Posts Tagged ‘mead’

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In:In the Shop, Vintage Tool Talk

Comments Off on Restoring a Mead Belt Sander- Part 3

The Chicago manufactured Mead belt sander is finally finished.  It took a while as I was working on it between other jobs and trying to prepare for Woodworking in America, but it was worth the wait.  Picking up where the last blog entry left off, the only thing I had left to finish was the sanding deck.  This is my one complaint with the design of the sander, the entire deck has to be removed to change the belt.  The belt change itself couldn’t be simpler: push the head of the sander down, slide the old belt off, slide the new belt on, release the head.  It literally takes me 10 seconds to swap belts… except every time I do I have to unscrew the wing nut from underside of the deck, the swap belts, put the deck back on, re-thread the wing nut to its post (you don’t loosen it, you have to remove the nut completely), then get my square, make sure the deck is square to the belt, lock it down, and put my square away.  It turns a 10 second operation into a couple minutes.  This may sound trivial, but I intend to use this sander for working with wood and metal and I have several belt types and grits to suit my needs.  I want to change belts quickly and get back to work.  I also don’t want to take the chance that the deck isn’t square to the belt every time I change a belt.  My solution was to modify the casting that supports the wooden deck by cutting off the inside portion to the right of the belt.  I hate to hack up the castings on a vintage piece of equipment, I can’t just go buy a new one if I don’t like my finished product, but in this case the benefits outweigh the risks and hack it up I did.  I opened up a slot just wide enough to slip the belt off, slide it through the back of the decking, and then replace with a new belt in the same fashion.  This was completely worth doing in my opinion and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product now that I’ve had a chance to take it for a spin.

No room to get the belt out without removing the entire deck. I marked out the area I wanted to cut away, used a hack saw rough it out, then filed the rough cuts to their final finish and location.

Casting cut apart.

The restored sander now up and running.  I finished the walnut with Watco Danish Oil followed by a few coats of wipe-on polyurethane followed by wax.  A lot of people seem to have the impression I’m going to all this effort to keep the tool shut away in pristine condition.  Let me assure you, I will be putting this thing to work without reservation.  But whenever possible, I think restoring a tool like this is more than just an exercise in fashionably toolery.  Going through every part reveals a lot of hidden flaws in the tool (in this project alone I found the tilted deck, frayed wiring in the old switch box, a poorly aligned drive belt, and a non-flat sole to the sander casting) as well as several cosmetic (cracked wooden base, ugly switch box, and poor wiring path).  You also gain an intimate knowledge of the tool, just like restoring your first hand plane, that will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each tool you own and how to use them most appropriately to yield the best possible results.  Now let me step down from my soap box and show the finished product.  Enjoy.

Finished sanding deck.

Deck is now square to the belt. Notice the slot to the right of the belt for quick belt changes without needing to remove the deck.

The completed belt sander in all its simple glory.

As for the belts, I ordered a wide range from Klingspor.  The blue are Alumina Zirconia for grinding metal, the yellow are Aluminum Oxide with “gold coating” which can be used for wood or metal, and the brown belts are basic Aluminum Oxide wood belts.  I purchased a few grit levels of each style.  I also purchased a linen belt that can be loaded with a honing compound in case we end up selling marking knives or something similar where several identical edges need to be honed quickly, this might prove very useful.

Various 1″x42″ Klingspor belts for abrading wood and metal, as well as a linen belt for honing.

Finally, here’s a shot of the motor specifications for those who care about such things. (And now I have to get back to prepping for WIA)

Sunlight motor

-WMT

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In:In the Shop, Vintage Tool Talk

Comments Off on Restoring a Mead Belt Sander- Part 2

Things have progressed nicely with the sander.  The base is now finished, the sander and motor are mounted, and the wiring is installed, all that remains is the modification and installation of the sanding deck itself.  I did re-design the switch box since my last entry, here’s why:  My original box was small and clean looking (which I liked) but it didn’t allow access to the switch once everything was installed.  This may or may not be fine for my lifetime, but sooner or later something will come loose, the switch will die, a wire will get cut and need replacing… something, and at that point I would need to destroy the old switch box, make the repairs, and install a new custom box.  Eventually this bothered me enough to design a switch box with a removable cover plate.  It’s larger than my first box and has four screws holding the front plate on, but I think it’s for the best and I’m happy with how it looks.  I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking until my third and final entry on this restoration project.

Old and new switch boxes.

Unfinished base, simple (but classy) chamfers.

Relief notch where the motor cord rubs against the edge. Without this, the cord and/or edge would be worn through over time due to the vibration of the sander when running.

Finished wire hold-downs.

Wire path on the underside of the base.

Motor mounted

Completed switch box installed. Nice.

Everything finished… except the sanding deck.