Restoring an Old Millers Falls Boring Machine / I ❤ Craigslist

by ziggy on February 19, 2013 -- 0 comments -- Follow

Millers Falls Boring Machine - Replacement Base

The partly restored Millers Falls machine with brand new base

First of all, I love craigslist. I actually don’t use it that often in my daily life (it’s less useful when you live in the country), but we’ve made a few real scores in some lucky searching stints. While in TN, I happened to do a Millers Falls boring machine search, and I found one… for $160, and it wasn’t terribly far away. The only downside is that it needed some work, namely a new base and one or two small parts replaced.

Considering these suckers can go for $400-$900, I’d say it was worth it. And they just don’t make any equivalent (hand-powered) versions of these things anymore, so I felt obligated to pick this one up, tune it up, and preserve it. (And use it, too, no doubt.)

Fixing up a Millers Falls Boring Machine

We actually have another Millers Falls machine in better shape that we also got off of craigslist over a year ago. (I’m not bragging here, I swear.) That one, pictured below, is intact and works beautifully. It’s slightly different from this newer one, but the differences are minor.

Millers Falls Antique Boring Machine

Our fully functional Millers Falls machine

Anyway, without that machine at my close disposal, I asked around and Brad from the Forestry Forum provided me with a simple drawing of the base design, since I needed to reference the original dimensions and construction in order to do a proper job.

The base was actually a lot easier to make than I thought it would be, thanks to the easy access to great wood and tools at Greg’s shop here in TN. I used quarter sawn white oak for the main pieces, and a scrap piece of cherry for the center piece (that piece doesn’t actually have a structural function, see #5 in drawing).

Millers Falls Boring Machine Plans

Drawings for a replacement base (by Brad Baber)

A whopping two bolts actually tie the thing together. Cutting the tenons on a tiny scale is a little time-consuming by hand, and I’ll admit that I opted for using the table saw to speed things along. Re-creating the base was not a huge task, and it should give this boring machine a new (and longer) life!

In addition to restoring the base, I of course did a bit of cleaning and scouring of the tool. I found a small wire brush to be most useful, and citrus solvent cleaner helped make quick work of grime and grit. Dismantling the boring machine is not all that hard, and I had much better access to the gears with it partially broken down. Before I am ready to use it, I will probably take one more pass with some citrus cleaner, and then blast it down with some WD-40 to keep it lubricated and free from rust.

Before it is truly ready for use, I do need to replace one of the support legs and foot where it attaches to the base. You’ll see what I mean in the topmost photo. I’m hoping either the local welder can fabricate these pieces, or a local community mate with a milling machine can replicate it.

And then it’s ready to go!

Boring Machine

Drilling like it was meant to do!

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