1 2
Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/13/19 1:43 p.m.

I found myself wandering around a swap meet with a buddy over the weekend, and one of the things I was looking for was a new bench grinder to replace a crappy Hammer Store one that I recently scrapped (it broke). I wanted something that was more heavy duty than the old one, and I didn't want to pay a lot. My friend spotted one, knew what it was (he had the same one) and I picked it up for $20. The cord was badly dry rotted, so I picked up a new cord on the way home for another $10. And here it is:

It's a Craftsman 1/4 hp grinder built in February of 1957 by the Packard Electric Co. (owned by General Motors) for Sears. 1/4 hp doesn't sound like a lot, but this thing is a BEAST. It's super quiet, made of cast iron, and shows no signs of bogging down when using it. Even the glass safety shields are intact. Apparently, there's a substantial following for these "pre-block" grinders and the later, similarly designed "block" grinders, which I never knew about until this weekend. I'm going to mount it to my bench and press it into service ASAP!

Anyone else have some cool, ancient tools that are still earning their keep in the garage?

slefain
slefain PowerDork
5/13/19 1:59 p.m.

I also have an ancient bench grinder on a stand. It is a beast and thankfully has full guards. I've got it set up with a wire wheel on one side, and a grind stone on the other. There is no substitute for a good bench grinder.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
5/13/19 2:06 p.m.

We have this ancient 1930s Van Dorn electric drill that is fascinating. Has a huge gear reduction drive off the side of it, triggers sticking out of the side 180 degrees apart like this random internet photo, and a huge plate on the end of it specifically for you to press your chest against to bore down on it.. You can just about count the revolutions of the drill, but if the bit ever grabs it'll take you along for a ride.

Wayslow
Wayslow HalfDork
5/13/19 2:08 p.m.

I have a 48” Atlas lathe that was built in 1936. Still earning its keep.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/13/19 2:22 p.m.
slefain said:

I also have an ancient bench grinder on a stand. It is a beast and thankfully has full guards. I've got it set up with a wire wheel on one side, and a grind stone on the other. There is no substitute for a good bench grinder.

Yeah, wire wheel is getting swapped on at some point. I'd also like to get a polishing disc as well. Not sure if the grindstones are original, but it reduced a huge bolt I sacrificed to it to dust almost immediately!

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
5/13/19 2:35 p.m.

I have a machinist friend who picked up a spiral gear cutter so he can do custom differentials and whatnot. He had to restore it because it was built in 1880ish. But it is a  precision built, intricate work of art that turns out beautiful gears, and what blows me away is that that thing was made by equipment that may have been vintage or at least was probably not new in 1880.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/13/19 3:40 p.m.

My entire shop is full of vintage tools. 

Hell, im also a vintage tool!!!

 

Seriously, 40s-50s power tools inly in my shop (drill press, table saw, radial arm saw, lathe, bandsaw, etc) 

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater Reader
5/13/19 4:13 p.m.

My Sears Compressor was bought new mid 70s. Had the electric motor redone about 5 years ago. Battery charger is a Marquette bought rebuilt From a Snappy Dork toolman mid 80s. About the same time I bought a remanned Ingersoll !/2" air wrench still working. Mower is an '87 Wheel Horse. I'm old, a lot og my stuff is old but still working.

 

BoostedBrandon
BoostedBrandon SuperDork
5/13/19 4:25 p.m.

When I was in high school, our AG shop had a bench grinder that I was told came from the machine shop on board a battleship from WWII. It was a beast and over the years it ground up a whole lot of steel.

As far as my garage, I bought a really neat socket set at a yard sale a couple of years ago. It's metric, and the coupling side of the socket is an Allen wrench. It has a rachet with it that has the stub sticking out on both sides, geared to only ratchet one way. You flip it over to switch from tighten to loosen. Has Japan stamped on it.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
5/13/19 4:29 p.m.

I have an ~1840ish blacksmith vice that I cleaned up/freed up last year, but I still need to make a stand for it. 

slefain
slefain PowerDork
5/13/19 4:54 p.m.
NickD said:

We have this ancient 1930s Van Dorn electric drill that is fascinating. Has a huge gear reduction drive off the side of it, triggers sticking out of the side 180 degrees apart like this random internet photo, and a huge plate on the end of it specifically for you to press your chest against to bore down on it.. You can just about count the revolutions of the drill, but if the bit ever grabs it'll take you along for a ride.

Yup, got a 1/2 drive drill like that from my great-grandpa. The upper handle is threaded so you can remove it. There is no reverse, just forward. It will absolutely break your arm if it binds up.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
5/13/19 6:10 p.m.

