Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Leaving Port

The aircraft carrier, my 16" Oliver 166 jointer, has taken a 90˚ swing in position and is preparing to leave dock:

I removed the fence so as to lighten the load by 100lbs. or so.

That is one hefty lump of cast iron and it took several hours work to build up a sturdy pallet and wrangle the beast into place. It's now bolted down so shouldn't be going anywhere without permission.  It will be taking a journey into southern lands, known as 'Connecticut', where it has found an appreciative new owner. I'm thinking a multi-gun salute would be appropriate for its grand farewell. It has served me well.

I am out with my fishing rod trying to see what new beast I can land. I'm thinking something longer and wider. Stay tuned.


  1. farewell! and you didnt mention you were in my town of Montreal! hope you enjoyed yourself with a heart clogging poutine!

  2. Nick,

    I did make a point of explaining to my wife what poutine was. We kept our distance. There is some great food in Quebec.


  3. Holy cow, "something longer and wider." My six inch jointer is blushing. Just curious, what kind of lumber do you find that requires that wide a jointer? And where do you swap and sell big machines like that?

    BTW, thanks for the interesting blog.

    Take it easy,


  4. Dan,

    thanks for your comment. You know, it is not so much the width that I am after but the length. The longer the jointer the better, providing the machine is well constructed and you have room for it in your shop. If I could find a 16" jointer with a longer table length, particularly in regards to the infeed table, then I would be fine with that. Even a long 12" jointer would suffice for 90% of the work I do. Sadly, finding 'long' in a 12" or 16" jointer is not something one comes across too readily in North America. There are some German and Japanese machines, available in those countries, but then you have the hassles that come with machine importation and differing electrics.

    It will be the rare occasion when I want to push a board wider than 16" across the machine, and pushing something wider takes a lot of effort besides, but the greater width also translates into being able to move the fence around so as to have a fresh portion of sharp knife to access and being able to skew the plank across the cutter a bit more if so desired with woods prone to tear out. A long infeed table is great when bringing longer and heavier sticks of wood onto the machine and I frequently work with 16/4 and 12/4 material.

    It took about three months to find a buyer for my jointer. The market for old American cast iron does not move especially quickly these days, so I feel a bit lucky to have only waited 3 months to make the sale. I also was prepared to take a slight financial loss on the jointer to expedite the sale of the machine. I had it advertised on Craigslist and on Ebay. Finding a jointer requires looking in the same places, talking to machinery dealers, restorers and re-sellers, and I've been looking daily for the past 8 months. So, I have a pretty good idea of what is available, and what sort of prices are typical for what. Right now, larger jointers are a bit scarce unfortunately, except in machines 50~80 years old, which are not what I'm looking for.

    Glad you enjoy the blog - hope to hear from you again.


  5. Chris,

    Good news that your Essex class battleship there is going to be staying in commission, and not relegated to the mothball fleet to simply rust.

  6. Dennis,

    yes, it will be kept alive and useful and I can feel good about having resurrected it from the condition in which I received it. So many hulking cast iron machines have been left to rust or sold for scrap over the years.


  7. See here for a gripping account of the restoration of an example of classic woodworking machinery:
    It also references another restoration to concours d'elegence level done in, yes, Canada.
    Of course this is probably for hobby use not to earn a living with; other standards apply.

    1. Rob,

      thanks for sharing. I have seen that Wadkin PK restoration thread before. Those old Wadkins are beautiful machines, and the restoration was carried out in a classy manner, however I am not a fan of those direct drive table saws - from any manufacturer. To achieve a 4" cut depth with a direct drive typically requires a 16" blade, which cost more and tend to have more run out. The motor housing gets in the way of the blade raising. And if you want to re-power the saw with more horsepower, you are out of luck as the motor is part and parcel of the blade's spindle. And then there are the non-existent parts to deal with. I get the romance of the old cast iron and admire those who take the time to rebuild them with care and attention, but I would rather focus, at this time, on working wood.


  8. Do you know what year this is? We have the exact same one in my school woodshop. Build to last thats for sure


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