Please help me identify my 20" Thickness Planer

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Forum topic by HappyManny posted 11-07-2015 11:34 AM 999 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 991 days

11-07-2015 11:34 AM


I recently came across a 20” thickness planer on craigslist for $800. The owner did not know who the original manufacturer is as the unit did not have any identification on it, all we know is that it is OLD. Does anyone have any idea who makes this thing? I’m looking for a manual so I can tear it down and take it into my basement workshop in pieces. It’s so big it won’t fit through the doors of my home. I’m hoping to tear it down and be able to use it sometime. I’ve had it almost a month and it’s been sitting in my garage unused because I don’t have a 220v run there.

I was kind of skeptical about a 20” planer for only $800, but I did see it run, and run well I might add. He had a TON of extra blades and belts for the thing. He planed a couple rough sawn ash boards for me and it seemed to cut through them like butter. He claimed that he used it to help build his house, which was made completely from trees cut down on his property. I’m not sure how much of that is true, but he definitely used it a lot for something. The mechanism that feeds lumber is kind of weird however. You sort of have to step on a lever on the right side to apply tension to the belt that turns the feed roller. A little strange, but a minor inconvienence to be able to plane 20” wide panels. I think a weight could probably be applied to this lever to make it work without my assistance.

Anyway I’ve attached some pictures of the planer, in case someone can identify this thing and point me in the direction of a manual. The motor, the starter, and the switch in the pictures are not original, but I assume the rest is (more or less)

Any help would be appreciated.



8 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2515 days

#1 posted 11-07-2015 12:16 PM

No offense, but I have a hard time cranking my neck to the left to see.

But it certainly is an odd duck. I have not a clue. If not for the cast legs/side frame, I’d be tempted to say it is hand or custom made.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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12 posts in 991 days

#2 posted 11-07-2015 12:19 PM

Sorry about that. They aren’t turned to the left like that on my PC, but for some reason after they’re uploaded here, they get turned on their side. It’s kind of strange.

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12 posts in 991 days

#3 posted 11-07-2015 12:24 PM

I guess one question I have is, did I do well or did I waste my money?

I suppose if I can’t get it into my workshop it’s wasted. Perhaps I should try to resell it and recoup some of my money?

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2515 days

#4 posted 11-07-2015 12:34 PM

I’m no expert on vintage machinery, but to my eye it does not look like an $800 planer. That being said, looks ain’t everything. You might have not bought it had it not performed like you say it did, and he threw in a couple hundred dollars in extra blades.

Any machine that can successfully do a good job on planing a 20” wide plank is today usually worth way North of $800. But looks also play into it, and yours, with its three color paint job is a little short on looks.

In the end, if you thought it was worth $800, why not just take a lot of pictures, label everything as you disassemble, and move it into the final location and use it? It might be with you 15 years from now, and that’s probably more than you could say for a new 20” Grizzly.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View HarveyM's profile


106 posts in 2023 days

#5 posted 11-07-2015 12:42 PM

I’d post it on the old woodworking machines forum. If those guys don’t know, you’ll never find out what it is.

-- Just a Duffer

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12 posts in 991 days

#6 posted 11-07-2015 07:37 PM

Thanks Harvey, I will post there as soon as they approve my registration. In the mean time does anyone else have any ideas on what it might be?

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6717 posts in 2200 days

#7 posted 11-07-2015 08:39 PM

If you can’t find a manufacturers mark, then posting the photo over at the OWWM site might get you some results – they live for identifying vintage arn. You might also be able to determine what it is by scanning through the photos over at the vintagemachinery site. There are a few that look really close, such as these American Saw Mill Machinery models:


Or this



-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Wade316's profile


5 posts in 935 days

#8 posted 11-08-2015 01:31 PM

A buddy of mine introduced to a site known as “Vintage Machines” there may be some knowledgeable minds more advanced than mine with your proper response. Also, never judge a noodle a book by its cover, another great cabinet maker I know has one that’s a twenty four inches which still uses lead Babbitts and has only two knives, but his work is phenomenal.

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