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On June 21st, 2010, Maynards hosted the on-line liquidation of Cole Pattern & Engineering in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This is another sale that I stumbled upon while searching for Wadkin parts. The only item I was interested in was a Wadkin WL 20 vertical milling machine. This mill is much bigger and heavier than any machine I’ve owned. It has a gross weight of 14,450 LBS, and is just under 11′ tall. I’ve recently run up against the limitations of my Toolmaster mills. In particular, the throat capacity and the longitudinal movement have both come up short on a few projects I have waiting. The WL 20 has an impressive throat capacity of 35″. It also has a longitudinal movement of 48″ and a transverse movement of 31″. A few other great features of the mill are the 360 degree power rotary table and the 300 degree swivel on the column.

There was a very generic description (“Wadkins Vertical mill 26″ x 48″ table and DRO”) and a single photo of the mill in auction catalog.

I couldn’t get to Fort Wayne for the preview, so I tried calling the auction company to get confirmation on the model/serial numbers of the machine. I reached the on-site handler, but he didn’t have phone service inside the building. He agreed to look at mill and call me back the next morning. The call never came and I was pretty nervous about whether I’d be able to get the mill out of the building and then trailer it the 600 miles back to Jersey. I decided to drop a $350 bid on it and do a wait and see on the rigging and transportation. The worse case scenario is that I’d strip the DRO and tooling from the machine and sell the hulk to the local scrap dealer.


As it turned out, my $350.00 was the only bid. I now had to turn my attention to figuring out whether it was even possible for me to get the mill rigged out, loaded and trailered home. My bigest concern was the weight. My trailer is only good for 10,000 lbs. This mill obviously weighed all of that if not substantially more. To make matters worse, the removal period was five days. This meant I’d have to take a few days off work. I called the auction house several more times, but wasn’t able to reach anyone on-site. I did some on-line searches for documentation on this mill and started comparing pictures in an attempt to verify the model number. After all of this, all I could confirm was that I had a WL.


Two days before the final removal date, I decided to make the drive to Fort Wayne. I left Central Jersey at 4:00 AM and arrived at 2:00 in the afternoon. Most of the smaller machines in the sale had already been removed. There were a number of very large mills, CnC lathes and other miscellaneous machines still in the building. There was alot of activity around collecting the aluminum, steel and brass scrap. So much so that I had a difficult time finding anybody that would even discuss the removal.

When I finally located my mill, I was surprised to find a folder with all the documentation for the mill sitting right on the table. The first thing I did was open to the specifications page. The net weight was listed at 12,500 Lbs for the basic machine and 14,500 gross weight with all the options installed.

I found the on-site guy from Maynards and asked him about forklifts. He advised me that the only lifts available were rated for 5,000 Lbs or less. Given that I was only in town for the day, I decided to find the local scrap dealer. As it turned out, he was less than a mile away and agreed to come back to the plant to look at the mill. He agreed to buy it from me, but only if I could get it moved outside the building. Since none of the forklifts were big enough to remove the machine, I resigned myself to abandoning it. I started packing up the tooling and getting ready to strip the DRO and scales from the machine. About 30 minutes into the process, a forklift rental company truck pulled up and unloaded another forklift. After the driver left I went over and checked the lift out. It was small in size, but was rated for 33,000 Lbs.

It was almost 4:00 PM and everyone had left. I went and found the auction guy and asked him about the lift. He told me that one of the riggers had it delivered for a pickup the following week. I asked him what it would take for him to let me use the lift for an hour.

Auction Guy: Do you know how to run that lift?

Auction Guy: Will that forklift pick that mill up?


Auction Guy: OK. I’m going to dinner. The key’s in the lift… try not to break anything.

It took me less than 10 minutes to get the mill up on blocks and another 5 minutes to get it out into the parking lot. Once outside in the daylight it didn’t seem so big. I decided I should try setting it on the trailer and see how bad it looked. I had to move it around several times, but finally got it into a position where it looked like it would ride pretty well. I drove the truck around the parking lot a few times an was surprised by how well it was riding. I spent the next hour tying everything down and packing up the tooling.

By the time I finished, the auction guy showed up. I gave him fifty dollars and thanked him for his help.


Pulling out onto the highway, I could tell that this was a real load for my little truck. This wasn’t the heaviest load I had ever pulled, but it was the heaviest load I had ever pulled this far from home.

About 15 miles on my way, I stopped for fuel. After I got the pump going, I checked the trailer tires. The tires on the front axle were so hot I couldn’t hold my hand on them. At that point, I realized that I’d have to go alot slower (at least until the roads cooled down).

The trip home was gruelling. The worst of it was the hills along I-80 in western PA. I was slowing down to 35 MPH on every clim and speeding up to 70 going down the other side. I passed several open weigh stations along the way. I was surprised everytime that they didn’t come after me.


I finally arrived in Jersey the next morning at 10 AM. Happy to have made it home safe, I set my sights on getting the mill off the trailer. My Hyster is only rated for 5500 Lbs, so I had to go next door and get the Lull.

I rigged the mill with pipes through the base and used nylon straps over the top of the boom. The straps were rated for 12,000 Lbs, but one of them snapped as soon as I put pressure on them. I noticed that the front of the base had four large holes tapped on both sides. I remembered that my Wakin moulder had a set of lifting hooks bolted to it. Fortunately, they fit the mill. A few minutes later I had it rigged up with chains.

In order to position the boom over the base, I had to approach from the rear of the trailer and get the forks on either side of the column. With the mill positioned at the front of the trailer, this meant that the boom was extended about 10 feet. When I tried to lift the mill, the rear wheels of the Lull came off the ground. To get around this, I laid some heavy timbers on the deck of the trailer and retracted the boom. the mill slid back; turning the timbers to toothpicks on the way. Once it had moved back about four feet I was able to get it lifted off the trailer enough to drive out from under it.

Getting the mill into my building wasn’t as much of a hassle. I have a set of 14 foot wide doors at the back of the building. I was able to drive the lull directly inside and set the mill within eight feet of it’s final resting place. I used skates, wrecking bars and a railroad jack to get the mill positioned and set down on the leveling plates. The nice thing about this spot is that it is close enough to the door that I can use the forklift to put heavy workpieces on the table.

