Beaver 3800

DIY Adjustable Jointer Extension Tables

DIY Adjustable Jointer Extension Tables

A couple months ago I restored a Beaver 3800 jointer. It’s worked beautifully since then, but an issue I kept running into was the bed length – at 34″, the Beaver has a pretty short bed. This makes jointing longer boards difficult and downright dangerous. Clearly I needed some sort of jointer extension.

Because of the age of the machine, it was highly unlikely I would be able to find the extension rollers that were made by Beaver back in the day. I also wanted tables rather than rollers, as they provide better support to the workpiece throughout the cut.

Adjustable jointer extension tables

The jointer extensions are made of two layers of plywood with a levelling mechanism

I decided to make some extensions out of some 3/4″ plywood. The extensions are made of 2 layers of plywood, with an additional strip underneath to provide extra rigidity. The tables attach to the bed using three bolts each. Of course, being a jointer, I needed to add some sort of levelling mechanism. I used threaded inserts in the top layer of plywood, and some bolts that pass through nuts in the lower layer. This allows me to level each of the tables at the 4 corners.

DIY jointer extension tables for Beaver 3800

The extension beds are each 24″ long, bringing the total bed length to 82″.

Each of the tables is 24″ long, bringing the total length to 82″ long. This means I can now joint boards longer than 8′ with no fear of tipping. The tables are surprisingly rigid and have very little flex even at the ends. This turned out to be a very cheap, quick and effective solution, and because it doesn’t need any legs, it allows me to roll the jointer out of the way when not in use.


Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Beaver 3800, DIY Jointer Extension, This and That, 2 comments
Beaver 3800 Jointer Restoration Pt. 2

Beaver 3800 Jointer Restoration Pt. 2

In part 1 of the jointer restoration I took the jointer apart down to the nuts and bolts. I then washed the larger parts of the jointer in warm soapy water in to remove the accumulated grease and sawdust. This step is important as the primer may not work as well if you don’t remove the grease from the surface.

Jointer restoration

All the parts taped up ready for painting.

Once the parts all dried I set about masking off the jointer for painting. This took a while, and a lot of painters tape. Tip – a sharp utility knife makes all the difference in this step. I was especially careful on any threads that were at risk of collecting paint…that would not be a fun clean up job. With the parts all taped off, I applied one coat of primer, followed by two to three coats of paint.

I debated my choice of colour for a while before settling on black. I was considering the repainting it the original grey colour, but the grey just wasn’t working for me. I then considered vintage power tool green (something like the General tools), but the only other piece of equipment in my shop that colour is my bandsaw, and I plan on replacing that. That led me to my one of my favourite pieces of equipment, my Sawstop cabinet saw. I decided to paint the jointer in a Sawstop inspired theme – black with red accents. black and red is easy to overdo, and I didn’t want it to look tacky, so I settled on only using red on the legs of the base. I used enamel spray paint. Initially I planned on a gloss black paint, but I tried a bit of matte black and absolutely loved it. It reminded me of an anvil.

Beaver 3800 jointer restoration

Fence guide rods

While the paint cured, I got to work on the metal parts such as the fence glide rods, the many little bolts, screws and linkages. I used sandpaper, ascending in grit from 100 to 220 to 400, to work everything up to a shine, followed by some metal polish. Once the paint dried, I removed the painters tape from the bed and fence faces, and used a palm sander with increasingly fine sandpaper to remove rust and polish up the surface. While this may seem like a pretty risky way to do this, it takes a lot of effort to actually create a divot doing this, so you’re probably safe. The pork chop is one of the best parts of the machine – I sanded the paint off the details.

Jointer motor electrical

The death trap power cord and switch

The cutterhead was packed with 60 year old grease and sawdust, as were the bearings. I removed the blades and chip breakers and submerged the bearings and cutterhead in turpentine to dissolve the grease. Turpentine is nasty stuff, so only use it in a well ventilated place! I then cleaned up the rust on the cutterhead, and repacked the bearings with a gratuitous amount of grease. I ordered a new set of jointer blades from Amazon, and they arrived well packed and sharp. I bought a replacement belt from a lawnmower store, as it was the only place that seemed to have the right v-belt size.

Jointer motor grounding

Motor rewired and grounded

The only thing left was to rip out and replace the power cable, add a safety switch and ground the motor. The motor sat directly on the steel frame, so it was especially important to ground the body of the motor to prevent accidents. With the switch wired into the motor and the new power cable, the jointer was ready to be reassembled.

