Cant Gourlay & Co.

If you have seen my recent posts you may have caught a glimpse of my shaper. It was made by Cant Gourlay & Co who made woodworking machinery between 1872 and 1886 in Galt, Ont. Canada. The shaper was originally part of a century old woodworking shop bought by my uncle approximately 45 years ago, and when the original shop was demolished and the machinery moved to the new building, the shaper found itself out in the cold.

It sat outside for probably 20 years before I rescued it and brought it home…here are a couple pics I dug up showing what kind of condition it was in when it arrived…11104-C11104-D

It was a real basket case, I had no idea if the original babbitt bearings were usable or not, the original wooden top had rotted away years ago, and there was the rusted and seized cutterhead spindle  deal with. First up was disassembly of the seized spindle…there was a pair of knife collars on it, well known for throwing molding knives across the shop if not correctly installed and tightened…and it was seized on the spindle. This took days to remove, oiling, pounding, pulling and twisting for hours, until it finally gave up the ghost. I finished disassembly and put all the rusted parts that would fit into a container filled with Evaporust while I cleaned the rust from the rest of the shaper with an automotive paint stripping wheel.

The bearings were in remarkable shape, it must have been rarely used in it’s lifetime. I reassembled and repainted and placed the spindle back in the bearings and rotated it to check for runout and found the spindle was bent ever-so-slightly. I took the spindle to a local machine shop and they machined a new spindle to the same specs as the original, except for one request…I asked them to make the upper spindle 3/4″ vs the original 7/8″ diameter so modern cutters could be used. After installing the new spindle and completing reassembly, I made a new top, wired up a 5hp Baldor motor and control and here she is now…IMG_0518[1]IMG_0052[1]One of the amazing things about vintage machines is how smooth and quiet they are…just need to keep track of all your extremities…they will have no qualms about ripping your parts off!!!


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