This mill will be a great addition to the shop. The first project I have queued up for it is a rolling table I had cast for an L. Power single end tenoner.


There were alot of other great machines in this sale:

This Tegle & Sonner jointer sold for $475._


This Martin planer sold for $3750._


This Kindt Collins 30″disc sander sold for $1100._


This DoAll metal bandsaw sold for $1025._


And this American 36″ Bandsaw sold for $150._


There were also several other milling machines that sold at reasonable prices:

Lagun Vertical mill With Anilam wizard 211 DRO $575._


Lagun Vertical mill With DRO Model# FTV25 $725._


Lagun Vertical mill With Sony DRO $600._


Ekstrom Vertical mill With DRO Model# 540 $250._


Bohner & Kohle With DRO Model# MFI $1900_


And finally, the machine I most regret not buying:

Veet Precision Radial Drill that sold for $250._


click here If you’re interested in seeing the complete results for the auction.

One thing I noted was that although many of the large machines were sold on-line, they were still up for grabs when I went for removal. Any of the CnC machines could have been had for scrap value after the auction. The scrap guy I spoke to was working a deal with the foundry to get most of the mills (large & small) and a bunch of the CnC machines.


The owwm

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On May 26th, 2010, Koster Industries hosted the on-line liquidation of Peerless Aluminum Foundry in Bridgeport, CT.


<txp:article_image/> I happened upon the on-line ad for this auction while searching for some Wadkin parts (the day before the sale). What caught my eye was a Wadkin RU lathe. The RU is a pattern makers lathe with a sliding gap bed. These lathes are fairly rare. I’ve only seen one other RU in North America, and it sold for an outrageous amount on e-bay a few years back. Unlike traditional lathes where the gap is removed to increase the swing, the real purpose of the sliding bed was to increase the capacity between centers without making the machine too long. The lathe has an 18″ swing and 72” between centers with the gap closed. With the gap open, it has a 36″ swing and 99” between centers. The RU also features a geared headstock with oil lubrication. The head is driven by v-belt from an electric motor mounted on the back of the machine. Here’s an illustration of the RU from the Wadkin catalog:


Also in the sale was a Wadkin RS1632 pattern makers lathe. Although slightly smaller than the RU, the RS has an impressive swing of 16” standard, or 32” with the gap section removed. This RS has 68” between centers . This lathe has a two speed 1.5 HP motor giving it a total of eight speeds ranging from 200 to 2880 RPM. The headstock on the RS is driven by a set of opposing step pulleys. A foot pedal lifts the motor and removes tension from the drive belt. This allows the operator to easily move the speed lever without undue strain on the belts. Here’s an illustration of the RS from the wadkin catalog:


The auction photos were limited, but did provide enough detail to show that both machines were complete.

_The RU:_

_The RS:_


Also included in the catalog were several older pieces of woodworking machinery including a State spindle sander, a Yates double disc sander, a Crescent 24” planer, Kindt Collins disc sander, a Delta table saw, a Delta bandsaw, a Crescent 16” jointer, a Tannewitz 30” band saw and a number of work benches with pattern makers vises attached.


_State Spindle Sander_

_Yates Disc Sander_

_Crescent P-24_

_Delta Table Saw_

_Delta Band Saw_

_Crescent Jointer_

_Tannewitz PH 30_

_Work Benches with Emmert vises_


The lathes together with most of these machines were located in the pattern shop on the second floor of the warehouse building outside the main foundry. Posted on the auction page was this ominous warning:

??Note to bidders: Lots 4 thru 33 are located on the second story of the building. There is no elevator or hoist in working order and the items would need to be removed thru bay floors opening to the outside. There is an i-beam that would facilitate a manual chain fall. It will be the buyers and or riggers responsibility to supply the same and remove.??

I couldn’t make the preview, so I tried phoning the auctioneer to find out just how bad the removal situation was. The auctioneer passed me the number of the on-site contact. He confirmed that the lathes were on the second floor of the building and that the only way to get them out was with a chain fall on a crane beam. Unfortunately, the beam only extended 5’ outside the building and had no end support. It also wasn’t clear how the beam was supported on the window header. The prospect of swinging a 10’ lathe weighing ~3500 LBS out a second floor window (on an unsupported beam) gave me pause. Given this, I made the assumption that the bigger lathe would need to be disassembled to get it out of the building. The smaller lathe would be easier, but would still require some work to get it out on the beam and then get it lowered onto the trailer.


The auction prices were generally low. The State spindle sander brought $420, the Kindt Collins disc sander brought $460, the Delta band saw brought $220, the Yates disc sander brought $430, the Delta table saw brought $320, the Tannewitz band saw brought $220, the Crescent planer brought $625, the Crescent jointer went for $175, and the work benches with the Emmert vises sold for $720. Almost all of the foundry equipment went for scrap.

click here If you’re interested in seeing the complete results for the auction.

I ended up buying the Wadkin RU for $1360, the Wadkin RS for $260 and a Norton surface grinder for $10. The on-line auction had an auto extend feature that pushed the end time out 10 minutes every time a bid was placed. Most of the items ended quickly, but the Wadkin RU kept getting extended. The time would run down to a few seconds left and a single bidder would throw another ten bucks on it and extend it again. It finally ended after 90 minutes of back and forth. Several days after the sale I learned that the other bidder was my good friend Barry. Here’s a direct quote from an e-mail he sent when he found out that I had won both lathes:

_”You motherfuckin sonofabitchen goddamnbastardcocksucken pissshitfucken machinebuyin motherfucker.”_

After his initial anger and sore loser hissy fit subsided, he started trying to convince me that he _”saved”_ me a bunch of money by not running the price any higher.


I made the trip to Bridgeport for removal a week after the auction. The location of the machines and the crane beam were pretty much as described:
_Pattern Shop_

_View from the far end looking toward the door:_

Very few of the other machines had been removed. The disc sanders were gone, as was the jointer and the work benches. The Delta table saw, band saw and the Crescent planer were still there. There were also two bridgeport mills and some radial drills. Given that it was the last day for removal, I assume most of those went for scrap.

