Repairing Wear on a Planer's Feed Belt

Advise on re-dressing and tuning up the belt drive system on an Extrema or Cantek heavy-duty planer. October 19, 2014

I have a large two sided commercial planer by Extrema. It has Carpet Feed to feed the lumber. This is basically a chain on either side with slates between. On each slate every four or five inches are spring loaded fingers. These spring loaded fingers are what feeds the lumber. Each finger is 3/4" thick or so and the end that moves the boards is concaved to better grip the board. The problem is we've used it so much that the concave is wearing out and the planer does not feed well. I'm sure we're not the only ones with this problem. Has anyone had any success in re-sharpening these concave tips? If so, how did you do it?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor M:
I feel your pain. We have a Cantek that had the same situation. Our first dilemma was over the years of processing a lot of wood the bars that hold the springs where actually bowed up in the center. We discovered that by removing an entire slat setup we could flip the bars and fingers over and now had the bow down for more pressure. At the same time we took the fingers and one by one chucked them in a drill and put them to a bench grinder touching up the point. We basically pulled the slats one by one, repairing it and putting it back, using the planer in between if needed. There is a couple of inspection holes we gained access through so as not to disassemble the whole thing. It feeds a lot better now.

From the original questioner:
So you sharpened the fingers on the outside of each finger? I was told by someone to use a ball grinding stone and sharpen the inside which sounds like a pain to do.

From contributor M:
We did the outside and I should have said we chucked them in a cordless drill. We tried the ball grinder first but it didn't seem to work real well. They actually do a real good job flattening the material as they surface. One of the reason the fingers need to be sharp is if you are exerting too much pressure down to get material to feed they can't do their job right. They’re perfect for a millwork or cabinet shop that is breaking down their material further. Obviously there is limit to what they can correct and if you are building violins you may want to hand joint all your material.