Jointer Restoration

Introduction: Jointer Restoration

About: My name is Jack and Growing up in a workshop has taught me a few things so I'd like to share my experiences after my discoveries. I do put the J in genius after all.

this instructable is a tutorial on the disassembly and restoration of vintage machinery, in this case, a late 40s era delta Rockwell jointer. I started this project when I was gifted this machine by an older woodworker who can no longer work in the shop. this unit is a 4-inch delta/Rockwell jointer with no motor. the plan is to clean the bed and fence, free the spindle, paint the machine, then set the fence and blade height. so let's start pulling it apart.

Step 1: Cleaning and Polishing the Bed

the first step was to clean the bed which had spots of minor surface rust and other gunk. to remove the rust I used AeroKroil a penetrating lubricant that removes rust, I sprayed the bed then spread the chemical with steel wool and let sit. after five minutes I returned to rub the oil in with more steel wool giving a good amount of time to this portion. once wiping the bed and fence dry with paper towels and/or cotton rags you are done cleaning the bed.

additional step sand to a shine with high grit sandpaper around 800-2000 grit.

Step 2: The Spindle

this part of the machine needs to spin freely with no interference. it holds the blades and spins at high speed, but on my machine, it would barely spin. back to the AreoKroil (I'm not trying to advertise but this stuff is pretty great) I sprayed the bearings spun it a little and let sit. 20 minutes later rotated the spindle some more than repeated. this made the cutter head spin freely.

Step 3: Disassembly and Paint

depending on the complexity of your machine you should disassemble all major components for painting. for my machine, it was fine to tape off the important pieces and go for it I recommend sandblasting or wire brushing the surface, or if you prefer you can just sand it.

painting is quite simple i don't believe i have to explain it.

Step 4: Reassembly

now comes the point of reassembly once all paint is dry the jointer can be put back together and all of the stops and gauges can be set. once the spring-loaded blade guard and fence are added you can set each of the stops for 45, 90, and 135 degrees. this was done with a machinist square and a combination square. each stop has a small screw for adjusting the stop for achieving a perfect angle.

Step 5: Finished

at this point, the jointer is done the bed is cleaned the body refinished all that is needed is a motor. for this exact model a 1/3hp 1750rpm motor is needed.

this was not an in-depth tutorial but I hope it helped you restore or clean your machine.

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    Question 2 years ago on Introduction

    What motor did you end up using? Do you know what is equivalent modern frame to 186?

    I absolutely LOVE the paint on this! It brings new life to this old tool and colors like this make workshops a lot more inviting and less daunting. Very cool!


    5 years ago

    Looks awesome! I have this exact model and gave it a good once over a while ago (minus the paint job). I would recommend checking the two tables for parallel very carefully before you start running expensive bits of wood over it. Mine had about 0.5 to 1 mm sag end-to-end which caused all sorts of problems. Cut up of pieces of beer cans works well to shim out the dovetail rails and get the in and out feed tables co-planar again. I hope you are lucky and don't have this issue!

    Creatively crazy
    Creatively crazy

    Reply 5 years ago

    thank you, but I have a great gauge to set this correctly and have had no issues so far


    5 years ago

    I rebuilt the cutterhead assembly on the big brother version of this jointer (6"), although you freed up the bearings, it is best to replace them- after nearly 60 years the lube has most certainly dried up. It's not that hard to do and can be done with typical workshop resources too, I did a video while changing mine:

    Do try and stay with the 1750 R.P.M. motor, they are 4- pole and will have a lot more starting torque than a 2 pole type (3450 R.P.M.). ☺