Parks Model 95 12" Planer -- May 2008

I have looked to find a Parks 12" planer to restore for some time -- it quickly became one of my first quest machines when I started doing machine restorations.  The search continued for many months, as I looked at some that were for sale, some that were not, always hoping a nice restoration opportunity would come along.  Finally, an acquaintance from Old Woodworking Machines (OWWM) said he had one in storage that he had been planning to restore but recognized that he might not get to for some time.  We arranged a deal, which included a nice Peerless 1.5hp repulsion-induction motor, but no planer stand.  The project took more than a month to complete, including restoration of the motor, the planer, and construction of a homemade wooden stand.  It is certainly the most complex restoration I've done to date.

The serial number of the planer is 5041-, which dates it to the early 1940s and is among the earlier designs.  While documenting the restoration process, I also compiled a photo index of the individual parts and cross-referenced them to a 1949 version of a Parks exploded parts diagram and parts list.  The photo index can be found on the OWWM website wiki.

Before and After

The planer and motor were dropped off in components one weekend when my friend happened to be coming through my area.   It was in almost running condition, pretty reasonable shape compared to several others that I'd seen. But I had expected to do a complete tear down, strip, restore and repaint in any event, so I went to it.  Total time for the project was about a month -- combined for the motor, planer, and stand.  Relatively few parts were needed: a new belt, a few nuts and bolts, and stripping/cleaning/painting supplies.
old parks front
new parks front
old peerless motor new peerless motor

Planer Disassembly, Cleaning, and Restoration

Here are a bunch of photos of the restoration process and outcomes.  Disassembly of the planer itself took one full, and long, Saturday.  Restoration and reassembly took a bit more than two weeks, probably longer than necessary, but I wasn't in a rush and was intermingling the parts photos and website work as I went along.
old parks left
Left-side gearbox
old parks right
Right-side pulley and elevation handle
old parks gears
Inside the gearbox
old parks top view of rollers and cutter
Top view of rollers and cutterhead
old parks left bearing
Left-side bearing assembly
old parks right bearing
Right-side bearing assembly
old parks rollers
Cutterhead, chipbreaker and pressure bar removed
old parks table
Table after all parts disassembled
old parks parts all spread out
All apart and ready for work
old parks small parts in bags
Small parts bagged separately by sub-assemblies
comparison of elevation shafts before and after
Elevating shafts, before and after
working on shaft in lathe
Round parts in the lathe whenever possible
comparison of table rollers
Table rollers, before and after
comparison of stabilizer bars
Stabilizer bars, before and after
parts primed ready for painting
Cast parts stripped and primed
parts painted
Parts painted, table degunked and waxed
old parks tag
Original machine tag
new parks tag
Machine tag after cleaning and touch-up paint
left side elevating assembly
Left-side elevation gear assembly
right side elevating assembly
Right-side elevation gear assembly
elevating assembly
Full elevation gear assembly with handwheel
feed roll bearing installed
Roller bearing assembly
smooth feed roller installed
Table and smooth feed roller installed
rollers and hoods installed internal view
Inside view of head assembly (touch-up paint not yet done)
rollers and hoods installed external view
Outside view of head assembly
gear box reassembled
Inside view of gearbox reassembled
planer fully reassembled
Planer fully reassembled
planer knife jig used down
Simple version of a Bob Vaughan planer knife-setting jig...
planer knife jig used up
that works both for the upwards and downwards measurements

Motor Restoration

The planer was accompanied by a nice Peerless 1.5hp repulsion-induction (RI) motor.  It was in running condition, but needed a thorough clean-up and restoration of its own.  The bearings had been replaced at some point with sealed bearings that were in great condition.
old peerless front
Front view originally
old peerless motor rear
Rear view originally
old peerless motor greased end bell
Sadly, someone didn't realize these are sealed bearings
old peerless motor brushes
Brushes from motor, all in good condition
new peerless motor components
Parts cleaned and repainted
new peerless motor
Motor reassembled and adjustable steel pulley installed
old peerless motor tag
Original motor tag
new peerless motor tag
Cleaned motor tag, simply stripped and logo repainted
old peerless motor switch
Picked up this Furnas starter separately from the planer...
new peerless motor switch
and painted it to match everything else

Stand Construction

Once the planer and motor were completed, the final step was to build a custom stand. After looking at photos of many different designs, from period reproductions to makeshift whatevers, I just started building.  I already had an extremely heavy duty metal rolling base frame.  Though it is slightly larger than necessary, once I started looking at it I realized the extra footprint would add stability to an otherwise top-heavy assembly.  Plus, it would allow a portion of the belt to sit inside the stand, rather than outside, a plus for safety.  The structure of this stand is extremely sturdy, built to last many years.
4x4 legs with tenons for structural support
The plywood inside the base is 1 1/4" laminated hardwood ply
stand legs in place
The legs are cut to allow stretchers to sit on top for support
stand stretchers in place
Stretchers installed for through-bolting to legs
top support infrastructure
Additional internal support for plywood top,
designed to allow for motor, planer, and belt installation
stand painted
Upper and lower aprons installed, and everything painted
stand completed with top installed
Top installed and ready for motor and planer mounting


Completed and operational.
completed left side view
Left side view
completed right side view

Right side view
Completed full front view
Full system on stand
first cut shavings
It works!

Thanks for looking.

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