Restoration

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