Sunday, 17 August 2014

Stenbergs KLE Kombimaskin - combination machine

I have really been struggling with space in my little workshop. It's 32.5 square meters and it contains a metal and woodworking shop. I have only recently bought all the machines I thought I would need to have a fairly complete general purpose woodworking shop and discovered I had little room to work:

I had to go back and reconsider my options.

If you want to prepare your own materials and get them to size and usable finish, you need a few machines. These are:
  1. Table saw
  2. Band saw
  3. Planer and thicknesser (or jointer thicknesser)
  4. Spindle moulder
Now I had all these machines seperately but I had no room to move so I started to sell them off in order to fund a combination machine.

Stenbergs KLE as a viable option
It's no secret I like older European machines. They are built with a simplicity and robustness that means you have years of faithful service if you do your part and keep them oiled and rust free. Yes, older machines need some extra attention but they were built to carry out a job and were made before the advertising departments were bigger than the engineering and manufacturing departments. I started scouring the internet and came across a Swedish made Stenbergs 300 KLE - a machine I have been patiently waiting for. Stenbergs was a branch of the Swedish Jonsered Construction and Manufacturing AB company - also known for building very heavy duty woodworking machines. From the ad. I could see that the machine was in good shape:

The machine is a 5 function beast with table saw, planer thicknesser, spindle moulder and a tennoning attachment. This meant that the only other piece of seperate machinery I would need would be my bandsaw (which I am upgrading so more to follow about that...).

Why a Stenbergs KLE Kombimaskin? (Swedish for combination machine)
When working with wood, it is often the case that you need to work with long pieces. Many combination machines have a large footprint due to the large size of the table saw table. The Stenbergs 300 (as it is also known) utilizes the jointer thicknesser table as the table saw table and also part of the spindle moulder table. This means it is quite narrow in comparison to other machines and therefore takes up less floorspace in the workshop - only slightly larger than a standard euro pallet:

This is a compromise as it means ripping large sheets is difficult. I can however build a removable extension which will help me with this - which as it happens was an optional extra that the owner of my machine did not purchase.

Cast iron everywhere
This machine is heavy. It is solid and utilizes cast iron for all working surfaces. It weighs in at 480 kg so it's not a lightweight. I like this in a machine as it means less vibration and increased stability. For example, the fence weighs close to 20kg and when locked, cannot be budged:

Rudimentary controls
The KLE (previously versions known as the Stenbergs KLA, KLC and afterwards KLJ) was the smallest of the industrial machines Stenbergs made. As such, it was designed to be tough and solid, which it is. It does not have the dials and measurement tapes and dials of more modern machines but it is not anything that can't be fixed without a ruler or height guage. For example, the table saw lift mechanism:

This is also the case with the tennoning attachment:

And also the case with the spindle moulder:

The jointer thicknesser has a measurement tape and leadscrew to adjust the thicknesser which is good. This is where precision is the most important in my opinion as boards even a millimitre out of plane will stand out:

The controls on the front of the machine are just steel levers and handles, simple but effective:

Time for the belt...
The machine requires belt changes to provide power to the various tools. This is accomodated through a main drive wheel that also contains a clutch that provides drive to the infeed and outfeed roller of the thicknesser, and also houses the manual brake:

Dust ports are simple in design and consist of a sliding valve that either opens or closes the port. Simple but effective:

The safety guards are very well made and robust. The arms that hold them in place are spring assisted and have zerk fittings at each pivot point to allow oiling. All bearing surfaces are made of cast bronze:

Of course there are compromises with all combination machines. Here is a list of  some compromises with this machine I have had to make:
  1. Less space than stand alone machines
  2. Dependence on a single motor
  3. Belt changes required
  4. Spartan controls and measurements
  5. 2 blade cutter head on planer thicknesser
  6. Non tilting saw blade and spindle moulder spindle
So here are some advantages to this machine:
  1. Robust and stable - industrial quality
  2. Simple to fix
  3. Small footprint for 5 machines
  4. Powerful motor at 3HP, 3 phase motor
  5. No electronics other than the on/off switch
  6. Narrow shape allows easier storage along a wall
  7. Simple to use
  8. Industry standard blades, cutters and attachments
I have a large dining table I need to make so I am really keen to see how this machine will go. I will be creating a rolling base for it to increase it's base in order to make it more stable and easier to move around. I really can't wait to try the beast out and see how it does. I will also post some parts lists for the KLC and KLJ. I have not been able to find any for the KLE at this point.

I hope you enjoyed the read on an interesting and quite unique machine. I have attached the parts manuals for the Stenberg KLC and Stenberg KLJ combination machines. I do not have the manual for the KLE but it is nearly identical to the KLJ.


  1. Hi, i have been looking for a stenberg combination machine, and came across your blog, i really enjoyed reading it. Would you have any idea where i could find a stenberg combination?

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