12" Jackson Cochrane Jointer restoration
Several people have asked if I could post some restoration photos of my jointer (aka my aircraft carrier).
I heard about a "large jointer" being advertised in our local paper - the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. So I called the number expecting to hear either it was sold, it was junk or it was $10,000. I was not expecting a retired German dentist selling his only woodworking tool - a 100 year old, 12" jointer! I made an appointment for the next morning and stopped at the bank on the way to withdrawl a respectable deposit. The jointer lived in the basement of his dentist office... and that is all that was in the basement. It was General green and quite filthy, but when he fired it up - it purred. A very good sign. I quickly noted it was also single phase - another plus. He haphazardly grabbed a massive piece of cedar and hogged off 1/4" - the beast did not even flinch.
A friend of ours has a landscaping business, so I called him to see if I could borrow his services, Bobcat and trailer. After a bit of work, we were backing it up into my shop. It took 4 of us to swing one end around into position. Our best guess was 1600lbs.
As I started cleaning - the green paint was coming off quite easily - almost on its own. So I grabbed a claw scraper and worked a little more aggressively. There was black japanning underneath and I knew this was going to be a full restoration. I removed the antiquidated magnetic starter (which my electrician John assured me would still work), a few other starters and switches, and began stripping the whole thing clean.
The first parts to come off were the infeed and outfeed tables. This was easier said than done. My uber strong neighbour Dan helped me remove them. It was a this point I realized this was a really special machine. Unlike most turn of the century jointers, this one did not have a single large dovetailed key that the infeed and outfeed traveled up and down on. This one had 4 - one in each corner of the tables! Not only that - but the tables were mounted to a carriage which slid on two dovetails in the main casting.
Here is a shot of the carriage partially pulled out. The bright rails on the main base casting are machined dovetails. The two faucet style handles on the right are used to lock this carriage in place. You can also see the 4 angled ramps that adjust the height of the tables.
Here is another view of the carriage with the height adjustment wheel in place as well as a shot of the upside down table.
The cutter head was the next part to come off. This was a little more work than I expected. I called my friend Terry who is great with bearings and old machines. He was a great teacher and very patient. We used varsol to clean everything so we could see what we were up against. The bearings were huge. I took them to Canada Bearing to see if they were still usable. The guy at the desk started twitching when he saw them. He asked if they were for sale and how many I had. I said I had 4 and they were not for sale. He asked if he could hold one - with a voice that reminded me of my mom asking to hold Riley for the first time. He held it to his ear and just spun it around. I think I saw his hands quiver. He said they were perfect and handed me a tube of specialty grease to re-pack them with.
The other interesting thing is the cutter head is milled from a single piece of steel. I was not expecting this either.
Once I had everything apart, cleaned and moving smoothly, I decided to keep working on the rest of the green paint. Once I started working near the lettering, I noticed some gold flecks on the inside of the green paint.
Some gold model paint and dry brushing later - it was looking pretty good.
The only real repair I had to do was to the fence. It is held in place by two long faucet style posts. These pass through elongated slots in the base of the fence and thread into one of three sets of tapped holes in the outfeed table. This allows the fence to be positioned at a skew - a nice touch for challenging woods.
I added three threaded eyes to stabilize the actual fence to the base. They are marked with the white arrow. Two are tapped and threaded into the fence and the third passes through a conveniently located hole in the base. There is a pin that passes through the eyeholes and allows everything to pivot. The two nuts on either side of the single threaded eye lock it in place (like a 112 scraper plane). There are 4 original pins that connect the base to the fence. I had all of these enlarged and new pins made. Between the 4 new pins and the threaded eyes - the new fence works perfectly.
There are a few other features to this machine that are worth noting. The base is a tripod - eliminating the need for leveling. Much to my amazement - the infeed and outfeed tables are out of flat by about .001" in a few spots... pretty incredible for a 100 year old machine.
All in all it took about a week to restore it to its current condition. It is a fantastic working machine and great bit of local history. I have since found out it was made 2 blocks from our house - and some of the Cochrane's lived on our street up until 20 years ago.