Should I refurbish an old Elephant brand jointer, or use it as?

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Forum topic by CaptainKlutz posted 04-25-2014 09:47 AM 3741 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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602 posts in 1695 days

04-25-2014 09:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer refurbishing elephant

Title has the big question. Please cast your opinion. Details and pictures below to help you decide.

Picked up an 23yr old Chiwanese made Elephant brand WJ-200 1.5HP 8” jointer from a bankruptcy auction for about same $ as a typical used 6” jointer on local CL. Have no manual, but my investigation revels it very closely resembles the current Jet JJ-8CS exploded parts views, and has a lot in common with the older Grizzy G0856 (although the Grizzly fence adjustments are a little different).

BTW – If anyone has any information on this jointer please post, or PM me.

First the good stuff:

It cuts well, is flat/square, all the fence and table adjustments work easily, table gibs are clean and tight, is wired for 110V/20A with a newer (not original) start switch, has a set of sharp blades, belts are in decent shape, motor is smooth and quiet, and top still even had wax on it when I picked it up.

Now the so-so stuff:

Came from a cabinet shop. One of the former employees told me they only had it ~8 years (so they may have got it used), but it has been trouble free. Top has some minor black rust markings, but no major pitting. Many of the black oxide fence adjustment bolts have a fair amount of surface rust, but none are frozen. The blade guard is not smooth, is missing a hold down retainer due misuse; and needs to be replaced. Table edges near the cutter head are nicked up from some heavy handed blade changes, but it doesn’t seem to effect use. A few cutter head gib nuts are slightly damaged, probably due an SAE wrench used instead of proper metric (won’t know how bad till I remove the blades). The base cabinet has typical pro shop surface scratches. There is some light surface rust on the removable back panel, and with the back fence bolts being rusty; makes me think is might have been placed near the always open garage doors in the shop. It is an fugly blue/green/grey blend paint color overall. More I look at it, think it may been repainted once before. There are 2 colors evident on the base: blue/green/grey with red base (primer?); while the cast iron top has 4 color layers: blue/green/grey, red (primer?), white, red(primer?).

Does anyone know what the original Elephant color scheme was?

What I have done so far?

Cleaned off the dust, waxed the top/fence, checked all adjustments, put wd-40 on all the bolts and exposed bare metal, and sprayed a coat of Extend rust stop on the painted rusty locations.
Then I used it on 100 bdft of 8/4 sapele for dining table top in progress.

What I plan to do :

Clean tape residue of the base where they attached their make shift dust collector head.
Make and attached 4” dust port to the old school dust chute.
Order a replacement blade guard for a Jet or maybe the ACCURA AJCG-008 I found on flea bay (unless some one has a spare they want to send me?)
Clean and polish the table top with some WD-40 and 400 paper

What else do you think I should do?

- Replace all the rusty bolts?
- Install a Byrd shellix spiral cutter?
- Tear it down and repaint.
- Ignore the ugly paint and cover it up with Christmas wrapping paper.
- Sell it for $650 and use the money I make on a set of Veritas PM11 chisels?

Look forward to your spirited discussion. :)

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

11 replies so far

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2220 days

#1 posted 04-25-2014 12:47 PM

Pretty simple answer to me…Do you enjoy refurbishing machines? If so, have at it. It will be fun. If it works and you really just want a functional jointer and dont really care for working w/ machines, just plug it in and go.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2570 days

#2 posted 04-25-2014 12:52 PM

I’d soak the bolts in Evaporust and toss them back in. I wouldn’t tear down and repaint it unless you like working on restoring machines more than you like making sawdust. I wouldn’t put a Byrd cutter in it because I can’t afford one, but if I had the money burning a hole in my pocket, why not. For me though, I’d clean up the rust, fix anything missing/broken, and start using it. It looks like a solid workhorse machine, just keep putting wood through it.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2136 days

#3 posted 04-25-2014 03:41 PM

Man, when it comes to old machines that are currently functioning well, I have learned the lesson to never screw with them. I got a Jet 6” jointer hand me down for free about a year ago. In my infinite wisdom, I decided that I would get the table PERFECTLY flat and and square, even though it was only off by a few thousandths. Ten hours later, I had gone backwards and had screwed the jointer up more than I had calibrated it.