Fortunately, there wasn’t too much in the way of obstructions between the lathes and the door. I had to move some smaller items out of the way and sweep the floor, but it was a pretty straight path.

Here are some Photos of the lathes in the Pattern Shop:
_Wadkin RU … headstock end_

_Wadkin RU … tailstock end_

_Wadkin RS …_

I was happy to see that there was a bunch of tooling and accessories for these lathes. This included tool rests, face plates, centers, cutting tools, tool holders and two outboard stands.

Here are some pictures of the varoius tooling and accessories:
_Tooling & Accessories_ …_

_Face Plate_ …_

_Tool rests and custom cutters_ …_

The RU had been leveled with aluminum wedges and set in grout. I had to break up the grout around the base to get my oak wedges under the base. The base under the tailstock had also been filled with grout. This was a bit more of a job, but I was able to break it up with a shale bar. Using the wedges and a hooked bar, I was able to get the lathe up high enough to get a pallet jack under the headstock end. Next I jacked up the tailstock end and put a dolly under it. Using the pallet jack, I was able to drag the lathe to the door. I used thed the same method to get the RS to the door. This entire process took just over an hour. I wish getting them out of the building had been as easy. I won’t go into the details now, but it ended taking the rest of the day just to get them rigged up and lowered onto my trailer. Fortunately, I was able to do this without incident and without disassembling the RU.

Here are some photos of the RU back at my shop:

_RU in my shop_ …_

_Tool holder, compound, headstock_ …_

_Tailstock_ …_

I plan to keep the RU and eventually get it setup in my shop. I’ll probably part with the RS at some point in the future. This acquisition also means that I’ll probably have to part with my Robbins pattern makers lathe.

_Robbins Pattern Makers Lathe_

The owwm

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On December 5th, I attended the public auction of the Gorham Silver Factory in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. The plant consisted of machinery and tools that had been consolidated into the New Jersey location as other plants were closed. The auction was hosted by Jay Sugarman Auctioneers out of Miami Florida. They were scheduled to sell the entire operation in one day. There was no woodworking machinery listed in the sale, but there were a number of Stanley Vidmar cabinets. I’ve been hoping to get some of these for awhile, so I figured it was worth the two hour trip to southeastern Jersey.

The sale started with several hundred lots of miscellaneous tools. The pricing on these items was exceptionally good. I picked up a complete [SKF] bearing puller kit that was still shrink wrapped for $35. I also ended up with a urethane belt splicer for $15, a second bearing puller kit for $10, a box full of wheel/bearing pullers for $45, a pipe flaring kit for $15, a 5 ton toe jack for $25, a complete set of morse tapers for a milling machine (new in boxes) for $5, a needle scaler for $5, a very nice Starrett dial caliper for $15, an SK 3/4″ socket set with breaker bar for $25, and a few box lots of misc tools for $5 each. Next they moved on to selling a bunch of tool boxes, cabinets, and rolling carts. I ended buying eight RubberMaid rolling carts with toolboxes for $12 each.

Three hours into the sale and we were just getting to the maintenance department. This is where prices took a serious upturn. There were 30+ cabinets full of parts, hardware, etc. The auction brochure called for the contents to be sold separate of the cabinets. For whatever reason, the auctioneer decided to sell each cabinet with the contents as a single lot. About half of the cabinets were Stanley Vidmars:

Bidding on these cabinets was intense. Every one of them sold for between $600 and $1200. I ended up not buying a single one.

Next up was the machine shop. There were a few nice machines here, including a 26″ DoAll bandsaw with power feed table. The saw was in good condition and included a contour attachment. It sold for $550. There was also a very nice Cincinnati Tracer Mill:

This machine was exceptionally tight. It included two milling vises, two rotary tables, a cooling pump and a hydraulic power supply. The mill sold for $450.

I bought a very nice little 25 Ton Die Press for $125, two granite surface plates for $10 & $25, three two door shop benches/cabinets for $15 each, and all the dies for the press for $15. I also ended up buying two metal storage cabinets that were full of shop vac filter, scotch brite pads and sandpaper for $65.

The sale then moved outdoors to sell a loader, a telescopic boom manlift, and five dust collectors. It was snowing, so only about five people came outside. Once the loader and the manlift were sold, that number dwindled to three. I bid on the first dust collector and figured out pretty quickly that the scrap guy wanted it alot more than me. I didn’t bid on the remaining units, and they all sold for $300 each. Right after the bidding ended, I approached the scrap guy and asked him if he wanted to sell the cyclones. He responded positively and we made a deal for the Torits pictured here:

The auction resumed inside at the forge. Prices on these items were generally low. The forges themselves brought $100 each.

The manual drop hammers sold to the scrap guy for $100. These were really neat machines. They can’t be seen in the pictures, but all of the dies for spoons and other utensiles were included under the benches.

Also in this area was a really nice set of antique anvils. There was alot of competition on these and they ended up selling for $850. The auctioneer kept making me cringe by picking up each hammer and striking the top of the anvils.

The only item I purchased in this area was this EC single spindle buffer. It has a really nice surety guard that is lighted from the back. It sold for $35.

Next they moved on to selling the machinery. These consisted of mostly drop hammers, tinning presses, knuckle presses, rolling mills and a plating line. Nearly everyone of the drop presses sold for scrap at $100 each.

The same was true of the tinning presses. All brought $100 from the scrap man, except for a few Bliss presses that went for $3500.

The smaller knuckle presses sold for scrap as well at $100 each. The 600 ton unit brought alot of interest and sold for $3200.

The rolling mills, plating lines, polishers, etc all sold for scrap. Some of them brought decent money. This was mostly due to the high brass content in the plating lines.

The rest of the auction was misc machine parts, motors, storage tanks and junk that was piled in the last section of the building.

Initially, the motors brought pretty good interest. The first two sold were 550 volt 50 HP. They sold for $300 each. Then the auctioneer put the remaining motors up as a single lot. There had to be 100+ motors. They ended up selling for $2200 for the lot. Many of these were new in crates.

Also of interest in this area were two skids of EC single spindle buffers. These sold as a single lot for $100 to the scrap guy. I did manage to talk him into letting me take the extension spindles off of these before he trashed them.