Putting the jointer body back together was fairly straightforward. I expected some confusion but it was surprisingly intuitive. The only difficult part was inserting the cutterhead back in, as the belt has to be inserted beforehand, and the cutterhead needs to be held up while the bearings are tightened in place. It was only me, so a number of failures later, I had them all in. The fence was anything but simple to reassemble, but luckily I took photos beforehand and used them as a guide.

Beaver 3800 Jointer pork chop

Beaver 3800 Pork Chop

With the jointer fully reassembled, I spent a few more hours getting the infeed and outfeed beds coplanar and level (before setting the cutting depth, of course), and a couple more hours setting the blade heights in the cutterhead. Both these adjustments were pretty complicated, but there are plenty of tutorials online outlining the processes so I won’t go into details here. A few more minutes to set the fence square, and the jointer restoration was finally done. I’m really pleased with how it turned out – it’s a breeze to use and it works really well. For half the price of the cheapest 6″ jointer on the market, I now have a lifetime-quality tool, ready to work for another 60 years before I sell it on to a future woodworker who hasn’t been born yet.

Beaver 3800 fence system restored

Beaver 3800 Fence System

Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Beaver 3800, Restorations, Tools, 0 comments
Beaver 3800 Jointer Restoration Pt. 1

Beaver 3800 Jointer Restoration Pt. 1

A few months ago I purchased an old Beaver 3800 jointer. I bought it from an old gentleman who used to be an ironworker in the 50’s and 60’s. It was last used in the 60’s to joint doors for a hotel, and sat unused for the last 50+ years. As you’d imagine, it wasn’t in the best of shape, and while it still ran, it definitely needed some work. Which brings us to this jointer restoration.

Jointer, Beaver 3800, Restoration

The jointer before I started working on it.

The Beaver 3800 was made in the early 1950s in the Callander Foundry, in Guelph, Ontario. The Foundry was established in 1916, and had great success with their woodworking machines after the end of WWII. Their machines were known and prized for their excellent quality. Unfortunately, as is often the case with local Canadian businesses, small and large, in 1953 the owner sold the foundry to Rockwell Manufacturing Co. (Rockwell had bought Delta Manufacturing previously). The foundry was renamed Rockwell Manufacturing Co. of Canada, and the power tools were renamed Beaver-Delta tools. Gradually the Beaver power tools were discontinued in favour of Delta-Rockwell designs. The company changed hands a number of times since then, until in 2011 the Delta brand  was sold to a Taiwanese company, and the Guelph Foundry sadly closed its doors.

Beaver 3800, vintage jointer restoration

Taking the jointer apart.

I find myself drawn to tools (and indeed products in general) that are made locally, whether in Alberta or Canada, followed by those still made in the States. To me that’s part of the attraction of the Veritas tools…but that’s a different story. Anyways, of course, when I found this old piece of iron for a decent price, I had to purchase it and bring it home.

The 3800 is 6″ jointer, with a short bed, around 34″ in length. For a relatively small jointer (in terms of length) the 3800 was very heavy – we needed a chain and host to raise it into the truck, and pulled back muscles to pull it out of the truck. Everything on the jointer appeared to be made of cast iron except for the pork chop (Blade guard) which was machined beautifully out of aluminium. The fence system on the 3800 is a wonderful and complex feat of engineering. But more on that later. Lets get back to this jointer restoration thing.

Jointer bearings

The bearings.

The jointer was in pretty good shape for it’s age. The bed and fence had some light rust and a few spots of deeper rust. The entire jointer was crummed up with 60 years worth of dirt and oil. The blades were all chipped and would need replacing. The paint was mostly intact, but was flecking off in a few spots. The motor that came with the jointer was as old as the jointer itself, and the wiring was an absolute deathtrap. The cable was old and splitting in a number of places, held together with black cloth tape that pre-dated electrical tape. The switch was an old light switch that was bolted to the underside of the bed, and there was no clearly no ground wire. The belt was never changed and was well past its best before date. Of course, this was all above the hood, and there were probably more issues under the hood. All these things considered, there was no way I could start using the jointer without a complete restoration first.

Jointer fence

Taking the fence contraption apart.

As always, the first step in the restoration was to take the 3800 apart. I started by raising the motor to loosen the belt. Taking the bolts off wasn’t too hard with a bit of elbow grease and a couple squirts of WD40. Always keep some WD40 on hand! I almost damaged one of the bearings trying to take it out without removing the set screw first. The cutterhead was quite difficult to get out, and I definitely was not looking forward to putting it back in.

With everything taken apart I put all the little parts on my bench and labelled all of them – I ran out of ziploc bags and figured this would work. It just meant accepting the fact that I wouldn’t get anything done until the jointer was put back together.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the jointer restoration, where I do the actual restoration and try it out!



Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Beaver 3800, Restorations, Tools, 0 comments