Mike Bourbonnais's jointer build
Mike Bourbonnais writes:
My name is Michael Bourbonnais. I'm writing from southern California, first of all to thank you for maintaining woodgears.ca. The work you put into the site shows, I always look forward to the weekly updates. Secondly, I'm writing to show off my new homemade 13" jointer, built from your design. I'm new to woodworking; about a year and a half ago, I was searching the internet for a method of making my own gears, and of course, I found woodgears.ca. It wasn't long before I had read every article, and, long story short, I now have a garage full of woodworking tools. Just a modest collection, but one which I can now boast includes a 13" jointer. Anyhow, I've included just one picture of it, but I've got tons more, and I can do a little write up of the construction too if you're interested. Thanks for all the inspiration! -Mike
That machine certainly looks nice, so I took Mike up on the offer to write more!
There are a few components I did a bit differently, but for the most part, I just used the pictures you posted as a guide. It started with a 13" Delta thickness planer, courtesy of a good deal on Craigslist. After planing every piece of wood I had, I stripped the planer down to just the good stuff.
After searching far and wide for a store that sells serpentine belts of the correct size, I finally found a washing machine repair shop (within walking distance of my house) that had a suitable belt, albeit about twice as long as I was looking for. But I gave the guy $5 for it, and he couldn't be happier about selling an old belt.
With all my parts gathered, my first challenge was making the bearing blocks. My circle cutter wouldn't cut a perfectly flat-sided hole, so I cut a template, and used it in conjunction with my router to refine the sides. I ended up with a nice, snug fit the very first time.
I had some issues with belt fluttering on my jointer, and was curious if the Mike's longer belt made this worse. Mike answered:
Yes, my belt is borderline ridiculous, but it hasn't given me much grief. At first, I cranked the tensioner as hard as I felt comfortable doing. The belt would routinely hop over one notch, and I'd be warned by a faint rubber smell. But, I loosened the belt a bit, and haven't had it derail since, so I think I just had to find that happy tension. We'll see what happens when the belt wears... As far as fluttering, given the length of the belt, I assume there is a fair amount of funny business going on behind that guard, but as long as it stays on its side of the guard, I'll stay on mine. With a history of skipping, I'm not too keen to take the cover off and have a look. There is no noticeable noise from the belt, so I assume it's within reason. I believe it's a polyurethane belt, but I'm not 100% sure.
The next challenge was the parallelogram mechanism: the arms were laid out using a wooden template, and the side pieces were drilled using a doweling jig. Everything went together fairly smoothly, despite my less-than-perfect methods.
I must comment — that's a very clever trick for consistently marking the
centers of the holes of the brackets!
The infeed crank and the belt tension knob are installed with ball-bearings. After I got everything assembled, I gave it a try. A little bit of tweaking, and the machine worked quite well.
Gluing the trim around the table
My belt tensioner is extremely hard to get a picture of while assembled, so you'll have to use your imagination, but it consists of a threaded rod which pulls a wedge, which pushes the motor down, which tensions the belt. The whole thing may be overkill, but I had fun making it, and it works well.
I went ahead and made a crude SketchUp model of the belt tension mechanism. It's very basic, as it's the first real model I've made in SketchUp aside from following tutorials, but I think it will be easier to understand with a 3d model, so I threw one together. I've included that model.
(I prettied up the CAD model of the tensioner slightly).
I thought long and hard about how to do the tensioner on mine. Given the circumstances, I might have come up with something similar. But the way the front of the motor was shaped, I wanted to keep it in the same orientation as in the planer on mine, and that meant the pivoting shaft had to be on the bottom left, which made things a little awkward.
After I made a huge pile of shavings, it was time for paint and poly. Three coats of oil-based, and lots of green paint. I decided on green as a bit of an homage to its inspiration, and I also happen to think it's a suiting color for a homemade tool.
I also added a nice big chip collection box. As you can see, I skipped making the guard. I just pull the fence up to the width that I want to cut and the rest of the blade stays behind it. Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment.
Thanks for showing interest, I worked hard on it and I'm quite proud.
I'm very pleased with it, I use it almost every time I'm in the shop. I've emptied that chip catch about 4 times so far, so it's been pretty well broken in with no real problems so far.
It is a bit underpowered when cutting hardwood at full capacity, but it still gets the job done.
Stephen Suber's Homemade jointer