Power Feed Roller Hardness

Shop owners and experts discuss the ins and outs of maintaining, resurfacing, or replacing roller wheels for power feeders. October 1, 2005

I need to replace about 20 old hardened rollers. I got a quote from the leading seller and decided that my money would be better spent purchasing new power feeders. But then one of my equipment suppliers found an affordable source for replacement rubber that is sold by durometer ratings of 20A, 40A, 60A and 90A and my problem is that these numbers mean nothing to me.

Does anyone know what would be a good all around general purpose durometer rating for milling stiles and raised panels? I have often wondered what would happen if I took an old tired set of wheels and milled several thousandths of rubber off them. I wonder if they would perform like new. Has anyone ever tried this?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor F:
Milling a little off sounds like it would be worth a try. If that doesn't work I have read that there are companies that can re-coat used wheels with new rubber.

From contributor F:
I wanted to add that with the right shaper cutter and some careful set-ups, someone could use the shaper itself to mill 20 thousandths off the wheels to see if it improves friction.

From contributor S:
I would suggest trying to glue some sandpaper to a board and run feeder against it. I think acetone also works to refresh or remove the glaze.

From contributor C:
The durometer rating is the tire hardness. Skateboarders know a lot about durometers for their skateboard tires. The standard OEM rubber tires are very soft and tend to wear out much quicker. You could opt to have your existing roller hubs recovered with either new urethane or rubber. Again, cost is the issue. Check out the image below.

For power feed applications 50 durometer should be used for smooth stock and 70 durometer should be used for rough stock. We seem to sell more 70 durometer, followed by 50 and then 60 in popularity.

From contributor J:
I just rejuvenated a set of rollers using Simple Green (a biodegradable general-purpose cleaner/degreaser that is sold in most hardware stores). I soaked them in full strength SG for about a half-hour, then scrubbed, rinsed and dried. It worked much better than the lacquer thinner I tried first.

From contributor W:
When I worked at a copier repair shop we used fedron to soften the rollers in the feeders. I now use this on my power feeders and have not had to change a wheel since I purchased them.

From contributor G:
Take the wheels off the feeder and run them against an edge sander. They will be like new in a few seconds. There is no mess, and they are fast and very effective.