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Rockwell (SCMI) RC63 Planer10/5
I recently bought a 25" RC63 planer, circa 1984, to replace my 1919 Fay and Egan 24"
It seemed like a no brainer. The babbit had been rebuilt before I got the F&E 30 years ago and was still going strong, but the feed roll adjustments were never right and the bed was quite worn. A beautiful and soulful planer, despite its flaws.
A couple issues with the SCMI:
Issue 2: How do you set the knives on this beast? My F&E had setscrews that pressed their pointed heads sideways against the gibs, the SCMI has jack screws that bear directly against the gibs. The difference made the action of adjusting knives so much easier to handle that I could get within 0.002" easily, within 0.001" if I tried. With the SCMI I was lucky to get to 0.005", and that was after 6 hours work. What process do you use? A magnetic saddle setter or guage that rests on the cutterhead? I've been using an indicator resting on the bed, which means snugging the knives enough that I can tap them up until they indicate right, then watching them jump as I tighten the jackscrews. Cue cursing, start over.
Oh, and did I mention the four hours spent scrubbing old oil off the gibs and cutterhead so that I could adjust the knives at all?
Only advice I can really give is if you can find a grinder for your machine get it!
I have a 20" SCM w/ grinder and knife setting is quick and easy. I use the jig that came with the machine to get the knives in the right neighborhood then grind them all to exact height.
Also as simple as it seems wax the table frequently. If I'm planing a lot of hardwoods I find I'll have to wax every couple of hours. Even if the knives are still sharp boards will start hanging up and require me to "help" them through. I don't often plane rough surfaces so I keep my bed rollers down so they just barley kiss the wood.
I have an RC-63 with a Byrd head installed, so it was pretty simple to go through and get the pressure bar and chipbreaker set off of the cutterhead (since the cutting circle will always be the same). I found that the pressure bar had worn in the center, and had to be filed flat. Doing all of this helped the feed consistently. The way I have it set up now, there is very minimal snipe and the bed rollers are just a few thousandths above the bed.
You sure it's an SCMI. All the ones I've seen were originally Invicta from Brazil.
I always keep the bedrolls a few thousandths above the table and constantly keep the bed waxed.
In 40 years I've never even considered setting knives from the table. I have an indicator base that straddles the head. I always keep a little pressure on the gibs and start with knives a bit high and tap them down with a piece of wood. When I finish tighten them down they don't creep at all. I stopped using jack screws years ago when I started changing knives in Crescent jointers because there were none. Always start high and tap the knives down. I can change four 24" knives in a leisurely half hour and get it within .0005" On our RC63 it has the spprings under the knives and I just the straddle gauge it came with to push the knives down and tighten the gibs. Gets it within a few thousandths and can change the 4 knives in 15 minutes.