From "should I buy" to working - My Boice Crane 8" Journey


Benjamin Achtenberg
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Hey All!

I have the opportunity to pickup an 8" Boice-Crane jointer today near me for $475.  Pictures of it look good to me and I have posted below.  I was going to offer him $375 and see what he says, assuming it checks out. 

I have talked to a few people and been told that it is possibly a good deal, but I also know very little about this jointer and have never heard of it.  I have no jointer right now and while money is tight at the moment, for the right purchase I can pickup this jointer.  If I didn't, I would likely end up with something like an LN 62 to do hand jointing and pickup a bandsaw.

One concern I was told is that the outfeed table is likely not adjustable, which means having to adjust the knives.  I have been told this can be quite difficult. 

I know I need to check for square\flat as well. 

Is this a good deal? Am I better off saving up for something else or waiting for a better deal?  This is the first tool I have jumped on that has still been available. Like I said, money is tight, but I can make it work if this is a good deal. I already found a manual for it online and that eventually - I can put a Shellix head in it!

 

The post states "Boice Crane 8' joiner with 7' bed. Built in 1954, refurbished electrically and mechanically. Excellent condition, very heavy construction designed for commercial use. Four blades recently sharpened."

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1 minute ago, OldSouthWoodCraft said:

 

Hey Doc could this need for adjustment be better solved by using a helical head cutter? No need to remove the blades and realign them?

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

 

 

i don't think so.  

You want the tip of your cutter to be aligned with the outfeed table.  On this jointer the outfeed table is fixed, so you need to adjust the knives to the table.  Helical heads don't let you adjust the cutter hieight.  Straight knives do. 

 

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3 minutes ago, mat60 said:

I agree it will make changing blades more of a pain in the but that it all ready for most everyone.    Id make a offer if its all good myself.    Is that 110 or 220 power?

110v power  Was thinking of offering 375, but don't want to lowball if it is already priced well. 

1 minute ago, Mike. said:

i don't think so.  

You want the tip of your cutter to be aligned with the outfeed table.  On this jointer the outfeed table is fixed, so you need to adjust the knives to the table.  Helical heads don't let you adjust the cutter hieight.  Straight knives do. 

 

Does this mean adding a Shelix at some point would be a no-go?

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56 minutes ago, Benjamin Achtenberg said:

Thanks all!

Going to see it at 5 today.

Let me just squeeze in one last comment before you go.

It's no secret around here my position on jointers, but since you're new here I'll say it once more.

IMO the jointer is arguably the most important tool in the shop, because it's the one that establishes flat and square boards.  If you can't make perfectly flat and square boards, the project is doomed from the beginning.  So it's a critical machine.  And it's critical that it's tuned absolutely dead nuts.  Unfortunately, because of the nature of their design, they also happen to be very finicky to get calibrated to dead nuts.  So not only is it critical that it's tuned perfectly, it can also be extremely frustrating to get it that way...and with certain machines, I'll go out on a limb and say sometimes impossible.  My first jointer was a Grizzly and I spent many, many hours tinkering with that thing, and ultimately I was never able to get it perfect, no matter how hard I tried.  And it wasn't because I didn't understand the adjustments or what my goal was...the machine itself was incapable of being tuned perfectly.  It was the eccentric cams.  I won't go into it.  Suffice it to say, as soon as I had a good excuse to unload it, I did.  Sorry Cliff.  He knew what he was buying.

I was still able to do years worth of projects with it, but it was never fun.  It was difficult to get flat boards.  I wanted to blow my brains out.  I was able to upgrade to a better model eventually, and it's been a dream to use.

So, in closing, IMO...if there's ONE tool you're gonna blow buku bucks on...make it the jointer.  If this is just a temporary solution for you and you don't mind spending time tweaking machines, go for it.  $400 isn't a huge risk.  But prepare yourself for some frustration, because I'm guessing you'll have some.

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I've moved the outfeed table on one of my jointers exactly once in over 40 years, and I wished that I hadn't done it then.  I was trying to finish up a long run, and dropped the table as the knives dulled, but then they needed changing anyway.

