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Powermatic 60 vibration?

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Forum topic by ramatsu posted 07-18-2019 01:16 PM 279 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ramatsu

15 posts in 622 days


07-18-2019 01:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: powermatic jointer vibration vintage serial number question

I’m looking at an older Powermatic 60 someone is offering, but it has a couple of things that I want to be sure I can solve if I pick it up.

The main concern is that it vibrates quite a bit. This is a heavy machine, and the fact that it’s visibly vibrating when up to speed makes me wonder about something in the drive train, maybe even the cutter head, being seriously out of balance, maybe from a bent part.

Does anyone have experience with these vibrating, and can tell me if this is normal or if not, fixable?

The only other thing is probably just a simple adjustment – when he demo’ed the machine at a 1/16” cut, the stock was stopped at the leading edge of the outfield table. That feels like the cutter head is a little low and I expect could be remedied by adjusting the outfield table height.

By the time I got this and set up up with a Shelix cutter head, I’d be really close to the price of a new 6” PM helical head machine, and I’m not sure I really need the extra 2”, so I’d be happy to hear opinions on which way made most sense to go. I’m not in love with the idea of doing a whole teardown/rebuild before starting to use a machine, I would have a really steep learning curve on that and just want to work some stock.

New 54HH pros: – Setup and go

New 54Hh cons: – Really that much better than less expensive brands that might be made in the same factory? – 6” vs. 8”, though I don’t really know that 8” will be that important for me.

Used model 60 pros: – Possibly better qualit beds etc. if it really is US-built vintage – 8” vs. 6” – Local, I can load it in my truck and take to my shop

Used model 60 cons: – Can’t verify actual age/mfr location from 7-digit serial number (that format isn’t in the PM serial# tables) – Vibrates a lot – Will need outfield table adjustment at a minimum – Would need to install new Shelix cutter head – Normal mysteries of used gear in terms of possible tuning and repair needed

Thanks for any and all thoughts!

-- - Allen


11 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20434 posts in 2304 days


#1 posted 07-18-2019 02:34 PM

If it has been sitting a long time, it may just be a bad belt or the belt has memory from the pulleys.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

774 posts in 1550 days


#2 posted 07-18-2019 02:41 PM

I am no expert on these machines. All I can provide is an opinion based on my own experience. The vibration may be as simple as an old dried out stiff belt and a new link belt will smooth it right out. However, you say you don’t think you like the idea of having to do a rebuild if required. Given that and if you can’t determine the cause before purchase, I think I would pass.
You also say that you don’t think you really need the extra 2” of width. In my experience, a 6” model serves my needs nicely. My jointer is used mostly for edge jointing. If I need to flatten a wide board, I use my planer and a planer sled. It just depends on what your needs are.
Also, since the upgraded cost of the old machine is almost the cost of a new one (albeit, wider), I would go for the new one.

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firefighterontheside

20434 posts in 2304 days


#3 posted 07-18-2019 03:10 PM

Theres things that I will buy used and things not used. I have bought several jointers used and have had great results. I bought a used 54A and am quite happy. I like the long tables, as opposed to other 6” jointers. I was looking for a used 8” but came across the 54. I may upgrade to an 8” someday, but for now the 6” is all i need.

What color is the one you’re looking at. Green will be older than gold. The piece stopping on feeding thru is likely just the outfeed being too low. The most important thing is to make sure the tables are coplanar. Raise them to same height and place a long straight edge across both tables. I assume this is not helical. Are there intact knives in the head. Missing a knife would cause vibration.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5635 posts in 2941 days


#4 posted 07-18-2019 03:14 PM

Jointers are fairly simple machines. Solving a vibration might be as easy as replacing the belt(s), or possibly the bearings (either motor or cutterhead). If something in the cutterhead is damaged that would be solved with the Shelix. If by chance it’s a bent shaft on the motor, that would be the biggest/most expensive problem. (If it’s at all possible, running the motor without the belt on it may give you some clues) Any of these aren’t that hard or expensive to do except maybe the motor. My choice would be the 8”.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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ramatsu

15 posts in 622 days


#5 posted 07-19-2019 10:05 PM

Thanks for all the great thoughts. I think based on not hearing about known bad problems that might account for the vibration, I’m going to consider this unit. (It is gold, not green. I wonder what year they switched.)

I half expected strong testimonials to the quality of the older USA-built iron, I’m actually a little comforted not to get that, my options are so much broader if that’s not a big factor :-)

-- - Allen

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bilyo

774 posts in 1550 days


#6 posted 07-19-2019 11:22 PM

I would sure use that vibration as a bargaining point. The uncertainty over what the vibration is and the cost to repair it is worth something.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20434 posts in 2304 days


#7 posted 07-20-2019 02:22 AM

Gold paint on Powermatic started in the early 80s.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

342 posts in 2266 days


#8 posted 07-20-2019 04:42 PM

Mine started vibrating due to a stripped pulley on the motor. I changed it out and vibration went away.

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5635 posts in 2941 days


#9 posted 07-21-2019 12:17 PM

Soooooo, did you get it?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ramatsu's profile

ramatsu

15 posts in 622 days


#10 posted 07-21-2019 06:29 PM

I still haven’t pulled the trigger and may miss it while weighing my options. I decided it would be worth getting, but when I totaled up the $ and effort, I’m thinking it makes more sense for me to prioritize a band saw and maybe even a router lift first. I love the convenience of a dedicated jointer, but with a little effort I can work around it using a sled on my planer to joint an initial broad face, and a glueline blade on the table saw for edges. Whereas, I’m staring at a 12/4 piece of 12” wide wood that I need to be 2” finished, and would much rather resaw it and have some nice 3/4 leftovers than turn a third of it into sawdust in the planer :-)

Sort of building the shop out one tool at a time and if I don’t end up getting this jointer, I think getting a new one later won’t fill me with too many regrets. Plus, it turns out there’s a Jet dealer in my area that is the factory outlet point for scratch & dent units, so I can get a new 8” helical head Powermatic for 1/3 off there if I wait for the right unit to come up.

Meanwhile, the seller is a really nice guy with a shop that may even be smaller than mine, so I’ve made a nice woodworking contact in the area either way.

-- - Allen

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1192 posts in 3034 days


#11 posted 07-21-2019 06:57 PM

I used the powermatic 60 in shop at the school where I taught. The jointer is 51 years old and going strong. Once you get the outfeed table adjusted there is no need to touch again unless it goes out of adjustment. It took 51 years of student abuse and held up very well. Bad belts or bearings not much else could cause the vibration. If you change out the cutterhead to shelix the bearing issue is solved belts are the easiest fix. Good luck, if the price was right I would not hesitate to buy it. If something like that was close, you might have waited too long because it would be in my shop.(lol)

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