Old bench grinders are so popular because you can flip the switch, and be grinding in a second.  Modern ones seem to need a 30 seconds or so to spin up.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
5/13/19 7:15 p.m.

CJ
CJ Reader
5/13/19 7:22 p.m.

In reply to slefain :

I have one as well.  '30s 1/2" Black and Decker.  I was told "it blew the fuse when we plugged it in".  Bought it for $5, since I knew I could fix it... the guy was lugging the beast around by the cord.  Less than 10min to operational.

Others are right about the power.  It turns 360 RPM.  Either the chuck will turn at 360 RPM, you will, or the house will.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/13/19 8:32 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

It's a Craftsman 1/4 hp grinder built in February of 1957 by the Packard Electric Co. (owned by General Motors) for Sears. 1/4 hp doesn't sound like a lot, but this thing is a BEAST. It's super quiet, made of cast iron, and shows no signs of bogging down when using it. Even the glass safety shields are intact. Apparently, there's a substantial following for these "pre-block" grinders and the later, similarly designed "block" grinders, which I never knew about until this weekend. I'm going to mount it to my bench and press it into service ASAP!

Yes, that's colloquially known as a 'pre-block' grinder.  The later Craftsman bench grinders from the 1960s are called block grinders, since their case is more squared off; there's a huge long discussion thread on the Garage Journal forum about them.  Both styles have a big following, there are a lot of guys collecting them.  https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157794&highlight=block+grinder

 

I have a 1950s Craftsman drill press that still works great.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/14/19 9:08 a.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

Yup, found that thread and posted in there already! I never realized how collectible they were. People in there go nuts repainting them in cool colors and all that. One guy had a shelf in his garage with a bunch of NOS in-the-box grinders, including one like mine.

EDIT: Here's a pic:

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/14/19 1:04 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

In reply to stuart in mn :

Yup, found that thread and posted in there already! I never realized how collectible they were. People in there go nuts repainting them in cool colors and all that. One guy had a shelf in his garage with a bunch of NOS in-the-box grinders, including one like mine.

I'd like to have one myself (my dad had one when I was a kid, and they're great grinders) but it's hard to wrap my head around the idea of collecting them...those guys have a lot more spare space for large objects than I do.  smiley

classicJackets
classicJackets Dork
5/15/19 8:56 p.m.

Oh! I can contribute to this one!

First, I have this buffer. Probably built pre-1920, I added a new cord and she runs like a beaut. Only tripped my 15 amp breaker 3 or times, just can't lean on it..

 

 

Shopped around for a belt sander for a few months, found this great older Craftsmen (70's?) for $40. Added a new belt and it's squared away, more or less..

 

Bought this bead roller from a guy who home-built some race cars and used this primarily for heavier aluminum. He definitely built it, and it's a tank!

 

And this older aluminum bodied "Kresco" drill that i've been using for years. I am really looking forward to springing for a cordless impact/driver at some point, having "reverse" and variable speed options will be so nice!

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
5/17/19 7:02 a.m.

I picked this up off of CL a few months ago fo $50. Its pretty mint. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/17/19 7:35 a.m.

1937 craftsman wood lathe 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
5/17/19 7:51 a.m.

My oldest tools.

This 100+ pound chunk was made sometime in the 1800s.  I never realized how useful one is until I bought one. 

1947 South Bend 9A lathe. Probably originally owned by the US Navy. One of my favorites. It's not only serviceable, it's beautiful. 

1971 Quincy 325. This beast will run every air tool I own. At the same time. Originally powered the service shop at the Western Auto in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
5/17/19 2:03 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

Yep, just like me.  Most tools don't get much use anymore.

APEowner
APEowner Dork
5/17/19 2:31 p.m.

I don't have pics on my tablet but my F.E. Read lathe was made around 1915 and I still use it.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/17/19 2:57 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

My entire shop is full of vintage tools. 

Hell, im also a vintage tool!!!

 

Seriously, 40s-50s power tools inly in my shop (drill press, table saw, radial arm saw, lathe, bandsaw, etc) 

Horizontal mill?

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
5/17/19 3:40 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

A few wooden handled adjustable spanners including a curved one likely from the 1880’s some open ended cast wrenches from about the same era, but the one that means the most to me is the electric drill my Grandfather used when he worked at Electric Boat Company ( they made submarines in Manitowoc during WW2. ) 

i had a overhead belt driven vertical mill Converted to electric motor)  built around the turn of the century.  I used extensively making parts for the race car but that had to find a new home.  

pictures to come

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
tQPkzV5AYAs24L4CS5VMIKrFgN1qscSwLB3gE1ys4z7dQR7qMvHAzOKYD8qQDBc4