Old Craftsman jointer restore

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Forum topic by SoCalDJ posted 04-26-2011 08:36 AM 18147 views 6 times favorited 72 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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46 posts in 2652 days

04-26-2011 08:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: craftsman jointer old tools restore rehab rust coplanar flat lapping

So I just nabbed my first router this past weekend! It’s an old Craftsman 6 inch 113.20680 is the model. Final price was like $50 off Craigslist. And I’m thinking that if I can rehab this thing into decent shape it’ll last me longer than a cheap new flimsy aluminum bench top jointer would at 1/5th the price!

So here’s the first hurdle I’ve come across. I started looking at the actual setup. From the pictures you can tell I’ve already removed the unit from the base so I can start cleaning. And the first step is to see if the tables are flat and co-planer.

Well I dropped my straightedge onto each table making sure I didn’t hit any of the blades/cutter head/etc. The outfeed table seems fine, pretty close to dead flat, but the infeed table is bowed/cupped. I didn’t take a measurement since I don’t have feeler gauges (They’ll be here tomorrow though!) but it looks like it’s out of whack by about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in the middle where it cups down (The ends are higher up).

From here I was going to try and lap the tables but I can’t really find any good way on the net to do this.

Sandpaper I’d assume but how would I keep it flat and is it necessary? Kinda hard to sand with glass! I could try and use some marble tiles I have which are close to dead flat and create some weird jig or sanding block I guess. Or should I just do it by hand with my regular sanding block and just keep checking until I get into the finer grits?

I’m trying to avoid taking the plates to a machine shop for now.

Will this really make a huge difference if I can’t get it out? I only do this as a hobby when I’ve got spare time on the weekends in between the two kids and work so I’m not in dire need of a professional grade tool at the moment.

I’m totally open to techniques on how to do this since I’ve never done it before, and since this is my first tool rehab I’m looking forward to the challenge! Anything else I should be aware of before tackling this project?

Thanks guys!

72 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2850 days

#1 posted 04-26-2011 05:44 PM

If you clean it up like it is and reassemble it, it will be a source of heartache in a time and place where you need just the opposite—peace and self satisfaction.

How about a phone call to a machine shop to get a price for what it would cost to get it right? That would give you some data to help out in the decision making.

It’s a time to step back and make a careful assessment of what comes next. Even a set of feeler can’t help that—only time.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#2 posted 04-26-2011 07:21 PM

You can flatten it with a file. Anvils get dished and need to be
flattened. Blacksmiths use a file. After you file off the high spots
you move to finer files and sandpaper, if desired.

It would not be that hard to do on a jointer this size.

A cup in the middle of an infeed table actually won’t throw
off all jointer work. I had a 12” jointer with cupping in
both tables and managed to do plenty of accurate work
on it. Flatter would have been better, but I never got ‘round
to having the tables ground (or the file method for that
matter) – and it didn’t stop me from making 8 ft. tall
mahogany doors using that machine.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 04-26-2011 07:55 PM

Loren, I yield to your experience! If that worked for you, on that scale, your counsel tips mine off the pier and into the briny deep!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2880 days

#4 posted 04-26-2011 08:13 PM

Its funny you mentioned using a tile and sandpaper as a sanding block because I have actually recently done just that. I was recently restoring an old metal hand plane that was 24 inches. The sides of the plane had some deep scratches that I wanted to remove. Due to the size of the plane I found it fastest and easiest to clamp the plane down and use my granite tile with sandpaper on top of it like a big sanding block. It worked out fine but I don’t know if its the best way to go for you.

My advice would be to just use a sanding block with 120 or 180 grit paper and sand the top portion that is not dipped. Sand across the grain of the metal. Change grits and work your way up then maybe try the tile towards the end..

As Loren said, a slight dip does not make a huge difference, most may not even be able to tell. I would think if you at least improve it somewhat then its better then nothing but to get it perfect is probably not necessary

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View SoCalDJ's profile


46 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 04-26-2011 10:41 PM

So it’ll be OK to sand the high points with a rubber sanding block to get it down to level with the table. Then when I need to lap it flat I’ll find some way to do it with the marble tile.