Now when I get a hold of old machinery, I usually just clean it and wax it and start working. I don’t mess with the guts too much. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The risk of screwing something up is higher than the payoff of getting it perfectly tuned up. For me, tools are all about utility, so painting and refurbishing are really not something I think about. Nothing against it, but don’t do it unless you WANT to.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2149 days

#4 posted 04-25-2014 08:48 PM

I would clean the top and use it. It sound like you got a good deal. On the other hand, If you don’t need it then turn a profit. As for the byrd head, thats a waste of money unless you are going to keep it.

View muleskinner's profile


916 posts in 2637 days

#5 posted 04-25-2014 09:28 PM

I’m with Oyster and Shawn. I buy woodworking machines for doing woodwork. If I’d bought that jointer, once the dust had been blown out, the knives were sharp and set , the beds cleaned and waxed, and the important moving parts lubed, I’d put it to work.

On the other hand, I can perfectly understand folks that would buy it for the enjoyment of restoration.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View MrUnix's profile


7046 posts in 2400 days

#6 posted 04-25-2014 09:47 PM

Looks to be in pretty good shape.. so I’d just sharpen the knives and put it to use. Restoring an imported clone isn’t going to add much value either; other than the satisfaction of knowing you did it. If it were in rough shape, rusted and desperately in need of attention, that would be a different story and possibly necessary to get it functional, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with that one.


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

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1302 posts in 1835 days

#7 posted 04-25-2014 09:52 PM

I would just clean it up. Sharpen the blades.

If you have a hand held grinder I would round the corners a little. They don’t look like they would be very nice to run into. It will save your skin or bone.

It looks pretty good, and it’s 8”... so I am jealous.

-- Jeff NJ

View knotscott's profile


8147 posts in 3576 days

#8 posted 04-25-2014 11:44 PM

Looks pretty good. A little paint might be in order. I suspect that’s a Geetech made jointer….Griz, Sunhill, Bridgewood, older Jet, older GI, Woodtek, and others.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1818 days

#9 posted 04-25-2014 11:48 PM

I’m with Marcus at least until I run out things to do. Looks pretty good to me.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 2069 days

#10 posted 04-26-2014 12:04 AM

I would use it. Except….

Didn’t you just finish a most excellent roubo bench? Sell that jointer/planer and bust out the #7 or #8 and start flattening Sapele!

So just bustin chops… If you like it, you want to keep it in the shop for some period of time, and your shop is presentable, sand it smooth and slap a coat of lime green paint on it. Go with silver racing stripes. Add some black. Black is cool. Find a Festool sticker for it and fool all your friends.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


602 posts in 1695 days

#11 posted 04-26-2014 12:56 AM

A common question is do I like restoration?
Maybe, sort of, Not really?
But, I find it a necessary evil when you are too poor to buy brand spiffy new stuff. I like working wood, even metal (I can run a lathe and vertical mill); but the paint restoration part is not my favorite way to spend time. I learned the hard way that paint restoration is a lot of work regardless of ownership of grinders, spray guns, and compressor to make it easier.

Like wooden oyster, have had cases where tearing a machine down created more problems than I planned to fix originally. This life lesson makes me cautious on a 20+ year old tool as well.

I posted this, as I’m torn on how far to take this jointer. As MrUnix said, putting on new spiffy paint job won’t increase the value of old no-name jointer by much. But, I really enjoy using clean and shiny objects. Just look at my workbench project. :) What a dilemma?

Yes Buckethead, I have already broke out the #7 and #8 Bedrock. They were used initially on the rough sawn sapele to remove cups and twist. Trouble is I wanted to go a little faster than my hand planes allowed, so I finished up work the planning/edging with the power tools. Also, I wasn’t able to get 110” long, 1.75” thick edges straight enough for my liking to glue up a large 34” X 110”panel. The longer fence on the new (to me) 8” jointer .vs. my old 6” made the task much easier. :)

I like the suggestion to only deal with heavy rusted bolts with Evaporust. This one is growing on me. Thinking out loud, would only have to tear down the fence assembly to get 95% of those fixed. Once the fence is removed, would also give open clearance to polish up all the top surfaces. This may be the best partial restoration option.

Thanks for the comments so far, and still looking for anyone who can provide any information, manuals, colors, etc on Elephant brand?

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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