It seems that my woodworking career is getting off to a slow start. I’ve been meaning to build some Thien separators for my shopvac and dust collector before embarking on building various stands for tools in my tiny workshop. The other day, I had a friend come over to help me lug the SteelCity 14” bandsaw into the basement. We assembled it and had to buy a few extra tools in order to get everything assembled. Unfortunately, it seems as though the saw is suffering from very uncontrollable vibration. So SteelCity has agreed to take care of me but it means I’ll have to disassemble the saw and bring it back up again.
One of the tools I wasn’t originally set on buying but ended up getting was a jointer. I didn’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on one so I went for the used route looking for something on the cheap. I checked out an old Rockwell/Delta 37-220 but decided not to go for it because the jointer needed a lot of work just to get it into serviceable shape. The cutterhead keyway was damaged, the motor pulley was warped, there was rust on the bed, etc. I ended up getting a used Delta X5 6” jointer instead but I didn’t exactly get it cheaply. But I bought it knowing that my heart was still set on getting a 37-220-type of jointer. The main reason for my preference (aside from wanting to own a piece of Canadian history) is that the fence assemblies of newer jointers takes up substantially more space than the quaint old jointer. My workshop is so small that I can’t afford to have the rack and pinion assembly eating up an extra 6-8” of width. So…I told myself that I would use the X5 in the garage for now to tide me over until I get myself a usable 37-220 and then sell it at a later date. Well, today, I decided to pick up the old 37-220 jointer that I initially decided to reject. I felt bad that the venerable jointer was “homeless” and longing for a new owner so I bought it and brought it home today.
I’ve never restored a machine before and I doubt I’ll have the ability to do a thorough enough job to warrant calling this process a “restoration” so I’ve dubbed this my jointer clean-up project. Fortunately, with the X5, it means I can take a bit of time to restore this little jointer. Nevertheless, this jointer project will further slow down my already slow start. But I guess, in the end, it’s all part of the learning process anyway.
I would love to get advice on restoring this little guy. I’m considering the electrolysis route to get rid of some of the rust but tonight I decided to do the scouring thing first to see how bad the rust really was. Here are the results.
I actually didn’t think about taking photos of the jointer until I had already sprayed RustOff on it. I quickly ran into the house to get the camera. In my haste to take a few snaps, I failed to realize that my camera was on manual focus and manual exposure so the quality of the first two shots aren’t great (not that the rest of the shots are any better).
Here’s a shot of the jointer with the rusty bed. You can see the X5 jointer in the background.
Here’s the jointer bed after cleaning with a scouring pad, steel wool, and sandpaper. Most of the time, I used WD40 as the lubricant:
I can’t get the black rust (I presume that’s what it is) out and I don’t want to be grinding the top needlessly so for now, I’ve left the stains:
I wish I could get the top as shiny bright as some of the restoration experts seem to be able to do. Will electrolysis do the trick for me?
Here’s another shot at the end of the session:
My next plan is to take the entire thing apart and clean all the individual components one by one. The handwheel for the infeed table is really stiff (yes, the table is unlocked). While I do that, I’m trying to find a machinist to take care of the pulleys or the cutterhead shaft for me. I may still go the electrolysis route to clean up all the rusted components (including the tables—-though I’m not sure it’s worth it. The tables are quite smooth now so going that one step further would be for cosmetic reasons, I think). Hopefully, once everything is cleaned and the waxed, things will adjust a little more freely.