Using planer at cold temperatures

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Forum topic by Deadend posted 12-20-2017 01:58 AM 1692 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 1097 days

12-20-2017 01:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: planer

I read that a lunchbox planer should not be used below 30 degrees F.
I fired up my Delta 22-590 when it was 45 outside but probably below 30 in the corner of my unheated garage. The temps had been below 30 all nights and most days so the machine was cold.
1/2 inch stock fed just fine but same width 3/4 would not go. This machine was new last spring and worked fine all summer.
Is this a cold temp problem that others have had?
The planer is the only tool in the garage my shop is in a heated basement.
Thank you for you time.

-- I might not do good work, but I'm slow.

6 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile


1715 posts in 1472 days

#1 posted 12-20-2017 08:39 AM

It’s not a planer problem that limits you to 30°F, its that you can’t plain frozen lumber!


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View greenacres2's profile


355 posts in 3051 days

#2 posted 12-20-2017 11:44 AM

I find that as it gets below freezing (lumber warm), the rubber feed rollers don’t seem to grip as well. Small propane bullet heater helps to warm the planer and me—but not my feet.

View Robert's profile


4052 posts in 2364 days

#3 posted 12-20-2017 02:27 PM

Does cold temps affect spring tension?
How about lubrication?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View HorizontalMike's profile


7898 posts in 3797 days

#4 posted 12-20-2017 02:55 PM

I find that I sometimes need to clean the “rubber/synthetic” rollers with Acetone to get the grip back. All depends on how sappy your wood/pine is. And of coarse unplug first, clean, replug cycle on/off, unplug, clean, replug, cycle, etc. It takes a few times to get access to all of the roller faces.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bigblockyeti's profile


6786 posts in 2604 days

#5 posted 12-20-2017 02:56 PM

Spring tension= negligible, lubrication= yes but not to a degree that it will adversely effect the machine’s life. I wouldn’t worry about frozen lumber either, if the moisture content is high enough that it could be viewed as an issue then it’s too wet to plane at any temperature and needs to be dried more. The grip available from the rollers would be the biggest operational issue, warmer= softer, less brittle and grippier. Colder= harder, more brittle (non issue unless they’re old and on the verge of falling apart anyway) and offer less grip. The belt, like old rubber rollers, could fail at very low temperatures if it’s already close to failing anyway. The colder grease in the bearings will require more power to spin but typically warm quickly if they’re offering significant resistance upon startup.

I worked at a lumberyard several years ago and we kept a Powermatic 160 outside under an overhang for doing rough work and it could trip the breaker a couple times in really cold temperature while trying to get going while fighting stiff drive belts and cold grease in several bearings but after it was going we’d let it run for a couple minutes before putting it to work and all worked just fine.

To satisfy my own curiosity after the breaker tripped twice one very cold morning, I put an ammeter on one of the wire to check the draw immediately after successful startup and it was pulling 22amps under no load with a rating of 24FLA. I checked it again after running hard for a couple hours and it was pulling 15.5amps under no load so there was a good bit of power going toward fighting the resistance created by the cold temperature.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Deadend's profile


17 posts in 1097 days

#6 posted 12-20-2017 09:20 PM

Very wise and helpful information.
I neglected to say the poplar lumber came from the heated shop.
I’m leaning toward the ideas of cold feed rollers and lubricant.
My buddy just bought a Griz GO454 sooo I’ll be visiting him a lot till spring!

-- I might not do good work, but I'm slow.

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