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Machinery Photo Index
Manufactured/Badged by:
Sears | Craftsman
*

True Manufacturer:
Foley-Belsaw Co., Minneapolis, MN
Machine Specifications
Machine Class: Wood Working Machinery
Machine Type: Planer, Wood
Machine Size: 12¼"
Submitted By: Dave Lucitt
Machine Specifications
Description/Model: 306.23740 Floor Model Thickness Planer
Date of Manufacturer: 1956
Serial Number:
Last Updated 4/13/2015 8:07:25 AM

Comments:
I found out about this machine from a friend and local OWWMer who knew I was looking for one of these planers. This has been a quest machine of mine, and a 'holy grail' of sorts, as this particular model has never been documented before. To my knowledge, up till now there was not even a single picture of one that existed in the wild. This model beckoned me from the 1956 and 1957 catalogs as a mysterious and rare specimen that would drive me on a hunt for more than 3 years. To date, this is the only known specimen and my hope is that as more information is gleaned from exploring and researching this machine, more may start to come out of the woodwork (pun intended).

This particular planer is made by Belsaw and, as indicated by the catalogs, was available by ordering one from a Sears stores and having it shipped in from Kansas City, MO (home of Belsaw). The planer was introduced (per the Craftsman catalog) for the 1956 year and retailed for $575 (roughly $5000 in today's money). In 1957 there was a $50 price drop to $525 in the 1957 catalog and then was dropped in subsequent catalogs. I can hypothesize that, given the staggering amount that one would have to pay for such a planer, sight unseen, with freight on top of such a price, that it was not a strong seller and was let go of quickly by Craftsman corporate.

I acquired this planer on 4/10/2015 from an older gentleman in the Denver/Edgewater area who had purchased it about 2 years ago. It is in relatively good condition, with no visible rust. It has no repairs upon immediate inspection. Replaced parts are the feed speed handle knob and the starter. The original Cutler/Hammer switch had its internals removed and a more modern switch was installed. Also, a previous owner modified the cabinet by cutting a door in the rear of the sheet metal cabinet base to gain access to the motor. I find it strange that the motor was basically inaccessible before this modification, which was done rather cleanly. It is a solid, robust machine and its stout construction gives one a hopeful indication of the quality in its use.

The motor for this saw (original), is a massive Craftsman 3HP repulsion induction motor, 115/230V, single phase. These saws were listed in the catalogs as coming with a 3HP single phase or an optional 3HP three phase motor. I'm glad it is the single phase version. This planer is very heavy and shipping numbers have it around 700lbs and I believe it.

I feel extremely lucky and blessed to not only have great friends that pass these kinds of opportunities over to me, but that I get the chance to explore and discover something that was, for historical purposes, lost but is now found. I consider it a privilege to be able to rediscover these long-lost treasures and share them with other interested parties. I will update this submission as work is completed and the planer is restored. For questions about this planer, please feel free to contact me - I love talking about old, rare Craftsman tools!

Photo 1:

Comments: Planer as shown in catalog picture from 1957 Craftsman general line catalog.
Source: Craftsman general line catalog, 1957
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Photo 2:

Comments: Planer in as-found condition
Source: previous owner
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Photo 3:

Comments: Motor tag and 306.23740 model number tag
Source: Dave L
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Photo 4:

Comments: In back of vehicle for transport
Source: Dave L
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Photo 5:

Comments: Craftsman tag on front of machine
Source: Dave L
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Photo 6:

Comments: Craftsman 3HP repulsion induction motor tag
Source: Dave L
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