Finding and restoring vintage shop machinery.
by Jameel Abraham
pgs. 44-49You pick up an old handplane at the local flea market. You clean it, flatten the sole, tune the adjusting mechanism, hone the iron to a frightful edge. That first shaving. You know the one. Full length, full width, the sound. You are grinning inside and out. Ever wish you could get that experience from a machine? Ridiculous notion you say? Well, read on.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the how, I think we need to discuss the why a little bit. I got sucked into vintage machinery in much the same way I got into traditional workholding devices. I was fed up with what was available, so I decided to look to the past. I won’t get into the politics of buying American vs. an Asian copy. I’m not much for politics (the golden rule rules this roost), so I’ll leave that to the Internet forums. So then, why restore an old woodworking machine? Nostalgia, quality, patriotism, frugality? Yes.
It all started for me when I bought a brand-new drill press about 10 years ago. The machine did what it was supposed to do. It turned bits and went up and down. But there were aspects of it that made me curse. The adjusting handles were sized for an Oompah Loompah. The castings had sharp edges. The belt guard wasn’t much more than tin foil. The depth stop was difficult to set and wouldn’t hold. It was the minimum amount of stuff a corporation could throw together and still call a drill press. I hated it.
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In Our Store: Learn how to restore smaller bits of metal in “Super-Tune a Handplane,” a video by Christopher Schwarz.