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

Benjamin Achtenberg

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Wow an 8" boice crane for 450 is a great price especially in that condition!

You got a steal, seriously those machines are built like tanks. 

Check out its a forum for people who rebuild, maintain, and use old wood working machines. Your unit is a model 3400 (or possibly 3450 - not sure what the difference is)

Here is a reprint of the original manual:

Unless the guy you are buying it from has changed the bearings out in the last 10 years or so you will want to do that right away. If you don't it could mean destroying your machine when the bearings go and since your machine was made in the 50s (most likely) its entirely possibly the bearings in their are original and needed to be replaced a couple of decades ago. 

Also if a shellex is something you are interested in then you can contact the shellex foiks to get one made. It might mean sending them your existing cutterhead so they can custom make you a new one but its very doable and the end cost will be substantially less then what a new 8" jointer would cost with a shellex head. Replacing cutterheads is actually really easy on a jointer, I did it less then a year ago on my 1960's powermatic.

Congratulations on the jointer! 


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14 hours ago, bleedinblue said:

I'd guess that's a great pickup.  Locally, the only 8" jointers I see for under 6-700 are rusted pieces of crap. 

I didn't know 8" jointers existed that weren't 220.  Hopefully it's got enough power to handle the width. 

A 1 or 1.5 hp motor on an 8" jointer is more then sufficient, both are commonly sold as 110 volt. I can't imagine a situation where you would safely be making a cut so deep it would require more power then that. This jointer could have been sold with something as small as a 3/4 hp unit according to the manual if it was considered a "light duty" model (ie the option existed to upgrade it). I have been running a 1hp 110 volt motor on my 8" shellex head coverted 1960's powermatic for almost a year with not only no problems but I honestly can't tell the difference between it and 2hp motor running the more modern equivalent at a woodworking club I used to belong to. 

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On 7/12/2017 at 11:14 AM, 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. 

That's a beauty of a machine and someone has spruced it up nicely.  I'm not sure of the bearing type for that era but, if it has been well restored it should offer years of service. 

Knife adjustment is something you get good at if you do it often enough.  Many of us don't.  Depending on your use, HSS blades will need to be sharpened / replaced at some interval.  There's a reason so many cutters we use on machines offer carbide options. 

There are simple jigs to sharpen your own steel knives and that is certainly worth doing.  At that price I would sure go and check it out quick.

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First update on this beast!

I picked up the OneWay Multi-Gauge and it confirmed exactly what I expected it to say.  The blades are nowhere near level with the outfeed table.  Looking at the blades, it looks like the last time the guy had them sharpened, he just put them all back in on their lowest point.  I wonder how he ever had any decent results?!  One of the lifters wasn't even installed properly, so I had to completely remove the knife and reset the lifters.

Bad news - although neither are "that" bad.... I am struggling with two things with this jointer, one I need to go search OWWM for.  It talks about setting the adjustomatic head control to "0" - I cannot find the thing it mentions to set this to "0" to save my life.  Starting to think this model just doesn't have what it is referencing. 
Bad news #2 - not that bad either - When trying to set the first knife, I noticed that I can get the two ends of the blade damn near even, but that's it - the middle of the blade appears to be concave as it is lower than both outsides (and i believe visibly so as well).  Lifters are on the outsides....  I picked up a Groz 6" mechanics square and will be checking this on my lunch later.   I may also try something I saw Marc do, and that was tighten the outside bolts some first, leaving the middle bolt looser and seeing if that helps.

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  • Benjamin Achtenberg changed the title to From "should I buy" to working - My Boice Crane 8" Journey

Can't help you with the first issue, you can make an account over on owwm and post a question. Guys over there are super helpful. 

Regarding the second issue your knives are worn/ sharpened badly. You need to either sharpen them so they are flat or buy new knives. New knives are not terribly expensive. You don't need boice crane specific knives either just measure the dimensions and buy knives of a similar size. Infinity tool carries a varierty. 

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Any reason something like that wouldn't work in it?  I know it says they are for a different jointer, but the sizes are the same. Someone else said they fit in a Grizz 8". Trying to get this up and running quicker without spending an arm and a leg on shipping. 

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So long as with width is not too large they will work fine. If money is tight or you are planning on upgrading to a helical head sometime soon then no reason not to go for them. If however you plan to use knives for the life of the jointer then I would seriously consider buying one of the upgraded knife solutions from I infinity rather than just using hss.

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Jointer knives on some of those older models were 3/32" thick instead of the more normal, these days, 1/8".  If you use a 1/8" thick knife in a machine designed for 3/32" knives, it probably won't leave enough room for a wrench.  One of my jointers is an old Delta that came with 3/32.  I ground down a wrench a long time ago, but went back to the correct thickness knives for that one.   As long as the blades are the right length, width, and thickness, it doesn't matter who makes it as far as working in the machine.  Woodworkers Supply stocks all sizes for these older machines.

Revisit my post about setting jointer knives.  It's the simplest, most obvious, and quickest.  One trouble with using a micrometer is that you have to search for TDC.  With my method, you can feel it, and see it.  With whatever gauge you use, it works best to tighten the gib screws enough to hold the knife in place, but still be able to slide it up and down, so that's something that needs to be mastered regardless of measurement method.  Just take the slack out of the screws on the ends, but any one tightened will lock the whole knife.  I use the wrench on one of the center ones to swing the head back and forth, while feeling with the strip of wood.  When both ends are right, tighten the one the wrench is on.  It really does take about 20 seconds.

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4 hours ago, Tom King said:

.  With whatever gauge you use, it works best to tighten the gib screws enough to hold the knife in place, but still be able to slide it up and down, so that's something that needs to be mastered regardless of measurement method.  

When I tried Tom's method it did work well, I learned that snugging up the second to farthest outside screws first allowed me to move the blade ever so slightly without the other end pivoting too far tho opposite way

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I'm sure that I do parts of the process without even thinking about it.  I don't push either end all the way down until both are close.

If I'm starting a long milling job, I'll take the knives out, and sharpen them, finishing on my sharpening stones.  With the knives this sharp, you can scoop out little scallops on the strip of wood in the process of setting, but just move the strip of wood a little, and keep going .  At the end, I'll use a couple of pencils with erasers down as push sticks to take a Very light jointer pass on the strip of wood, so it's ready to go next time.  I keep the strip of wood, and wrench close to the jointer, and there's always a seat not far away-like a chair or shop stool to sit on.

I use the same process on handheld power planers too, and no real bother at all if one of the straight knife tools needs sharpening.

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