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Thread: Big Jointer/ Small Shop

  1. #1

    Big Jointer/ Small Shop

    About a week ago I became the proud owner of a Whitherby/ Rugg/ Richardson jointer. I went back to Coopers Mills, Maine where I first saw this machine sitting in the weeds from a few weeks ago. I wanted to get some pictures of it because it was the biggest jointer I ever saw and wanted to post some pictures on here. I also wanted to see how much the antique dealer wanted for it. Man was I ever surprised when he said he would have to have 100 bucks. I am not sure, but I think scrap iron price makes it worth more than that. It's only 6 feet long, but the blade width of this jointer is a whopping 18 inches, the widest I have ever heard of.

    I paid him on the spot in any case. We spent an hour getting this behemouth onto the truck, but it was worth it. It was all my Kubota wanted to lift getting it off the back of my truck once I got it home. My snowmobile is about 600 pounds and I would have to say this machine must weigh about the same.

    So far I am impressed. Everything works, from the table height adjustment screws to the jointer head. It has babbitt bearings that I thought were "stuck". Luckily that is not the case. They turned freely so now my biggest problem is figuring out how to redo the leather seals and then of course, how in the heck I am going to power this machine. It did not come with a motor. At the present time I am thinking that I could some how use my kubota's PTO to power this machine, but I'm not sure. 3 Phase power is out of the question where I live. Heck I'm lucky I got any electricity. I also got to figure out a way to sharpen these massive blades. Unfortunately it is only a 2 knife head.

    Over the next few months, I am hoping to get this machine powered up again. This is my first true rebuild of an old woodworking machine. Overall I am pleased with it, now if only my wife was happy with my latest addition
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  2. #2
    All I can say is WOW... that a biggie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    The Kudzu Patch
    Man, that is a HOSS!! I have to admit I would love to have that machine even though I have no need of it.

    If your not, I suggest you join the OWWM yahoo group. I am sure you can pick up lots of info from these guys. I warn you they generate a lot of emails some days! I had to create a filter to route it to a separate folder so I could read my regular mail. Some of these guys are big in really old machines that ran off of line shafts. So I am sure they can answer most any questions you have.

    Wow. that a jointer what is a jointer!!
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 06-15-2006 at 12:07 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Very nice find!!! It should become an outstanding addition to your shop after restoration. BTW, the PTO is only 540 RPM, so you'd need to do a bit of work to adapt it. I think an electric motor might be easier!!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Monroe, MI
    For reference, a 15" jointer typically uses a 3HP motor. A 5HP on 220V motor only needs a 30A circuit. I would think that would be plenty.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Beaver Falls, PA
    Hmmmmm. I'd say cart it out to the forest, fell your trees right onto the bed, then joint them on the spot!
    Trees. Tools. Time.

  7. #7
    Sweet find, Travis. Should be a fun restoration project. I hope you share pics of the process and progress. If you can't get it working to your satisfaction, you can always rent it out to the Navy so their pilots can practice aircraft carrier landings on it.

    - Vaughn

  8. #8
    A 5 hp electric single phase should provide plenty of power. That is what is on my 18" woodmaster. I would think that the 'strain' would be about the same. I think you can go as high as 7 hp in single phase.

    BTW, that is a great find. I'll be happy to let you double your money

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Boston, MA
    That is one of the coolest jointers I've seen. Post pictures when you have it up and running.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Mpls, Minn
    I do have to say "thank you much" I showed the wife a picture of this jointer, you know, the one that ALL you guys have, and then showed her the 8" York I'm getting, she now has said the York isn't as big as she thought and thanked me for being so fugal......well....actually she said, "don't even think of it" and then made mention I'd better be happy with the York, and then mentioned I was paying for golf this weekend as I have soooo much money to throw around...

    I think I still come out ahead....kinda.

    At least she has quit hiding the Wilkes catalog now.

    I have to admit, that puppy is definetly bigger than 4" Craftsman my vet just gave me...whoa!
    Good luck and have fun.

  11. #11
    Thanks for all the comments guys...

    Mechanically this machine is in excellent shape. Other than replacing the leather seals, the babbitt bearings look great and I even found a shim with the date 1938 staped onto it, so I make the assumption that the bearings were last poured at that time. Repouring babbitt bearings is not that difficult I know, but having good ones will save me a lot of time and eneregy on this rebuild. The rest of the rebuild will just consist of greasing up the dovetailed table extensions, sharpening the blades and hooking up an electrical motor to this beast.

    In doing some research I have found out that this machine type (Witherby, Ruggs, Richardson) was typically used at shipyards. The antinque dealer said that it came from an old lady in Alna, Maine which is only a stones throw from two major shipyards...the old Waldoboro shipyard and Percy and Small Shipyard in Bath Maine. I am working with a museum curator to see if this machine ever belonged to the latter shipyard. It's probably a long shot, but still conceivable that a former worker there bought this machine when the shipyard closed its doors, or something to that effect. Its worth doing the research in any case.
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  12. #12

    Since NO ONE has done so yet, I get to be the first to say YOU SUCK!

    That's a great find. Definately include in your research tool box. The guys & gals there are a huge help. Be sure to register your machine there too.

    And most importantly keep a photo record of your resto and keep posting them. We all want to see the christening when you bring her out of dry dock.

    Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it's just too dark to read.

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