Too many Machines

by Mathieu

Because of the event that caused the failure of our thickness planer (see here) my companion and I have been looking to acquire a new machine. Last week we went to have a look at one which seemed to be promising. Upon arrival we immediately started to investigate it so thoroughly that our seller was a bit impressed by our demands. It became clear that the two tables of the jointer did not line up the way they should. We ended up taking one of the tables off, cleaned it all up and put it back together only to find out that the tables where worn out and the fence a bit crooked. Someone must have taken it off at some point and dropped it on the floor causing one of it corners to bend slightly. Amazingly it still performed well enough but we decided those items had to be addressed before we would be able to put it to use. It would cost us about 500€ to have it fixed on top of the 800€ to buy the machine. Plenty of reason to have a look at some other options. In the end we decided we didn’t wanted to buy this one but left the seller satisfied because it was now in better condition as before since we performed some serious maintenance on it during our inspection.

My companion found another machine which is in pretty good condition and has no apparent issues. It is a good candidate but a little bit too large for our limited working space. It is a combined machine with also has a tennon-cutter, and shaper build into it. Those combined machines are quite popular in Europe and are easily found for sale on the second hand market. Most of the time they are intended for the enthusiastic hobbyist and not all that suitable for a professional shop. This one on the other hand is a fine example of a machine that is accurate and well made capable of being used constantly in a professional production environment. The brand name slips my mind and unfortunately I can’t post any pictures of it now.

My comrade told me the good news of his find and explained me there where many machines for sale there. He found it in an old machine shop ran be a machinist who is now too old and blind to continue his work. An alarm went of in my head instantly. A machinist who is selling his old machines is like a dream coming true! There is no place where there is a greater chance to find good, well build old machines which are maintained well, then in a machinists shop. I grabbed my phone gave them a call and asked for an appointment.

Yesterday I went there with my father to have a look and yes, my presumption was correct. The machinist daughter is taking care of the shop and she is a very friendly lady who was happy to receive us. We told here that any of the machines we would buy from them would be maintained well and put to good use.

There are three machines that have my interest and fit my budget. First there is this beautiful old ‘Danckaert’ bandsaw made in Brussels. It runs super smooth, the bearings are not worn out, the motor is in fine condition and they ask 500€ for it. SOLD!

Then I found this really nice drill press which I tested and is in very fine condition. It will take some cleaning and greasing but it is dead accurate and very well made. The gear system is the nicest I have ever seen on such a drill. For the enormous amount of 250€. Yes, I need it! It also comes with two clamps which fit the table.

And then I found this grinder with two precision tables attached to it. I will be using this one to regrind drill bits and similar cutting tools. I am still contemplating wether I will buy this grinder but my companion already told me that he will get it if I don’t. It is just too nice and useful not to get it while we have the chance.

As you can see in the background the shop is full of machines and they are all in fine condition. Luckily I am not a metal worker or I would have tried to get all of them. I saw many useful hand tools which they sell for the price of the old metal. I need to reserve a budget for all those things as well.

I am still overwhelmed by all the goodies I saw and need to contemplate whether I will buy all three of them or just the bandsaw and drill press. As soon as I made a decision and they are up and running in our shop you will get a review on their true performance…