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Restored vintage Montgomery Ward Power-Kraft TPC-8937A 3-1/16" power planer

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 08-12-2016 01:53 PM 1431 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1649 days


08-12-2016 01:53 PM

A few months ago I picked up a vintage Montgomery Ward Power-Kraft TPC-8937A power planer. The planer has a 3-1/16” cutterhead and a 7.0 amp motor. When I purchased the planer, it was in pretty rough shape.

Before

The power cord and strain relief for the planer were both severely rotted, in addition, it was obvious that the planer had seen a significant amount of moisture at some point, as all the bearings, blades and armature fan were covered in surface rust.

The planer is almost all aluminum, so the body wasn’t too bad, but it had a lot of surface corrosion and was covered in dirt.


The nameplate was pretty much a lost cause. I ended up not even putting the nameplate back on, but am currently looking for images of a similar name plate that I can have printed out for a replacement.

The base had a lot of deep scratches. I was able to shine it up on the wire wheel, but didn’t really want to do too much surface removal to true it up and remove the scratches.

Reassembly

After disassembling the planer, I let the parts soak in the parts washer over night, then took them to the wire wheel, masked them, then primed and painted them. There are 3 coats of automotive primer and 4 coats of silver metallic (Rustoleum 7271 equivalent), followed by a coat of clear coat on all of the aluminum pieces and the belt guard.

I cleaned the armature and ended up painting the armature fan because I couldn’t get it to polish to my liking after being so rusted.

I buffed the handle and shoe adjustment knob as good as I could to try to bring a bit of shine back to it as well.

While waiting for bearings to come in, I started the main assembly of the planer. I cleaned up the coil with a bit of citrus cleaner and a toothbrush and put it back in the planer.

Before paint, I took the base of the planer and cleaned it up on the wire wheel. I got it a bit shinier but didn’t remove most of the deeper scratches or really bring it to a mirror finish by any means.


I replaced the cord on the planer, replaced the trigger with an identical NOS locking switch I had laying around, replaced the brush caps with NOS brush caps I had laying around and then replaced all the bearings.

The replacement bearings were as follows
- SKF 608 2ZJEM
- 2x SKF 629 2ZJEM
- SKF 6200 2ZJEM

All bearings were high speed SKF bearings with metal bearing shields on both sides.

Finished

All finished and ready to send off to my friend for his birthday present.


The blades on the planer had some severe nicks in them, so I am currently waiting for my local saw shop to finish fabricating new ones for the planer.

The little black bolt on the base of the shoe is used for locking down the shoe. There isn’t really any give or play in the shoe from the adjustment knob and its kept pretty tight with the tensioning spring, so I barely tightened it.


When I bought the planer, the cord and strain relief were both rotted. The cord was extremely rotted, however, the strain relief still had some good rubber left on it below the surface rot. The strain relief has a metal threaded core which the rubber was originally molded around, so I had to get a bit creative in making a new one, since there was no similar strain relief I could find.

I took the spring cord relief off an old Skil 825 saw I parted out and screwed the larger end of the spring onto the rubber until it had about 4 or 5 rings of the spring wrapped onto the original rubber strain relief. After I got it on, I took a piece of 4/0 adhesive lined heavy wall heat shrink and covered the spring and semi rotted rubber strain relief.

Overall, I am very happy with how the planer turned out and am also overall very pleased with the general construction of the planer.

Granted, it had a few more casting marks then I would have liked to have seen and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the rotary / screw type depth adjustment, but it seems to work well none the less, just not as preferable as the ‘on the fly’ depth adjustment on a Skil 100.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.


6 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1184 days


#1 posted 08-12-2016 04:57 PM

Looks great! It’s neat to see all of the older, sometimes obscure brands that actually used to make pretty good quality tools. I’ve got a Rockwell porta-plane waiting for a good going through that actually works ok, but needs to be prettied up a little (it also came with a second cutterhead which I’m finding can be quite pricey) despite costing less than $30. I have my Skil blue label model 42 drill needing a little clean up and I finished a worm drive Van Dorn not too long ago. One of my two Skil 67’s is on the healing bench now as I try to source bearings and oil seals as my dwindling stash doesn’t have anything that will work. I also missed out on a Rockwell 512 GS, 12” sidewinder that is probably just as well as the seller had it priced like gold. I’m finding this can be a very addictive hobby! Pics of the porta-plane, model 42 and missed 512 GS:

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7913 posts in 1843 days


#2 posted 08-12-2016 06:51 PM

Nice work on the plane. I love old tools and machinery. Even the lesser ones are built fairly well. Of course they built junk back then too but most of it is landfill now.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2707 days


#3 posted 08-12-2016 07:11 PM

You did a fantastic job on that planer. Just goes to show that “vintage” tools will still be around after today’s tools are in the landfill.

