Powermatic Model 15 Planer refurb--vintage 1995 #1: Entry number 1 in a long series of boring tool upgrades....

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Blog entry by Retseih posted 09-26-2010 04:07 PM 6578 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Powermatic Model 15 Planer refurb--vintage 1995 series Part 2: Power cords don't really need they? »

I love to buy used tools, fix them up better than new, and use them in my woodworking business. This is my first attempt at a blog entry, so we will see how it goes.

The “new” tool is a Powermatic 15 planer I picked up off C’s List for $500. A great deal according to my former Shop Nite buddy who states “hey the older tools are better anyway.” After extensive investigation (read the s/n plate) I found that the tool was manufactured in Taiwan during the older tools are better era of 1995. The woodworking I do occasionally involves planing up to 100 board feet of something…the latest is a stairway conversion from carpet to Jatoba. My previous planer (DeWalt 735) which gives a great finish just isn’t quite big enough to handle 10 foot boards of 5/4 anything running an hour at a shot. Enter the 15” Powermatic..I call it “the beast”....since I nearly ruptured my spleen moving it from my trailer to my shop, despite the aid of my hysterical wife when I responded to her “why can’t you wait until your shop buddies get here in 3 hours?” with…”I have important woodworking to do NOW.” ...but hey that is a blog of an entirely different nature.

The Beast came damaged, which is why the price was a mere $500. After quick examination the only “real” damage is the table itself. The front of the table has been snapped off where the bolts holding the infeed rollers attach, rendering this feature of the machine useless (picture to follow.) Curiously when asked how the machine was damaged the previous owner responded ”.....I don’t remember.” I don’t recall the last time I damaged a major piece of shop equipment which involved breaking a cast iron piece where I couldn’t remember how it happened…so I guess we have that in common we both can’t remember things….

During Shop Nite, my particularly clever shop buddy Rex (proud new owner of a used DeWalt 735) noted that by attaching an auxillary piece of steel to the side of the table (there is room for holes and a bracket) we could attach a new piece of steel that could emulate the front of the table that was snapped off during the earlier non-memorable table destruction event. Or I could spring for the $275 part, but that would make it a $775 planer and eat heavily into the coveted $600 budget for the new Byrd Shelix head I want to upgrade the Beast with.

As it stands the Beast is fully operational and is currently chewing on 5/4 Brazillian Cherry while I contemplate pulling the blades and re-setting them up for optimal performance.

I will keep you up to speed on my progress. Any pointers or suggestions are welcome.

-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

5 comments so far

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3507 days

#1 posted 09-26-2010 06:37 PM

At this rate a machine built in 2025 will be a complete certifiable POS. I have a 1980 PM 8” jointer that some would say is still to young to be considered a “well made” piece of equipment. Even my 1963 Dewalt Powershop RAS is just on the verge of being a “well made” piece. Of course both are just fine. Most anything with a PM tag is good stuff. Good luck on your refurb and upgrade. You got a very good deal.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Retseih's profile


27 posts in 2864 days

#2 posted 09-29-2010 03:38 AM

Is your jointer puke green too?...not sure which marketing wizard decided on that color. Thanks for the comments.


-- Palmer Divide Woodworks--Where steel collides with wood

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 09-30-2010 03:43 AM

Mine is gold. One day I’ll repaint it. I’m not to thrilled with the gold, but at least it’s not puke green ,ha, just kidding. Enjoy.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

36 posts in 2649 days

#4 posted 08-08-2011 09:02 PM

As luck would have it, there’s a woodworking equipment auction nearby, including a circa 1995 Powermatic 15” Planer. The link:

With all your experience with The Beast, would you still recommend it? And, did you ever upgrade to the Byrd Shelix head?


-- Bob

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 08-08-2011 09:12 PM

For an example of what David’s talking about and the Golden Age of tools, see my discouraging blog about a 2008 Powermatic jointer.

I’ve got a bandsaw from 1948 that has ZERO issues. I plugged it in, put a blade on it, and started cutting stuff.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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