I think that's a really good design for a jointer.  I'm not sure about the guard, but it looks like it both swings like a regular porkchop guard, but also can easily be swung out of the way, but I'm not exactly sure about that guard.

It takes me about 20 seconds to install a new, or sharp knife.  I put a wrench on one of the middle gib screws to swing the cutterhead back and forth, and a thin strip of really hard wood (Boxwood these days) pushes the knife down to proper level with the outfeed table, and feels for the knife very lightly brushing it to indicate proper height.  You can feel less than a thousandth of an inch like that.  When it's right on both ends, tighten the screw that the wrench is on, check both ends, and if still right, tighten the rest of them.  It took longer to type that out than to do it.  I sharpen jointer knives with sandpaper on a granite surface plate with the Veritas jig, if they aren't chipped, and do it fairly often.

I like the fence adjustment too.

The only things I would really like better would be a little taller fence, and a direct drive motor.

As long as the infeed is coplanar with the outfeed table (take a long straightedge), I'd be tickled with that jointer.

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5 hours ago, Benjamin Achtenberg said:

So probably not terribly often for me.... slight bonus. And from what I understand, this is a BEAST of a jointer. Better than the standard Grizzly. 

I go through jointer blades like crazy. Probably get 3-4  knicked knives a year.

 

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It looks like the head and bearings are part of the outfeed casting. The infeed table might be capable of being shimmed.

 

I dunno, Steve. The outfeed table's overhang, and the smooth bulkiness of the outfeed "casting" make me think that is a shell. If the was a solid cast iron piece, I feel like the thing would tip over to the outfeed end!

[emoji15]

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Table seems coplaner, I can rock a long level ever so slightly towards the infeed table. I picked it up for 450, so I spent 475 after the trailer rental. 

It makes woodshavings!  I need to do some reading and checking to see about making sure every knife is set right and check the height on everything....

So far... seems like a good purchase!

The guy did say someone had called yesterday and then never showed. I got lucky. 

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8 minutes ago, Benjamin Achtenberg said:

Table seems coplaner, I can rock a long level ever so slightly towards the infeed table. I picked it up for 450, so I spent 475 after the trailer rental. 

It makes woodshavings!  I need to do some reading and checking to see about making sure every knife is set right and check the height on everything....

So far... seems like a good purchase!

The guy did say someone had called yesterday and then never showed. I got lucky. 

Was you able to keep the mobile base ?

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41 minutes ago, Benjamin Achtenberg said:

Table seems coplaner, I can rock a long level ever so slightly towards the infeed table. I picked it up for 450, so I spent 475 after the trailer rental. 

It makes woodshavings!  I need to do some reading and checking to see about making sure every knife is set right and check the height on everything....

So far... seems like a good purchase!

The guy did say someone had called yesterday and then never showed. I got lucky. 

Try my method with the strip of wood feeling the rub of the knives.  You might be surprised how obvious it is.  You don't need dial indicators, magnets, or special jigs.  I have all sorts of dial indicators, and would use one if it was faster or more accurate. If you don't lift the end of the strip of wood off the outfeed table, it's not possible to push a knife down too far.  If the knife lifts the strip off the edge of the outfeed table, it's too high, but you can push it down with the strip.  When the strip is not lifted, but you can feel the knife rubbing the wood, it's perfect.  When the knives dull, they will be below the outfeed table level, and the noise level will go way up.  The noise will get louder, telling you they need sharpening, well before you can no longer make boards straight.

 If it will make straight boards, it's good enough.   If you do need to shim the infeed ways, buy some cheap feeler gauges from Horror Fright, and sacrifice the leaves that you need.

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1 hour ago, Brendon_t said:

I go through jointer blades like crazy. Probably get 3-4  knicked knives a year.

 

hitting metal? glue? 

it has not been a problem for me so am genuinely curious. 

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23 minutes ago, Mike. said:

hitting metal? glue? 

it has not been a problem for me so am genuinely curious. 

Both and none. I've even hit a small rock inbedded in heart wood. And a few times, absolutely nothing I could find on commercially sourced Cherry. I lost one set of hss and one carbide brazed one on three dang boards. 

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