts that hold the motor. Laid it over on its side to get to the bolts and then stood it back up.

Tried it out on a piece of poplar and then on a walnut crotch. A very minimal trial but by that time life was calling and I had other places to be. It seems to work very well. Very smooth on both pieces. Very impressed with the snarly piece of crotch wood. Did a good job with almost not tear out no matter which way I ran it.

The pressure it takes to push the wood through seemed to be about the same as always. Cutting a piece of crotch wood about four inches wide did seem to load the machine. I think the motor was slowing a bit, but not enough to be a problem.

The head cost $438 delivered with new bearings pressed into place. So far I am entirely satisfied. It would have taken a significant part of that to get the old shaft built up and turned true again and I hated changing the old knives.

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