Being In The Right Place - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Being In The Right Place

 In Feature Articles

Being in the right place at the right time has its rewards. I’ve worked at woodworking for two decades and I’ve never used anything with the name Yates or Colladay on it , until this week.

I walked up to the Acanthus Workshop’s Colladay 16″ jointer (a genuine piece of “Old Arn”) and flipped to the on switch. The machine began to purr. The cut made as I passed the board over the three-knife head was dead-flat and as true as can be. The board slid over the machine like the puck on an air hockey table. Nice.

Acanthus Workshop owner, Chuck Bender, was also in the right place at the right time when he purchased the Philadelphia-made jointer. He had spread the word amongst fellow woodworkers that he was interested in a upgrading his jointer; extra width works best for Bender because he often uses wide boards in the reproduction pieces he builds. He received a phone call from another woodworker who said he needed to part with his Colladay jointer; he needed to get it out of his dining room , that’s right, his dining room. (I can’t believe it, but I’m having fun trying to imagine.)

The jointer was in great working condition and immediately found a new home. It has been part of Acanthus ever since. This machine is great to use, but what really put a smile on my face was the three minutes and forty seconds of run-down time after the jointer is shut off. That’s long enough to joint another short board.

A second piece of “arn” at Acanthus is a Yates 156, 30″-wide thickness planer. Bender has had this machine for almost 10 years and as with the jointer, nothing had to be done to the machine to bring it into working condition. Think about this: Four knives at 30″ each is a total of 120″ of knives to sharpen. Around these parts, that will set you back about $100.

How’s the class doing? Wednesday was field trip day. We drove to Philip H. Bradley Company Antiques in Downingtown, Pa., to take in some original tea tables and other great pieces. Inside the door there is a stunning secretary and the front room is full of pieces that any woodworker would admire. Then it was off to Ball & Ball to study reproduction hardware. Some of the students picked up knobs for the candle slides of their tables.

Construction is going great. Wednesday morning everyone wrapped up the legs and Thursday morning the bases of the tables go together. By the end of the day Thursday, we should have the tops fit. Also, Thursday is ice cream day. On a challenge, I had 12 pints of Graeter’s ice cream sent out from Cincinnati. If you’re in the area, grab a spoon and stop by.
– Glen D. Huey, senior editor

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Showing 2 comments
  • Chuck Bender


    He TRIED that logic but his wife really wanted something…more traditional.

    Chuck Bender

  • Jeremy

    The former owner of that beautiful jointer missed the obvious solution: If you have a 16" jointer in your dining room, just EAT OFF OF THAT! I mean, look at the size of that table! You could seat at least 6 there if you remove the fence.

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