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Machinery Photo Index
Manufactured/Badged by:
Oliver Machinery Co.
Grand Rapids, MI

Machine Specifications
Machine Class: Wood Working Machinery
Machine Type: Table Saw
Machine Size: Big Murph
Submitted By: Chuck Hess
Machine Specifications
Description/Model: Model 88 DX 18" blade
Date of Manufacturer: 1942
Serial Number: 55882 (View SN Registry Entry)
Last Updated 2/25/2006 4:31:57 AM

Oliver 88 DX Table Saw serial # 55882, vintage 1942.

This is a saw I bought sight unseen from a storage place owner on the island of Oahu. A friend of mine called and told me this place was trying to rehome some machines that had been left there by someone who stopped paying their storage bill. The owner was very uncooperative in taking photos. I deduced from a phone conversation that the saw had a complete micrometer fence so I offered the guy what I thought would be a good deal on the fence and that way I could not get hurt. After some dickering we agreed on $400. I also wound up getting an Oliver disc sander from him too, and both machines came by Young Brothers barge over to the island of Maui. One of my lumber suppliers was nice enough to pick them up at the dock and bring them over to my shop for me. I know picking machines up at the harbour sounds romantic, and if you ever want to get killed by a big honkin' forklift, I would highly recomend it.
All I knew was the saw was an 88. Upon first inspection of the machine I realized that this one started life with the really large rolling table to the left of the blade, thats what the X stands for. The saw probably had been a Navy machine at Pearl Harbor. This one had been dropped at some point and the rolling table was broken off as well as the blade raising handle and front locking knob, and that is probably when the side door parted company too. The broken flanges of the rolling table were still attached to the side. A nicely done non rolling table had been fabricated out of 1 1 /4" plate steel with removable throat plate, probably while still in the Navy. So in essence, this is a # 88 D now. I will continue to search for a rolling table for this one, but they are very rare for this vintage. The large table to the right of the blade allows a 50" rip and the table etchings are still sharp, which is very nice.
This was another way fugly Oliver, that has literally been through the war, but the thing would have done woodwork the way it was. We have done a complete strip down/ frame off restro on this one. It had some of the gnarliest battleship gray paint I've ever bumped into. We had to sandblast the cabinet and the under side of the tables, which I dont like to do. Electrolysis wouldn't touch that paint even though the parts were very rusty. We did a lot of wire brushing on the smaller parts. It had obviously spent some time living outdoors but that paint would have lasted a couple more centuries.
This saw has a 220 volt only motor and came with a non original Cutler Hammer #2 starter but I luckily had this size 1 Square D starter from about the correct vintage. Before I started the teardown I did my usual plug the thing in to see if it will run routine. No problems, sounded smooth, not even any bearing noise. After removing the motor and opening the junction box I noticed that all three cloth covered motor leads were bare for about 1/2" right at the bend coming out of the motor casting. I cannot imagine how that did not short out when I tested it. But I am sure glad that it didn't. Rather than having the motor leads redone, a real hassle on Maui, I covered the leads with 3 layers of heat shrink tubing. I changed the bearings even though they did not sound bad they were filled with the usual dark brown dried up nasty ole grease. Installed Fafnirs.
So I was going to put a powerfeed on this and use it as a 3rd world straight line rip saw, but I just bought an Ekstrom Carlson straightline. Now I really dont know what I am going to use this for, but I wanted to complete the restoration anyway. I was restoring an Oliver 18" bandsaw and this one at the same time. Those 2 restorations were about 90% done and then they sat for 6 months with no progress while my life and business encroached on my restoration time. Has anybody else heard of that happening?
I got the blade guard from Reid Crosby. I will be looking for the rolling table and the missing side door. I had a miter gauge and wrench. I had trouble finding a vintage blade raising wheel and came across this chrome one. I am not sure that I like it, but everybody else in the shop enjoys it. If we make a mobile base and use Weld Racing rims, the handle will match.
Its kind of weird but I was thinking of this as a parts saw throughout the restoration process, I guess because of the missing rolling table. But when we reassembled this one I really started feeling the aloha. And then when the tables went back on, I realized this is still a big bad dog! This is my shop's 3rd big Oliver table saw and the Powermatic is getting closer to the door.
Aloha & Merry Christmas,
Chuck, havin' too much fun in Maui!

Photo 1:

Comments: Front shot
Source: Mines
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Photo 2:

Comments: Big tables
Source: Mines
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Photo 3:

Comments: What she will look like again
Source: Oliver Brochure
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