Appreciate old machines.

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 07-06-2011 07:56 PM 1180 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3891 posts in 2663 days

07-06-2011 07:56 PM

I read many threads from people asking about problems they are having with their machine. The machines they seem to be having problems with are late model machines, usually less than 20 years old. I never read about anyone having a problem with a vintage machine. That is because those older machines were made to last. People who own such older machines don’t experience problems with them. The only time you read something about them is when an old machine is undergoing restoration and is looking for parts. These machines have been abused over the years, some sitting outdoors to rust. I know the machine tool industry doesn’t like to hear about the quality of old machines. It’s a whole different ball game today. They don’t want any tool to last too long as they want repeat business. Off course I can’t dismiss the fact that improvements have been made over the years, but they only pertain to add-on features; the basics don’t change. A 100 year old table saw works the same as a new saw. I guess people are attracted to the bells and whistles in the same manner as with the automobile.

11 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2113 days

#1 posted 07-06-2011 08:31 PM

I’ve got a 50 year old tablesaw and 70 year old bandsaw. The only problems I have is with my 1 year old modern tools. Nuff said.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

17875 posts in 1987 days

#2 posted 07-06-2011 08:31 PM

I like them old as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2584 days

#3 posted 07-06-2011 09:11 PM

My oldest power tool, that I bought new, is my radial arm saw, a Craftsman purchased 40 years ago. It is the most commonly used power tool in the shop, I suspect, now restricted to crosscut. It can go out of alignment on occasion, but mostly just hums along. My table saw is a Delta Contractor’s saw purchased new 20 years ago, that has never been out of alignment…it still has the perfect factory setting, meaning blade to miter tracks. I think that is uncommon, and not likely in a currently purchased saw.

Like those old tools….......maybe I could afford something better, but you never know what you are going to get.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2663 days

#4 posted 07-06-2011 09:27 PM

I would buy a vintage tool in aheartbeat over brand new. The fact that the vintage tool has been around this long is proof to me of it’s quality. Vintage tools are becoming harder and harder to find because the informed public has learned the difference between modern day junk and quality vintage. In all fairness, I have to confess to being able to make or repair parts for older machines because I have a pretty good machine shop, something not everyone has access to or the skill to make the parts.

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2594 days

#5 posted 07-06-2011 11:30 PM

I’d guess it’s a numbers game, and that there are FAR fewer pieces of Old Arn out there than new stuff, making the new-tool problem seem worse than it is.

I’d also guess that people who buy and restore old arn … don’t post about it when THEY have problems. They just fix it.

Ditto warranties. If you HAVE a warranty, then … an effort to fix it yourself could jeopardize your warranty.

You might be right, that … in total failures per hour of use … or some similar metric … the old really IS better than the new, but … I think we’ve got dirty data ;-)

-- -- Neil

View MedicKen's profile


1610 posts in 2882 days

#6 posted 07-07-2011 12:13 AM

I only have one new shiny tool left in the shop and its a DeWalt 12” planer. When the time comes it will also be replaced with a more vintage tool, probably a Powermatic 100. It is no secret here that I love old tools. In the past 3 years I have replaced them all, except the planer of course. I bought a new Craftsman 10” hybrid that only lasted a few years, would not stay in adjustment. I also had a Grizzly 6” jointer, was a good machine but too small. My tiawanese drill press was replaced as well. Last but not least is the SCMS, the biggest POS Craftsman ever made.My table saw was initially replaced with a vintage Unisaw that was restored to show room new, then sold to make way for my current saw, an Oliver 232 from 1953. My jointer was sold off and replaced with a nice Crescent from the mid 20’s, an 8” machine to boot. The drill press is an early 70’s Powermatic 1150A and my SCMS was replaced with a 1956 DeWalt MB. I will never go back to the shiny, plastic tools of today. The older tools have lasted this long and I expect them to out live me and my kids.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3517 days

#7 posted 07-07-2011 12:15 AM

I would rather have an old machine any day… My oldest machine is a 1946 delta lathe.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3945 posts in 2584 days

#8 posted 07-07-2011 01:17 AM


Gad Zooks, first you spout that number s——, statistics (disguised in plain folks talk)........

...... then you call us ol’timers…...LIARS…..yup you said it…...said we wouldn’t tell!

..then extol the useless pieces of paper these new fangled people give us pretndin’ that they will actually stand behind the product…....

And then you besmirch the reputation of our BELOVED HERITAGE MACHINES…...... calling them failures, even using that communist metric system….......

Then you label us DIRTY… to see what’s behind your ears…........

You scallywag you, thought you’d a learnt better manners by now…....

........don’t know what the new generation is coming to…...pretty disgusting…...


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View MedicKen's profile


1610 posts in 2882 days

#9 posted 07-07-2011 02:36 AM

I forgot to mention my Delta lathe from 1962, great year. Walker Turner table saw from 1944, Cincinnati grinder from 1959 and Delta 14” bandsaw….1968

NBeener…..I dont post about problems with the old machines because I dont have any.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View devann's profile


2199 posts in 2112 days

#10 posted 07-07-2011 04:24 AM

My 2ยข, I’m still using a 1964 Boice Crane table saw. Like the Energizer bunny, still going….

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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