The auction ended in a storage room off the area with all the junk. This room had large tanks for storing ceramic material. I managed to buy a 15′ fiberglass step ladder for $100, and another 10′ step ladder for $35. Way back in the corner of this room was the only piece of wood working machinery in the sale. It was a large Holz sliding panel saw. I bid on it, but ended up letting it go to the scrap guy for $450.

I liked the way the auctioneer conducted the sale, but things got very difficult starting with checkout. As soon as the sale was over I made a bee-line for the office to pay my bill. The girl running the checkout was doing all of her work from hand written receipts that had been given to her throughout the day. She would take these receipts and manually write out a bill. None of this was done in advance. I was told to leave my number and that I was 6th in line for checkout. They said I could wait outside, but that I couldn’t move anything until the bill was paid. I waited the 90 minutes until my number came up and then sat at the desk and waited another 20 minutes for my bill to be completed. Once the bill was paid, I went out and started collecting all of the small items as I was worried they might be spirited away. I hadn’t been doing this for more than five minutes when the auctioneer came by and said that everyone had to be out of the building in 15 minutes since they were all leaving. I quickly gathered up all the small stuff and went to checkout. The guy at the door then had to inspect each item and verify it against the yellow slips of paper. He would tear the corner off of each slip as he found the item. I ended up leaving all of the rolling carts and large tools for the next day. When I finally did get outside, I was surprised to see that it was still snowing. There was three inches on the ground and it was still coming down pretty good.

When I got back the next day, things looked completely different. All of the tables, carts, and some machinery had been moved. I quickly realized that some of my stuff was missing. It turned out to be one set of pullers and a few carts that had disappeared. The auctioneer made good on these by giving me four carts that were not in the auction, one granite surface plate and another urethane belt splicer. I also managed to buy a large heat exchanger that weighed at least 600 lbs for $25, a large welding table for $25 and a few rolling dumpsters for $100 each.

One final note: The toy soldier at the top of this article was on a key chain handed to me by the maintenance man at the factory right after I bought the cabinet full of filters. I didn’t think much of it at the time. When I got home, I took a closer look at it and discovered that it was made by Gorham at the Pomona plant. It’s made of sterling silver.

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On January 29th, 2008, Joe R. Pyle hosted the liquidation of Cherry Valley Furniture in Richwood, West Virginia The shop consisted of a variety of machinery ranging in age from the early 1900’s to 2004. The plant had been shuttered for approximately two years before the auction took place. The sale was ordered by the “usda” who was the lienholder on all of the machinery and the building. The plant was extremely dirty. It looked like the the floors were never swept. There were heaps of scrap wood and sawdust mixed with garbage everywhere. The roof had been leaking, so there were pools of water around most of the machines. I had arrived early for the sale. It was still pretty dark and the power had been disconnected. That meant I had to find my way around the mess in the dark. The first order of business was checking out the forklift. A friend had asked me to look it over, and I knew that I’d need it at the end of the day for the load out. It had a dead battery, but once we jumped it it started right up. The machine had been abused, but it ran good and everything worked pretty well. One of the handlers with the auction company came over and started talking about the sale. He told me that the forklift had disappeared from the plant a few weeks earlier. When they started asking around town, they discovered that the workers from the town garage had come over and taken it to their shop. The explanation they gave was that “nobody was using it, and they had a big truck to unload”. The lift had only been returned the day before the auction. He also mentioned that there had been a break-in a few days earlier and all of the hand and power tools had been taken. The theives also took the wood fired boiler.

My primary interest in the sale were a pair of Wysong dovetailers, a Hoffmann joinery machine and a Mereen Johnson gang rip saw. The Wysong dovetailers were a big disappointment. One was complete and worked great. The other one had no gearbox or spindle housing.

I could see that it had just been removed. I did a quick pass around the plant and found the missing parts laying in a corner of the spray booth. I put them on a cart and dragged them back to the machine. It looked like it was all there, but I couldn’t really tell. The Hoffmann was pretty dirty, but all there and no visible damage.

The Mereen Johnson gang rip was really sad. It was a late model machine, but a leak in the roof had allowed water to run down the dust pipe into the saw. The kickback fingers were rusted solid and the arbor wouldn’t move. There was a piece of wood stuck in the feed rolls. It was soaked and caked up with with sawdust.

Since all of the small items had been spirited away, the sale moved quickly. Prices were generally depressed, but there were a few surprises. This Lobo Band Saw brought $1600

This Davis & Wells Shaper with the power feed sold for $1350

This CKM Planer Brought $1800

This Diehl SL52 SLR sold for $2700

And a Delta Heavy Duty Shaper (OM) brought $650

On the other end of the spectrum was this Oliver Strait-O-Plane. It sold for $10 to the scrap guy. I thought about buying it just for the heads, but the gibs were missing. It was pretty sad anyway.

This unknown mortiser brought $100. I was initially interested, but upon close inspection, I realized that the base had been completely cut off and welded to a steel plate. It was a real mess. The guy that did buy it spent a good hour just breaking the plate loose from the floor.

I ended up buying a Blum Mini Press for $100, The Hoffmann dovetail machine for $700, a Ritter edge sander for $175, A Woods 808 Moulder with the frequency changer for $100, and the pair of Wysong dovetailers for $75.

I bid on the Mereen Johnson Gang Rip Saw, but stopped at $4500. It ended up selling to a mid-west machinery dealer.

The Forklift sold for $6500. It was an OK machine, but I never expected it to go that high.

After the auction ended, we went to start the forklift only to find that it had been sabotaged during the auction. somebody got under the hood and ripped a bunch of wires out. They also stole the coil wire. We managed to come up with a new coil wire and I managed to figure out where most of the missing wires had gone. We could get the lift to run, but it would flood out after a few minutes and wouldn’t start again. This presented a big problem since everyone had intended to load out using that lift. The auctioneer went to a machine shop down the street and talked the owner into loading a few of us out. He couldn’t do it for a few hours, so there was a bunch of waiting around.

