I saw her in a upholstry shop once and fell in love with her steely massive presence. One year later she came up for auction. That familar presence renewed my love and dreams with her started formulating visions of togetherness. I waited all day to see who else felt the love I did to bid on her massive frame. Surprisingly only one suitor wanted her for she required a unique three phase electricity not alot of people have and understand. The bid went all the way to eight hundred dollars when the suitor dropped out and my heart exploded with joy for I had just bought a forty year old army surplus Newman No. 60 jointer . Her features are a beautiful 23’’ wide cast iron bed by a 8’-0” long bed four blade head weighing over two thousand pounds 5 horsepower direct drive shaft open motor covered by a squirel cage. Her presence in the studio warrants a look from anyone who venture in to make me name her “Old Bessie”. Since she settled into my family of machines over twenty years ago I grew to respect her power her important function in woodworking as the start of the process in making anything out of wood for any machine I run lumber through that come from Old Bessie functions to it’s optimum because the lumber is straight. If the lumber is bowed or crooked the shaper will bind up . The table saw will wine and scream with smoke ejecting blackened sawdust burning pitch onto a blade that shouldn’t . Her brother machine a Newman no.600 24” planer revolts and contorts if the lumber is not straight on the bottom surface for it follows whatever Old Bessie cuts my pressing the lumber down to it’s bottom plate. Lumber just doesn’t glue up without that perfect edge Old Bessie puts on it. Eight foot and ten foot doors styles are straight making a perfectly level flat door. Since I have had her I have only oiled and changed blades for twenty years without any maintenance . Many people have offered big money for her other look with envy and beginners look with awe and bewilder at this massive machine. The wisdom this machine has brought me has shed light on knowing the level of craftsmanship mystified how they work when I see other woodworkers shop with smaller grizzly’s or 8’’ jointers . I never buy 15’’/16’’ planed lumber because it is never straight it has not been put through a jointer just a moulder that smashes the bow’s down to plow the rough off not cutting a flat plane floating lumber across Old bessie flat plate through the bow for straightness. This is why I say my “Old Bessie ” is the most important tool in the studio ,she makes me better with her lumber straighting abilities . All this and Heaven too.
-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart