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15" Buffalo Planer

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Forum topic by Jason Lester posted 03-06-2019 10:26 PM 868 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


03-06-2019 10:26 PM

Hey everyone I have a question about setting the blades on my 15” Buffalo planner.

The planer was made in the 80’s I believe. I picked it up from a guy here in Cincinnati for what I believe was a pretty good price. I knew I would have to do a few things to it to get it right. It was wired 220 but that was easy to switch to 120 for now. (planning on wiring to my garage/shop one of these days)

This is the rather generic designed that are still out there today. I think Grizzly’s is the G0453 and Jet makes one similar etc.

The planer runs good and everything seems to work as it should except that the blades and Gibs were out of it when I got it. It has a hole under where the blades go that may have been for a spring of some sort (no threads so it isn’t a screw. I have everything but that part that would have been in there.

So I also have everything together but setting these blades has got me stumped. I bought a set of jigs but they aren’t small enough for the space I have to work. I am probably overthinking it too. But I know the height Grizzly recommends above the cutter-head is something like .059 so that seems pretty precise. I’m a little at a loss for how to correctly set these since I have no reference to go from. I have new blades but will likely install the old ones first. As much for practice so I don’t mess the new ones up I guess.

Any tips for this? I wish it had the set screws in there. Maybe I could tap the hole and put one in just to make it easier?

Thanks in advance.

BTW I paid less for this thing then most of the cheaper new 12” ones you see at the big box stores. Hence the willingness to do a little work on it :)

-- Jason


30 replies so far

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runswithscissors

3072 posts in 2537 days


#1 posted 03-06-2019 10:49 PM

If you can’t readily find springs to go under those knives, try the little springs that some ball point pens have. You may have to remove or loosen the chip breaker or other part that interferes with the knife setting jig.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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CaptainKlutz

1892 posts in 2006 days


#2 posted 03-07-2019 12:16 AM

Welcome to the challenge of refurbishing old wood working tools.

1st: I am not an expert,
but I have rebuilt a couple of 15” planers over the years, including (1) Grizzy, (1) General, and (1) Delta. Currently have a 15” Powermatic torn down in my shop for new bearings.

Here is what I have learned that might help?

All the import 15” planers from 70’s till ~90’s were made only 2-3 Taiwan based companies. They still make the same designs today with minor improvements. These same companies even have plants in China making same planers, at least until the China tariffs hit. Regardless, it doesn’t matter if it is an old Jet, PowerMatic, Delta, General, etc; they are all sort of clones of each other. For most part they all use the same fastener sizes, bearings, shaft diameters, and blades. There can be major differences inside the gear box, motors, electrical, and many things below the cutter head (like fixed or moving tables). But even those are same within same vintage across different brands that have same specifications.

If you need parts for your Buffalo planer, you can get them from Grizzly, Delta, or Jet/Powermatic pretty easy. Only need right OEM PN! Hard part is making sure you use the OLD discontinued machine model number and parts lists to ensure you get right vintage parts. :)

Since you seem to have cutter head that uses springs and not jack screws for height adjustment; you will need to find manual for one of older planers that uses the same configuration. I know the current Grizzly G0453 & Delta DC-380 (M3 22-675, 22-680, 22-681) all use jack screws for blade height. My experience is limited, not sure about an OLD G0453 or any other mfg or models I am guessing this might be from Jet or Powermatic (WMH group)?
Hmm, wait I found an old manual for G0550/G0551 in my folders, and it uses springs to lift blades! TaDa!

As far as setting blade height: Use the manual from any similar clone to set your blades. The exact height of blade has an acceptable range. I have seen manual specify everything from 0.049 to 0.062 (several 1.5mm or 0.06). They key to blade height is making sure your feed rollers and chip breaker are all set based on height of blades. So if you use different blade setting height, just have to adjust the other heights. IME – I have compared an old Delta blade jig to new Grizzly and 1990’s Powermatic. They were all within a couple thousandth’s of each other.

You will need to make gauge blocks, or use indicator to set all the planer heights. Suggest you might want to read this blog for some help. https://www.lumberjocks.com/CaptainKlutz/blog/129293

Regardless, should still be able to get blade jig for G0550 from Grizzly, which would be my guess on right one for your machine? If you machine has movable lower table, then you might need to find Jet/Powermatic model that matches better for more exact parts match? My guess is all with same config from that time period, all came from same mfg, and all use same size parts?

If you have already bought the generic magnetic blade setting gauge, need to check your size. There are large diameter versions, and smaller diameter version. The small is still just a little big for most 15” planers, but you can use them. They require that you remove the chip breaker to let the both legs reach the roller. Chip breaker is supported on two rods, the height setting one (closet to cutter head) is easily removed from end. Once remove the chip breaker springs and height set rod, you rotate the chip breaker up out of way, and use the generic dial indicator blade jig.

Hope this helps fix your machine?

Remember, everything you read on internet can be wrong. My apologies in advance, if you find my assumptions above to be incorrect. They have been true for me in past.

Cheers!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#3 posted 03-07-2019 01:03 PM



If you can t readily find springs to go under those knives, try the little springs that some ball point pens have. You may have to remove or loosen the chip breaker or other part that interferes with the knife setting jig.

- runswithscissors

I thought this same thing. I may try that.

CaptainKlutz,
Thats great info. I am impressed with the condition of this machine so far. It is way heavier than I expected which should be good. I read up on the style and found that the Taiwan manufactured ones seem to be the more desired ones for what ever reason. Mine is made in Taiwan so I guess that is a plus.

the planer manual you attached is similar but my motor is in the base.

I’ll check these out and see if I can find what I need.

