21st Nov 2011, 12:35 AM #1
preservation of old woodworking machinery
I guess most of us after old ARN are on the lookout for used old tools. It is a great way of getting high quality tools at a reasonable price. We say: “What a good standard of quality they used to maintain in the old days”. This is a little deceptive since all the bad stuff has been trashed a long time ago leaving many good quality tools to us.
It's sometimes happen that we find tools and machinery that we suspect are very old – say 100 years or older. It might sound a little bit over the top but when we take good care of such a tool we do our bit to preserve a piece of industrial history. I believe we hobby OWWMers have a responsibility here when we get our hands on really old stuff.
Now to my question. How do we take care of these antique or semi-antique tools in he best possible way?
My answer and hopfully your too
The absolutely best way to preserve old tools and machines is to use them and keep them in working order.
Interest in and use of old tools does not exclude modern equipment.
The problem arises when you have to repair and recondition the old machines. How do you go about that without destroying historical and monetary value? If you can preserve the value of these old goodies at the same time as you preserve a small piece of industrial history I think this is a good thing. We have a duty plain and simple.
Historical knowledge and artifacts are disappearing before our eyes.
What can YOU do to at least preserve some of the knowledge and recorded information?
What will happen to YOUR knowledge when you suddenly find yourself dead?
Have you ever wished you’d pried more information out of an old timer, and recorded it?
How can we best save, record, and pass on information?
The internet provides an amazing resource and capability for passing on and collating information. Sites like
http://vintagemachinery.org/]Vintage....org | Welcome
the Mesta archive,
Plant and product of the Mesta Machine Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A : Mesta Machine Co : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
the Museum of English Rural Life
Not Found - University of Reading ... tions.aspx
, Barrow Museum’s Vickers archives,
Vickers Photographic Archive
etc., offer remarkable collections of photos and information. Loads of invaluable stuff turns up on forums
However, how secure is anything on the internet? In my opinion, the internet will implode within 10 years. It’s a neighbourhood that’s rapidly being taken over by big business and crooks. Even if it does manage to survive, what happens if the owners of the invaluable sites like Practical Machinist, lathes.co.uk, Grace’s Guide, etc., were to pull the plug one day?
I’m not offering answers here, just hoping to guild people into action.
I think the safest way of preserving information is to use the printed page. Books, journals, magazines. Then there’s a chance that some information will survive for a long time. Even if the information isn’t published, it’s potentially useful in the future. More so if you send copies to others of a like mind, to reduce the chances of it being destroyed.
Photographs: Take pictures of old factories and machines before they’re destroyed. It’s never been easier, with digital cameras. But what do you do with the images, and what’s the chance of anyone ever seeing them? you must post and tell the groups.
For my part, well, guilty as charged, to a large extent. I have gathered a lot of information in the last couple of years, but not much of it is secure. I’m finding it fascinating, for example with digging out stuff which involves finding information in old magazines, online trade directories, the highly detailed old UK maps published by Alan Godfrey Maps,
The Godfrey Edition - Old Ordnance Survey Maps - Index
However, very little of what I've gathered is down on paper, and even if it was, I don’t know anyone who’d be particularly interested in it less a small group OWWMers.
One promising area is Self Publishing. It has no appeal to me personally, but there are several people here who should be encouraged in this direction. If anyone is tempted down this road, I would think of it in terms of you doing a service to like-minded readers, rather than being a route to fame and fortune!
Save as many as you can!
jack AKA tool613
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21st Nov 2011, 11:40 AM #2
Jack Fantastic write up, so true !!
There are always so many Questions, I see on this site and amongst my friends involved in woodwork the Excitement of the Purchase of an older machine.
Usually it may begin with the discovery of a makers name in raised letters as part of the casting on a machine or on a separate Badge.
For me thats the exciting part, all the questions, Who made this machine?, for what application did the manufacture design the machine for, is the machine missing any crucial pieces?, can I still purchase tooling for this machine?.
Old catalogs are an important addition to discovering a machines History and format, they say a picture tells a thousand words, imagine finding a catalog cut of a machine and being able to weigh up what is missing or see how the electric motor was mounted for instance.
"Dirty Paper" or Catalogs are very hard to find, most have been thrown out in favor of newer editions and so on, and they are not like novels that can sit on a book shelf and be read again, the information becomes obsolete once the machinery is no longer made, it is only now we are discovering their Value.
When it comes to Preservation and conservation we have so many governing bodies such as the National Trust, Heritage Victoria, NSW etc looking after our old buildings and Heritage, but sadly nothing is being done to preserve out Industrial Heritage nor the Skills that created the structures/Buildings in the first place.
So much of this Knowledge has been lost.
I believe it is sites like the Woodwork forum that keeps the Skills and Knowledge alive, the sharing of Knowledge, the exchange of advice about a project, Discussions, Involvement, and Encouragement.