The scrap guy decided he didn’t want to wait, so he brought his truck into the building and backed it up to a big old drum sander he had bought. His truck was a 1970’s F-350 with a homemade sheet metal flatbed. It had a big winch up in the front of the bed. He hooked his cable onto the top of the sander and started to pull. Once the sander was up against the bed, it wouldn’t move. So he put the truck in gear and jerked it forward. The sander toppled over and landed on the edge of the bed. The front of the truck shot up in the air and struck a few sets of fluorescent lights. The lights broke loose from the ceiling and rained glass everywhere.
I saw this happen from about 20 feet away, and what really struck me was that none of the other people in the building missed a beat. They just kept doing their thing and most didn’t even turn their heads.

It took three hours for the lift to arrive, so I ended up getting loaded in the dark. The guy from the machine shop was good, so I got on the road without incident. With the two Wysong machines and the Woods moulder on the trailer, I was overweight. This made for a very long trip up out of the mountains.

I ended up scrapping the woods moulder. It had a bad bearing on one cutterhead and it was only a 4″ machine. It brought $800 at my local scrap yard. The Hoffman cleaned up nicely and turned out to be a great little machine.

The two Wysong Dovetailers took some work, but also turned out to be very nice machines.

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On December 27th, 2007, Aaron Posnik hosted the liquidation of the old Chicopee Comprehensive High School, In Chicopee Massachusetts. The auction included tools and machinery from the automotive shop, welding shop, machine shop, wood shop, and cullinary arts program. The school district had just finished a two year construction project on a new building.
All of the equipment they wanted to salvage was moved to the new building. Everything else was put up for auction.

Turn out for the auction was huge. There were at least 300 people on-site. This made it difficult to move around or see exactly what was being sold. Many of the people were former students who wanted to see the school before it was demolished, and maybe get a chance to own one of the machines they had used when they attended the school.

The sale started in the automotive shop. Items in this area included frame alignment machines, tire changers, compressors post lifts, front end alignment machines, work benches, etc. The prices were generally low.

Next up was the machine shop. In this area were eight Bridgeport vertical mills, eight SouthBend lathes, a DoAll Bandsaw, a Kia cnc lathe, and a Milltronics cnc machining center. There was also a fair amount of tooling, benches, and storage cabinets. The machinery was used hard and was all pretty tired. The Bridgeports brought from $1200 to $2500. The SouthBend lathes sold for $650 each (all to the same buyer). This price seemed very high to me since most of the lathes were badly worn. Most were also broken or missing parts. The tooling, cabinets, and other machinery all sold for relatively low prices.

Next stop was the welding shop. Items in this area included seven mig/tig/arc welders, and LVD 10′ squaring shear, a P50 IronWorker, an Acorn 8’x4′ welding table with forming tools, a sand blast cabinet, a small jet milling machine, and various other tools and machines. The welders all brought high prices. As did the 10′ shear and the IronWorker. The Acorn table brought $2250. The small Jet mill brought $1100. I bought a big Cincinatti double pedestal grinder for $90.

The sale moved up to the lobby of the building, where there were some odd machinery parts, a delta toolroom lathe, and some cleaning supplies. I ended up buying a small metal cabinet that contained some drill chucks. Also sitting on top of the cabinet were two miter gauges and a rack & pinion fence from a Whitney No. 177 Variety saw. I got the cabinet and saw parts for $25.

Next up was the wood shop. This area included several Delta Unisaws, a Delta Shaper, a Disc sander, an Oliver Mortiser, an Oliver Stroke Sander, an American 16″ Jointer, a Whitney Variety Saw, an SCMI S-63 25″ Planer, two Delta Lathes, two Delta Radial Arm Saws, a Whitney 105 Planer, and a bunch of misc smaller tools, vices, and dust collectors.

Once again, most of this machinery was used hard and was very tired. All of the unisaws were mising parts. This didn’t stop them from bringing from $450 to $1250.

The two Delta lathes were in pretty good condition and ended up selling for $50 each.

The Oliver Mortiser was in pretty good shape and sold for $500.

The Oliver stroke sander was also in good shape and brought $450.

The American Jointer was in fair condition and ended up selling for $400.

The Delta Radial Arm saws didn’t get a bid and were passed.

The Whitney 105 Planer was pretty tired. There was heavy wear on the beds, the speed indicater was broken, and the drive line had been disassembled. It ended up selling for $1000.

I ended up buying the SCMI S-63 Planer for $400. This machine was pretty ugly due mostly to a very bad paint job. Everything on it moved nicely, and there was no wear on the beds.

I also bought the Whitney No. 177 Variety Saw for $300. This was a 1977 machine. It was in very good condition with no visible wear on any part of the saw. The low price was mostly due to the previously mentioned fence and miters being missing from the saw. There was one other person bidding against me. After the sale was over, I half jokingly said that he could have bought the saw if he had bid it up to $500. I told him I would have offered him the miters and fence for an additional $1500.

There was no forklift on site, so the loadout was a real pain. I had to move everything out on my pallet jack, and then drag it up the ramps on the trailer using a chainfall. This wasn’t alot of fun because it had been raining and snowing for most of the day. Even so, everything went pretty smoothly with the only difficult item being the SCMI planer which is alot heavier than it looks.

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The owwm

Work:IT Manager in the Insurance Industry
Fun: A little light fishing with the boys.

Because I Can: Buying, bartering, begging, selling, rebuilding, stacking, hoarding old machines and tools.

The Shop:

Located In Somerset, New Jersey

At the begining of October, [IRS] auctions hosted the liquidation of the Moosehead Furniture manufacturing plant in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Moosehead was a family owned business that had been in Dover-Foxcroft since 1959. Moosehead had a second manufacturing facility in Monson, Maine that wasn’t part of the liquidation. Early this year, the owners announced that they would be closing the business down. They cited competition from inexpensive foreign imports as the primary reason. The company wasn’t anywhere near bankrupt, but the outlook wasn’t good. The owners decided it would be better to shutter the two facilities and liquidate the assets before they got into financial trouble. The assets were offered for sale while the plants were still in operation. A local buyer agreed to buy the name and all of the assets in the Monson plant. The owners were now left with the Dover-Foxcroft plant to liquidate. As a result of the sale, sixty jobs were lost in Dover, and another sixty were lost in Monson. That left only forty of the Monson employees on the payroll.

