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Thread: Baby Super Surfacer Rebuild

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    For the life of me, I don’t understand why these aren’t extremely popular in the US.
    'Cause nobody knows about them. LOL I've been hanging out a long time with this woodworking thing and until you bought yours, I had never heard of such a tool.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
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    Not exactly Jim.

    Supersurfacers have been around at least since the 70's, and are used around the world.

    Makita, Ryobi and Hitachi made a big push to introduce them in the US in the 80's ( check fine woodworking magazines from that time)

    The reason that they are not well known in North America is complex.
    Maka Mortisers are not well known in North America either.

    Small sections of the North American market adopt new technology and are open and progressive, but it is not commonplace.
    Germany and Italy design build and employ new technology, it takes about ten years for North America to catch up?
    Swing chisel mortisers are made and widely used in many European countries, by more than a dozen manufactures.
    Supersurfacers are widely used in Japan, Germany and Switzerland.
    Marunaka, Shinx, Heian, Takakawa, Hitachi, Makita, Ryobi, Mapo, etc. all make supersurfacers.
    Maka, Centauro, Framar, Sautereau, Mastewood, Muti, Simal, Chambon, Griggio, Steton, sicar, Mesa, Multifili, Polyval, Marzani All make Swing chisel mortisers.

    Supersurfacers do a great job, are fast and efficient, quite, dust free, precise and leave an incredible surface finish............. but they are expensive, require you to be extremely clean in your handling of wood, and have extremely high tolerances for tool grinding and setup. The rewards for the effort are small, noticeable to a few. It is kind of like the difference between the price of a milling machine that can hold +or- 0.001" and a machine that can handle +or- 0.0001"


    I have used and rebuilt dozens of these machines over the past 40 years.

    If you are driven to do the best work in the most efficient way you will you will search and find what can help you achieve your goals. It's all out there if you want to find it. Brian is one of the driven.

    I learned about different machines before the internet was available, by writing letters to the Department of industry in Germany, Japan, Italy, England etc. and asking for comprehensive lists of all woodworking machinery manufactures in the country. They sent me catalogues, I scoured the pages and contacted companies for more information, catalogues, specs and prices on interesting machinery.



    09-IM000137-1024x768.jpg supers1.jpg MAKA S1.jpg wood10.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    'Cause nobody knows about them. LOL I've been hanging out a long time with this woodworking thing and until you bought yours, I had never heard of such a tool.

  3. #18
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    I have to say I'm still blown away by what those machines do.
    And you listed nine manufacturers. That means there is, or has been, a healthy market for them.

  4. #19
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    I would be careful with chemicals on rubber. Rubber tends to bloom and components break down over time, and chemicals might seem to help temporarily but can cause even more breakdown. Replacement is ideal. For refresh of the existing surface, I would start with sandpaper. This tends to break off that top slick layer (grinding is ideal, microscopically it leaves small edges of rubber that is key to getting traction)

    Alternatively, and this is a real hack. But some of the smaller drum sanders use an abrasive drive belt. I purchased one cut to size once. I wonder if you could put an abrasive belt over the top of the rubber belt and have any success (its not obvious to me that it would be easy, given the different compressions, but its a thought and a cheap thing to try...)
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 12-29-2021 at 6:28 AM.

  5. #20
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    You can glue some heavy duty sand cloth, from a sanding belt, to some plywood, clamp a stop on one end of the plywood so that it wont go through the machine, then put the plywood over the belt and lower the top to the plywood, with the stop against the head, turn the feed on and apply slight downforce from the top of the machine. So the belt turns, the plywood is stationary and you sand the top of the belt . It may help you get some use out of the belt. You will of course have to thoroughly clean the dust away after.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    Not exactly Jim.

    Supersurfacers have been around at least since the 70's, and are used around the world.
    I have not doubt they have been around for a long time. But my statement was about the general woodworking audience (largely hobbyist in this kind of community) and I do not recall these machines coming up here prior to Brian's purchase. But my memory could be flawed...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #22
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    You are probably right I suppose, I can understand that they may not be of interest to a hobby woodworker, but why they are not commonplace in professional shops in North America is probably a good topic for a thread.
    It is a shame because they are great machines.

