Wadkin Repair Calibration Part 4.

Machine maintenance

In this Clip I show the method that I use to calibrate the rise and fall table with the cutter block. This is crucial as it requires the bed to be parrallel to the cutter across its full width.

Calibrating and Operating Old Woodworking Machines

In this discussion, I will be addressing the process of calibrating and operating older woodworking machines, specifically focusing on the example of the Watkins machine. Ensuring accurate calibration is crucial for producing high-quality workpieces. Here’s a structured breakdown of the steps involved:

  1. Setting the Foundation: I recently had to reposition a fence on the woodworking table. With this task complete, the next step involves calibrating the machine to ensure precision in the cutting process.

  2. Parallel Alignment: A key factor in calibration is ensuring that the timber running through the machine is parallel on both the left and right sides. Any variance in this alignment can result in a wedge-shaped board, rendering it unusable.

  3. Adjusting the Table: Unlike altering the fixed height (H), calibration involves adjusting the table itself. This can be done in the case of the Watkins machine by working with the rise and fall mechanism, which is divided into two parts for individual calibration on the left and right sides.

  4. Calibration Technique: To achieve accurate calibration, I employ a technique involving a piece of timber cut into three-foot lengths. By running each length independently through the machine, making sure the rollers are in the neutral position to avoid interference, I assess the differential between the two pieces of timber.

  5. Measuring and Adjusting: Once the timber pieces are processed, I compare them using Vernier calipers or tactile evaluation. The goal is to attain a precise difference between the two pieces, indicating proper calibration.

  6. Fine-Tuning: Calibration is an iterative process. I repeatedly adjust the machine, measuring, and processing the timber until I reach a near-microscopic level of accuracy.

  7. Calibration Markers: During this process, I use a white pencil to mark the rings on the machine’s discs. By turning the discs and making calculated adjustments, I align the machine’s components to achieve the desired calibration.

  8. Balancing Cut Depths: An important aspect of calibration is balancing the cut depths on different sides. For instance, if one side resulted in a deeper cut than the other, I would adjust the calibration to even out the cutting process.

  9. Microscopic Precision: The objective of this calibration process is to attain an extremely fine level of accuracy. Even minute differences are crucial to achieving a perfectly sized end product.

  10. Tactile Feedback: As part of the evaluation, I also rely on tactile feedback. By feeling the calibrated timber pieces, I can assess their precision and make further adjustments if necessary.

In conclusion, calibrating older woodworking machines demands a meticulous approach to ensure the alignment and precision necessary for creating high-quality products. The technique involves adjusting the table, comparing processed timber, making calculated adjustments, and fine-tuning until microscopic accuracy is achieved. This calibration process is a critical step in the woodworking workflow, ensuring the creation of flawless workpieces.

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