The plant Dover plant operated in a building that had once been a woolen mill.
The building consisted of three floors and a basement. The plant is in the center of town, with the river wrapping around the building on two sides. The building is separated from it’s closest neighbor by a narrow alley-way. The location and the structure made access and machinery removal quite difficult.

I purchased just a few items in the sale. The first was an Oakley H-6 edge sander. The sander was in excellent condition, but was missing the motor and drum.

The second item was listed as a “busting” saw. It consisted of a heavy steel fram with a butcher block table. Mounted under the table is a 5 HP saw arbor motor. It also included a nice three wheel feeder.

One of the guys in the plant told me that this saw had been used to cut badly cupped lumber before it went into the double sided planer. He said this greatly reduced the number of jams in the planer.

Finally, I picked up a bunch of small hand tools and a 8″ angle grinder.

I was also tasked with picking up some items for a few friends. This included a small scraping machine, a few cabinets of hardware, a Wysong mortiser, and a Yates American Y-36 Bandsaw.

All of these items were on the first floor, except the Yates Bandsaw which was located in the basement. The overhead clearance in the basement was 6″ less than what was needed to get the saw out standing up. This meant the saw would need to be layed over on it’s back.

Here’s a picture of the basement and the path to the elevator:

The first thing I had to do was to spin the saw around so it was facing backward and pushed as close to the wall as I could get it. I had to do this with a shale bar, moving it a few inches at a time. This saw weighs somewhere around 4,000 Lbs, and there is no place to get a bar under the main casting. I had the use of a small clipper forklift, but it was only rated for 1/2 ton and… it was on it’s last legs.

The next step was to tip the saw forward enough to get a rubber pad under the back edge of the base casting. This is needed to keep the saw from sliding while it’s being tilted back. Once the pad was in place, I hooked a come-along to the column and started tipping the saw backward. At first, the forklift tried to roll forward, so I blocked the wheels. Then, the forklift tried to tip in towards the saw. I was able to use a bar and a block of wood to tip the saw enough that I could move it with the come-along. I did this until the saw was tipped far enough that it could easily be pushed over backward.

I then blocked the saw up and moved the forks so they were directly over the support casting for the upper wheel. I used a chainfall to tighten the straps, and then gently tipped the saw back by hand. Once the saw was leaning back, I let the slack off of the chainfall and lowered the saw to the floor.
Once the saw was on the floor, I moved the straps to the outer arm of the upper wheel support. I lifted the saw up high enough to get a pivot block under the back of the column. When I lowered the saw back to the floor, this lifted the base casting high enough to get a block with two machinery skates under the base casting.

Once the skates were in place, I was able to carefully pull the saw out into the center of the floor. As can be seen from the pictures above, this is a bit scary. I was doing all of this alone, and the saw really wanted to tip everytime I pulled on it. Once in the center of the floor, I placed additional skates under the upper column and moved the lift to the top of the base casting. The Y-36 has a slit in the front base casting just above the foot that is large enough to get a 3″ strap through. I pushed a strap through the slit and wrapped it around a wooden block. I was able to get the strap around the forks and push the saw to the elevator. It was a little hairy because the saw weighed twice what the forklift did, but in the end it worked pretty well.

The elevator presented a number of other problems. First, there was a wide gap between the floor and the elevator deck. This meant that the machine skates were not going to work. Second, the elevator was not large enough to accomodate the saw and the forklift together. This meant that I had to push the saw into the elevator, and then drag it out on the first floor without the aid of the forklift. Fortunately, the push into the elevator went smoothly. As luck would have it, there was also a large support column just outside the elevator on the first floor. I was able to use this column to pull the saw out of the elevator. Once I was clear of the elevator, I used a chain attached to a post on the loading dock to pull the saw next to the dock. At that point, I was able to use a forklift that was outside the building to pick the saw up and set it on the ground outside. Next, I stood the saw up and loaded it on my trailer. This entire process took most of the day.

From there I moved on to loading the items on the first floor. Everything went smoothly until I came to the Wysong mortiser. This machine had been modified by adding two drill heads, and a large table. This made the machine very top heavy. I almost tipped it over just using a bar to get a block under the base. I decided that it was better to push it to the door. Once there, I wrapped a strap around the upper column and lifted it with a forklift on the ground.

This little adventure started at 6:30 AM. By the time I was loaded and secured it was 6:00 PM. In before dawn, out after dusk. It wasn’t easy, but there were no injuries requiring medical attention, and at list there was a feeling of acomplishment for a hard day’s work (this is something that’s hard to come by at my day job).

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Mohawk Furniture

Back in April, Aaron Posnik hosted the auction of Mohawk Furniture in Broadalbin, New York. Mohawk was a high end manufacturer of solid wood traditional furniture.
I couldn’t find much history on this company, but I do remember them being in business some 40 years ago when I was a child living in the Hudson Valley.

The old mill buildings are on a sprawling complex that is bordered by the Kennyetto Creek. The site was originally occupied by the Broadalbin Knitting Company. The existing brick buildings were constructed after a fire destroyed the original four story wood structures in 1905. Broadalbin has a history of massive fires. The downtown business district has been completely destroyed several times. Check this link if you want to learn more about the town. The remnants of a rail siding that was used by the knitting mill are still present on the southwest side of the property.

The Mohawk operation included a number of drying kilns, indoor lumber storage, and a complete manufacturing and finishing operation.

The company fell on hard times and the plant closed down in 2005. The owner had planned to sell the plant as a complete operation. During one of the inspections, asbestos was discovered on components of the heating system throughout the plant. What happened next is a bit sketchy, but it appears that the asbestos abatement was not performed properly. To make matters worse, the removed asbestos was disposed of improperly. The state intervened, people were indicted, and the plant sat untouched for more than a year. Once the abatement was completed, the owners began selling off the machinery. They attempted to sell all the machines to some local concerns, but none of the potential buyers were willing to pay what the owners thought the machines were worth. In January of 2007 Aaron Posnik annouced that they would be hosting the auction.

