A Vintage Workshop - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-16-2019, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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A Vintage Workshop

I worked in the millwork industry for most of my career. I built my retirement workshop in 2000, the year I turned 50. It’s the last building I framed.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-.jpg

My tools are older industrial machines, economically obsolete but built to last forever. Just to get started, it takes a fair amount of equipment to supply them with the power they need. From the top down, there is a 7 hp rotary phase convertor, a 5 kw 150 cycle high frequency drive, and a 5 hp air compressor. It was common for the machine room in a woodworking factory to be dual wired with the conveyors and feed motors driven on line frequency and the spindle motors driven on high frequency. Direct drive on high frequency produces high spindle speeds without the need for drive belts which cause vibration.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-b.jpg

This part of the shop is for the heavy work of stock preparation. The table saw is a Beach, made in 1957. It’s not a pretty as a Tannewitz or as heavy as an Oliver; but it is a big, strong saw. The jointer is a 12” Northfield from the 1960’s. Behind it is a B&D commercial radial arm saw. Dating from the 1980’s, it’s the youngest machine in the shop.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-c.jpg

The tools that need dust collection are clustered in a central island to keep the ductwork short. In front is an 18” Yates American planer. Behind that is a hand pad stroke sander. It takes up a lot of space but does a great job, especially on veneered panels.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-d.jpg

At the back end of the saw aisle is this Davis & Wells 20” bandsaw. I fidgeted with it quite a bit to set it up for resawing. It’s a wonderfully simple machine with a one-piece cast-iron frame and cast-iron disc wheels.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-e.jpg

This bench in the back corner is set up for tool and jig making. There’s a Blanchard ground steel plate for layout work, a dust tight cabinet with gasketed door to store precision tools, and a Delta drill press.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-f.jpg

I built a lot of stile and rail doors with dowelled joinery when I was working. The little bench top drill does very accurate dowel boring with this vertical table and a pneumatic clamp.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-g.jpg

The south west corner of the shop is where the detailed work of joinery and molding is done. The Oliver hollow chisel mortiser was rescued from a dumpster when a factory was shut down. Behind it on the right is a 1940’s Reid Brothers surface grinder.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-h.jpg

Keeping old tools sharp takes frequent grinding. This 2-wing, high speed steel tipped panel raising cutter dates from the 1970’s. It takes very sharp edges which produce cleaner cuts than you get with carbide, especially the end grain cuts on raised panels.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-i.jpg

My handwork bench is in the south west corner with the best afternoon light. The little Yates American shaper is set up for endwork cuts with a sliding table. The Delta shaper to the left is very handy for little detail cuts with small diameter cutters where you have to get in and out quickly and reverse the spindle rotation to avoid cutting up grain. Early in my career, fancy windows like the one on the wall were my specialty.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-j.jpg

More to follow.
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Last edited by difalkner; 08-17-2019 at 08:54 AM. Reason: removed extra photos
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-16-2019, 04:15 PM
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Very nice, John, very nice indeed!! I just love old 'arn!



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post #3 of 10 Old 08-16-2019, 04:19 PM
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Love all that old American Iron...impressive shop!

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Ridgid R4221 12" CMS, R4330 Planer | Bosch MRC23EVSK Router, 1591EVSL Jigsaw, PB360S Power Box | JDS Air-Tech HP air cleaner | Grizzly 14" bandsaw (Laguna LT14 clone), Jet DC-1100VX-CK Dust Collector | Festool Rotex 150/5 FEQ, CT 36 E, ETS EC125/3, TS75, Domino XL | Incra "Works" LS25 router table | Grizzly G1023RL
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-16-2019, 10:21 PM
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That is some fine machines, very impressive, love it.

The Other

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-17-2019, 06:04 AM
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Plus, you know how to use them!
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-17-2019, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to those who are inspired by the tradition of fine American craftsmanship in the older tools of industry.

My main shaper is this Baxter D. Whitney, built between 1918 and 1926. I rebuilt in extensively in 1987. I added the Polish fence and Italian power feed on the right and built the precision fence that turns the left-hand spindle into what the millwork industry would call a side head sticker to make small moldings. The direct drive spindle motors can be switched electrically to run at 3450 rpm off the line frequency or 8500 rpm off the frequency drive. Despite being almost 100 years old, this machine spins without vibration at high speed and produces flawless, smooth moldings.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-k.jpg

Im putting in the heavy spindles and setting up a left/right pair of 2 knife heads to make raised panels with curved edges.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-l.jpg

For curved work, the fences are replaced with this pair of very sturdy, spring loaded guards. These were an awful lot of work to make but well worth it as double spindle shapers have a reputation as hazardous tools.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-m.jpg

The south aisle has a smaller Delta radial arm saw which I use mainly for carpentry projects. My big veneer press is built into the base of the work table on the right. I made a dozen air pods out of 6 fire hose to provide about 50psi pressure on the 3 x 7 plattens.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-n.jpg

I was trained as a machinist. The south east corner has my lathe, a Pratt & Whitney from 1950, and milling machine, a Burke Millrite from 1967.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-o.jpg

All my tools were unloaded with this A frame hoist. After I retired, I downsized from an F-250 to a trailer to tow behind my car; so no more 3,000 lb. machines following me home. Now I use this area mostly for spraying varnish like this birch door I just completed.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-p.jpg

Many retirees in this area go south for the winter, with good reason. Ill be in my shop every day.

A Vintage Workshop-shop-tour-q.jpg

Thanks for your interest.
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Last edited by difalkner; 08-17-2019 at 02:24 PM. Reason: remove duplicate photos
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-18-2019, 08:29 AM
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Your shaper is better at 100 years than I am at 77 years. That is not right.

The last picture sure is pretty.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-18-2019, 08:33 AM
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I forgot to say you have a heck of a nice shop. I am jealous, very jealous.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-18-2019, 10:04 AM
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What a shop! Very nice. More importantly you have the knowledge to use the equipment safely and enjoy your trade, ah retirement hobby!
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-18-2019, 03:46 PM
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Simply excellent John!!!

We use (and love) some of the same family of tools..."Old" Olivers, Northfields, etc from all the way back to the 40's...Just can't beat them for function and dependability...

Look forward to following you comments...

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