Cordesman, Meyer & Co. 12" Jointer Setup


I’d been without a jointer for a while and was debating whether or not to get one. Then I saw this.

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Like many good, and sometimes questionable stories, this started with a Craigslist ad.. in St. Louis, 5 hours from Memphis where I live. Fortunately my wife and I enjoy St. Louis, so we made a fun weekend of it.

The gentlemen I bought it from said that this belonged to his grandfather, who liked to mill his own lumber. From his research, he thinks it was manufactured in the late 1890s, which matches with what I could find about the company. My guess is that his grandfather is the one who replaced the original babbit bearings with ball bearings and installed the direct drive 1.5hp motor.

After I reassembled it in my shop, I used a wire wheel in my angle grinder to remove the surface rust from the beds and fence before coating them with some paste wax.

Then it was time to get the beds coplanar (check the video for an explanation of coplanar if you’re not familiar). I used a straight edge referenced off the outfield table with some feeler gauges to see what adjustments needed to be made. Then it was just a lot of tapping and wiggling on the four ways that carry the bed to get the in-feed table coplanar to the out-feed table.

I replaced the box and switch because I needed to change the orientation of the wires coming into the box and I just highly recommend using magnetic switches on machines. They can only be closed when a current is running through the switch. That means the switches automatically goes to the off position if there is a power interruption, and the machine cannot “turn itself on” when you plug it in if the switch was left in the on position. I also like the oversized paddle style off switch.

Everything looked great when I did the test cut, so this machine is set up and all ready to use! But, I do still need to add a guard over the blade and get some proper push blocks for it.