21st Nov 2011, 11:59 AM #3
most of the great machines i see are going in the garbage and being melted down for fry pans. I hope to move people to save as much as they can in any way there can. The best part is its a lot fun bring this old fine machinery back to work. the joy of cutting wood on a finely tuned 70 year old wadkin PK that has been restored can not be equaled. it does one thing that is so missing in this world. it shows us that not all things need to be improved. many thing have been lost b/c they where seen as useless. we have all been tricked into the idea that new is better.
English machinesAll tools can be used as hammers
25th Nov 2011, 05:51 PM #4
Great post mate, I totally agree. I've recently got my hands on an old Ezycut bandsaw thats been going for 60 odd years and if I replace just the bearings, the only thing thats gone after all this time it'll probably run for another 60 years! A million times better than the new ones you can buy today.
I only wish that there was an Australian site of OWWM. There is absolutely no information out there on the old Ezycut brand.
Keep up the good work, pete
26th Nov 2011, 12:49 AM #5
It looks like you can not edit your post so here is the broken link to the Museum of English Rural Life.
THE MUSEUM OF ENGLISH RURAL LIFE - Online Database
Pete do a post of the Band saw if you have not. All OWWM is/was are guys posting there stuff and after a while you have an archive of much information. It was like that for English machines at first too.
English machinesAll tools can be used as hammers
26th Nov 2011, 07:56 AM #6
26th Nov 2011, 10:02 AM #7
27th Nov 2011, 02:39 PM #8
This bandsaw - sad and unloved at Bill's Machinery, Perth.
No brand that I could see in the casting - not an equal to the Barkers I don't believe ...
The table is made from 1"x2" slats with a metal cover for the top.
I liked the dust collection, though. Going to steal that idea.
27th Nov 2011, 02:50 PM #9
I think that's a Fay a very rare saw ,a very rare saw indeed. the upper pulley is a dead give away. if it is its was a very famous saw when it was show cased to the world before the turn of the century(not this one). Real good american ARN.
matty what do you think is it?
Are the wheel rims wood Paul?
English machinesAll tools can be used as hammers
27th Nov 2011, 04:09 PM #10
i have got a bit of thing for old school tools i have got a bandsaw, spinlde few other cool things.
always on the look at cool stuff at auctions but will not buy at unless i have a need for it.
27th Nov 2011, 05:08 PM #11
Sad and lonely Fay?
I didn't specifically look, but I'm sure both wheels were all metal. The two don't seem to match ... maybe this a bit of a bitza. I did note the look of the top wheel - unique in my tiny experience.
I initially thought the table must be a replacement for a missing cast-iron, but I feel like I have seen (a picture of) another with its table made up that way.
I guess the body shape and drive pulley might give the best hints?
I didn't even notice the weighted arm until I uploaded the photos ... a de-tensioning device?
27th Nov 2011, 08:23 PM #12
I found a Catalog Cut from 1893 J.A. Fay's Illustrated catalog, Just Prior to the Merger with the Egan company.
Jack is correct when he makes mention a companies participation in Famous Machinery Exhibitions, World Fairs, and Expositions.
Many years ago these were staged around the world and held in capital cities in many countries, and were a fantastic opportunity for a company such as J.A.Fay to have their best machinery on display for public viewing.
Many Early Machinery makers walked away with Prize winning medals for their inventions, leaving the competition to Contemplate and have better inventions and Design ideas for the next year..
Below are the J.A. Fay Bandsaw Catalog Cut's, and a Photo of the World Columbian fair 1893, J.A. Fay & Egan name coming together under the one banner, the fair ran for 6 Months.
And also a page of prize winning Medals from the 1893 J.A.Fay Catalog.
27th Nov 2011, 08:40 PM #13
Shipping back down to melbourne was going to be a killer, not to mention the work that needs to go in to it to get it to good running order.
A very tempting machine especially because it is not a common machine in these parts.
The Owner was kind enough to send my Friend some more close up Pic's of the bandsaw. (Courtesy Bill's Machinery,Pert) Perth.
27th Nov 2011, 10:56 PM #14
I have actually read that expo reference ... I don't know if it was from a web page listing out-of-copyright books from approx 1880-1920 ... or from looking up "Fay & Egan" when it was mentioned on the forum here ... but I certainly didn't make the connection to that poor bandsaw.
It's great to learn from you guys.
(It's lucky I'm used to looking like an idiot )
Thanks so much,
PS - what is with that orange colour? my barker is the same.
28th Nov 2011, 06:46 AM #15
I went looking for the book that I had seen before ...
(this stuff may be old-hat to some of you I suppose)
Found this which is interesting: http://www.woodworkinghistory.com/document_17.htm
What I am looking for is very much like this, but I am sure this isn't the one:
There is this: OWWM - J. A. Fay & Co. - History
Which lead to this hard to imagine article: (sorry - drifting off the point here)
I wouldn't have expected that power and violence from a "router-style" planer ... 2" cut
Also interesting - A History of the Planing Mill
A history of the planing mill | Woodworking machinery books
Anyway - long story short - still searching.