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Tip #159
Thickness Planer Tune-Up

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Tuning your Shopsmith Thickness Planer for optimal performance:

Although the Shopsmith Thickness Planer may not be one of the most frequently used tools in your shop, Planers are complex machines that take a lot of punishment. In addition, they do require a bit more lubrication than most machines, as well as frequent cleaning. Here's what we suggest:


  • Your Planer has several parts that require periodic lubrication. The following parts should all be lubricated using powdered graphite or silicone lubricant.
  • NOTE: If powdered graphite or silicone lubricants are not available, one or two drops of 10W machine oil may be used on each of these parts - NO MORE !

Here are the components:

    • The Roller Arm Bushings (at either end of the Rollers)
    • The Mounting Post Bushings (in the Tie Bars)
    • The threads of the Mounting Posts
  • The Synchronizing Chain must be lubricated with 10W machine oil. Wipe the entire chain with an oily rag...then wipe again with a clean rag to remove any excess oil.
  • The Cutterhead Bearings are sealed and require no lubrication.

Cleaning & Waxing:
As you work with your Planer, dust and pitch will accumulate in many locations. It's important (especially in a garage or damp basement environment) that you keep your Planer fairly clean and free of accumulated this can attract moisture and create rust. For that reason, it's always a good idea to use a shop vacuum and air hose to remove as much of this excess dust as possible after each use.

Every three to four months, you should use a top quality furniture paste wax to coat the Table, Tie Bars, and Cutterhead. Be careful not to use too much wax, and be certain to buff everything out thoroughly. environment on the Tires, Blade Guides and Blades, affecting your machine's performance. Fine sawdust will dry out bearings and cause them to wear prematurely - and pitch on Blades, Blade Guides and Tires.

We recommend that you use a stiff bristle brush (discarded "firm" toothbrushes are ideal for this) and mineral spirits to remove impacted dust from Tires, Guides, Blades

As-Required Maintenance:

  • Knife Sharpening - No Knives will last forever. Eventually, your Knives will dull to the point where they will have to be sharpened or replaced. Your Manual includes step-by-step procedures for proper Knife removal, sharpening and re-installation. The Shopsmith Planer/Jointer Knife Sharpener makes easy work of this task. Or, as an alternative, you can have them sharpened professionally.

Maintenance Schedule:
Here is our suggested maintenance schedule for your Shopsmith Thickness Planer. In all cases "Hours" means hours of running time:

  • If you notice an unusual noise or vibration, stop the machine immediately and check the Locking Screws, Bearings, Knife positions and other adjustments. Do NOT operate your Planer until you have corrected the problem.
  • Every 1 hour of running time, brush/blow out the Planer completely
  • Every 5 hours, Repeat previous steps - plus - clean the pitch from the Cutterhead. Wax the Tie Bars and Cutterhead. Inspect the Knives and sharpen or re-grind, if necessary.
  • Every 10 hours, Repeat previous steps - plus - Check Knife positions, Knife Mounting Screws and Wedges. Check Thickness Scale alignment. Check and adjust (if required) Synchronizing Chain tension and Roller pressure.
  • Every 100 hours, Repeat previous steps - plus - Lubricate Synchronizing Chain, Roller Arm Bushings, Mounting Post Bushings and Mounting Post threads.

If you're having problems with your Shopsmith Planer, start by referring to the Troubleshooting Chart in your Owner's Manual. If you are unable to find the solution to your problem there...or of you don't have an Owner's Manual, please feel free to call our TOLL-FREE Technical Services Hotline at 1-800-762-7555 for assistance.

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