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Tenoner Restoration Project

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kirkpoore1

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About two years ago, I bought a tenoner. Not exactly something you find in most shops, but I make a lot of stuff using mortise and tenon joints, and some of them are tough to do correctly because they're on the end of S-shaped chair legs and are hard to hold. I'd tried the bandsaw, tenoning jig on the tablesaw, and then the shaper (spindle molder), but even with the latter the results were barely adequate. So I needed to upgrade. I looked at several machines, but they were either too small or way, way too big. (One of them had a large enough table to tenon all the stiles on a door in one pass.) Finally I found a medium sized one, an 1880 Levi Houston machine:







This is a close copy, from a different manufacturer, of the same era:


I finally got around to starting the restoration last October. The machine was in pretty good shape overall. After cleaning, I started repainting:



All the babbitt bearings were in good shape, though I had to replace all the wicking material. This being a fairly early machine, there was nothing really complicated, but there is a lot of simple stuff, including 14 babbitt bearings and two plain (steel on iron) bearings. A four inch flat belt winds through the main body driving two tenon heads and a cutoff saw, while a second belt drives a cope countershaft and from there two cope heads. (I'm not using the cope heads now.)
After repainting and reassembly, it looked like this:


It had last been driven by a flat belt from a tractor power takeoff, so I had to cut down the countershaft and add a new pulley for the new motor. This is a 5 hp 3ph motor I mounted in the body:


There were some complications with getting the tenon heads sharpened correctly:


But I got them back last week, and now it's finally ready to go:




Video of it in action here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gmOuHqWuJ4
(Please forgive the narrow frame of view--it's the first time my wife's shot a video with her Ipad.)

And the final result:


Still to come is a belt guard for the front, and a side plate added to the upper tenon guard. I'm also going to add some dial indicator mounting points so I can do fine adjustment of the tenon heads without using a lot of test pieces.

Kirk
 

Cegidfa

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Hi Kirk,

That is one hell of a machine. It must take some time to set the cuts up, but that is more than regained when you are doing multiple joints.
Is this now the oldest machine in your workshop, and how did the wood clamp work, if I may ask? Your 'shop is a testament to the build quality of early American manufacturers, and your ability to restore them. Well done you. =D> =D>

I did like the way that you kindly gave your dearly beloved a pair of ear defenders and then got her to stand in the path of all the exiting dust.....nice one :shock: :D
So do I take it that your car of choice is a Model T Ford? :wink:

Regards........Dick.
 

kirkpoore1

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Thanks, Dick. Yes, this is my oldest machine by about 30 years or so.

Setup time was less than I expected, though more than using a tablesaw tenon jig. You have to have a test mortise already made to ensure you've got the thickness right. Setting the stops for each piece isn't too bad since the spurs that cut the shoulders allow precise measurement. But you do have to have some samples (made from scrap) to run through it to make sure everything is correct. I planed down a chunk of two by four for that.

The hold down is a bar with wooden shoe attached to the underside to hold the work, and a ratchet at the handle end that catches and keeps the pressure on. The wood bar looked like junk when I got it, but having used it I'm surprised at how well it works. I'll see about getting a closeup picture.

My wife was standing behind me, holding the iPad out to the side. I wanted her out of the line of fire in case it threw a knife or a spur. In original testing, it did throw a spur across my garage. I've since tightened them down further and slowed the heads down by about 20%, and everything looks good now.

The motor on this is a fairly new one (from the mid 1990's). I though I'd just be able to wire it up and add a pulley, but it had a slight rubbing sound inside when I was testing it. Opening it up, I found that at some point it had been sitting in a couple of inches of water. :shock: So it needed a good cleaning and new bearings too.

Kirk
 
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