Skil 676 Refurbished by Pete Casica

27 posts |
Last post
Diamond's picture
Joined: 06/12/2005

Posted a super nice Skil in the surfshop. 

like
1
McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

I know that is a really nice planer.   And I know Pete's ability to put these machines back in original working condition.  I noticed that you had it up for sale and I can't believe that any young shaper who wants to carry on the hand shape tradition would not have bought this planer already.  I think what we are seeing is the abandoning of the hand shape craft in favor of Costco pop outs and CNC computer cut outs.  Remember paper dolls??   Well what we have these days is a bunch of sissy's who won't pick up a pair of scissors.  Let alone a few Crayons.

like
1

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

Diamond's picture
Joined: 06/12/2005

Anybody who knows Pete's work knows that this tool will last another 70+ years and has been adjusted to shape. I kept the base length original as I do use the long base on a lot of my longboards but could be cut down (676 and 190's are the best if you can find them) 

I really don't want to part with it, but I have too many other Skils for how many boards I do these days. Funny, it takes me longer to drive to and pick up a CNC'd shaped blank than to just handshape it. I do understand production shaping using the CNC is the way to go, but I'm more interested in walking the blank with a planer and seeing the shape as come to life. Two of my best Los Molinos Getto friend's Skil's are kept for mainly taking down the nose or making the one off stuff.

Anyway...that's how it is, but not for me

DJ 

like
1
ryansurfdive's picture
Joined: 02/14/2015

That seems like a pretty unfair assumption. I can't speak for every "young" shaper, but I got into the hobby because I didn't want to regularly spend $750 on boards that only lasted a season. I wanted to have a board that was exactly what I wanted, fit the conditions I surf, had some durability and didn't break the bank. 

While that is an absolutely gorgeous planer, and pretty much anyone who shapes boards would love to have it in their collection, it is way out of the budget of most people that are young into the shaping world. 

like
0
ryansurfdive's picture
Joined: 02/14/2015

Sorry for double post.

Reply was meant for Mcding...

like
0
McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

Well you get what you pay for.  A Wen or Harbor Freight planer is available for those folks.

like
0

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

mako224's picture
Joined: 12/26/2005

I have two uncut Skil 100s, a shortened Skil 100, a modified Hitachi and a Porter Cable 653.

Of those the modified Hitachi and the shortened Skil 100 are what I actually use.  If I were starting over it would be the modified plastic planer unless my plan was to focus on longboards.

like
0
everysurfer's picture
Joined: 09/20/2008

I'm sure it's a nice tool, and will work just fine, but you're asking for almost $1,000 for it.

I think it's kind of funny when guys have several of them, and try to sell one at this price.  Why did you buy the second if you already had one?

Skil 100 planers are niche collectors items now.  Sort of like the housing bubble or a pyramid scheme.  Or wine collectors, who can't afford to open and drink the thousand dollar bottle they just bought.

Unless you're a professional,  turning out a hundred boards a month, you would do just fine with many other planers.  And if you were a pro, turning out that many, it would be done using a CNC machine.

like
1
Diamond's picture
Joined: 06/12/2005

Not sure what the trolling is all about, but I'll respond. I've been hand shaping for 30+ years and collecting Skil 190's, 676's and 100's. I'm getting to the age that I really don't need three back ups to my go to everyday planer. The 676 is considered the best made (1952-1954 first generation). The price listed is less than what I have into it. $600 planer and $350 in Pete's work plus shipping and driving.  It's the best of the best and worth every dime if you hand shape and will be mowing foam log after I'm gone. 

From Pete Casica

"Good Skil's: My definition of a "good" Skil is one never used for shaping, has a no-load current draw of < 3.5A (5.5) or 4.3A (7.5), has good bearing fits, and is not missing any major parts. But you can't directly use it as-is for very long if at all.  Most have no grease left in the bearings or are prone to a variety of electrical issues just due to the age.  So my definition is based on candidates for restoration and subsequent resale with a warranty.   This is the same as those I would keep for personal use.  On Skil's that were of sedimental value or used by the famous, extensive repairs may have been done but they still ended up with the same level of quality.

