What's new
What's new

"The Machine Shed" - Building a Line Drive Shop from Scratch

M.B. Naegle

Feb 7, 2011
Conroe, TX USA
My planer, which is about 30 years older than yours runs at a cutting speed of 25 feet per minute. I would guess that yours might be in the 25 - 50 ft/m speed ranges for high and low so you could calculate backwards from there for pulley speeds.
Thumbing through the 1920's catalog, I did find that the 32" plainer required 352 RPM into a 12" pulley to produce 45 Ft. Cutting Speed (they also advise 15 HP). In addition to the extra iron, this machine looks to have a different table drive than the 30" machine of the same time, using an additional bull gear group under the table. I expect that my plainer will see a variety of work from smaller flat plates, up to an 8' long lathe bed. Since this plainer has a shorter base casting than the 1920's machines, I'd rather err on the side of the machine running a little slow than risk having the table come off the end of the base, so 352 RPM would be a good place to start, but I'll know more when I can count pinion teeth and shaft rotations.


Cast Iron
Nov 17, 2006
Bowling Green, Ohio
I did that same approach to recreate the upper cone pulley for the Whitcomb Blaisdell lathe. Haven't finished the bore and mounting flange yet, but it survived turning in the lathe so that bode well.
I'll likely go wood for any large diameter pulleys I need to make (Good excuse to get a large swing lathe!). We used to have a few examples of this style of construction, but they had disintegrated enough that I think they ended up in the burn pile years ago. The only difference was that on those the ID was "raw" with straight edges exposed and not turned to size with the OD.

All the wood turning I've done has been with a tool post on metal lathes. I'm thinking that to turn a lamination like this It would be best to trim it mostly round on a band saw first so there's less of an interrupted cut.
View attachment 366060
I have several similar wood pulleys obtained at auctions. It is relatively easy to make wooden split bushings for these pulleys to fit the shaft. Turn a solid piece of wood to the inside diameter of the pulley. Then drill a hole with a Forstner bit to the nearest 1/8" and then bore to shaft size before sawing in half lengthwise.