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Where To Buy Wood Bearings
“Wood bearings have been used since wheels were invented and they’re still used today in equipment ranging from combines to water turbines and even nuclear submarines,” says Starkey Steuernagle, general manager of Woodex Bearing Company in Maine. “Even though there are all kinds of metal, composite and plastic bearings, we still supply standard-size roller, hanger, spherical and custom wood bearings.”   Steuernagle says Woodex bearings provide the least abrasive surface for metal shafts and they don’t usually need oiling. They’re made from rock maple, which woodworkers know as hard maple and maple syrup lovers know as sugar maple. Rock maple has the perfect composition for bearings because its cell structure is like tiny “straws” that store oil for lubrication.
  Before Woodex bearings are cut, the raw wood is infused with lubricant using a heating and cooling process. Its bearings are made using antique lathes more than 125 years old, modern CNC equipment, and several hand tools. Hand-drawn plans and 3D software configure the company’s standard and custom designs.
  Steuernagle says, “After wood bearings are installed and put to work, they warm up from friction, which allows capillary action to move the lubricant to the shaft. When the machine is turned off and the bearing isn’t in use, the oil cools and flows back into the wood, ready to lubricate the next time.”
  Woodex began producing bearings for farm equipment many years ago because of an unusual request. One morning employees arrived at work to find a rusted old disc harrow parked in front of their shop. A note attached asked the company to fit the machine with new bearings, which they did. Later the company began making replacement bearings for a Ferguson tractor club. Today they make bearings for antique disc harrows, cultivators and cultipackers. Steuernagle says modern farm equipment, including the straw walkers on combines, still use wood bearings, although many of those are mass produced in China.
  “Woodex has a rich history and a long-standing tradition of customer satisfaction,” says Steuernagle. The company began in 1905 as a trademark of the Neveroil Bearing Company, which produced bearings for New England’s textile industry. As those businesses moved south, or overseas, Woodex moved north to Maine, where today the employee-owned company thrives. “Our 30 Woodex employees create affordable and precise wooden bearings,” Steuernagle says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Woodex Bearing Company, 216 Bay Point Road, Georgetown, Maine 04548
(ph 207 371-2210; www.woodexbearing.com).


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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5