Buying:  From estate sales and other face-to-face transactions prices can range from 100 - $300.  eBay, Craigs List, etc. price can be $400-$1K.  When I was doing restorations for retailers, their resale price was around $1100.  There will always be prices below $100 and more than $1100, but this all depends on the seller's expectations and your need/income.

Models:  There is no difference in a 5.5 or 7.5 amp version as far as shaping goes.  Under load of foam and a 1/4" stringer the current only increases about 25% so if the motors are within acceptable no-load current range there's no need for a larger motor.  In fact, the 7.5 motor is physically smaller than the 5.5 and will jerk when triggered due to the higher start up torque delivered to the belt. Much less with 5.5.  190 and 676 models (the oldest) are the best.  The castings had less rework on the molds and the copper motor windings are 1950's pure; they tend to have the best longevity based on the all of the Skil's I've encountered. Worse longevity is with the later Type 4 models from the 70's (orange/black nameplate).  These have very different motors from early ones and the casting molds were so bad by then the finish had bondo and was dipped in primer. 

Working on Skil's:  You can train a monkey to take one apart and reassemble, I have detailed data based on my son.  At best, you will get a factory version Skil that was designed for shaving a door bottom.  Some guys actually like to shape with them that way (too hardcore for me).  Like CNC shapes and other raw things, Skil's need to be tuned.  The transition from the intended factory use to a shaping tool brings out the subtle differences in each one.  I've spent 15 min. getting a shoe to slide right on some and 2 hours on others as an example.  Further complicating reassembly are the various pullers/presses/jigs that the Skil factory used;  everything depends on correct alignments.  If there is any damage to be repaired or something that doesn't work right, it's then a matter of ability/time/tools/parts.

Sorry for this long dissertation, but needed to clarify what Skil's are as of 2021.  So the only Skil's in "working condition" are really ones that were recently overhauled or restored.  Working condition to me literally means ready to work; one that I would comfortably give to a shaper that's done 30K+ with a Skil".

Besos

like
1
everysurfer's picture
Joined: 09/20/2008

Sorry if it cam across as trolling.  But you're asking for almost $1000 for a rebuilt planer.  For $250 more, a shaper could get an Accurate planer that's new.  It seems like an awful lot of money.

like
0
thrailkill's picture
Joined: 05/07/2004

everysurfer wrote:

 It seems like an awful lot of money.

It is.     I'd be a buyer in the $550 to $650 dollar range.      It's just a tool.     Your point about the Accurate Planer is well taken.

like
1
Bill Thrailkill SHAPER SINCE 1958
Diamond's picture
Joined: 06/12/2005

The Accurate planer is a really nice tool and well worth the $ in my opinion. Will the staters last 70+ years?  Nobody knows, but Skils have been proven. As for cost -a new Accurate planer is $1250 plus tax which comes to $1350. That is $400 more than a complete PeteC Restored Skil. 
 

i wish that the Accurate planer parts were interchangeable with the Skil...I think only the dust chute is. As the saying goes- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery 

like
1
BigKahunaMan's picture
Joined: 07/12/2021

Go shape with an accurate... report back. 

reasons no one uses em. It ain't the price tag. 

mr. "young" shaper, Dunning and Kruger come to mind...

raise your price to keep the cheapos up at night. 

like
0
doc's picture
doc
Joined: 03/18/2004

Uhhhmmm-weighing in here. I'm a tool junkie yard sale and junk shop addict. And a working stiff. 

Looked at the Accurate planer on their site, it would appear to be a near copy of the Skil but machined from the get-go rather than using machined castings. . 

Pros- likely to be stronger/wear less than cast. Better grade of aluminum than the original. Accuracy of build better.. Things like the motor assembly, switch, pulleys, belt and bearings and such are hopefully relatively common off-the-shelf stuff used in other tools ( somebody else's routers?)  so you don't have to search so hard for bits and pieces. 