So you recommend starting with 120 grit? Not lower to remove the material faster and then work my way to the higher grits?

If I was to try and make it as dead flat as possible, what do you recommend to try and do that?

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2693 days

#6 posted 04-26-2011 10:47 PM

I think you might be surprised how inexpensive it might be to let a machine shop do it. A friend of mine got one lapped for beer. A large flat piece of granite with sandpaper might work but I personally would avoid trying to hit the high spots with a small block (I tried this with a handplane and never got it right). That being said, I’ve never heard Loren say anything inaccurate, so files are probably the way to go. Of course, I don’t know if purchasing a quality file would cut in to your CL discount. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JohnnyQ's profile


14 posts in 3140 days

#7 posted 04-26-2011 11:09 PM

An expert tool and die guy i used to work with (made his on EDM machine and could heat treat to a specific RC by color) once told me the file is the most accurate tool a machinst posseses. That said, I would second Bertha. If your a home hobbiest a many machinists will try to help you out without braking the bank. At work they call these G jobs as in “I am doing work for the government”.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2633 days

#8 posted 04-26-2011 11:26 PM

Wait and see what the feeler gauge says. If the cup is less than 1/16, I’d roll with it as is. If its truly 1/8th, I’d cut my losses and move on. If its 1/16, thats a fielder’s choice. The good news is the motor by itself is probably worth $50. Take it from a guy that has a garage full of restored tools…..vintage tools can be a real money pit. Its easy to get carried away and spend mucho bucks trying to fix a tool thats better off on the scrap heap.

View Camper's profile


232 posts in 2856 days

#9 posted 04-27-2011 02:41 AM

If the dip is as large as 1/8” or anything beyond what you can live with for that matter, I personally would cut my loses and either look for another jointer or look for an infeed table to replace this one. I regularly see these jointers on CL for around the price you paid.

Actually the motor and the stand is probably worth more than that..nice score :)

-- Tampa-FL

View SoCalDJ's profile


46 posts in 2652 days

#10 posted 04-27-2011 06:32 AM

Ok so before everyone here tells me I need glasses or something, the actual amount it cups by is 11/1000ths!

Finally got off work and snuck the Feeler gauges in the gap between the straight edge and the table and that’s the snug fitting one!

So I guess the consensus would be to just lap the surface smooth with high grit paper on a normal sanding block and call it a day? Or should I try and use a dead flat surface like the marble? Anything else I should do while I’m at it? Lube the motor? Anything?

The motor is noisy as hell too! Anything I can do to prolong the life of this machine?

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3613 days

#11 posted 04-27-2011 02:00 PM

Hmmm, given that 1/32” is about 30 thou, I’m not sure how much I would worry about this. Assuming the cup is dead center, calcs show that .011” over 3” results in a difference of .2 degrees from a perfect right angle (for edge jointing).

On the other hand, taking out .011” with sandpaper shouldn’t take long at all. I would use the marble block and fairly fine sandpaper (120 or 180 might even be too coarse) but I don’t have any idea how much cast iron gets removed this way. As I recall on these machines, the infeed table is fixed while the outfeed is adjustable. Once you get done, you will have to set the knives to the infeed table and then make sure the outfeed table is planar to the infeed table.

I am a little more concerned about the noisy motor. Does it sound like bearing noise? You might need a new set of motor bearings. I’ve heard people suggest that the bearings should be replaced even if they sound OK because the grease in sealed bearings has a limited life.

Good luck! And pictures, more pictures!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2633 days

#12 posted 04-27-2011 03:21 PM

Noisy motor huh? Well then I take back what I said about the motor being worth $50. LOL.

