Cross one off the ‘Bucket List’ ….

asfound I’m a sucker for old iron machinery, and for reasons arguably insane I’ve just always had a thing for big, aircraft-carrier-like jointers. I’ve never owned one, and never really needed one — I’ve been very happy, over the years, with my Inca 10.5″ jointer/planer, and am very accustomed to it’s relatively short bed. But I’ve always had a hankering for a big one, and have kept my eye out religiously for a likely candidate (i.e.: old, cast iron, 12″ or larger, rebuildable but CHEAP).

One came up on the Phoenix Craigslist — a 1905-ish, 12″ x 86″ Yerkes & Finan, with a Crescent 4-knife cutter head, a 3hp-3ph motor, and babbitt bearings. It was sitting on a pallet under a shed roof on a 5-acre farm in Glendale. My friend Kim Thoma went along with me to check it out, and ended up scoring a beautiful little Newton dual-spindle horizontal borer that the jointer owner also wished to sell. Both machines were prizes and after a little negotiation and a handshake we made arrangements to come back the next day to transport them.

Moving machinery like this can be a problem — according to, the jointer weighed almost 1200 pounds without the motor. The owner had a small forklift on the property, and we were able to use that to easily sling the thing into the bed of Kim’s trailer. Oh, yeah … back at our shop, a neighbor also had a fork lift we were able to use to get the jointer out of the trailer and into the shop.

A few minor things to fix — a broken bolt here and there, replacing the wicks in the babbitt bearing oil reservoirs, drilling out a rusted gib screw, etc. Otherwise just washing, de-rusting, polishing and lubing as it goes back together. It should be running within a couple of weeks, time permitting.

Now what am I going to lust after? I’m running out of things…. :-)