Hopefully. I'm not seeing a manual or parts diagram. 

Cons: Other things like the cutters themseves and a few parts are probably unique to this thing. If I bought one, I would buy some of the unique stuff as spare parts. Which would bring up the already high price. Given a good CAD/CAM shop and a fair sized order you could bring these out fairly cheap, but these people already make hilarously expensive bespoke fishing reels for rich guys who sport fish, I don't see them ever doing enough production to bring the price down, after they amortise the time and effort that went into doing the measuring and programming. .If they ever do. Diminishing market. 

Buddy of mine has a small factory, does CAD/CAM work on things like gun parts in production runs - it's cool stuff. But his niche is doing a few hundred of something, these are done one at a time. 

Probably great for the rich hobbyist, who wil mostly keep it on a well-lit shelf and have the butler polish it now and then. Like some of the hand-fitted bronze tools sold to rich hobby woodworkers. Working stiffs will have older,overhauled Skils, PeteC's contact info and a few more as backups/spare parts.

Still like my 653, but I mostly plane oak and pine.

doc...

like
0
petec's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Hi Doc,  The main problem that Accurate faced with their planer is what guts to put in it.  Obviously it would be a huge design task to do your own motor, drive system, etc. so they simply cannibalized a currently available planer.  Unfortunately, the selection wasn't a good choice hence the noise and the motor reversed from the Skil.  A top brand like Bosch or Makita would have been better.   Another problem is the aluminum billet machined housings vs. the Skil diecast/post-machined parts (lengthy explanation, stay with me). Because planers run at 16K rpm, the bearings can get hot enough to melt the grease right past the seals. For continuous duty, bearings 2X the size of the Skil's are necessary.  But for planing doors the duty cycle is about 10 sec or less so a smaller bearing can be used.  However, Skil engineering probably figured that somebody would put it upside down in a vise to make a joiner (they later made an attachment for this) or otherwise and have a longer duty cycle.   So.... In every bearing seat Skil cast in a 1/4" thick steel ring; both to dissipate heat and provide a harder press-fit.  If you just bored a hole in aluminum for the bearing, the fit would be gone in about 8 minutes due to the heat expansion rates between the steel bearing and aluminum hole. Once that happens, the bearing is loose in the seat and grinds the housing oval. All 4 bearings in the Accurate are just bored into the aluminum.  Not rocket science or counting quantum particles, but not intern-level engineering decisions either.

My goal isn't to bad mouth Accurate here, but just to point out what I've seen when people have asked me to try and repair them.  I think the lesson here is that you can't have a good design without linking engineering and manufacturing.  Accurate is a highly respected supplier of aerospace machined parts (to customer spec's, i.e. process, not design), and on their fishing reels well they don't clock at 16K rpm like a planer.   The Rockwell 653 is a good example of what it takes to make something like a Skil but that was back in the day, unfortunately those principals are irrelevant now. 

like
3
doc's picture
doc
Joined: 03/18/2004

Hi Pete,

Well, it's before sunrise here on Cape Cod, and the pre-dawn peace and quiet was broken by a spray of coffee and a bellow of laughter. Which scared the hell out of the goddamnedcats. I love it, You're preaching to the choir and I can see that you've taken your time rebuilding the Skils to analyze and think about them with a well trained eye and mind.

A little story;

I trained as a mechanical engineer, on my way to a grad degree in ship design, Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering, though I never got there. And early on in MechEng school was a survey/intro course in Manufacturing Engineering.The idea being that a bright young spark of an engineer should be conversant with manufacturing processes so that when he or she drew something up it would be something that could be built at all, and ideally easily and cheaply and quickly. As I was in my late 20s at the time, having worked out in the world, I was all for that idea. 

The guy teachng the course was a recognised expert in metal casting, particularly iron. He dearly loved it too, you could tell. He was often out of town, consulting with outfits like GM about engine blocks. One on-paper project was how to cast a sand-cast hollow-cast cast-iron steam radiator segment, as you'll see in older buidings, more or less square in section (which has it's own quirks in the casting and mold making process) . After it was done and threaded for piping you would bolt a bunch of them together, maybe on-site, as they would be heavy damn things, 

Technically, a difficult thing to cast, I would imagine in practice the discard rate of failed castings would be pretty high.

