View Full Version : early 1900's Cincinnati planner

Dr Stan
04-12-2010, 12:22 PM
I have a early 1900's Cincinnati planner which of course was powered by a line shaft. I will be powering it with an electric motor and am trying to determine just what size of motor to use. Initially I made a WAG and was thinking in terms of a 5hp motor. However, a 3hp Dayton with a 1 1/8" shaft is available on Craig's List for $75.

I estimate the weight of the table at around 2000 pounds. Anyone out there have any thoughts?

04-12-2010, 12:40 PM
Dr Stan,
I would put a 5HP on it because I don't think you would like it if the piece you were plaining, stopped half way into a cut.

tell me, if the table weighs 2000 lbs, what was the size, and how much did the machine in total weighed. The reason I am asking there was on a couple of hundred miles away from me, it too is a Cincinnati. I think the table was 5 or 6 feet long. I didn't jump at it because of the weight for a car hauler trailer.

dr pepper
04-12-2010, 12:41 PM
See if you can find a modern machine with similar width and cut spec and see what size drive motor they use.
Place a photo maybe someone has a similar size machine.
Once you do have it powered if you have a clamp meter or can borrow one, they are dead simple to use then you can test test the motor on load to see if its overloaded or not.

04-12-2010, 01:24 PM
Id consider how wide the bed is, how deep a cut you'd ever wanna make often, and then ask yourself how much hardwood you plan to do.

Of you plan to mainly use this to turn precut but lightly discolored beams/studs/etc into good looking stuff, you likey don't need much HP.

On the other hand if you wanna pass some oak trees into it and come out with 4x8' sheets.. More power needed :)

04-12-2010, 01:31 PM
Second edit-- I think he is talking about a metal planer, Blackmoons.

Was that a crank planer (such that it has a crank shaft or gear that causes the reciprocal motion of the bed? If not, then it would use a belt-shifter arrangement to change directions at the end of each stroke and that certainly complicates your arrangement.

Edit-- nevermind...I re-read the original post including the mass of the table and that almost certainly is a belt-shift model. In any case, motor speed is still something to keep in mind. If you can find one that turns 1725, you will have less gearing down to match the speed of typical overhead line shafts which were much slower. I have an old Audel's book that was from the end of line-shafting days and I believe I recalled that they were turning something less than 100 RPM's.

I have an old Lathe and Morse planer from the 1890s that is a crank planer.....it's maybe a 12" stroke or so and is a nice size for a small shop. I have yet to set it up both because of time issues and space. However, it's a crank planer which makes it feasable to stick a motor underneath and have it drive the multi- step pulley from below...and no need to deal with a belt-shifter or a larger footprint for the machine.

To me, the hard part is figuring out just what speed these really older planers should run at (in strokes/min) and then you have to convert that backward through the pulley ratios to establish a proper motor speed and drive pulley diameter etc.


Dr Stan
04-12-2010, 02:03 PM
yes its a belt shift metal planner. The bed is 9' long and a good 18" wide. My intent is to use it to recondition lathe beds, so I do not plan to curl off chips that bounce across the floor like I've done in the past (although that was fun :D ). I also guesstimate the frame @ around 4500#. Lots of good old cast iron. :D

I've previously been told the line shafts ran at or just under 100 RPM. I have run line shaft equipment at an old boat yard in Florida, but that's been 30+ years ago. This motor runs @ 1740 RPM so I was planning to get an appropriate gear box rather than deal with extra belts & pulleys. A 20:1 ratio would get me down to 87 RPM which should be good. I'll still need to calculate the strokes per minute. With the amount of inertia created I certainly do not want it going through the shop wall. :eek:

04-12-2010, 02:21 PM
You must post pictures of this beast.

I would LOVE a planer. The shop wouldn't, and I can't see my wife liking it much as a driveway ornament...not to mention the fact that I've never seen one for sale local (though it's SE Michigan, I'm sure there are some floating around).

Dr Stan
04-12-2010, 03:01 PM
You must post pictures of this beast.

Right now I'm still in the process of finishing up the interior of my shop, so its a mess right now. Pics will have to come at a latter time.

The only reason I started asking about the motor is that one is currently available on CL about 2 hours away at a very good price.

Forrest Addy
04-12-2010, 03:48 PM
The table is 9 ft long and 18" wide? Probably more than a ton. Look at it and measure up sizes and thickness so you can make an estimate of table weight based on cast iron's density of about 0.28 lb per cubic inch. My best guess on the table weight for my Rockford planer is 2700 lb but that is only a calculated estimate. From that I can work out the rigging and weight handling problems if I have to remove the table for any reason.

Even 5 HP is to small to power the table on a planer the size of yours. I havn't worked any numbers but I would be concerned about sluggish table reversals. 3 HP is plain too puny, cheap or not. Cheap stuff of good quality that can't be made to work is no longer cheap: it's money wasted. The 5 HP could be made to work if you accepted a lower tablespeed and slow reverals.

I uggest you work from 50 feet per minute table speed backward through the gear ratios and you can determine the speed for the input shaft. One foot of table travel per five revolutions of the input shaft was not an uncommon drive ratio but you still have to check. Good numbers lead to good results.

Do you have the countershaft and clutch assembly? Continue calculating your ratios up through the pullys to the countershaft input pully. By this time you will know the desired RPM of the input pulley for 50 feet per minute table speed and its diameter. The only unknown now is the size of the motor pulley.

Another point is planers of this vintage have long beds on spindly legs. They have to be carefully leveled and on good support if the table on bed way bearings are to survive.

My suggestion for a motor to power a planer of this size and table weight is 10 HP. Planers because of the table reversals and table mass are not mechanically effcient. They blot up a lot of power. I've never worked numbers on the problem but I would guess 1/3 the motor HP is expended on table reversals depending on stroke length.

Dr Stan
04-12-2010, 04:45 PM

Thanks for the input. I have the counter shaft & clutch so I'm in good shape in regards to the drive train. I'll have to take some measurements and calculate the mass of the table. Just have way to many irons in the fire right now plus all the spring time HoneyDos.

As soon as I can get some of the mess cleaned up I'll take some pics. This planner has a substantial frame with feet integrated into the frame rather than bolted on. A nice hefty design.

I still need to build my A Frame in order to lift & install the table. I have a 2 ton chain hoist, the steel, casters and just ran the circuit for my MIG. Need to sit down & finalize the design.



04-12-2010, 06:05 PM
Ahhh sorry for assuming it was for wood.

Wow at all that wasted power you guys are talking about, sounds like a machine that might run outta your shop on its own if you turn your back on it and don't bolt it down :)

04-14-2010, 10:37 PM
Dr. Stan: You might like to see these:



took a little time to dig 'em out, scan to flickr.

Dr Stan
04-14-2010, 11:40 PM

Cool. do you have the whole book?

BTW, I measured the table. It's 21" wide 4 1/2" thick and 9ft long. I calculated its weight and came up with just under 2700 lbs, but with the slots and other weight reducing features I suspect my original estimate of 2000 lbs is probably fairly close.

I just finished up installing my HVAC (yes I have central heat & air in the shop) and that is the last major feature to finish. I now need to get busy and straighten up the mess and get it organized. I'll then be able to take some pics.

04-14-2010, 11:54 PM
Yes, Showing a little age, but I think its in nice shape. From 1912 or 13. Its not at my fingertips this second. I think its a first edtiton, as there is no indication of anything to the contrary. The Gray leaf was inside the book. There are photos of stuff you don't see every day.