Powermaster 160 Infeed Roller Wear

Advice on getting a second-hand Powermaster planer into working shape. October 19, 2013

I sold my old Powermaster #100 and upgraded to a larger #160. Machine was equipped with quiet head and segmented infeed and chipbreaker and wasn't running at purchase. I have two related questions.

1. Infeed roller
When I disassembled the roller to replace the pins and springs, I noted considerably more wear in the inside of some segments than others. Moved the most worn ones outboard to even out the wear and the various segments are now far closer to being in the same plane. Is uneven wear a common thing in these rollers and at what point should a segment be replaced? Really hoping to avoid that since I already have over $200 in the roller.

2. Knife grinding
I suspect the head lock was retrofit since it's gold and the rest of the machine is green. Lock has a knurled wheel with S, R and P positions. I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, that this is related to using the grinder to create both the hollow grind and the finished edge rather than using the honing fixture for the latter. What do these letters indicate? PM doesn't support any of the US made machines, so I'm in the dark here.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor R:
Regarding the infeed rollers I am not sure the area of wear you are talking about. I had a lot of wear in the holes of the fluted shaft that runs through the rollers. This was not practical to fix and it prevented the rollers from moving correctly (I found this out after spending over $100 on springs and pins). Considering the expense of replacing it, my solution was to replace it with a solid infeed roll and sell the old one on Ebay for parts. The segmented roller is truly a double edge sword, considering its complexity and the expense of maintaining it, not to mention the little springs shooting through the air when reassembling. If you don't require the ability to simultaneously shove a bunch of random thickness narrow boards through it, you would do well to replace it. It is very common whether solid or segmented for uneven wear to occur, usually in the center as many don't bother to use the whole width of the planer and just mindlessly shove everything down the middle. If the wear is on the outer circumference, or inner for that matter, I would take a pragmatic approach and as long as they are functioning properly I would leave them alone.

I do not have the quiet head, however I am pretty sure the sharpening is the same. You first will joint the knives. This is done with the cutterhead running. After jointing you will use the indexing pin to hold in position while regrinding the back bevel. As far as the indexing pin goes, there are two positions, simply engaged or disengaged. If it is not working properly, you can disassemble and adjust. It has been awhile since I worked on mine, but it was pretty straightforward, I remember that much.

Good luck with your machine. In my opinion it is still one of the best designs out there.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. Unlike the case with your old head, the wear in mine is on the inside of the segments at the point of contact with the pin. Comparing the old (probably original) pins with the new ones, I suspect PM went with a softer metal on the later iteration so that the pins, rather than the feed segments, would get the wear. In any case, your point about just switching to a solid infeed is well taken. I really have no need for multiple board feeding capability with my volume of work. I suspect the guy at the school that originally ordered the planer said "give me the works" regardless of actual requirements. Plan to keep my eye out for a decent parts machine, but may have to eventually bite the bullet and get a new one made. Not anxious to be dealing with those 96 little springs again anytime soon, although I did eventually figure out a relatively quick way to do it.

From contributor R:
Seems your problem is similar to mine. My wear was in the holes in the shaft, while yours is in the rollers. This did not allow the roller to float smoothly about the shaft. I suspect when your wear gets advanced enough, if it isn't already, you will see the same symptoms and will need to replace the offending rollers.

There is a company in Atlanta - Redmond and Sons - that carries parts for that machine.