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Record grinder and bandsaw each took a lot of work to make them fit for use.

Today I visited a friend who is fairly new to turning and is getting his own workshop ready to make some wooden bowls. He has been having problems with his Record grinder and bandsaw. They are both new machines and it was disappointing to find that each needed attention to make them work properly. This is quite a common thing these days – the maker leaves it to the customer not just to assemble, but to finish the manufacture of the machine.

It’s not just the Record grinder. Machines of various makes may need adjustment and because of poor design may even need modification before they work properly. It is well worth spending a bit of time to sort out the deficiencies. But someone without experience of woodworking machinery may not know how to make these adjustments, may be afraid to modify the equipment, and may not be aware of how a machine should perform. They may blame themselves.

The Record grinder

We started with the grinder. The first job was to tighten the loose retaining nuts on the grinder wheels, which meant taking off the side guards. Before we replaced them, we had to straighten one of the bolts, which was bent. Then we had to get the grinder wheels to run true, using a diamond dressing block. We let the machine run up to speed, then switched off to let the wheels turn more slowly. The vibration was then less severe, making it easier for the diamond to cut back the high spots. We could hear the tick-tick as the diamonds did their stuff. After this, the wheels cut better, more quietly and with much less vibration.

We did not attempt to true up the sides of the wheels although they have a lot of side to side run-out. This is due to the extremely small size of the shoulders on the spindle against which the wheel flanges bear. There is no easy fix for this. The design and construction of the spindle are simply inadequate. But at least we got the edges running true.

The tool platforms on the Record grinder are small, flimsy, flexible and out of square. They can only be adjusted in and out, not tilted. They are of little use for sharpening turning tools, and probably not for other purposes either. One option is to cut off the part of the fixing that prevents the platform from tilting. The thin steel of the platform would bend to make it level. But we decided it would be better to cut off the platforms completely with a hacksaw and make adjustable ones out of plywood. This is a job for later.

The bandsaw

The bandsaw was next, as it was not cutting properly. It was very difficult to adjust the guides, or even to see the lower ones. Adjustments should be easy, because it may be necessary to re-set the guides each time the blade is changed. We started by removing a small plastic shroud beneath the table. It made it impossible to see the lower guide rollers. This shroud prevents accidental contact with the blade between the lower guides and the table.

We then slackened the guide wheels and thrust races so they were well clear of the blade. But in order to do this, we had to remove the table tilt locking lever. And free up the seized lower thrust race adjuster too. This needs more attention as it is still binding and hard to use. Access to it is obstructed when the locking lever is in place.

With the blade able to drift freely, we put on the tension in stages, adjusting the tracking until the blade ran centrally on the wheels, turning them by hand to allow the blade to find its preferred position.

Then we adjusted the guide wheels so they gave good support to the blade above and below the table without binding or deflecting the blade, and set the thrust races to almost touch the back of the blade. We could then replace the tilt locking lever and do a test cut, which showed that the saw now works. It easily cut through some 2 inch scrap wood. And quickly sawed a small log into spindle turning blanks.

A lot of trouble to get two new machines fit to use. Thanks, Record.

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