We’ve been looking for a boring machine for a year or more. Last fall, we saw two at the local flea market on the same day, but for some reason we decided to pass on both at the time. I can’t remember why.
This year, in May during our timber frame workshop weekend, we had a chance to use Tom Cundiff’s Millers Falls machine. Wow! It was a workout, but made boring holes for mortises much more practical with human power. Since then, we’ve been looking pretty steadily.
And luckily, April found one on craigslist in Tennessee for an excellent price very recently – $200 for a Millers Falls in great shape. Unbelievable. Today I took a good hour or two to clean it free of grime, and with a bit of grease, it’s gonna run really smooth. All we need is a drill bit.
A few more details: boring machines are for drilling mortise holes in a post or beam. It is perhaps the only practical way to do it by hand, without electricity. Otherwise, the electric alternative is an expensive chain mortiser. No company still makes boring machines today, which means older models are highly prized. Millers Falls made their machines from the 1870s-1930s, but I’m not sure what year this model was made. Likely, the machine is at least a hundred years old. I love to think about where old tools have been, and how they have been used over the years.
Very exciting for us.