They don't make them like they used to.

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 12-23-2014 05:57 PM 1124 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4764 posts in 3239 days

12-23-2014 05:57 PM

You have heard that statement many times. Sometimes that is no longer true. Some things were made better back then, but improvements have been made that negates the idea that today’s stuff is inferior to that which was produced 80+ years ago. The automobile is a good example. They are so much better today than what was produced back in the model T era. One thing that seems to be an exception to the rule, are tools, including machinery. Tools are the basis for everything else. It makes me happy to see an old machine that has been restored to like new condition. If it were not for people like that,those tools would would be lost forever. In today’s world, people do not think about what machines and tools have done for us and tend to dismiss it as “no longer important”. Once the great tools of the past disappear, we will have lost an important piece of history. Any way, Merry Christmas to all.

6 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#1 posted 12-23-2014 06:15 PM

Hey Ron
I say that about myself I’m not made like I use to be. Good points about items from the past. I love to see old machinery being restored and brought back to life,I just don’t have the patience or talent to do that kind of restoring myself.

Have a very Merry Christmas Ron

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2206 days

#2 posted 12-23-2014 06:32 PM

I’ve always been curious as to whether the costs have come down on the tools along with the seeming quality loss. I can afford a pretty decent shop as a hobbyist (table saw, router, planer, jointer, drill press, and various power and other hand tools) but I imagine that most shops equipped at such a level 100 years ago were only affordable by someone making their living off the tools. Those of you that have a few more years of experience under your belt can probably shed better light on this subject.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 1899 days

#3 posted 12-23-2014 06:45 PM

This is a nice old machine- 1943 Cincinnati cutter grinder. There are many still around dirt cheap, but, how to use the machine is hard to come by, as most of the old hands are long gone.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2483 days

#4 posted 12-23-2014 07:03 PM

Interesting thoughts here.
YEars ago we had a 1948 Chevy pickup with the old 216 OHV 6. We used it every summer going back and forth to the woods to cut posts, poles, mine props and cabin timbers. Every winter we spent about a month fixing the babbit rods and using shim stock to bring them into the proper clearance. (Hey, at -20°F it took at least a hlf day to get the shop to a temperature we could work without gloves).
When I was younger I remember my dad and my grandpa pouring the lead babbits for the pillow blocks a couple of times a year. These were old machines that were run from a belt in the ceiling, originally powered by a Donkey steam engine and later with a 330Ford industrial motor.
I’m still not sure what happened to all that equipment, I never saw it after we moved once.

Now days we have pillow blocks with sealed bearings, and even if the block needs replacing the cost is less than 1-2 day down time from a production shop.

We also have cheap roller bearings that beat the crap out of the old babbits. I have a set in my antique bandsaw from around 1970. Sealed on one side, shielded on the other and still running after 44 years.
If I have to replace them I can pick up a set for under $30 for all of them.

I would love to have some of those old machines, but I think it would be smart to replace all the old tech bearings with newer, cheaper, better replacements.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2002 days

#5 posted 12-23-2014 07:03 PM

Yeah Buddy! You are right on with this. I just love seeing these old machines the guys here restore. Some of these things look better than when they were new!

I have an old jointer that was given to me. Sears (King Sealy) I thinks it’s from the ‘60s or ‘70s. One of these days I’ll take it of the box I have it stored in out and re-do it.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#6 posted 12-23-2014 09:45 PM

I have an old 12” Crescent jointer that at some point in time had the babbit bearings replaced with ball bearings and I really feel it’s the best of both worlds. At 1375lbs. with out the motor, it’s nearly 400lbs heavier (in running condition) than a brand new Grizzly 12” jointer. I still can’t believe I moved it by myself and have no idea how I’ll do it again the next time it has to be moved.

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