Breaking Loose a Stuck Shaper Spindle

Sometimes that sucker just doesn't want to come out. Here are a handful of proven ways to persuade it. September 10, 2007

I've just come to possess a1984 Rockwell rs 15. I can't get the spindle out to save my life. Can anyone help me?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor L:
Loosen the nut on the bottom of the spindle 2 turns. Hit it with a deadblow hammer to force the spindle upward. If this doesn't work, you may have to use more brute force and try to shear it loose. Loosen the nut below and remove it, then remove the threaded shaft that the nut was on. Take a piece of wood and place it at the bottom of the spindle above the table top. Then give it a good wrap with your dead blow hammer. This should break the tension holding the spindle tight. If that doesn't work, then apply some penetrating oil inside the spindle taper area and lightly tap the spindle to help the oil penetrate. Wait half an hour to let the oil do its thing. And try everything again. If the oil works, remember to degrease the taper and make it oil free once again. Do not hit the spindle at the top, this will make it have a bend and it will need to be replaced.

From contributor D:
I had the same problem with my Rockwell shaper. In addition to what contributor L did, I also drilled a hole in the center of a piece of oak so the spindle could pass through, then installed the nut. This put upward pressure on the spindle. Then tap the bottom of the tie rod nut with a dead blow hammer. It should pop out.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for responding to my call for help. My problem is that there is no drawbolt/tierod on the Rockwell/Invicta or its cousin Delta ws 4. It works with a single nut to keep the spindle taper in the shaft. I believe the taper to be seized from years of neglect. I am seeking a cure for this particular disaster or the page from the manual that explains spindle changes.

From contributor U:
I would be surprised if the manual dealt with stuck spindles. It would probably say loosen nut and lift out... Have you tried the above idea of installing a drilled board on the spindle with the nut, then lowering it? I did that to pull the whole spindle assembly using a forklift on a recent rebuild where rust and a broken height adjuster made it impossible to budge otherwise.

From contributor E:
Another rendition of contributor D's idea. Get a pipe nipple that is about the same diameter of the spindle cartridge or bearing housing and short enough that you can still screw the nut on with a couple of thick, flat washers. The washers must be able to span the pipe nipple. Use your spindle nut like a puller. By doing it this way you are not exerting a lot of strain on the lifting mechanism. Be sure to put some kind of lube between the nut and washers on the threads.

From the original questioner:
Thanks again. I tried everything suggested here but couldn't apply enough torque to get the spindle to pop. Before I got to the bigger hammer stage of machine bashing, I decided to remove shaft spindle and all. I've entrusted the whole works to a friend whose machine shop deals with boat shafts, so now it's out of my hands. I guess you just have to know when you're beat. I shall report further.

From contributor B:
I also had a RS15 which someone left outside and rusted up pretty solid. Was really scrap metal, but I am a Scot and hate to see a deal go by. So I took it and couldn't even see the rings in the table. Spindle was rusted in and even water in the whole bearing housing/quill.

Machine shop guy told me to use dilute hydrochloric acid to break the rust. It has almost no surface tension so it seeps into any crack or seam. He was right; it freed up all the parts and I was able to totally tear the bugger down and rebuild it. Absolutely one of the stupidest things I ever did. I later picked up a SCMI T-110 with a poor feeder in very good working order for 650.00. Of course I didn't get to work on it, though.

Anyway, the acid approach does work. Neutralize with bleach after and wash down and dry afterward, sand, buff, and wax and you're pretty well good to go. Watch the fumes -can't be good for you.

Oh yeah, Muriatic acid (sold as a cleaner for masonry at many home stores or hardware/builder supplies) is dilute hydrochloric acid. Also, Delta has the manuals and will fax out what you need and also have many parts still in stock.

From contributor V:
When the spindle on my SCMI shaper seizes, I place a large cutter head (without knives inserted) on the spindle with no spacers installed.

Next I install the top arbor nut that would hold the cutterhead in place if spacers were used. The cutterhead can now slide up and down on the arbor shaft... about 4" I think on my 1 1/4" spindle.

Then I just simply slide the cutterhead up hard against the nut a few times and the spindle taper breaks free. Of course I've already loosened the spindle taper locking nut.