I've reached a tipping point with living with my 6" jointer and an upgrade has moved to the top of the tool priority list. I'm in a small basement shop so getting a big jointer in there is not realistic. A combo machine doesn't suit my workflow. So really the only option I have would be to build one myself, ala Matthias Wandel and John Heisz. Their builds used a cutterhead from a lunchbox planer. Matthias also used the motor from the planer, John used an induction motor. They both made the tables out of plywood skinned with thick sheet metal. That's the part that I really had misgivings about. I was thinking I wish I could just order something like a 12" x 24" cast iron table from somewhere and then it hit me: table saw extension wings! My Ridgid TS3650 has cast iron wings but with a partial open web. Looking online, Sawstop sells cast iron wings separately for $270. I think that's a reasonable expense for the jointer beds, but I didn't feel great about spending that kind of money just to immediately take an angle grinder to them to make them fit over the cutterhead without being sure what would happen. Maybe they would warp if I cut the end off?
Then I got to looking at spiral cutterheads. I put a Byrd head in my 6" and I'm not going back to straight knives. One thing to note about the cutterheads from lunchbox planers is they all seem to have the drive pulley on the same side, which ends up being on the front side of a jointer. Because the cutterheads are a small diameter the pulley ends up limiting your ability to joint anything wider than the cutterhead and I didn't want that. Then in looking at various options it turned out that the cutterheads for 15" planers are about the same cost as the 12" jointer cutterheads. Reason being the planer cutterheads are 3" diameter with 4-5 rows and the jointer cutterheads are 4" diameter with 8 rows. Now I didn't want to get greedy about the size of my jointer, but I may very well upgrade to a 15" planer someday so a 15" jointer would be swell. However those cutterheads have what looks to be at least a 2" extension from the cutters to where the bearing goes on the drive side. This is to get to the other side of the posts on the planer. So this makes the whole thing effectively much larger than just the extra 3" of the cutterhead. Also this rules out using the tables saw wings. Grizzly does sell some cast iron wings for their 15" planers, but they are way too short.
So I settled on a 4" diameter 12" jointer cutterhead and getting the Sawstop wings. Can't afford to do that right now, so I'll set this aside. Right after I take a peek at Craigslist just to see if maybe there's a table saw with cast wings I could nab on the cheap and maybe pick up the wings and a motor at the same time. Well, wouldn't you know it. There's a TS3650 in REALLY rough shape for $100. It followed me home.
You should see the blade that was on it. I think it was the factory blade. It has maybe 10 teeth left on it that aren't broken. I'm not cleaning it to get an exact count. From the rust on the arbor I don't think that blade was ever taken off. There's four notches in the blade insert from kickbacks. The other side of the cabinet where the tilt wheel mounts is bent and buckled. Like I said, ROUGH shape. He said it needed a new motor but after asking a couple questions I was pretty confident it was a wiring/switch issue, and it did turn out to be the switch. However it's spinning the wrong way and not reversible. There's a bunch of potentially useful parts in the saw though. I may be able to use the pulleys and belt, swapping them around will get close to the right speed. Don't know what the shaft size on the cutterhead is yet though. They are poly-v belt pulleys which seem to just be unobtainable so it looks like it's all or nothing with those. The tilt mechanism could be used for adjusting the infeed table. Good long cord. The base has casters, though for the time being I'm just using the main part of the saw as a tool stand for my spindle sander. There's a few round bars and other assorted stuff that may come in handy.
The first order of business was to get those wings in some Evaporust. I didn't get enough to submerge the whole wing so I tried covering the rest with paper towels. This kind of worked on the first one but it missed some spots so the second time I tried using a million little spring clips to ensure better contact.
That failed miserably. It's just 10 times more effective to have it submerged. The second one didn't get as long to soak because some idiot thought it would be a good idea to use nails to prop up the wing in the solution a little to make sure it got underneath everywhere and then worried that maybe the spot under the nail wouldn't get treated so he should shift it over a bit. He got away with this idea on the first wing but the second one it sprung a leak and peed black fluid all over the end of his workbench. Hopefully he learned a good lesson from that. At least he was in the room at the time and noticed before the whole gallon leaked out.
In any case, the rust is mostly gone but it's not a magic pit and stain remover. They aren't beautiful, but they are very flat. One has a .003" dip in the middle and the other is as flat as I can measure.
Being pitted makes me a lot less concerned if this isn't going to work out, so let's mark out the cutterhead and break out the grinder.
Note here I am marking the wrong end of the outfeed table, after having already marked it in the wrong spot. But I figured it out before the sparks flew, thankfully. Started by cutting the sides.
And then along the edge of the bevel. I clamped the bar of the miter gauge on the top just to protect it in case I slipped. Side note: the metal Ridgid uses in their fasteners, at least in that miter gauge, is complete garbage. Stripped out the phillips head just with a screwdriver and it drilled out like it was putty.
Then it was kind of like taking out a nick in a very wide chisel. Grind it square then establish a bevel. I put a piece of plywood under the bench to give me a light background behind it and shined a light on the bevel to be able to see better.
Then I used my mock cutterhead as a go-no-go gauge to see how I did.
It's not pretty and I may go back and refine it a bit but pretty pleased with everything besides the whole shop being covered in iron dust. I have thought about bolting on a bar at the cutterhead end to give it back some strength across the width that I took away but I don't think it's wise to remove the webbing there to make a flat area to bolt to so it would have to be quite deep and notched around all the webbing. The open web complicates it as well. It doesn't seem to need it so I'm just going to leave it the way it is.
I should work on filling in the open web soon and I may fool around with a parallelogram mechanism for the infeed but I may not be able to afford to buy the cutterhead for a while and I can't do much of anything beyond that without it. Waiting on some important news on that front, maybe this week.