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Weekly Roundup: You Don't Need It Edition

Posted on 26 February 2016

This week is devoted to those things that I would buy if I had a warehouse and money to burn. There are so many old things that have become to huge, heavy, or outdated to really serve much of a purpose in this modern world, but often times that doesn't mean they cant serve the purpose they were initially intended for. 

Silver MFG 31" Band Saw - $1250 Portland, OR

Really really big band saws used to be much more prevalent in the US around the turn of the century. They were used in long gone factories and large wood shops for tasks from milling large pieces of timber, to cutting shapes in large stock. They are fairly outdated now, but if one has they space they can be really useful. Sometimes the limitations of my relatively new 1945 14" Delta band saw are frustrating. I could really fit some honkin' chunks of lumber in this old saw, plus it's only $200 more than a top of the line JET with half the capacity. That home made wheel cover up top gives it a decidedly grizzled bad ass feel. Link

Ilco Key Cutter - $80 Molalla OR

No one really needs this machine since even grocery stores have started buying automated machines to cut keys, but heck, it sure would be cool to be able to cut a key when you needed one. It would be a good excuse to pick up uncut key blanks at flea markets and swap meets. Impress your friends by secretly making copies of their house keys during dinner parties. Link 

Armstrong and Blum Hacksaw - $100 Windsor, CA

“Too simple to be misunderstood" was Armstrong and Blum's slogan for this particular machine which does look fairly rudimentary in operation. The stationary power hacksaw has largely gone the way of the 31" band saw, but it could really have some practical applications. It wouldn't leave a nasty kerf like a modern chop saw, and the blades are cheaper (although they would wear faster) than a horizontal band saw. Plus at $100 it is much much cheaper than a metal band saw. I deem this a good deal and I wish it was closer to Portland. Link

"Champion Mortise" door mortise machine - $290 Seattle, WA

This is definitely the most interesting and most useless of these machines. If you look at doors from the 1920's and before there is a large mechanical mechanism that slips into a mortise, or carved hole, in the door itself. You know the kind of old door with the rattly door knobs and skeleton keys. Up until the 1930's many if not most doors would be made to order for the building they were going in. This machine's sole purpose was to carve that mortise once the door was installed by clamping the thing to the door and cranking the handle. The drill bit waggles back and fourth and bobs up and down to create a consistent mortis. Link

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