Reflections on Learning How #4: To Restore a circa-1940s Delta Jointer

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Blog entry by FeralVermonter posted 01-13-2013 03:45 PM 1679 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: To Rehabilitate a Craftsman Radial Arm Saw Part 4 of Reflections on Learning How series no next part

Honestly, I thought I did my due diligence on this one. I really did.

Fortunately, I haven’t made any serious mistakes. Just a bunch of goofy beginner ones. Aw, heck. I’m a goofy guy, and a beginner to boot, what can I say? It was awfully fun, and I learned a lot—and I got a jointer out of the deal.

I will say this, however: what I’ve learned so far really helped on this job, (much of which I learned right here, on this site!) enough so that at least I know I’m heading in the right direction. And that’s a real relief. And no major mistakes, as I mentioned: no stripped parts, no dings, no droppage, no pieces lost. Everything came apart smoothly, and went back together smoothly–no head-scratching, trying to remember which part goes where. Each step proceeded pretty smoothly, though it’s clear that I need a bit of work on my techniques. Gonna need to get a little better at taping off, for example, and at using spraypaint.

I did get a little mixed up in the order in which I took each step, however. I wish I’d put a better shine on the beds before painting, for example. And I know where I went wrong, there: I let excitement get the better of me, and rushed in before developing a fully fleshed-out plan of attack. Tucking that little gem of knowledge away for the next round.

Learned quite a bit about rust removal through this project–I seem to keep learning more and more about that, who knew there was so much to know? My first foray into rust removal was with naval jelly, recommended to me by the guy at the local hardware store. Frustratingly slow, but it works. Then I found this stuff Rust Remover, which was a real revelation—but at $10/qt, pretty pricey. I clearly wasn’t going to be able to use it for the jointer, not least because I don’t have any tubs big enough, so I went out and bought a wire wheel for my power drill, and another for my bench grinder. It was very, very slow going, but eventually I had everything cleaned up real nice. From advice I found on this site, I was very careful with the machined surfaces: I went over them with a fine wire wheel very very lightly, and only to remove the worst of the rust. Then I switched to wet sanding with a rubber sanding block, superfine paper, and a very, very light touch, taking care to work the entire surface with each pass. This was the best procedure that I could come up with to minimize the risk of unevenly taking down the surface.

In an earlier discussion, LJ member MedicKen suggested that I give electrolysis a try, for rust removal: it’s now at the very top of my to-do list, I’ve already assembled all the parts, but I want to be sure that I understand it all first, since it seems that there are some dangers inherent in the procedure.

I’d say that my biggest mistake was the paint. I’d seen many jointers of a similar vintage online painted a dull light blue, and when I went to the store I figured I had something “good enough.” So it’s a little… too blue but it doesn’t look as bad as I’d feared, either, and I’m sure with a few layers of grease and sawdust it’ll get prettier. But I realize that I’ll have to be a lot more deliberate about color choice next round. It never even occurred to me, however, that it really wasn’t the right paint for the job—shoulda used automotive paint, or something like it, I know now. It’s already got a few little chips in it.

Added a bunch of little things to my repertoire, on this one: mineral oil, mineral spirits, machine oil, teflon spray, Johnson’s paste wax—and those handy dandy wire wheels. Made what I hope are educated choices about how to lube/treat the different parts of the machine: teflon spray for a few internal moving parts, white lithium grease for the dovetails, paste wax for the beds…

Still a little bit of work to do. I think I’ll be taking the spindle back out to give it a little more shine. Probably going to put in another hour or two shining the beds. Gonna pick up some Rust Remover for the blades, since I don’t want to use abrasives there at all. I know that setting jointer knives can be a real butt-kicker, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it—gonna try the magnetic guide trick.

Up next: a few smaller projects. Something I can bite off in one day. Got a bit brace to revive, a couple of old squares, and this pretty neat hand-cranked gearbox. I’m hoping I can cobble that into a hand-cranked sharpening wheel, something I’ve had on my mind for a while… might not work, but if it doesn’t at least I’ll pick up a thing or two about gears.

Thanks for all the advice on this one, folks!

1 comment so far

View GlennsGrandson's profile


442 posts in 2360 days

#1 posted 01-13-2013 05:30 PM

Job well done sir! The light blue looks better than I anticipated (Secretly I love my gray tools thought)!

It took me a decent amount of time for me to set my blades the first time (and only time so far). They badly need to be sharpened again but I am dreading the process and I am trying to hold off buying a “jointer pal”, I think I can make my own. I am going to try a 3/16” piece of glass cut to size with rare earth magnets epoxied to the correct places and see if I can utilize that to help me set all of my blades evenly. Let us know how you go about doing it. I used a 4’ machined aluminum level to help me initially set me beds coplanar (very important) and to set my blades.

Again, job well done, as along as you maintain this beaut it will last a lifetime and then some.

-- Grant - N Dakota

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