-- Jason

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CaptainKlutz

1892 posts in 2006 days


#4 posted 03-07-2019 05:34 PM

FWIW – I did some more searching out of curiosity.
The 15” Jet 708538 JWP-15DX, and Powermatic 15/15H made back in same time period all use jack screw for blades. Did find that the Grizzly 1021/1021Z models use springs in cutter heads, and these have motor in base with moving planing table. These might be closet cousin to your Buffalo?

Grizzly just reintroduced the Taiwan made g1021Z due to China tariffs. Parts for g1021 should be easy to get. The g1021 blade setting jig is only $13.25. :)

PS – The cutter springs for all the spring models appear to be same size:
COMPRESSION SPRING 0.6 X 5.9 X 16
One PN is P1021Z103. They are $1.25 each.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#5 posted 03-07-2019 08:47 PM

Dang you are on it. I read this earlier on my phone. I think I’ll order those springs and jig.

The G1021Z looks very much like the design of mine. But now I have noticed one of the rollers on the table is missing. I’ll look to see if I can get that part. Wish I had seen that before bolting it all back together (its so heave I took it apart to move it)

-- Jason

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#6 posted 03-07-2019 09:01 PM

“The g1021 blade setting jig is only $13.25. :)”

Is there a part number for that. The one I found seems to be a spiral head version so no jig….or I am being dumb and not seeing it.

-- Jason

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#7 posted 03-07-2019 09:03 PM

Ah I found it. Didn’t scroll down enough

-- Jason

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#8 posted 03-08-2019 01:13 AM

Ok so I ordered the blade setter and the missing roller and all that it looks like goes with it per the diagram. Hopefully that gets me there. I am hoping to get this thing up and running soon. I’d love to buy new in/out feed tables for it. But the single roller ones I have will have to do a while. I will have to do some straightening of them though I think. I believe the guy I got them from used them to lift it with those. So they aren’t right. Plus missing an adjustment screw or two.

Still with parts I believe I should still be better off with this one….as long as that roller is the same Diameter etc. Might have to replace the other one too if not.

Kinda fun / frustrating returning it to usable. I may tear it down one day and do a full refurbish/restore once I see everthing works as it should … I did run it without blades once for a second and it seemed fine.

-- Jason

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Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#9 posted 03-08-2019 01:48 AM

I need to figure out how to post pics….

So I decided to see that everything turned etc with the power on again. I plugged it up with no blades. Turned it on and only the cutter head was turning.

Uh oh I thought. I shut it down and took the gear drive (chain cover off) other than being dirty all looked good. I thought maybe the gear drive inside was bad. I turned it on again and changed the speed lever. So it looks like maybe I only have slow speed… I’m wondering if I wasn’t pushing the lever all the way in though.

No funny noises or clunks so I think it may be just from sitting that this thing is acting up.

I read a little more on the bed rollers and apparently there is a height adjustment on them. So maybe I don’t have to replace both. That is good news.

Learning as I go here. The last time I had access to a planner I was in High School… And of course I didn’t use it much or tear it apart. So yeah probably a great idea to learn the machine this way….LOL

Actually I kind of like these kind of projects. I appreciate the help on this. I guess I just needed to dive in. I’ll get it working then clean it all up right and make it really nice (I hope)

-- Jason

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furnman487

8 posts in 245 days


#10 posted 03-08-2019 03:19 AM

You will probably want to change the oil in your gear box just to be on the safe side. When you have new blades installed and set to the proper height, you will need to make a gauge block or use a dial indicator to check that all of your rollers and chip breaker are set to the proper specs. Set your bed rollers almost level with the table and keep it waxed to eliminate most of the snipe, but it’s pretty hard to get rid of it completely. Once set up properly these old Gee Tech planers are pretty good machines.
Good luck.

-- Alan

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CaptainKlutz

1892 posts in 2006 days


#11 posted 03-08-2019 05:30 AM

If you have two speed gear box, then you also have a 3rd – neutral gear position. When speed selector is in middle the feed rollers do not turn. The speed change lever moves roughly 3/4” total between high and low speed, and can be tough to know which speed until you understand your planer.
If you attempt to change speeds while machine is not running, it typically gets stuck in neutral, until you force it back into gear. :)

You issues is not uncommon for a newbie. There are many planer help posts on LJ and WWW on 15” planer operation and rebuilding. So memorize the manual, search WWW, watch some tube; and you will get it figured out.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Jason Lester's profile

Jason Lester

47 posts in 1048 days


#12 posted 03-08-2019 01:14 PM

“Once set up properly these old Gee Tech planers are pretty good machines. “

That is what I am hoping for. We shall see. Oh and I agree on changing the oil. Just trying to get it complete and “working” before a semi tear down and cleanup.

“If you have two speed gear box, then you also have a 3rd – neutral gear position. When speed selector is in middle the feed rollers do not turn. The speed change lever moves roughly 3/4” total between high and low speed, and can be tough to know which speed until you understand your planer.
If you attempt to change speeds while machine is not running, it typically gets stuck in neutral, until you force it back into gear. :)”

I think this may have been the case. Not sure if it is two speed or not honestly. All the way out is the only position it seems to work. I tried turning it on and pushing the lever in. It moves but the rollers stop moving. Pulled out it moves everything fine.

-- Jason

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Holbs

2246 posts in 2541 days


#13 posted 03-09-2019 01:51 AM

https://www.lumberjocks.com/Holbs/blog/56930

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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Aj2

2494 posts in 2310 days


#14 posted 03-09-2019 02:19 AM

Where are you finding Buffalo’s and why do they need planing ?
Seems kinda cruel :(

-- Aj

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CaptainKlutz

1892 posts in 2006 days


#15 posted 03-09-2019 02:22 AM


Where are you finding Buffalo’s and why do they need planing ?
Seems kinda cruel :(

- Aj2

ROFLMAO
Next question: What part of Buffalo is 15”?
:-)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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