I liked that course. And in this case I had fun with the assignment.

After giving them the school solution, a tricky little mold,  I redesigned it for each segment to be made of two identical pieces, not hollow, that would mate using a cheap gasket, require no hollow castings, have no sharp angles. I think I may have been looking at a clam when the idea struck me.  In addition, it was redesigned so you wouldn't get condensate pooling at the bottom as the original design would to make rust or blow the things apart if for some reason the steam went off in a cold winter like we get here and the condensate froze. I think I wrote Do not design for ideal conditions. You won't get them. 

The TA grad students asked if they could copy my paper. Probably thought I was a ringer the professor had slipped in to test them and make their lives difficult. And I wanted to draw boats and ships, or I would have thought very hard about switching to manufacturing. It was that much fun.  


 I think the lesson here is that you can't have a good design without linking engineering and manufacturing.

I would add that the end user should be part of the process too. .Webb Institute of Naval Architecture trains their students in engineering, except that their first summer they send you to work in a shipyard. so maybe you don't design what can't be built or will cost the moon if you do build it. The next two summers they send you to sea, so you don't tend to design something that's useless or will fail in use.   

A few things-

I find it really disappointing that these guys would go to all the trouble of designing and machining this thing out of nice aluminum and then throw in what are for all I can tell the guts from a $59.95 Harbor Freight import planer that's pretty much disposable. Especially when they are charging $1200 for it. As you say, and I agree, it's not feasible to build your own power unit from scratch, but jeez, Use something better.  

As well, how hard would it be to set it up with removable/replaceable steel or maybe even better cast iron (handles heat better) inserts machined to hold oversized but still standard off the shelf sized bearings? That would be and remain solid and soak up heat, etc. etc. I mean, they are after all playing in a CAD/CAM machine shop you and I would give our eye teeth for, it's kinda trivial as well as fairly cheap.  

And for $1200. I think you've got a right to expect something that's near perfect in use, that will last long enough to justify the cost. Back to the drawing board, boys. 

Now, the Skils were built to a price, admittedly, My old man bought one and he was awfully tight with a buck. But they were built in an era when a working man simply would not accept something as cheezoid as the Accurate. You could get cheap plastic planers from Sears and you expected them to fail, as did plastic Rockwell drills of the era, but if you bought something that cost two week's pay and it was that bad, well, the tool sales guy would need the services of a proctologist to remove the thing once the angry buyer was through. 

And if you wanted, then, to spend a bit more, well, you had every reason to expect a big, heavy, industrial sonofabirch like the 653 that could and does plane heavy oak until my arms get tired. Or mow foam, if you were Phil Becker. 

I keep reading that people are getting tired of buying junk, that they're more willing to spend the money to buy good stuff that will last and work better while it does. That would be nice, but I'd expect to see it happen first with a high-priced niche item like the Accurate. 

Unfortunately. not so much. 

doc....

like
2
McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

In regards to your last paragraph doc.  It seems to me in my financial dealings with the general public that they are only willing to pay for a quality product when they can beat you down to "Dollar Store" prices.  What ever happened to "I'm willing to pay what I know it is worth." ??

like
0

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

doc's picture
doc
Joined: 03/18/2004

Ummm, you pose an interesting question. 

As an example, let's take a car maker: Mercedes Benz. In the '50s, '60s and '70s, they built machines of high quality, though not for the general public, rather they were built for people who viewed one of their cars as a long term item ( I won't say 'investment' ) to be used, maintained and repaired for a long time by somebody who knew the difference between one of theirs and, say, the Chevys or the Fiats of the day. 