View BreeStephany's profile

BreeStephany

50 posts in 1649 days


#4 posted 08-13-2016 09:53 AM


Nice work on the plane. I love old tools and machinery. Even the lesser ones are built fairly well. Of course they built junk back then too but most of it is landfill now.

- Rick M.

I have restored a Skil 100, a Rockwell 653HD and now the Monkey Ward Power Kraft TPC-8937A. Though they definitely are all very powerful, and overall, very well constructed, there is a sizable difference in engineering, as well as quality of construction between the Skil 100 and the Power Kraft, as well as the Rockwell.

The Skil has a much more quality casting, is free of casting marks and casting defects. It also has a better frame size and fits your hand a lot better. The construction overall is a lot easier to work on as well. The drive pulleys are pressed on the Skil with a key, which makes removal for servicing much easier, where as the pulleys on the Rockwell and Power Kraft are screwed on and don’t have a means of removal outside of using a set of pump pliers on them, which risks damaging the pulleys. There are a lot of small details on the Rockwell and Power Kraft that I didn’t like in comparison to the Skil.

The Skil had a heavier and large frame size armature and field, despite the fact that it was 2.5A less powerful.

I do like the spiral cutterhead on the Rockwell versus the straight knives on the Skil and Power Kraft. The Rockwell out of the box has on the fly adjustment whereas the Skil has detents for height, making adjustment not as smooth in certain shaping applications, though this can be easily modified by removing the detent plate. The depth adjustment for the Power Kraft is definitely not ideal and is definitely not designed for on the fly adjustment.

Overall though, for an entry level planer, the Power Kraft definitely holds it own, and overall, with a bit of fine tuning, works very well and should last another 40 or 50 years.

Just my two cents.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1649 days


#5 posted 08-13-2016 10:04 AM

The Rockwell planer should easily buff out to an almost mirror finish. You can also source a lot of the parts for the porta-plane even today through most online tool parts stores, like Toolpartsdirect. Rockwell became Porter Cable and many of the parts are still available today under Porter Cable, with the exception of the cutterhead.

For $30.00, you did very well. You could probably turn around and sell your extra cutterhead for $100+ if you really wanted to.

In regard to the 67, have you tried taking in the bearings and seals to a local bearing shop or parts house like Applied Materials? I use Applied a lot and they have been able to source me a lot of the parts that I need, though I don’t readily have the specs on the bearings and seals for the 67, however, your local bearing or parts house should be able to help you source these, or at least some portion of them.


Looks great! It s neat to see all of the older, sometimes obscure brands that actually used to make pretty good quality tools. I ve got a Rockwell porta-plane waiting for a good going through that actually works ok, but needs to be prettied up a little (it also came with a second cutterhead which I m finding can be quite pricey) despite costing less than $30. I have my Skil blue label model 42 drill needing a little clean up and I finished a worm drive Van Dorn not too long ago. One of my two Skil 67 s is on the healing bench now as I try to source bearings and oil seals as my dwindling stash doesn t have anything that will work. I also missed out on a Rockwell 512 GS, 12” sidewinder that is probably just as well as the seller had it priced like gold. I m finding this can be a very addictive hobby! Pics of the porta-plane, model 42 and missed 512 GS:

- bigblockyeti


-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1184 days


#6 posted 08-13-2016 01:00 PM

The Porta-Plane doesn’t really need anything other than cleaned up. I’m planning on keeping both cutterheads as I might need the extra one sometime even though I plan on using it very little. The only two bearings that are different than what I’m used to are the input and spindle output immediately adjacent to the oil seals. I was able to get the number off the bearing on the armature shaft, the number on the spindle isn’t legible. I’ve done what I can as far as online research, it is time to see someone in person. There are numerous bearing wholesalers around me, unfortunately retailers are fewer and farther between. I’ll be looking into that next week, whatever information I come up with, I’ll document for others who might be undertaking a similar restoration.

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