Restoration of Vintage Woodworking Machines （II) – Identifying Old Machines
I usually prefer vintage woodworking machines auctioned by local schools. Through talking to people working in local schools, I found that the primary reasons that those machines are auctioned is because the school purchased newer equipment, or the woodworking program is terminated and the machines become no use. This generally means that the auctioned machines are still functioning. Another advantage of purchasing from the schools is that the schools would not use the machines as hard as a commercial shop; they even do not run the machines every day; the machines are not worn out.
However, what could happen to those machine is that some small parts are missing (abused by school kids); thus part of the restoration is to find the missing parts.
Note that I usually do not buy vintage machines from the Craigslist. My experience is that the old machines on the Craigslist are either too expensive or the machines that I like are hard to find.
The auction site usually puts very limited information of the machine on the auction page; you need to find the specs of the machine. I find a few webpages are extremely helpful:
Old Woodworking Machines (http://owwm.org)
It seems the organizers of above websites are actually the same bunch of people. The first website focuses on the user discussion (forum based); the second is more like a database for collecting all the documents. I use the first website to ask a specific question that I could not find an answer; I use the second website to find the specifications of the machines.