    The supersurfacers are of course well known to those interested in Japanese woodwork, but many others use them, companies that build musical instrument's use them, those that build church organs use them, they are used in making cedar hot tubs, windows, furniture, manufactures of wooden blinds use them, I sold one to a company that makes Birdseye, Maple flooring.



    Flooring samples done on a supersurfacer.

    IMG_4021.JPG

    Random samples that i ran to check settings on a top and bottom cutting supersurfacer that I rebuilt about 12 years ago.
    SAM_1812.jpg

  8. #23
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    It’s too bad the Japanese industrial WW machines didn’t take off here. There are a few Heian tenoners, shapers, planers and jointers floating around the West coast. High quality machines.I had a Marunaka solid wood edge Bander when we built cabinets. It was as well made as the best German machines. I lust after a Japanese HC Mortiser and the little saw- tenoner like in the Ishitani videos.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    but why they are not commonplace in professional shops in North America is probably a good topic for a thread.
    My take on that is simply because on the mass market they make TOO GOOD a finish. You take a board run through any super surfacer and you are going to have to make the rest of the piece to that level. Thats not what the mass market in the US is. And we have artificially cheap fuel to power massive planers/abrasive planers, etc. Im talking mass furniture production. The trend in the US has been non-stop towards v-grooves on glue joints, randomly broken corners and edges, on and on, all to hide speed in manufacturing. Thick heavy finishes that have extreme build and bridging capacities to allow for pouring on a thick film finish, etc.. The market here for the work Brian and others like him do is a low single digit percentage of the total sales in the US even up into what most people would consider expensive furniture. The levels beyond that expensive furniture, bespoke work, etc.. are another batch of single digit percentages that more than likely on paper are borderline profitable but just love what they do.

    This stuff has been true in the US for decades. Automobile technology, home heating, power, insulation, water heating, right on down the line. In a lot of those areas its because Europeans and other countries pay the true cost of energy and commodities so its not just that they are smarter, they are motivated by the true cost of resources. Look at Canada's fuel cost for gasoline compared to the US. Europe, et al'. When you start paying the true cost of energy you start to get very very efficient. We in the US have never been confronted with even the most remote true cost of energy on our worst days. So we remain lazy.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Calhoon View Post
    It’s too bad the Japanese industrial WW machines didn’t take off here. There are a few Heian tenoners, shapers, planers and jointers floating around the West coast. High quality machines.I had a Marunaka solid wood edge Bander when we built cabinets. It was as well made as the best German machines. I lust after a Japanese HC Mortiser and the little saw- tenoner like in the Ishitani videos.
    I’m also surprised by it, Japanese stuff by and large seems to be very well made and can often be smaller scale but without a lack of robustness.

    Example being that wadkin DM is one of very few mortisers made which are small scale but very heavily made and robust, where that seems fairly commonplace amongst the mortisers available in Japan.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  11. #26
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    Belt dimensions on my Ryobi machine are 240mm wide, 16mm thick, and 1300mm long (outside length while tensioned). I read through one or two threads where the OP reached out to Ryobi/Makita and wasn't able to get a response. Without the right English speaking contact at those very large companies, that is likely a dead end.

    Perhaps Marunaka has a similar sized belt that would work. There looks to be quite a bit of length/tension adjustability so the critical dimension is probably the width.

    I plan to also reach out to that Italian company at the link above to see if they have a belt that will work.

    Thanks for the help and ideas thus far!
    Last edited by Keegan Shields; 12-31-2021 at 3:16 PM.

  12. #27
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    I appreciate this being brought to my attention. I've never seen this tool before. I also appreciate the time taken to introduce me to manufacturers I don't know.

    Question: This machine is Ryobi, but looks really well made. Is there a year before which Ryobi is a good brand? Or do they have a heavy duty niche that is still quite high quality?

  13. #28
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    Both Ryobi and Hitachi manufacture industrial tools in addition to the home center stuff.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

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