Foley Automatic Filer Model F-16 Cleanup


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I recently purchased a Foley Automatic Saw filer model F-16 off Kijiji, with plans for using it on some upcoming projects. I seldom see items like this available locally for a reasonable price, so when is seen this I grabbed it fast. When I picked it up it was in the back of this dark garage, the guy knew nothing about it, and had some questionable wiring. It would manually crank over, by using the homemade hand crank. It looked mostly complete, coming with one carrier. There was this ugly base under it with a drawer with a few odd bolts, a tin container and some other odd items. It was a struggle carrying the thing out of the garage with the aid of the older gentleman, down these small aisles he had made in his garage, walls of various items. As we went outside, it was a little slick on the driveway, from the fresh snow falling that spring night. It fit laying down in the back of my truck with my tonneau cover down, at least I didn’t have to tarp it. Once I got it home, I struggled to lift it onto the bench in the garage, my hands and jacket filthy from the grime on it. Here it would sit till I had time to clean it up. 

The picture on the left is the unit before anything was done. It looks cleaner in the picture then it actually was. I spent a while deciding upon what to do with the machine. I didn’t buy it intending on doing a repaint or anything like that. I have a job intended to try with it, and of course to use as a saw filer. So all that I initially did was to oil it and see how it works. I added oil to all the oil caps, and any moving parts, to get it going again. With the belt removed, it turned with some effort still. Never having used this machine, I wasn’t really sure how easy it should have turned. But it felt like it took too much effort. So the machine would have to be taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. 

I had a day off work, which I usually use to get jobs done that normally conflict with my work schedule. This motor was a prime example of such a job. The mounts were shot, dried out, and barely hanging in there ( below right), the cover was missing as well. So I took the motor off, and with the old belt and went to a local motor shop. They were able to supply me with a belt and some motor mounts as well. I would have to try the mounts  to see if they were going to do, they had a hard time matching them up. They were also able to provide me with a cover plate as well, which is something I did not want to have make. 

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The unit was mostly complete with the basic parts I needed. There was one part, F-8, the left rocker arm, that was repaired in the past, that I would try to track down a new one if I could, other wise I would just use the repaired part. Some new wiring, a switch and the odd screw or bolt is all the rest looked like it would need. To start with, I wanted a shelf to store and use the filer on, as well as to hold some tools and parts for me. I built a quick bookshelf looking cabinet with plywood, and finished it with a polyurethane. Some times for non-traditional projects like this, I use whats quick and easy. This stand would also gave me a chance to get rid of the old base and a place to disassemble the filer. 

It took some time for me to get around to disassembly and cleaning, I have been quite busy lately, and had not been sure if it would get done this summer. It is the kind of job you need to do outside, as we have cold harsh winters here. So I had a nice summer day when I had to be outside doing some varnish making, so I figured it was time to take the filer apart. I always take lots of pictures during disassembly and keep them for future reference. Use your phone or a camera. I like my camera on auto macro setting. It works well for close pictures. 

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I took the unit outside on the shelf I built (left) and started taking it apart. These units are quite straight forward to take apart, as they are very simple. A benefit to taking it apart for me is that I find you really get an understanding of how the machine operates. You can see points were they may need more attention to lubrication then others, any repairs done over the years and it really gets all the moving surfaces as good as they were when it was new. With a few tools I started, with camera in hand.  Below is a slideshow containing some of the pictures of the unit being disassembled with short descriptions. It was helpful to have the shelf below to store all the parts for cleaning. The machine was easy to disassemble, as there are not many parts to it, and nothing was too hard to remove. All I needed was a few tools and some oil. I was fortunate enough to get it basically disassembled before the rain came. Now that it was apart I was left with the worst part of all…….cleaning.

First I removed the gib support casting from the case.Side view of the cam shaft that lifts the file arm up.The lift plate was shimmed with an old container. I wish I knew what container it was from.The main casting with the cam shaft gear and springs.The cam shaft removed.I needed a lot of oil and some light taps to get the vertical lift rod out.A few small parts on the front left to remove.

To clean this unit, I was trying a variety of methods. Im still trying to work out my personal favourite for cleaning, several products and methods seem to work, but with some draw backs. Some commercial cleaners clean very well, and remove the paint in the process. When I am doing a repaint, this is acceptable, but for this I am just cleaning it for right now. Ive tried other products that don’t seem to do anything at all. So until I’ve decided my favourite, I won’t back or endorse any commercial product. Something I use on this may not work on another piece. You really have to try the product on a small spot and see. Let it sit as well, sometimes it takes a bit to start removing the paint. Or as you scrub. I have become more fond of just using soap flakes as much as possible. Ive never experienced any problems with them removing the paint or anything on items I have tried, but I haven’t tried them on every finish type of course. I just mix it up with water, scrub the parts, rinse them with water and dry them with a heat gun. I use the heat gun the help dry the items faster and, this also helps remove any water hidden in the pores of the cast iron. On the filer I started cleaning items in reverse order of disassembly, this way I could put parts back on as I cleaned them. Here are a few pics of the before and after cleaning parts. 