What kind of noise does it make? Was the motor connected to the jointer when you ran it?
How long have you run the motor so far? My vintage jointer motor had been sitting idle for over a decade when I bought it. It made a nasty rackett for the first 60 seconds or so after I turned it on. I assume some internal corrosion probably froze things up a bit and the bearing grease had solidified to some degree. A minute or two of exercise is all she needed to stat purring like a kitten. If the noise would have persisted, I was prepared to crack open the motor and replace the bearings.

I wouldn’t sweat the dip in the table. Definitely not at this stage. I see more potential for harm than good by trying to correct it. And I doubt that small of a dip would affect your outcome. Once you get everything back together, run some lumber through the jointer and evaluate the results. If the results are unsatisfactory, and you feel the dip is the culprit, then I’d rec’d lapping. For now, just clean up the table really well and apply some wax. It would surely suck to spend a couple hours sanding and buffing the tables, only to realize that the motor is unusable or some other condition exsists that you didn’t notice yet.

Does the cutterhead and table adjustment chasis all move freely? If the motor begins to run well and nothing else on the tool is royally messed up, I’d drop $15-20 on a set of Freud blades off Amazon. Then I’d put everything back together and see how it does on some 2×4s. If that checks OK, then I might work on applying some paint and shine.

If you haven’t visited, you haven’t yet seen the Mecca of old tool expertise, knowledge, and resources.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2633 days

#13 posted 04-27-2011 03:56 PM

Sorry if I’m discouraging you here. Definitely not my intent. Its actually an enjoyable process taking an old beater, and pumping a few more years of service out of it. Here’s a before/after pic of my Craftsman/King Seely 4 3/8”
I could have gone to a lot more trouble and made it look nicer. But my goal was to stop the rust and return the tool to fully functional status. Oh and about the (lack of) blade guard. Its uhhhhhhhhh on backorder. Yeah, thats it, on backorder :lol: In all seriousness, I actually do look around for a replacement on CL and at Vintagemachinery. The tool would be more fun to use if I had one less thing to worry about. But I digress.

View SoCalDJ's profile


46 posts in 2652 days

#14 posted 04-27-2011 07:02 PM

So last night I started cleanup.

I’ll post some pics as I go. Mostly just took apart some of the outside pieces, on/off switch, side rail, etc to get the gunk off.

As for the motor, after cleaning up the base and readjustings the wheels (They had been pushed in, bad design where the castors sit) I plugged it in and let it run without the jointer/belt for a few mins and the noise slowly subsided. I assume it was just old and needed to get it’s legs back :)

I tested everything out before I bought the thing. Ran a 2×4 accross it a couple times and everything seemed to be in working order (At least enough to get a flat side so I can run it through the planer!). I’ll have to get everything put back together and see how it runs.

If I’m going to have issues with the edge jointing because of the cup, then it’s probably back to the table saw and my jointing jig. I’ve been using that since I started so I can always fall back on that if needed.

One other thing of note is that the table I’ve been talking about is more of a bow than a cup. So it spans from side to side with the discrepancy. I was planning to take some high grit to get the rust/polish the surface, but I can always hit it with lower grit at the high points and get it down at least closer to where I need to be! At least until I decide it’s not enough and I have to take it to get the top reground! I’m just looking for the best process to do this.

Tedstor, what process did you use to get the table back into such shiny and great condition!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3438 days

#15 posted 04-27-2011 07:14 PM

Hmm. Forget the cupped infeed table. It won’t matter. It’s the outfeed that’s important. The edge of the infeed that is nearest the blade is really the part that sets the edge of the wood up to hit the blade. The outfeed is what you press on after the wood gets to it with the correct amount of wood being shaved at the blade. The infeed isn’t even needed after the wood moves to the outfeed.

Also, I’ve got this same unit in my shop. Had it since.. I don’t know the early mid 80’s I think??? It has jointed a forest of wood. I rarely buy my wood pre-planed. Tons of mostly oak have gone through it. It does the job. And if you’ve got the original blades, their tough. You get a long long time between sharpenings. For the price it’s worth the restoration.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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