It may be apocryphal, but it was said that the 280SL, a relatively small convertible, had on it 20 kilos of paint straight from the factory. Built to hold up. The engines may not have been the most powerful but they were reliable and when Benz built the car they built a wild amount of spares for it, likely there's still some for the 280SL in the warehouses fifty years on. And, while a Rolls Royce might have been built to theoretically go 'forever' for a very serious price, the Benzes were built to be rebuilt forever by a good mechanic who would need those spares, things like cylinder sleeves and extra heavy bearings where others used a simple cast block and cruder bushings. Me, I had a '74 240D, diesel given to me, that when I finally gave it away had 350,000 miles on it. The rings and valve job it needed were beyond my budget. And it was on to the next freebie.

By comparison, a Chevy of that era, if it made it to 35,000, you were due to replace it, 70,000 and it would be literally remarkable and on its second or third engine and transmission.

What happened? Mercedes decided they wanted to compete with General Motors. Gradually, or not so gradually, they cheaped out to get the price down. Mercedes also went from a byword for reliability that was worth paying extra for to just another car, albeit an expensive and I would say overpriced one with  few high end trappings like leather upholstery. Even the best ones they made at the top of the range suffered from this quality erosion.

Part of it , in  US market, was the vanishing of their customer base, the better paid working professions and craftsmen who knew quaity because they produced quality themselves. Rather, it became either the rich, buying at Neiman Marcus or the rest of us, hitting the dollar store for something we knew we'd throw away fairly quick.A culture of greed, where you aspired to wealth by any means or resigned yourself to being ground down..

The rich will pay well,  very well indeed for their toys, their trophies, as an ostentatious display rather than an intelligent appreciation of quality to use. The reputation is something that comes from rich idiots bragging to other rich idiots. If you want that market you have to crack that niche. And even then they will do their best to grind you down . that is in the main how they got rich after all. And they are fickle. there is always somebody who will make something that's no better but they suck up better, flatter the egos of the rich a little more, however transparently. 

As I said, you need to crack that niche to get the price. And once there, the kneepads will get a lot of use.Don't get me started on why a guy who was trained to work on wooden commercial fishing boats got out of it and won't work on rich people's yachts.

That's a long and angry story.

doc....

like
2
McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

Shaping with an Accurate?  Wear really good ear protection.  And not likely that the case will hold up to bearings in the long run.

like
1

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

mako224's picture
Joined: 12/26/2005

The most I've ever paid tor a Skil 100 is $40 and the least is $10.   I've come across 3 in about 18 years of keeping my eyes out for them.  Two came from an auction house in NJ that runs huge auctions monthly and the $10 one was stumbled upon at a yard sale in Brooksville Florida which is basically the middle of nowhere.  Actually paid more for my Turbo Chute than I paid for the planer I use it on.  Kind of like the vintage boards I've picked up along the way, its about the search.  I'd never pay top dollar for a vintage board someone else scored.  I'd rather be the guy who scored.  Otherwise I'd be content with the modified Hitachi.

like
0
surfteach's picture
Joined: 12/03/2005

Gonna turn 71 later on this year. Shaped my first surfcraft in '68.  I have a few Skil's and a couple of the old mod Hitachi's.  A bunch of years ago I bought 2 regular un-modifed P20 Hitachi's as I consider them the best low cost alternative for learners mowing foam.  They are waiting on the next gen along with instructions on how to do the mods. They are grandkids of somebody I know.   I've used every planer mentioned on Sways as well as a few that have not.  Can't do the Accurate even with ear protection.  I have a grit barrel rigged Clark Hitachi for skining blanks.  I have a 676 with the new multi-cutter drum.  If I'm doing modern foam, I skin with Hitachi and finish with the Skil.  Terry Martin was the king of Skils and if you want to be the best, watch the best.  A craftman is only as good as their tools.  My grandpas told me that.  If you really want to shape and make it a career, you need to have good tools.  Let the tools do the work, let your mind see the form.  When I am done, there are a couple of people that will get what I see they need.  After that, my son can deal with the crap.  Just my 2c...   PS:  And this is not even EPS related!  Hi Herb!

