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Author Topic: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.  (Read 840 times)

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Offline TKehl

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In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« on: May 15, 2017, 07:38:47 pm »
Well, I'm in deep now.  I've committed to buying 4 tons of old American cast iron woodworking tool.  Yes, singular, one tool.  A 100+ year old 4 sided moulder.  :o 



Was supposed to work when the guy quit using it but no idea how long ago that was.  Stored under cover.  Converted to round heads and V belts at some point.  I see the infeed must have worn smooth as it's been welded on to provide surface texture.  Inspected by flashlight as no lights in the shop anymore.  Not 100% sure how I'm going to move it, but I have ideas (jacks, pipe, and come alongs, and a rented tilt bed trailer).  Taking a calculated risk, but the price was right.   ;D  Also have to figure out where to put it...   :-\

I plan to document the rebuild/repair on this thread.  I know I will have a lot of questions.  Will be slow going as I want to do it up right, but it is not high priority (still learning my mill and haven't built my kiln yet  ::)).  But will hopefully be amusing and possibly even educational.   :)
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline woodworker9

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 09:19:23 pm »
Congrats.  Or at least, I hope so.... :D :D

There are several well documented rebuild threads over at the OWWM website on these machines.  I confess that I have come close to buying one,  an 8" Woods 4 head that needed plenty of work to get going again, but I passed until I get my 2nd workshop finished for these sorts of machines.  I didn't want any "yard art" sitting outside for a year or so.....

Who's the manufacturer?
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 09:41:06 pm »
 popcorn_smiley
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline TKehl

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 10:14:36 pm »
It's a Berlin (precursor of Yates) 108. 

Been debating hiring a tow truck instead of trying to get it on a trailer with come a longs.  $425 is what I've been quoted.  I'll see if I can get it up on rollers before deciding. 

Once it's home, I have an idea to slide it onto a small old single axle trailer on 2 ton running gear to move it into the machine shed until I can get to it.  It will at least be covered.  I wasn't sure why I bought the trailer (cheap at an auction nearby) other than moving logs maybe, but now, it may have a better use.

I did find out that Yates is still in business!!!   :o  I sent an email to see if there was any potential even limited parts support for this machine.  Here's how that conversation went...   :)

We stopped supporting this machine when WW2 broke out.  Your machine cannot be any younger than 100 years old.   Not sure in what environment you are using it, but if it needs to be OSHA compliant, good luck with that.

 :D  Pretty much what I expected, but if you don't ask...
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline grouch

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 05:55:42 am »
That's an encouraging response from Yates. Looks human instead of boilerplate corporate drone-speak. Might want to ask the person if there are any old documents or records of the machine or the company at the time the machine was made. Maybe there's somebody there who knows where such documents are.

I first read that title as "Bought an old cast iron 4 sided monster". Not far off, judging by the photo. :)

Was it originally powered by overhead shaft and flat belt?

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 06:30:47 am »
Wow, the adventure begins. 
That was a good response about the WWII date, you might be able to dig up an old manual or parts list from the web to help.
 
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Offline Darrel

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 09:24:30 am »
There's a website, vintagemachinery.org, that has a wealth of information on old machines.  Here's a link to what they have on Berlin Machine Works.

http://vintagemachinery.org/mfgindex/detail.aspx?id=95&tab=5&sort=4&th=false&fl=
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Offline Don P

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2017, 09:27:37 pm »
I'd bet it was hard to sell a Berlin during WWII. We had a larger one in a shop I worked in in my late teens, a solid based monster of a push feed machine. Slow to set up but it worked well. I ran into another one of the same size in a timberframe shop in MT in the mid 90's, haven't seen another one since.

Offline TKehl

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 10:08:13 pm »
4 sided monster!  I like!   :D

Seems it was originally run with flat belts off a common shaft. 



I find that attractive as I think I could run it with tractor PTO directly instead of through a engine driven generator.  It does come with a 10 HP single phase motor, but I don't see that being sufficient.  (Also has a very old ODP motor that comes with it with even less known about it.  Figure I can use it as part of a rotary phase converter or mailbox base if nothing else.   :D)

Darrel, thanks for the heads up.  I've become familiar with that website now.

Don, great info.  I kind of expected slow setups.  Were the ones you worked square or round heads?  If it's slow, then I'd like to set this up for flooring and run mouldings on my Woodmaster.

You nailed it on the name.  They actually changed the name earlier, in 1916, to Yates for the same reason.  No one wanted German association in the middle of WW1.   ;D
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline Don P

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 06:03:15 am »
The machines I've run have all been converted to round heads. Well back on the forum there are posts from when Paul got an old square head machine going, the grind angles,etc. We had some of the old square heads on the shelf in the tool room in one shop but happily never ran them.
All depending on cut the 10 hp motor could probably run either the top or bottom and you might be able to run the sides off a 10 or two 5's, the feed probably off a 5hp. Look over the castings for brazing and make sure those are holding up and that there are no other cracks in the castings, broken ears, etc. Then its wobble in the babbit bearings, whether they need to be repoured. Even at that age they may be fine, I was turning shafts the other day that last worked the year I was born.

Offline TKehl

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 11:24:38 am »
Thanks.  This one has been converted to round heads as well.  Was curious to see if the slow setup is from the machine or perhaps from square heads.  Trying to stay away from square. 

There is also an old planer and jointer (both with square heads) with the moulder.  Someone else was interested in them and I’m giving them first shot.  However, if it’s me or the scrap guy, I’m taking them home.  Planer is ?? run off flat belt.  Maybe 18-20”.  Jointer is J.A. Fay maybe 6-8” (under a pile of junk).