The highlights of the sale were the planing and moulding lines. There was a nice Whitney S-382 double roughing planer, and a Whitney S-240 finish planer. There were also six Mattison straight line rip saws.

The machinery prices were mostly depressed with the two Whitney planers bringing the highest prices of the auction. The S-382 sold for just over $8,000, and the S-240 brought $2,500.

I purchased a Whitney 29A 36″ planer, a Mattison 276 moulder, a DoAll Zephyr 36″ Bandsaw, a Grutter Up-Cut saw, a Delta surface grinder, a Cincinnati vertical mill, an antique anvil and a few skids of pre-cut drawer sides.

After the sale closed, I negotiated a deal for the second Mattison moulder, a Yates V54 Resaw, several table saws, an overarm router, a bell double cut-off saw, and some miscellaneous tools.

I went to remove my items several weeks later, only to find that there was about 3″ of standing water covering most of the ground floor of the main mill building. Fortunately, none of the areas where my machines were located had been affected by this. To make matters worse, there were also access issues getting into and navigating throughout the buildings. Most of the doorways have arched openings to are 9′ high and 8′ wide. This limited the size of the forklift that could be brought into the building. The Mattison moulder weighs close to 10,000 lbs, so I needed a good size lift. The local rental company had a 10,000 lb lift, but the mast was too high to fit through the doorway. I opted for an 8,000 lb lift and hoped that it be able to lift the moulder.

I brought the forklift into the building and picked up the Whitney 29A planer. The rear wheels immediately broke through the floor. The concrete floor had been laid on top of material that wasn’t compacted, or maybe it had washed out. I had to jack the forklift up and put planks under the wheels. I had to keep doing this until I had the planer on a solid section of the floor. I managed to get the planer to the first doorway and was able to turn the lift wide enough to to get it through the door at an angle. Once I had the planer outside, I had to drive it up a slight incline to the truck. The forklift refused to go up the hill and immediately overheated, spraying hot coolant all over me. I let it cool off and managed to get the planer on the truck.
I called the rental outfit and told them I needed a new lift. The new lift wouldn’t be available for a few days, so I decided to grab whatever I could carry and return at the end of the week.

On the second visit, I brought some steel plates and machinery skates to minimize the possibility of going through the floor with the moulder on the lift. I jacked the moulder up, put it on skates, and dragged it out onto the solid floor. I then picked it up with the forklift and moved it to the first doorway. The moulder wouldn’t fit through sideways, and I couldn’t get enough of an angle to get it through the opening. I ended up placing it on skates. This wasn’t easy since there was 3″ of standing water right in the doorway. I couldn’t see the condition of the floor due to the water, but very quickly realized that it was pretty rough. The machine would move a foot or so and then slip off the skates. After an hour and a half of messing around I was through the first door. The second door was wider, and I was able to get just enough of an angle to get the machine through the door sideways.
Not wanting to repeat the overheating incident, I decided to load the moulder on the tail of the truck right outside the door. I planned to drive the truck up the hill and then reload from the side. As soon as I set the moulder on the truck, the frame developed a nice arch. Suprisingly, the front wheels of the truck never left the ground. I decided to unload the machine, move the truck and reload at the top of the hill. Once again, the forklift didn’t want to go up the incline. I tried three times going forward, and when that didn’t work, I tried backing up the hill. I was surprised how easily it went up.
Next up was the DoAll bandsaw. It was too high to fit through the door and couldn’t be disassembled. That meant laying it over on it’s back to move it out the door and then standing it up outside for loading. I dragged it to the solid part of the floor, got behind it with the forklift, and tied a strap around the upper column. I tilted the lift as far forward as it would go, attached the strap and tilted back. This tipped the saw enough that it was resting on the lift. I then carefully backed up while lowering the forks and got the saw down on blocks. I then moved the forklift to the base and picked the saw up with the forks under the rear column. I ran a few ratchet straps around the column and the forks and was able to drive right out of the building. Once outside, I rested the upper column on the bed of the truck and lowered the forks to stand the saw up. Once standing, it was easy to get it loaded on the truck.
The remaining small items were easy to get out of the building, leaving only the Yates Resaw.

I returned to get the resaw out in June. Things had dried out in the building and almost everything else was removed so access was a bit easier. I brought my own forklift this time, along with skates and steel plates. I started by removing the lower wheel, and then moved to the upper guards. Once the upper guards were off, it became apparent that the upper column support had been badly broken and poorly repaired. I had planned to give this saw to a friend in Delaware, so I called him and told him of the damage. We both came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth trying to salvage. I ultimately ended up selling the saw to a local scrap dealer.

I mentioned the machinery auction above, as that’s primarily what I’m interested in. However, the real money in the auction was generated by the finished furniture that was liquidated. I was surprised to see how much interest there was and the prices realized. Here are a few examples of what was sold. for most items there was 50 or more of each type available.

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Over the summer here in New Jersey, we saw some of the highest prices ever for scrap metal. Cast Iron was bringing 10 cents a pound at a yard that was less than 5 miles from my house.
No. 1 copper was bringing $3.40, and die cast was bringing 67 cents. I took advantage of the prices and cleaned the bone yard out. I scrapped out a few Mattison moulders, a bunch of old jointers, a few band saws, and some other assorted junk I had laying around. Trashing these items made perfect sense, and I had no second thoughts about them. There were a few other machines that I had to think long and hard about before sending them off to the shredder. One of them was an Oliver Universal Saw Bench. I found this machine from an old sash shop in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I bought the saw because I needed the fence and miters for an Oliver 88 that I’m thinking about restoring. I figured I’d take the parts I needed and sell the rest off for parts. I had the saw advertised at on a few sites. The asking price was $200. After a month, I had no takers. I did get a few offers on some of the parts. That was back in May when the scrap CI price was peaking. One day, I just decided to strip it and drag the rest out to the scrap yard. The funny thing is that I got $200 from the scrap yard, and another $150 for the parts I sold.

