American Machinery Company Olivers Patent No 1 Trimmer What should I do with this beast.

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Forum topic by Aidan1211 posted 03-03-2016 12:07 PM 1231 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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198 posts in 854 days

03-03-2016 12:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: american machinery company oliver patent oliver machinery trimmer universal trimmer

I just picked this thing up (on accident) from craigslist. My hand tool sickness is in full swing. Any doctors here! Not that I really want cured. It is in super good shape and has never been sharpened …...But the thing still cuts crazy good. I’m stuck trying to figure out wether I should pass it on to a person that actually will use it. My real problem is the thing is cool as heck and different than the rest I’ve seen. The newer ones slice vertically and this one slices horizontally. And if I keep it should I do a complete restoration or just clean it enough to use it? Any of you guys have experience with these old things and can give some advice based on your experience. So for a little background on me, I am a hand tool only furniture maker. I usually only work in hardwoods (native PA species). So with that in mind is this something I should keep clean up and use or…......... I did get a chance to read the history on these trimmers and its pretty interesting this particular model was produced in 1897-1908 so that dates it a little older than any of you guys (I assume) hahahaha. Let me know its bothering me to have a cool tool just sitting in my basement on the floor and not in an assigned location in my shop. So a decision has got to be made as to what I’m gonna do with this thing.
Any advice would be helpful at this point. Someone push me over the edge one way or the other.

Thanks guys

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

11 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2543 days

#1 posted 03-03-2016 12:24 PM

I used to work for Jackson/Catnapper Furniture as their maintenance manager and VP of Continuous Improvement. They had one factory they had been forced out of by the fire department for too many violations. It was the original factory and just too old to rehab. They sort of just abandoned it and left all the machinery.

Years later, one of my jobs was to sell off most of the machinery. I ran into a couple of these, and they still worked well. All of theirs sliced horizontally also. The factory had been originally started around 1905, and bought by the Jackson Family right after WWII. Some of the machinery was original, and the belt system was still in the ceilings.

I did sell off most of the machinery, but nobody wanted the hand machinery. Unfortunately, after I had left the company in 2010 it got broken into by vagrants who squatted and eventually started a fire which spread and took down the whole building around 2012. I remember thinking to myself, “all that oak – what a shame.” And there was ceiling beams in there over 30 foot long. But the family just didn’t see recycling the building. Too busy making cheap furniture.
But I remember trying one of those out on a piece of oak trim. Went through it like butter.

I’d restore it and some day, you will be looking to cut an odd angle and this will come to the rescue.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 854 days

#2 posted 03-03-2016 12:52 PM

I thought about that. Using it for something like a shooting board without the shoot or the board for end grain. I got really lucky with it because neither the seller or I knew what its value or true purpose was (we both thought it might be a flooring cutter)....... I was there to buy a Miter Box….. Ended up coming home with half of his old stuff including an older model Disston thumbhole Rip saw. I hate when I go to buy something and they have more stuff, I can’t leave without freeing up their space. HA. My wife hates it too. I love living where I do this old stuff is everywhere. I wish I could have helped you salvage that building those old beams would have made BEAUTIFUL furniture. Thanks for letting me know that this thing will slice oak. If I decide to keep it maybe I will do a restoration blog on here. I restore most of my old hand tools when I get them. Finishing up on the Disston today.

So thats one vote for Keep Restore and Use. I’ll leave it up to the rest of you LumberJocks out there to make the Decision based on votes. That way I can claim the will of the people with the wife!!!!!!

Thanks again Tennessee!

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2647 days

#3 posted 03-03-2016 01:07 PM

It is better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
(Keep it!)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5002 posts in 2522 days

#4 posted 03-03-2016 01:43 PM

I don’t follow the “slices horizontally” part, it looks all the world like a Dosch (circa late 60’s) that I have. Anyway, on to what i would do: owning these old tools is cool…even if they don’t get enough use to earn their keep. I most certainly would keep it, and you might find the miters so clean it gets used more than you would imagine. I’m not a hand tool gy, but I still pull out the Dosch for fine tuning and cleaning up miters.

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

View KYSean's profile


119 posts in 3625 days

#5 posted 03-03-2016 02:25 PM

Looks like you or someone could use it for easy cuts for crown molding?


View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3387 days

#6 posted 03-03-2016 02:34 PM

I’ve had a few of those miter trimmers over the last few years. They are popular with picture framing people, but not really too many other folks. They aren’t as easy to use as a shooting board and they are fairly heavy, so moving them around is a PITA. That said, I still have one and will keep it in case I ever need it.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 854 days

#7 posted 03-03-2016 04:45 PM

Problem is usually the wife. She is super cool and mostly lets me buy whatever blows my skirt up (not literally smarties). But her policy is when I go tool hunting if i pick up a bunch of stuff and I don’t NEED the item to do my work then its extra and needs to go to a new home. Her policy actually keeps me from turning our house into a warehouse. (Getting close as it sits). So i have to eBay the stuff I’m not a collector of or will actually use to make furniture. Which works out anyway. But I’ve been kinda fighting the program on this specific piece. I really like it a lot, its super cool not your usual run of the mill find at least for me. So unless someone comes up with a whole bunch of Millers Falls stuff or Union Tool or Union Plane Co. I guess I’ll just tell her I’m holding onto it until I get something I really Want for it. That is as good an excuse as any. You guys have been awesome. My thinking is if all the responses to my question equal the same thing then it must mean something. Thanks a million guys!!!!!

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View rick1955's profile


264 posts in 1459 days

#8 posted 03-04-2016 02:53 PM

I had one for about two weeks and sold it as quick as I could. A miter sled on the tablesaw is much better as you can control the length and make consistent cuts.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3387 days

#9 posted 03-04-2016 04:18 PM

If you ever come up to Albany, I would be happy to work out a swap with you. I have a bunch of MF stuff as well as Union. What price range are you looking for?

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View RichCMD's profile


395 posts in 1969 days

#10 posted 03-04-2016 04:55 PM

Perhaps this is a random idea, but if the accuracy of this is good enough for it to be useful to somebody who does segmented turning you might find a market among people who do that.

I get these random ideas, and occasionally they even turn out to be useful.

-- Ride the bevel!

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 854 days

#11 posted 03-04-2016 04:59 PM

The tablesaw is gone had an old unisaw was great for production but I build stuff now all by hand. If it had a cord and I wasn’t passed down through the family its resting in someone else’s shop.

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

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