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Oliver 144 8” jointer rebuild

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Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Schenectady, NY

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:59 pm    Post subject: Oliver 144 8” jointer rebuild Reply with quote

Greetings junkies,
I recently purchased an 8” Oliver 144 jointer with a direct drive 1hp 3ph motor from a fellow machine junkie member. The seller responded to my WTB post back in January and the pickup was finally made in July. The seller had already disassembled and stripped several of the components. This post documents my rebuild. Hopefully it will be useful to others rebuilding or considering rebuilding a 144. Here is the jointer before disassembly:

This is what it looked like when I got it home:

The seller informed me ahead of time that the casting that holds the cutterhead bearings was cracked and repaired with braze. At one time he intended to restore and keep the machine for himself. He was not comfortable with the repair so he hunted down a replacement part and found one from a machine only a few serial numbers off from this one. This sounded good to me. The replacement is shown above, already stripped by the seller. Here is the original with brazes around both bearing housings:

The motor had a piece of masking tape with a faint handwritten message “this motor been changed to 115/230V 1phase” and there was a small electrical box with a start capacitor and a switch. Apparently someone rigged this up to work with single phase. I assume that they did not actually change the stator winding and were simply kick starting one or two of the phases with the capacitor. This would yield reduced power output. 1hp is already minimal and I have a rotary phase converter so I am removing this capacitor rig. I need to figure out how to wire the motor for 220V 3ph though.

I must remove the motor and cutterhead from the old bearing housing casting. I had no idea where to start with this task. After some thinking and exploring I decided that the stator must be removed to get to some screws that hold the motor onto the machine. There are two set screws shown below that lock the stator in the motor housing.

I removed the screw and the stator was loose! Sort of… it would only move about ½” out of the housing. I tried working it back and forth by hand with a little oil applied to the machined fit surface between the two parts. After about 1.5 hours I had the motor poking out but I busted my finger and progress was slowing down. I decided to make a quick and dirty puller bar with a slide hammer. The bar is just a 3/16” rod with the ends bent over. The slide hammer is an old pulley. It worked pretty well. Here is the stator removed:

Now I could get to the three slotted head screws that hold the motor on the bearing housing. They came out without much trouble. The motor and cutterhead came off together with both bearings. This was a tough job and I suspect it is why the original bearing housing was cracked. The front bearing was press fit into the housing and did not want to move. I braced it up as well as I could and used a round aluminum bar conveniently sized to just smaller than the bearing OD and a hammer to tap/beat the cutterhead and bearing assembly out. I was not too worried about the bearing housing because I have a spare. I think you should be much more careful and make a special pusher that holds on to the bearing housing and pushes the shaft and bearing out with a screw in a smooth controlled way. The rear bearing is actually located in the motor housing. The motor housing has a machined fit that fits into the part I have been calling the bearing housing. This fit may be tight by design but mine loosened by hand thanks to the cracks and repair in this area. Later I discovered though old forum posts that crazypete has been through a similar experience with his Oliver 399. Maybe he will have some guidance on a better way to remove the cutterhead.

The motor’s rotor is assembled directly on the cutterhead shaft with a press fit and a key. The rotor is simply cantilevered off the rear cutterhead bearing. There is no bearing on the back side of the motor’s rotor. I really liked this streamlined design until I discovered how difficult it is to take apart. The motor housing must come off in order to remove the rear bearing. The rotor must come off in order to remove the motor housing. I will need to make special extra long puller jaws to remove the rotor and the rear bearing. I will also need some new tooling to press a new bearing on. I am not sure if this is worth it. The bearing is shielded and receives extra protection from a cast iron cover plate. The rear bearing seems to be in good shape. It may last another 10 years or more. Maybe I should just leave it?

Anyway, while I ponder bearing replacement, I stripped the remaining paint and re-cleaned everything with a wire wheel on an angle grinder. I was wearing shorts because it was a warm day. I felt projectiles hit my legs every now and then and later that night while in the shower I discovered multiple wire wheel bristles stuck in my legs like thorns. The next day I purchased some bondo to smooth out the rough spots and voids in the big castings. I did not have much experience with bondo so I mixed a lot and it hardened before I was able to use a ¼ of it. I mixed some more and continued. I found the bondo to be unpleasant and foreign. My work was not pretty. It took a long time to sand it down. I am going to seek some tips from more experienced bondo craftsmen. Here are pics of my bondo work before sanding. I only did the front side of these two parts because the sides and backs were fairly smooth and I was frustrated.

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Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 1691
Location: New York State

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Curt,

Things are looking good. The oliver design is certainly an interesting rebuild, and I would advise to do it once- ie you should go after that last bearing. I'd be happy to help out if you want.

The reality of the bearings is that they would probably not be so hard to remove if the machine hadn't been left out in the rain!

As for bondo, it helps to sand with a coarse grit and power sand when possible. I would work the fillets on the details with the glazing putty that i mentioned in my tannewitz rebuild thread. Also, I prefer as wide a spreader for the bondo as the area you are working on will allow- it makes spreading it more accurate.

Keep us posted on the progress.

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Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Santa Cruz CA,

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: oliver 144 rebuild Reply with quote

I just purchased this same model of jointer. My jointer had a factory stearns electric brake on the back of the motor. I removed it and cut off the projecting spindle. I plan to run my 3phase motor with a VFD, hopefully it will provide the breaking. Your rebuild is very impressive, I would love to see the most recent progress if you have pictures. Did you complete the jointer? is it a good jointer to use. I havent wired mine yet, but my first observations were that the fence seemed quite dinky. does yours flex like mine?

all the best,
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Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Schenectady, NY

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Noah,
Yes, this is a great jointer to use. The cast iron base makes it a smooth running design. I love it. There are only 2 bearing with the motor cantilevered off the back bearing. This reduces losses and vibration but makes dissassembly a little more challenging. Not a big deal though. It is also a pretty compact machine. The total table length is only 60" which is nice for small shops. If you work with longer boards greater than about 7' you will probably want a longer jointer. I have jointed 10' boards with this jointer with complete sucess though. I just needed a helper to support the length.

I use a vfd on another machine and the breaking works ok. The 8" jointer slows down pretty quick by itself.

I agree the fence is not too impressive. It does flex easily so you end up cutting slightly more skewed with the knives. This does not affect performance. the fence still stays 90deg to the table.

I will try to post the rest of my rebuild soon.

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