Here is a link to pictures of a very old top quality table/printers saw that
my father has owned for over 40 years, dad is now getting older and isn't
using these things like in the past, this table saw is very special and VERY
accurate. Its a one of a kind the pictures aren't the best but take a look
he is also selling a 24" pro max sander and a spindle sander both can be
seen at the above address.
Looks like it is a very special purpose saw. Just trying to understand the
design; what is the reason for the sliding table not being on the same plane
as the main table?
Also, the blade on the sliding table, second and third pics, cannot make it
out- is it a regular saw blade?
Not looking to buy, just intrigued by its form and function.
Ostrander Seymour made printing machinery. Not sure what specific
application for the saw, but the cutting head on the sliding table
looks like it would do edge jointing and squaring. Maybe for printing
press plates or some such?
I'm guess that's exactly what it was for but I'm trying to check.
Photoengraving was the top line in the graphic arts up until the 70's
and it was pretty much dead by the time my father retired from the
business in 1981.
The photoengraving plates were mounted on glued up cherry blocking and
the sizes used ran all the way from something the size of a 3"x5" card
(or less) to something a bit larger than a full page in a daily
newspaper and everything in between. I believe they were cut to order
in the engraving shop and while most were rectangular, they all needed
four 90 degree corners in order to be clamped into the presses.
I still don't know what the purpose of the "milling tool" and sliding
table is. The blocking was, I thought, pre-glued with butt joints,
nothing fancy and all they ever had to do was cut it down to size from
one of the pre-sized blanks. (I cry every time I think of how much of
that solid cherry blocking wound up as kindling in our fireplaces over
the years). A good hard whack with a hammer would break it close to the
glue line - no tongue & groove.
The engravers and routers used a band saw to "freehand" the copper
plates to size as I recall. I don't recall seeing one of these in the
shop but then I can forget a bit after probably 50 years since the last
time I was in the shop. I recall the big bandsaw and the pin nailers
(used to attach the copper plate to the blocking and other related
equipment but not this.
I send the link off to my father and, with luck, he'll get it open and
let me know if he recognizes it.
Letterpress type was set by hand, the type was in a furniture case as it was
called, each letter or character had to bet the exact size. when the type
was all set (inside a heavy metal frame) it was clamped from the inside. If
any row of type was off in size by just a smig that row of type would fall
out. These saws can cut the furniture, type or lead to the highest degree of
sizing and squareness. My dad uses the standard table saw most of the time,
he has a unisaw and this table saw. for small detailed work this saw is
My dad has written 2 books for fine woodworking is a detal freak to some
I sent the link to the photos to my father, a retired photoengraver.
The portion of the machine with the sliding table was a trimmer used to
cut the edges of the finished photoengraved plates with great precision.
They used to set it up using three sheets of newsprint as the "gauge"
He said that the trimmer he was familiar with looked exactly like the
sliding table portion of the one shown and was also manufactured by
Ostrander-Seymour however theirs did not have the saw attached as a
combination unit as shown.
He said that when the cutter of the trimmer got dull you could loosen it
with a Phillips driver or allen wrench (can't recall now) and turn it
about an eighth of a inch and bring a fresh edge into play.
There was also a beveling tool used in finishing these plates off. It
had what amounted to a chamfering bit mounted on a vertical shaft that
would shave just a bit of the copper plate (which was glued or glued and
fastened with tiny brads to the cherry blocking)and blocking.
There you go, more than you ever wanted to know about photoengraving <g>
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