Wood Tech Enterprises - 70 Duro Polyurethane (Rating: 5)

I was having a problem with my planer's infeed roller leaving marks on my work pieces on the outfeed end. Apparently this is a very common problem, not just with my brand/model of planer (Grizzly 15"), but with many other brands as well. It seems the new industry standard for infeed rollers is to produce them with these rather aggressive serrations that end up embossing the wood surface. If you don't take a rather substantial cut, the embossing will still be very prevalent after the work piece exits the machine. I have read numerous similar accounts online from other woodworkers. I even brought the subject up to a vendor representative at a recent woodworking show, and I was told that nearly all planers are made with these serrated infeed rollers now. I thought I had the problem licked by adjusting the height of the infeed roller, but I still occasionally got the marks when I try to take a very light cut. You cannot totally eliminate the downward pressure the roller exerts on the wood, or the piece won't feed. My old planer was a Jet 13" model that had a rubber like covering on the infeed roller. I never had a problem with marks on the wood from that planer. So, I started exploring how to get a similar roller for the new 15" planer. What I found was a company called Wood Tech Enterprises Inc. P.O. Box 2226. 15 Khristy Scott Lane. Fairview, NC 28730. From their website:

Woodtech Offers Feed Rollers, and Hold Down Rollers for most any woodworking application and machine. Look to us for reliability, long-life, and economical solutions to material feeding.

They specialize in a Polyurethane roller material specifically for the woodworking industry. So, I decided to see if they could create a new infeed roller for me. Instead of having them machine a new roller from scratch, I ordered a factory direct replacement from Grizzly. I then had a machinist turn the diameter of the new roller down from 1.97" to 1.5", which eliminated the serrations, and left a smooth round surface. I sent that freshly machined roller to Wood Tech and they covered it with a sleeve of 70 Durometer Polyurethane. It ended up being much less expensive than I thought it would be, and swapping the old roller out with the new one was a breeze. 30 minutes, start to finish. I am very pleased with the results. I am posting this here because, based on my internet research into the problem, there are many other woodworkers who might also benefit from this conversion. Call or e-mail Wood Tech and talk to Craig.