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  • Makena Hess

Rare Oliver 299 ITCH Head Planer

Updated: Feb 23


Rare Oliver 299 ITCH Head Planer


Hey All, this machine story starts with Ron, a friend of ours, who also happens to be my planer mentor, calls and tells me there is an Oliver 299 planer in an auction and I have to buy it. My response was I already have a 299 that we like very much, but that did not slow him down. This one is a rare 299, he says, It is one of the last round body castings and has the quickly adjustable bed roller handles built into it. He told me that Rich said there were only "6 or 8" of these made before Oliver went to the square body design. Let me ask right now if anyone reading this has any accurate data on this please let us know. So he then proceeded to tell me that if I considered myself an Oliver collector, that I should take a hard run at this machine because there are very rare and I might not see another come up, ever. Ok, I was starting to waffle, then he added some backstory. This machine is at the best lumber company in southern California, and my buddy has been in the mill shop several times and seen the machine and has been keeping an eye on it over the years. Ok this seemed like an inside track tip if there ever was one. So even though we just rebuilt the 1958 planer that we have 2 years ago, which was a lot of work, I looked at the auction and placed a bid. Here are the auction pics;



So it looked pretty good, but I was telling myself that I don't need the project right now, because we are super busy in the shop, there's a pandemic going on and I won't be able to pick it up myself since it is in southern California, it doesn't have a grinder with it and it will probably be a lot of money. But other than those bumps in the road, I was starting to feel it! That was back in August and I did win it! I knew this was going to be a slow moving project but that was OK. Freight took forever partially because I used the cheapest carrier and partially because the plandemic has every thing slowed down. 9-24-2020 She's here! Whu Hu! Here's the arrival pics;


Here's a few pics Ron took of the location where the planer was;


So now its 1-23-2021 and We finally got caught a chance to move the planer and start doing a little work on it! Started knocking the chili off the table and removing the chip breaker. This planer had been painted by hand and never used after that, little kooky. We can tell for example because the guy painted the table ways and it can be seen that they have not moved since then. I really love this machine already; there was a missing tooth in the cutter head and I suspected that the cap screw had been broken off. That was not the case so I did not have to start by drilling in the cutter head. We put a tooth, wedge and cap screw in and fired it off for our first time, she runs so quiet!


So how these things go is the machine is the teacher! I'm not seeing much wear, but the the fight is going to be all the storage rust and the machine was painted by hand so there is a thick coat of clunky paint over all the fasteners and supposed to be moving parts. I kind of started with the segmented chip breaker because it was going to be in the way. Everything was rusted and painted tight so it was a lot slower going than I expected. I also had to move to a real bench instead of that mobile cart I was planning on using. Each one of the toes was a struggle to get off the bar, no way these would have worked properly without restoration.


More chip breaker fun! I went ahead and replaced all the springs while I was at it too.


Here is a shot of the table gibs showing the awful paint. I am slowly getting the table to move because the painter painted the ways, and everything else, and the table hasn't been moved since then.


Feb 18 2021 Next is the table rollers quick height adjustment mechanism, which is the exciting thing about this planer. This assembly had some damage to the scale, but I think I can get a replacement from Rich at Eagle Machinery. When I got the chip breaker springs from him we had a little bonding experience because he is restoring a #299 right now too. That was cool. This set of parts are almost all stamped with the Oliver part numbers, I don't know why, but I like that.


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