I am nervous about the babbit bearings.  I’ve never worked with babbit or even seen it done.  I’m hoping they are ok otherwise… many more questions.     :)

How hard is it  to convert babbit to roller bearings?  Is it worth considering?  It’s ok if you tell me to suck it up and learn to love babbit.   ;D
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline Darrel

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 11:36:09 am »
The problem with Babbitt bearings is not so much in how well they work, but in how labor intensive they are.  They must be oiled continually, usually with a wick or drip system. And oil levels must be checked often. Also when they do go bad, repair is also quite labor intensive. So don't change them out unless there is a need.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline woodworker9

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 12:39:20 pm »
I'd bet it was hard to sell a Berlin during WWII. We had a larger one in a shop I worked in in my late teens, a solid based monster of a push feed machine. Slow to set up but it worked well. I ran into another one of the same size in a timberframe shop in MT in the mid 90's, haven't seen another one since.

Don, you hit the nail on the head.

Berlin Machine Works changed it's name to P.B. Yates & Co. due to this very concern with the "Berlin" name.  In 1925, the company merged/was bought out by American , and became the well know "Yates-American Machine Co." that most of us know today.

Yates American is still in business today in Beloit, Wisconsin.  I own several of their vintage machines.  The only machine I own that they will talk to me about is my Y30 Snowflake bandsaw.  All others, they give the same "Non-OSHA compliant" speech to cover their arses.  They were sued a few decades ago, so that's how the ball bounces.....

Regarding babbitt bearings......yep, they need to be oiled regularly.  Best way to have a visual reminder of this is to install simple drip oiler cups on the top of your babbitt ports.  Some simple plumbing will get you an excellent functioning machine, and as far as performance goes, you won't do any better with $1200 phenolic caged ball bearings than you will with oiled babbitt bearings.  Babbitt bearings are poured in place, and scraped into 80% or better contact with the shaft they are supporting.  This typically gives about 10 times the shaft support that normal caged ball bearings with an inner race will give, and because of this, your machine will actually run a bit better.  When babbitt gets a little worn, you can usually remove a shim from each side, and you're back in business, until a 100 years goes by and you are out of shims......

There are several video's online on YouTube regarding re-pouring babbitt bearings.  Once you get the hang of it, it's actually a pretty simple process to pour and scrape in the bearings.  You're left with a well supported cutterhead shaft that will last a lifetime if kept in oil.

I love the fact that most people shy away from babbitt machines due to misconceptions.  It makes these machines very easy, and cheap, to buy, and they are every bit as good as any other once you get them dialed in.  You guys would be pee your pants if you've seen the machines I've picked up for either free, or a couple hundred bucks, because they were babbitt.
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Offline Darrel

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2017, 01:18:33 pm »
I have operated Yates-American 4 & 6 headed planers and moulders in industrial situations.  One big old planer owned by P & M Cedar had a 12" X 30" capacity. 14 knives in the top and bottom heads.  That was one screaming machine.  Feed rate 100 - 300 fpm. We usually ran it at just under 200 fpm.  They'd bring lumber in still hot from the kiln and run it across a moisture meter just before entering the planer, if the mc was too high in a particular board it would get kicked out and sent back to the kiln.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline woodworker9

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2017, 09:58:04 pm »
Mine is a Baxter Whitney

10" X 30" capacity.
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Offline TKehl

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2017, 11:51:28 am »
We finally got the moulder home after a nearly epic effort. 

The guys tractor would barely pull it.  Any little snag and I was blocking and jacking to get a piece of pipe under it to move it another 2-5’ out of the shed (which included a 90° corner to extricate).  It took 2 hours to get it out of the shed to daylight and another 30 minutes to move it up the hill to nice spot to load.  A sharp rise that made the ground almost level with trailer deck.  Wish I had pictures, but we were hustling as it was getting dark as I backed the trailer up to the moulder. 

I winched it on with a heavy come along, pipes, and some angle iron at the top of the ramps as a skid.  Could have done it easier with more jacking and better pipe placement, but not quicker.  Still had a few hangups that required jacking and blocking.  It was 10:20 by the time I was boomed down and had jacks, pipe, and chain picked up.  I was ready howl triumphantly and kept telling my wife, “We’ve done the impossible, and that makes us mighty”.   ;D  ;D  ;D  Picture is at Casey’s a few miles from pickup.  That’s honest dirt there!



Finally got home a bit before one AM.  Wife was hungry, got snacks for the kids, lots of coffee for me, and found out the radiator is probably on the way out.  The truck cruised fine at 50-55 mph but the temp was creeping up at 55-60 or long hills.  Cooled off in towns.  Still a very good day!

Unloading was pretty easy with gravity assist.  Hooked my F350 up and kept pipe under the skid.  Had some 5-6” Elm branches that also roll/skided pretty good.  Good enough to pull the trailer out from under once most of the weight was on the ground.

Will have to cover it for now.  May be a while before the next phase. 
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline TKehl

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2017, 01:09:48 pm »
I should also add, I looked up the date of manufacture as April 7th, 1914.  News headlines for that week include info on raids by Pancho Villa and talk of women's suffrage.   :o

I was actually hoping it would be older than when my family bought the farm.  That was 1911, so we're pretty close.   ;D
Lucas 6-13+slabber, a blue cant, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline btulloh

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2017, 05:25:06 pm »
That's a good lookin' piece o' iron.  Keep us posted.
HM126

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2017, 05:35:00 pm »
I should also add, I looked up the date of manufacture as April 7th, 1914.  News headlines for that week include info on raids by Pancho Villa and talk of women's suffrage.   :o

I was actually hoping it would be older than when my family bought the farm.  That was 1911, so we're pretty close.   ;D

That's amazing. 
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Offline Darrel

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Re: In deep now. Bought an old cast iron 4 sided moulder.
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2017, 12:07:52 am »
That's one awesome birthday present!
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.