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Thread: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Anchorage, AK, USA
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    Default Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    There must be forums specifically for vintage power tools. But thought I would start here first. I have the opportunity to buy an old 6” Atlas Jointer circa 1950. A few google searches, and it looks like knifes are still available, and I assume any appropriate motor & belt can be made to work if necessary.

    But my question: has any body seen a “vintage jointer buyers guide” or some other resource, to identify the things to check before buying, to get some idea what you are bitting off with a 60 year old machine?

    Secondly, say I take the plunge. Is there a set-up or tuning guide that walks through how to setup A jointer for proper use ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Southeast MA, USA
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    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    http://vintagemachinery.org/ will get you started.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    St. Helens, Oregon
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    1,237

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    Timely thread. I just inherited an old Delta (I think) jointer that I need to get set up. Thanks for that link Schooner 36! AKPaddler, mind if I join in on your thread?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Southeast MA, USA
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    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    It is better to make a pot of coffee before you get into that site

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    seattle
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    14,490

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    Here's my old pre-war Craftsman that I still use. First thing I did was to put new high speed bearings in it.

    IMG_1034.jpg

    Then I'd recommend a magnetic knife setting jig like this one from Rockler.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    N.E. Connecticut.
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    6,097

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    I use a dial indicator for setting the knives. The only thing I would point out about truly "vintage" jointers is that some of the larger ones had square cutter heads in them rather than the modern round heads. The old square heads can be a true safety issue. As the head turns there is an ever widening and then diminishing gap between the cutter head and the table, really good for catching the wood and making projectiles (luckily I have never had the honor (or misfortune) of experiencing that type of cutter head).
    ............ Ahhh, just checked out some pictures, .... should definitely be a round cutter head.

    I would check the table ways to see that they are not cracked or broken and that the infeed and outfeed tables are in the same plane. Roll the cutter head to see how the bearings are (though replacing them shouldn't be much trouble)
    Last edited by nedL; 10-30-2018 at 11:38 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Waterbury Center, Vermont
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    73

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    I have yet to see a jointer that didn’t have 1/8” HSS knives. These are easily gotten from tool manufacturers/sharpeners. I would stay away from a jointer that had a 2 knife cutter head. I just got rid of an old 12” American with a 2 knife cutter and it cut pretty poorly in figured wood, and most other wood too. I would also check that the height adjustment is smooth, if not it could throw off table alignment. If. You can bring a reliable straight-edge and feeler gauge to check the alignment, do so. It could be a sign of problems if they are far out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Now, there's a long story...
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    1,561

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpaddler View Post
    There must be forums specifically for vintage power tools. But thought I would start here first. I have the opportunity to buy an old 6” Atlas Jointer circa 1950. A few google searches, and it looks like knifes are still available, and I assume any appropriate motor & belt can be made to work if necessary.

    But my question: has any body seen a “vintage jointer buyers guide” or some other resource, to identify the things to check before buying, to get some idea what you are bitting off with a 60 year old machine?

    Secondly, say I take the plunge. Is there a set-up or tuning guide that walks through how to setup A jointer for proper use ?
    http://owwm.org
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Lenox, MA/Vineyard Haven, MA
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    882

    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    I've rehabbed two vintage jointers, one a 1960s Rockwell 6" and the other a 1970s Powermatic 6". Based on my own experience, BY FAR the most important thing to check before you buy is the sag of the tables. That is, get a big steel or aluminum straight edge, dial the outfeed table up to meet the other table at the cutterhead, and lay the straight edge across. If the jointer is old with a lot of miles on it, like both mine were, you're going to find that the outer edge of the outfeed table is probably a few milimeters lower than it is in the middle. If you have this condition it's impossible to get really good performance out of the machine. YOu'll get a snipe out of the end of the plank pretty much every time. The gib screws can help with this to up to a point, but on both of mine I ended up shimming the dovetail joint at the bottom with feeler gauges. This is a PITA and a fairly time consuming job. Also, you can mess up your careful adjustment by over tightening the gib screws, so for the life of the tool you'll be thinking about it. Not all that big of a deal but enough to make me re-think getting "good deals" on old machines-- I did get both of my tools to do perfect work eventually. As far as setting blades, I made a dial indicator jig that was pretty good but not nearly as good as the Big Horn magnetic jig I got for $40. It's made of brass and I can set the knives in under 10 minutes. I tried a plastic magnetic jig that was junk. That was a big learning curve, too

    You can find a lot of info. on Old Woodworking Machines Forum Owwm.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Anchorage, AK, USA
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    Default Re: Evaluate, set-up, and tune and old jointer

    I’ll probably sign up and take these questions to one of the vintage tools forums, but has anybody here seen a video on replacing bearings ? Looks like utube has some good demonstrations on removing & installing knives.

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