like
1
McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

John Mel told me once in reference to Skil Planers and anyone who is or wants to become a serious shaper;  "Who wouldn't spend $1000 for a good tool".   There are other alternatives for beginners and people who just do the occasional board.   Lots of Pros use the Hitachi usually because that is what they got started with originally and what they are familiar with and comfortable with.  The Hitachi has been in use a long time and for plastic, gets the job done.  I own two of them and one of them has seen a lot of use.  The other has never been used.   If I were starting over and had 100 or so blanks shaped under my belt done with the Hitachi;  I would be looking for a Skil.  It's kind of a natural progression.  If I couldn't find one somewhere for less and R'n'R it.  I would consider a "bite the bullet" $1000 Skil 100, 676 or 190 that someone else had taken care of and kept up.

like
0

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.

ambrose's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

well read this whole thread...

then looked it up on the ''Suf Shop'''

it says ..............sold...

too bad , only one guy   

didn't  ' MISS '  the opportunity to own it..

congradulations to the guy that is turning on that

swell sound of the fresh skill planer.... my imagination

reels exstatickly .... wow planer porn...

cheapskate sour grape nay sayers 

happy camping with harbor freight smells of burning electric motors.

melting plastic bodies clogging dust shutes waiting for replacement parts

wondering what that screaming bearing is saying to your inner ear...

that first cut just makes me wanna go clean up my shop of hoarded

junk to shape a new fresh shape.... that in itself

 is worth a thousand bux I don't have...

up the revolution

respect.

aloha from waipouli

...ambrose....

God bless Mr. skil planer .

like
0

ambrose M. curry III

petec's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

Hi Ambrose, your post conjours up images/sounds/smells I've experienced.  Terry Martin had told me to rely more on these things than science and engineering when it comes to shaping and planers.

Did you know the design which eventually became the Skil planer was invented by a butcher in Detroit?  He was a hobby woodworker that made a prototype from a big hand plane and took it to his local hardware store who hooked him up with Skil in Chicago.  Doctor Detroit I liked to call him.   That guy sold the design rights, continued as a butcher, then bought a refined factory version from Skil for his hobby.  Zappa once said: " Don't you know? You could make more money as a butcher.." (Cosmik Debris 1974). 

like
2
ambrose's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

talk to the esoteric group in the room

stare into the blue campfire at the photo of

the family butcher [reno tognetti my daads soccer teamate 

all state champs 1939?coach P.J prince}

in another life was the 6 degrees of seperation

connection to dropping in at 12 foot hanalei

in the dawn's early light 1975....

yeah not the guy but to think the ripple effect

of a guy so remote to the apparent lives of 

some guys like us so far removed from a butcher in 'detroit'

holds a candle to  the sun in these days

we deal with a sense of our own mortality.

who was that guy thaat handed me

my first planer in terry debardaladen's parlor

after my mom drove me to the bank in linda mar...

a photo of this butcher guy on a t-shirt

moving a slice of the world population to tears

whadda short story construct to move a select

subculture   ...   

there are rooms worldwide where these implements

rest on alters covered in dust where devotees 

close the doors behind themselves 

and chant mantras in sync with audio

from bethoven to taj mahal and back

to gabby pahinui and johnny kameaaloha almeida

and on to the spectrum to diick dale and up to

bud shank and dizzy gillespie infinitum ...

only to open the one door to release

to the world another attempt to please

the greatest oceans fickle moods....

and Balboa came to the crest of the ridge

and beheld the vast blue and chose to call it 

The Pacific that now owns the souls of many

a boy/man poor and rich alike only molecules in space.

...ambrose...

rest in peace    Y

like
0

ambrose M. curry III

ambrose's picture
Joined: 03/18/2004

oh yeah 

the guy that shaped a board

on a picnik bench turned

upsidedown with a sureform,

he was from san diego

he din't even wait for a

delivery from harbor freight

in '68 sureforms cost $3.50

complete... why wait ...

...ambrose...

like
0

ambrose M. curry III

McDing's picture
Joined: 05/22/2004

Makes sense to me.  But even Joe Biden makes sense to some folks.  So what do I know?

like
0

That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.