I have been in the furniture mfg. business for 35 years and my advise to
anyone who does much woodworking is buy good old equipment rather than the
new cheap stuff from China. Most of the new stuff is disposable and never
gives you good service compared to the old American made equipment.
Woodworking equipment is very inexpensive right now due to so many American
companies going out of business. You can find good 220 equipment in medium
weight sizes. A good measure to the quality is how much it weighs.
I value your advice and have a question. With the outbreak of flooding due to the hurricanes in the gulf do you think we will have a problem with used equipment flooding the market that has suffered water damage that is undetectable? It is not always possible to "plug it in and try it" with larger equipment and I am not confident I could detect a well hidden problem.
I value your advice and have a question. With the outbreak of flooding
due to the hurricanes in the gulf do you think we will have a problem with
used equipment flooding the market that has suffered water damage that is
undetectable? It is not always possible to "plug it in and try it" with
larger equipment and I am not confident I could detect a well hidden
Well, I wouldn't be too quick on buying used cars for about six months,
that's for sure.
I'm rebuilding a Unisaw that was completely flooded in Katrina.
Believe me, at least with that machine you would be able to tell.
Every machined surface is completely rusted. All the fasteners,
whether they were zinc chromate plated or black oxide were visibly
Now I'm sure it will be fine when I'm finished but it is taking a
complete teardown to recover it. Most would not go through that just
to sell it on the used market (I certainly would not) and if you
didn't, I believe you could tell.
Good advice, but not always practical. If everyone stopped buying new,
there would not be enough used equipment to go around as the hobby grown in
numbers of participants.
I bought my saw new. I could have waited and bought a good used one, but
that wait would have been over two years. Yes, I read the ads every week in
a couple of papers. I'd still be waiting for some other tools.
There is some decent equipment coming out of China today. The junk is
Furniture manufacturing and what most of us do are not quite the same
thing. Your advice is applicable, but not on too generalized a basis.
Taiwanese equipment has now reached a level of excellence that 10 or 15
years ago seemed unlikely. I've recently tested, among other overseas
produced tools, the new 8" Powermatic parallelogram jointer, which hits
a level of excellence that is equal to anything I've seen come out of
the U.S. at any time. It has an excellent price, too, because good
manufacturing is not as cheap as it used to be, no matter where you
are. IIRC, price is about $1600, a lot of money for a hobby shop, but
probably on a per pound basis, it's not that bad--it weighs almost 50%
more than any comparable 8" jointer. Longest tables in the group, too.
The demand for woodworking tools seems to be on an ever upward spiral,
too, and that creates problems with obtaining old woodworking
equipment, which means the price of much of that will do what the price
of rusty old (AKA as vintage or antique) cars has done in the past five
years...escalate and do it fast.
Is _all_ of McMinnville shops now closed? How sad, if true. :(
I remember going down to pick up my brand new Model 66 and getting the
cook's tour. The piles of castings in the yard being "cured" were 20 ft
high or so...
You bring up a valid point but I see from your header info that you are in
North Carolina where the equipment you describe is probably in relatively
abundant supply. Assuming some of the cost benefit of buying used equipment
is to obtain it locally and save on shipping costs, you and your neighbors
are at an advantage over many of the rest of us.
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"
Also doesn't provide any indication of the size of shop or availability
of power (primarily 3-phase) for the equipment of which he was
thinking. Much of the equipment even from small commercial shops that
is available at reasonable cost is far bigger than a home-shop user will
have either room for or power to run. By the time one invests in the
3-phase to single converter, etc., much of the advantage is gone, ime.
That said, I keep looking for a large old Crescent or other 16" or
larger jointer in reasonable shape close enough to make it feasible....
Unfortunately, there probably have never been more than 10 or so ever in
the state, and of those 8 would have been in the farthest reaches of the
eastern portion of the state, 400 mi or so away. I attended a bunch of
auctions while in TN and VA and saw several, but the process of getting
one of those behemoths from there to here is non-trivial... :(
I had the opportunity to go to a local school auction today. Almost
all of the equipment there was of US manufacture.
Several (4 I think) Rockwell/Delta 12" drill presses were sold and
none went for over $150.00 most around $100. One Powermatic drill
press went for $250. There was also an 18" 3 phase 3HP Powermatic
planer that went for around $1500. A powermatic 8" 3 Phase joiner
with a very long bed went for only $400.00.
6 large scroll saws were sold (4 Powermatic and 2 Delta/Rockwell) and
none brought over $100. My partner bought an old Delta/Millwaukee 6"
Accu-Set joiner, motor and stand for $130. The bed's not too long but
it's a good size to carry on the job.
Getting caught up in the rapture of it all, I may have spent too much
on an old 1HP Delta/Rockwell Unisaw at $550 plus tax. It does have a
52" Beis on it with that big ass overhead guard. I took it apart this
evening to get at what is probably bearing noise and at least
everything is there. That's the biggest damn 1HP motor I have ever
seen! No wonder I'm still sore from trying to move it. Some guy at
the auction gave me his number just in case I wanted to buy a 3 HP
Unisaw motor he had. I'll wait to see how the rebuild goes before I
worry about that.
I went to the Delta site to look for a manual and I'm pretty sure that
I could hear laughing when I punched in the model number. It seems it
may be too old to get the paper work.....or maybe printing hadn't been
You probably won't need the 3 HP motor. That old 1 horse is a solid
piece of gear. It sounds like you got a good buy.
But your words illustrate one problem with buying school tools: 3
phase. You're left with the need to convert or change motors, which
sometimes (often?) seriously reduces the value of the deal.
The second phase of the problem with school tools is that very soon
there will be no more. I live on the edge of what until recently had
been a world center for furniture making. The schools in this area have
phased out woodworking, for the most part. They'll teach the kids how
to build a house, but not how to build a chair or chest or table. From
what I hear, this is a problem all over the U.S., at a time when
smaller cabinetmaking shops are begging for qualified help. It makes
sense to someone, I guess. Everyone wants to go to a 2 or 4 year
"college" or "university" so they can sit in front of an LCD screen and
earn big bucks, instead of busting their tails making useful items at a
Moving from that problem, though, to the coming shortage of used school
tools, it won't be long before there aren't any more, 3 phase or not.
Then, everyone will be hoping to buy Taiwanese, because their quality
beats mainland China's quality, at least for a few more years.
That's a real shame. I remember woodworking class fondly, although I
did get an "F" for putting tacks on the teacher's chair :-).
I took woodworking one year, metal shop another, and print shop another.
Remember heating soldering irons in an oven? Or setting type by hand?
And the only power tools in wood shop were a bandsaw, a drill press, and
a big sander (which claimed the tip of one of my thumbs). Everything
else was hand tools.
Do you have any rules of thumb for how much those oldies are worth? In
my little corner of the world, the accepted rule seems to be "Pay
anything they ask and outbid everyone if you can, no matter what it is
or what condition it's in." The end result is that anything used is
gone just about immediately, for more than that same model would cost
new, sometimes ridiculously more. Lots more money than common sense in
I like having old stuff. I can't afford what it costs around here, even
when I can find it.
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