I had a similar situation with a Fay & Egan No. 999 Lightning straight line rip saw. I found this machine in an old cabinet shop in Brooklyn, New York. This saw was in perfect operating condition. I advertised it in the on-line forums for several months at $1000. I had no takers for the whole saw, but I got some offers on the feed chain, the kickback fingers and the fence. Once again, I stripped the saw and sent the remainder to the shredder. The saw brought $700 in scrap. The parts I sold brought another $1225.

I don’t think that either of these saws was a great loss to world of machinery collectors. Let’s face it, the Oliver USB is an archaic design and would be of little value as a production machine. Sure, it would have made a great museum piece, but I think there are enough of those out there already. It’s also worth noting that these tilt-top table saws are downright dangerous. The F&E rip saw was perfectly functional, but it’s really hard to justify owning a saw that’s designed for high volume production work if you can’t find any parts for it. These 999’s are scarce. That’s why the parts brought a premium price.

What does give me pause is the depressed price of machinery. With table saw prices falling well below $500, it’s getting to the point where they are worth more in scrap than as working machines. The depressed prices will make the collectors happy for awhile, but eventually, the scrap guy will be the only one bidding against them for these old machines. With the healthy market appetite for scrap metal, this trend will likely continue for some time. This especially true when you consider that the scrap dealers are more motivated than the collector’s.

I’ve heard alot of talk about saving these old machines. Some of that talk has even been elevated up to a discussion of moral obligation. That’s all well and good if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, it’s just more heckling from the cheap seats.

For my part, I save the machines I deem to be worthy of the effort, but I now find myself looking at old compressors and other junk while I’m out looking at woodworking machinery. I even bought two complete chip board extrusion lines this summer. They weighed in at 85,000LBS each. Guess where they ended up.

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Crownsville Maryland

Back in January, I was searching through eBay and found a listing for a Fay & Egan No. 186 ReSaw. I contacted the seller after the auction ended and asked if I could come by and see the machine. As it turned out the seller was brokering the deal for a log time friend who’s health had been in decline. I made the drive from New Jersey to Crownsville the first Saturday in February. I arrived before 10 AM. It was damn cold. The seller and the owner met me in the driveway. After doing introductions, they walked me out to a large pole barn behind the owner’s shop. There in the middle of the building was one of the biggest resaws I’ve ever seen in person. This saw stands 10′ tall. I’d guess the weight to be somewhere in the realm of 7,000 LBS. The saw was in very good condition.

I looked it over closely and told the seller I’d consider it and make him an offer.

The owner then asked me if I’d like to see some other old machines he had around. I said yes, and they took me on a tour that would take the rest of the day.

We started at the sawmill. There was an old circular sawmill. It was driven by a lineshaft and powered by an old tractor PTO. There was also a Rowley Hermance four sided planer. it was also powered by PTO . This sawmill was a functional operation. Once a week, a bunch of local guys would show up and saw up whatever logs they could get donated to them.

Next stop was a lean-to shed attached to a large barn. This shed contained a completely functional shingle machine. This machine was run yearly at the local fair. The shingles produced would be branded with the name of the fair and the year. Strewn about in the shed were several partial and complete sawmill rigs. There was also a huge stock of cedar logs for producing the shingles.

In the adjacent building there were several completely rebuilt military vehicles. There was an old Army Jeep, a personnel carrier, and a motorcycle with a side car. The owner spent quite a bit of time showing me how much work he had done in the restoration process. It was very impressive. These machines were immaculate.

We headed back up to the pole barn where I had earlier seen the ReSaw. In the back of the building, behind a bunch of Ford tractors, golf carts and motorcycles, there was a 24″ H.B. Smith Jointer. This thing was massive. It’s babbit bearing. I couldn’t get close enough to see the cutterhead, but I was told that it was a four knife square head. I did find a slotted 24″ knife sitting on a old grinder that was near the machine. I assume that it was one of the knives from the jointer.

Finally, we headed back up to the “shop”. Entering through the front door, the first thing I noticed was a huge horizontal mill. It was an old line-shaft machine, but was being put to regular use. Next to that was an old Lodge & Shipley lathe. It looked to be a 18″ swing with 54″ between centers. There was also a 30″ Fay & Egan Bandsaw. It was belt drive. This machine looked to be 100% original. There were several smaller mills, drill presses, and other metal working machines and tools.
In the back room of the shop was another large lathe, an even bigger horizontal mill, an iron worker, and finally a Tannewitz Type U tablesaw.

We spent the next hour and a half talking about old machinery, politics, and anything else that might have come up. I finally begged my way out the door and headed back to New Jersey. I was pretty well frozen and was glad to be back in the truck.

I called the seller the next day and made an offer on the ReSaw and the HB Smith Jointer. He said he had to run it by the owner. We agreed to talk a week later.

A few days later, I got an e-mail message from a friend with a link to an e-bay auction. I was pretty surprised to see the F&E ReSaw listed there. I decided to wait the auction out before calling the seller. I checked eBay again a few days later and was disappointed to see that the ReSaw had been sold. The sad thing was that it was substantially less than I had offered.

I called the seller and asked if the Smith Jointer was still available. He said it was, and we made a deal on that. I never asked why they decided to put the ReSaw back up on eBay. I figured it was painful enough for them getting a third less than the deal we had on the table.

In the last week of August, the seller called me back. “Was I still interested in the saw”? It turned out that the guy who bought it was never able to get it picked up. He was on the west coast and had a bunch of personal problems that kept him from getting out east. He had asked the seller if he could contact the other interested parties and try to sell it for him. I told him I was interested, and offered the amount he had purchased it for in the eBay auction. Once again, we agreed to talk in a few days.

A week later, I got the call. We had a deal. We set the pickup date for the first Saturday in September.

The loadout was uneventful. I put the saw on my trailer and hauled it up to Newark, Delaware. I unloded it at a friend’s shop. He has the saw up and running in his operation now. He’s using it to ReSaw reclaimed timbers. By all accounts it’s a very fine machine.

Here are some of the spec’s on the saw:

No. 186 Lightning Resaw
42″ Wheels
20 HP Motor
Hydraulic infinitely variable speed feed.
The saw carries a 4″ blade
It can ReSaw up to 24″
The feed rolls are 4″, are self centering and can tilt up to 15 degrees

It’s good to see this old saw find a home where it’ll be put to good practical use.

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