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Restoration of a Vintage Parks Planer

cabomhn

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As my shop was slowly starting to become somewhere where I could get some real projects done, I was still missing a planer which was quickly becoming a major bottleneck to get things done. I was able to pick up one of these 1950s/1960s park planers during the pandemic and although it was in ok shape, it certainly needed some work

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A few key issues that needed to be corrected:
  • The motor support bar, shaft collars, and adjustments were permanently rusted together. I actually rounded over two hardened steel allen tools trying to get them off and eventually gave up and just broke out the angle grinder. I had to get some new bar, shaft collar, and adjustment screws but it was WELL worth it
  • The cutter head bearings sounds like a box of rocks, so they definitely needed switched out. While I was at it I switched out the motor bearing as well.
  • The cutter head blades were heavily chipped and needing repair, not a huge detail and they had to be taken out anyway
  • All shafts and gears needed dressing to remove knurled and raised areas from set screws, etc. This made disassembly nearly impossible but with some persistence it eventually worked out
  • And finally, just general rust throughout the internals of the machine which made adjustment mechanisms bind up

With these planers, the biggest uncertainty from the whole process is the quality of the casted babbitt which holds the main shaft cutter head bearings. These are custom to your specific planer and you can’t order an off the shelf replacement. For most other parts though, you can order them directly from D.C. Morrison which still stocks/manufactures replacements by catalog name. I thought I would need a few of these replacement parts but after getting into the restoration that turned out to not be the case except for the blades and a handful of bolts.

I unfortunately did not take many pictures during the tear down including the aftermath of nearly 200 separate small parts scattered across my garage floor. This project was made worse by the fact that I didn’t take any pictures or label anything when taking it apart, which led to some later project anxiety after a 6 month hiatus.

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After a quick look into the belly of the beast, I knew this was going to be a bit of work. Like I mentioned before, the knurling of basically all shafts made disassembly a nightmarish activity. After several nights of choice words and bruised knuckles, I finally got things broken down. After the table saw restoration project and knowing that this paint was very likely to contain lead, I had the parts professionally sandblasted to get down to bare metal.
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After that, it started the long process of slowly making and taping all all the major components. All in all, I think I used ~30 rattle cans of rust oleum primer, enamel, and clear coat.
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cabomhn

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After a lot of clean up work and assembly time, I finally got the cutter head installed. It was a good feeling seeing it rotate around on the new bearings
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After this I got so caught up in the rush to the end that I really didn’t manage to take many pictures. The most time consuming process was ultimately getting the gearbox put back together. Everything has to be installed in a precise order as you’re installed the gearbox back onto the three shafts so it was a lot of getting to a point and starting over.

Here are a few shots of the finished planer
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Last but not least, here is a link where I posted a couple videos of the planer in action:



Overall, this was a good project, but I had no idea how much work it was going to end up being when I got started. The whole process probably took me about twice as long as the PM66 restoration due to the number of smaller parts and adjustments it took to get everything working properly. I’m happy with the final result and fully expect it to last me as long as I have it in my shop.

From a cost perspective, I may have been nearly ahead just buying a newer planer when you factor in some of the tools I had to buy along the way, but the vintage machine sure does look cool in the garage!

Feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for looking!

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woodtickgreg

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And now you need to fab up some kind of a dust and chip chute, lol. Great looking vintage machine. Good on you for keeping it alive. :good2:
 

cabomhn

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And now you need to fab up some kind of a dust and chip chute, lol. Great looking vintage machine. Good on you for keeping it alive. :good2:

A dust shoot is high on the list! Trying to get some practice tig welding first then hopefully can get something put together so I don’t have chips flying across the whole garage
 

cabomhn

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You still setting on 220v? I got the same basic planer with a 220v but it has a double pulley. I am not home or I would try to shoot a picture
Yes this is running on 220. It’s a 3hp motor. I think it’s probably supposed to have a double pulley, but I will have to see if any issues come out running it on the single pulley that it came with.
 

Mr. Peet

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And now you need to fab up some kind of a dust and chip chute, lol. Great looking vintage machine. Good on you for keeping it alive. :good2:

A dust shoot is high on the list! Trying to get some practice tig welding first then hopefully can get something put together so I don’t have chips flying across the whole garage
Just buy a floor flange for your air system and mount it on the machine until you find something better.

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2feathers Creative Making

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And now you need to fab up some kind of a dust and chip chute, lol. Great looking vintage machine. Good on you for keeping it alive. :good2:

A dust shoot is high on the list! Trying to get some practice tig welding first then hopefully can get something put together so I don’t have chips flying across the whole garage
The other thing you may want to fab (I haven't yet either so...) is a guard for the belt. They aren't that hard, just get put off. The up side to mine is that so far I am the sole operator. If there were youngins around, I would definitely do early rather than late. I will likely address that as soon as I get my shop done because the belts are awfully close to a long sleeve shirt when adjusting thickness.
 

JerseyHighlander

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Very nicely done restoration. That is identical to a planer that was in the maintenance shop of a very old industrial mill here in NJ. The rare oddity of it was that the motor was an actual two phase motor. First and last one I've ever seen.
 

cabomhn

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Just buy a floor flange for your air system and mount it on the machine until you find something better.

View attachment 212911
by Winkler
I've looked into getting one of these, but the only ones that I've seen that are the right size aren't cheap enough for me to get one as a temporary solution before I take the time to put one together
 

cabomhn

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Very nicely done restoration. That is identical to a planer that was in the maintenance shop of a very old industrial mill here in NJ. The rare oddity of it was that the motor was an actual two phase motor. First and last one I've ever seen.
Thanks! I've never heard of a two phase motor, but will have to read about them now.
 

cabomhn

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The other thing you may want to fab (I haven't yet either so...) is a guard for the belt. They aren't that hard, just get put off. The up side to mine is that so far I am the sole operator. If there were youngins around, I would definitely do early rather than late. I will likely address that as soon as I get my shop done because the belts are awfully close to a long sleeve shirt when adjusting thickness.

Definitely agree. I actually have the belt cover that came with the machine refinished and ready to install. However I'm still tinkering with some of the fine adjustments and for the meantime it's a bit easier to rotate the cutter head using the belt rather than trying to spin it by hand. But definitely for safety I'm planning to get that back on asap.
 
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