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Author Topic: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right  (Read 366 times)

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Offline uler3161

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How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« on: May 07, 2021, 10:43:10 PM »
Last year I finally upgraded from the single tooth woodmizer setter dad got with his mill back in 1990 to a Suffolk dual tooth setter. I put in many hours behind the old setter, so I have a pretty good idea what I'm doing. Bought the new one thinking it would be much faster and I wanted to have the downset capability. It wasn't clear that downset has to be done separate from upset, so that's two trips around the setter. Not really the end of the world, but was a bit disappointing.

What is bothering me is how finicky this thing is. I just went to saw this morning. Three blades. 1-1/2, 0.045 Silvertips. Cut one or two really bad boards with three blades. Dipping and diving all over the place. Had a fourth blade but didn't even bother. Just packed up and went home.

Put the blades on the woodmizer setter and the set is way out. Really tried to dial in the Suffolk again. Thought I had it. Teeth were setting around 20-22 thou it appeared. Double checked with the woodmizer. All good. 

Moved to the next blade and set it. One side seemed okayish. Other was up to 30 thou and I really doubt it was 30 thou before I started. Adjusted the thumbwheel down a bunch (which, it doesn't seem like the ticks on it are really that close to what they say they are). Finally got that set. 

Put the next blade on, and that same side was down to 10 thou set. So I adjusted it back up again. Did the first few teeth and it seemed fine. Somewhere around 20 thou. Finished the blade. Checked some near the end of the blade and they were up to 25 thou. Not sure if that's going to be the end of the world, but it is past the tolerances we considered acceptable on the woodmizer setter.

Only thing I can think is that the blade height is super sensitive. The little plastic height gauge block isn't ideal and I'm wondering if I just need to be extra careful when using it. But, other than that, what else is there? Blade seems to be clamping fine. I don't think it's deflecting. Sharpening happens before setting. Both sides of the blade are cleaned off with a wire brush on a side head grinder before setting.

On top of the unusable set, all the fiddling and checking with the clamp on gauge is pretty much making it take as long or longer as it does to use the single tooth woodmizer setter. And the poor cuts are really starting to make me look bad to my customer. Any insights? Do people have to fiddle with the settings on this thing every blade they set? And how many teeth do you check on each blade with the clamp on gauge? It seems like you have to check a lot of them to make sure. I guess that's one benefit of the old setter, every tooth gets a reading on the gauge. 

I've read some posts on here where people say they pretty much get the thing dialed in and haven't messed with the settings in years. I just don't see how. It's definitely not working that way for me.

1989 LT40HD, 12ft extension, WoodMaster 718, Fordson Major Diesel, Champ CB40 Forklift

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Offline woodyone.john

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2021, 12:46:41 AM »
The blade height setting is critical, so doing a bunch of blades at the same height speeds up the process. I personally find it an accurate setter but agree that time needs to be put in to get it right. I no longer try to use the resetting option preferring to use a roller desetter.
Someone else has photos of one here.
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Online barbender

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2021, 09:56:27 AM »
I had a bolt or something come lose on mine once and it was giving me the same fits you are experiencing. On normal days, I also find it a bit finicky to set up but once set it is fast and simple. Like Woody said, tooth height is critical. I try to keep my setting to one batch of blades, or it won't be consistent (I'd expect that to be true of any setter). I don't go by Suffolk's setup instructions, either. They tell you to set the top 1/3 of the tooth, I find that you break teeth off because you are trying to bend the hardened part.
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 12:10:24 AM »
Try setting first, then sharpening.  See if your results improve.
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Online barbender

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2021, 12:35:54 AM »
I wish I could remember what loosened p on mine, because your issues sound very similar. It may have been something with the indexing pawl, so that it wasn't getting the teeth in the same spot consistently. My Suffolk is an older version that doesn't down set or have the guage. I check my teeth when I am setting up and adjusting the setter, once I get the set where I want I just run them all through. I might check a couple of times as I go through, just to make sure nothing moved. It does a really nice job, very consistent tooth set and smooth cuts.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline uler3161

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2021, 08:44:37 AM »
I haven't kept my blades batched up well enough unfortunately. Not used to having to do that. 

Did go out yesterday with the ones I tried setting again. Once again, about 3 blades and one cut. Finally got to a blade that I think I might have set on the Suffolk and double checked on the WM. It cut good.

Ordered new blades as a backup plan. That, and going back to the WM setter. 

I think today is going to be a blade sharpening and setting day, so I'll try to be extra cautious with the blade height and see how well that works.
1989 LT40HD, 12ft extension, WoodMaster 718, Fordson Major Diesel, Champ CB40 Forklift

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Offline slider

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2021, 11:07:00 AM »
I agree with others on band height being important . i have had an older suffolks setter for years and bought a cooks dual tooth setter because it had the dial indicators on the tool. Used it for years then started having problems so i got the suffolks back out ,built  new table and started using the hand indicator and compared the two. The suffolks is more accurate when you take the time to dial it in. 

It my have been the indicators taking a beating on the cooks that was my problem . i will put a new set on and try it again. I like the cooks because it is faster to dial in but for now i will stay with the suffolks.
al glenn

Online barbender

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2021, 11:14:59 AM »
I would think that any dual tooth setter is going to be sensitive to tooth height. That's not  the machines fault. You're pushing the tooth over at an angle, the taller the tooth is for a given setting, the more set it will end up with. However, your set should still be consistent. I'm telling you, something is loose on your machine, you need to look it over good.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Percy

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Re: How to get a Suffolk setter to work right
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2021, 12:17:41 PM »
I have the same setter and have had the same problems. That being said, when you figure it out, it works great.

What barbender said is accurate imo. There is a plethora of allen screws on that machine, when tightened slightly, will stop the machine from drifting out of adjustment...took me a couple years to figure that one..Setting tooth height is critical. When its wrong, the set will differ from the left and right teeth. not good. I never ran the "desetting" blocks for years, but when I installed them and fooled around with the amount of setting, the machine became somewhat easier to dial in. I run my blades in batches with a rotation system that keeps all blades in the current batch near identical, tooth height wise. When I do this and take care to set the tooth height correctly, the machine is rarely out more than 1-2 thou from sise to side. Pic shows the desetting blocks I speak of

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