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After most of the main castings and parts were cleaned, it was time for reassembly. As the machine was being put back together, any bearing surface was oiled or greased as required. The assembly is essentially the reverse of the previous procedures. The wing casting was the first part to be reinstalled, followed by the file arm carriage, and its related parts (right). The glide rods were oiled at this time as well as the pivot point on the filer. The springs were given a light coat of oil as well, to help prevent rust. 

Next the lift plate and the old tin shim were installed and the bearing surface on the bottom of the lift plate were greased. Then the cam shaft was lightly oiled and installed (below left). The cam shaft gear was put in place and tightened (below right). 


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The file arm casting, gib support casting, and file holder hardware were installed next. The file arm holder was cleaned up as well as all the various hardware for it. They were installed in the file arm casting (right). This adjustment was an extremely noticeable difference from what it was before. It is an area that I would recommend cleaning on any machine. The arm was then installed on the machine (below). I oiled the gib and all surfaces, and lightly and evenly tightened the assembly. There is instructions on how to adjust the gib are in the manual, which can be found online here (external link). 

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Next I went on to the other side of the machine, and cleaned the flywheel and greasing the bearings involved. The flywheel uses needle bearings and the shaft is hollowed out and uses an adjustable grease cap on the end, that allows more grease to be added as needed and maintains pressure on the grease as well, keeping the shaft lubricated. To clean the old grease out of the shaft, I cleaned out what I could and then attached my grease gun to the shaft and ran grease through it till the grease came out clean. I then cleaned out the grease cap and filed it with new grease. I then attached the flywheel and lock collar, and greased the needle bearings with my grease gun. Then attach the grease cap nut, tightening till you feel pressure. Continue to lightly tighten, while turning the flywheel,  pressing air out and a bit more grease into the bearings. Any excess grease will work its way out, then it is time to stop turning, there is no reason the over do it.

Below left, using the grease gun to clean out the shaft. Below right, the grease cap attachment, filled up with grease. Bottom left, the cap the covers the grease cap is filled with grease as well. Bottom right, the grease cap installed.

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Then the small parts for the advance mechanism and motor bracket where cleaned. The rocker arm that came with the unit was broken and repaired in a fashion that seemed to work, but was very rough looking and ugly. I was fortunate enough to find one up for sale at The Foley Filer blog (external link). To the left are a picture of the the repaired (right) and the factory replacement (left). I also replaced the feed pawl at the same time as well, as the one on the machine was ground oddly.  Below is the feed assembly installed on the machine. 

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The front vise casting was cleaned and installed along with the Foley knob and file holders. This completes all the parts required to use is as a hand crank machine. Below is a picture of the machine thus far. I Have the machine screwed down to the stand. As well, I added an emergency stop button and switch to the cart. 




The last part was the wiring. I intend to use the machine with or without power, depending on the situation, so I cleaned up the motor and redid the wiring for the light and motor. I tested the motor for shorts, which there were none, and the shaft turned freely with my fingers, so I oiled it a bit, connected a cord and tested it with power. The motor tuned on and ran quite quietly. I had originally interned to disassemble the motor and clean the bearings, but I could not get it apart. The motor mounts were completely deteriorated (below), any residue was cleaned and scraped from the motor.

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The motor was next cleaned on the exterior and the mounts were installed on the motor, as well as the pulley, as shown below. 

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Then I wired all the electrical components, as well as installed the light. The light is wired to be on any time the machine is plugged in, and there is a remote switch and turns the motor on. A new belt was installed on the machine as well. There is still one area to address on the filer which is the upper carrier slide, which one original is almost completely destroyed, and the other side is a home made replacement. I found the replacement causes to carrier to jam when pushing it through. I needed to make replacements for the machine. Using one inch aluminum, I bent the it to shape of the remanning original using a vise and small hammer to accomplish the bends. The holes were drilled with my small crank drill. The photo below is the machine complete, with the original carrier slide and replacement that came on the machine. I used a Edison style bulb for the lamp, to stick with the vintage look of the machine. I will add more information on operating this machine in the future. At the bottom of the page is a few pictures of the aluminium being bent for the replacement carrier slides I made.

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Making a replacement carrier slide is easy, First mark your first bend and line up the line with the vise jaws and bend the metal back (above left), then tap the metal down with a small hammer, to make the ninety degree turn sharp. Then mark and reposition the metal for the second bend (above left), this one is tough being so close to the first bend. I had a small hammer that worked perfectly for this operation. After it is bent, adjust the bends on the anvil face on the back of the anvil (below left). The edges were then filed smooth and the holes were marked, drill and filed. Below right is the completed carrier slide installed on the filer.

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© Shane Larson 2017