Very old jointer on CL - what problems to look for?

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Forum topic by JeffP posted 07-10-2015 10:11 PM 817 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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573 posts in 1419 days

07-10-2015 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer

I’ve been negotiating with the owner of a circa 1905 12” jointer (American WW machinery co).

I haven’t gone out to look at the machine yet. It is in need of a new motor, so I won’t be able to see it actually joint some wood.

Claims the bearings (“babbits”) have been “re-poured” (near as I can tell from my googling, this basically means the bearings have been re-manufactured to more or less new).

Supposedly has a 3 knife cutter head. Don’t know what condition the knives are in. Anybody know if I would be able to retrofit some new knives into this ancient beast without replacing the whole cutter head? Also, would it require major machining to take a modern helical head and make it work in such a machine?

If/when I go out to look at this thing, what all should I do to thoroughly kick the tires? (as I said, won’t be able to run it)

thanks much!

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

4 replies so far

View Kyheadhunter's profile


40 posts in 1667 days

#1 posted 07-11-2015 07:30 PM

Look for a level table. Is the jointer a direct drive or belt driven. You should be able to convert to belt driven if needed. Is there rust on the table, how bad is it. Its a heavy beast, you have to be very careful moving it, not to tip it over. You could disassemble, but I moved mine in one piece. Does the cutter head turn smooth? New knives shouldn’t be a problem.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2520 days

#2 posted 07-11-2015 07:38 PM

Knives shouldn’t be a problem, and you could have a helical head made if you want and money allows. As kyheadhunter said, the weight of the thing may be a challenge…but really, these old machines are built for the long haul, so if the visual inspection is good, it’s likely a worthwhile candidate.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1419 days

#3 posted 07-11-2015 11:30 PM

thanks all. I spent an hour moving and removing stuff in my shop this morning…and eventually gave in to the reality that I simply don’t have room for this wondrous beast right now.

Mostly, I came to realize that I need to ignore these CL ads for huge vintage iron until after I build my new shop building (circa 2017).

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2886 days

#4 posted 07-12-2015 04:33 PM

If you don’t buy it when you find it, you’ll never find it when you think you have enough room…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

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