Iron Age Enterprises
New Life For Vintage Machines
Iron Age Services
Restoration & Repair of Vintage Machines
U.S. - Made machinery from the '30s through '70s was produced by an industrial infrastructure we will never see the like of again. Technology, availability of materials, pride of craftsmanship, and industrial styling all combined during that period to produce tools that were far superior to most tools made today. We restore those great old tools to "like-new" condition.
What we do...
Here at Iron Age we do everything from "turn back the clock" restoration, to the creation of "functional artifacts", based upon the wishes of the client. In every case we strive to meet or exceed the machine's original operational condition.
We specialize in performing restoration and repair service for people that already own machines. Sometimes, if a client is looking for a particular machine, or style of machine, we are able to assist in locating what they're looking for through our network of contacts.
How we Do It
Every machine, including the motor, is disassembled to it's component parts and each part is serviced. Cast iron parts are sandblasted and painted, plated parts are cleaned and polished, bare steel is cleaned and waxed, all bearings are replaced. Broken or missing components are located, serviced and replaced, or when necessary fabricated or machined, and electrical wiring is replaced. When all this is done, the machine is carefully reassembled, paying close attention to period appropriate detail ...Even the original fasteners are utilized when possible.
U.S. - made machinery from the '30s through '70s were produced by an industrial infrastructure we will never see the like of again. Technology, availability of materials, styling, and pride of craftsmanship, all combined during that period to produce tools that were far superior to most tools today.
For example; In 1957 Sears offered a bench-top drill press made by the King-Seeley corporation under the Craftsman marque. At that time The Model 100 sold for a whopping $97.00 - (without the motor) - Sounds like a great deal, doesn't it? Well.... In 2022 dollars, that $97 equates to.....$997.99.
Let that sink in.... To get the equivalent machine today you'd have to spend just a hair under $1000!
Without the motor.
So before you call the scrap-guy and replace that old rusty drill press with something that can be sold for $200 AFTER being shipped from overseas, get in touch with us.
We restore those great old machines... Because they deserve it!
The Answers You Need
Do you sell completed machines?
Our focus is on providing restoration and repair services for owners of machines.
For clients that don't already own one we do keep a small, ever-changing number of core-machines on hand. These are available at a very reasonable additional charge to clients that commit to a restoration.
Sometimes, if the core inventory gets too large, we'll go ahead and do a build...On those occasions the machines can be viewed on the "Currently Available" page above.
Do you ship?
All shipping is the responsibility of the client. Pickup and delivery within a 25 mile radius of 93021 is available for a fee, though it must be arranged.
So how much does all of this cost?
Every machine has a different history, therefor no two restorations are the same. Rates for our services are determined on a case-by-case basis. The best thing to do is simply get in touch. We'll talk about what you have, what you want, and work out a rate-window based upon the actual machine.
What our clients have to say...
From Juan H. - Santa Maria, CA
I have but two words for anyone thinking about doing business with James: Do it. He is a craftsman of the first order and a man of integrity. James resurrected a Delta jointer and a Famco drill press for me -- two fine old tools now in like-new condition -- and I expect these won't be the only tools I bring home from his shop. Thank you, James!
From Bill P. - La Palma, CA.
James really takes pride in his work. He is an amazing talented individual. I was truly impressed with the way he answered my questions promptly via email. This is customer service way beyond what has become the norm in today’s rush, rush, world. James looked at pictures of my Drill Press and told me what model it was, pointing out some after market modifications that had been made to the press. After sending James some measurements of the pulleys and belts, he advised that the belts I had were the wrong size and type. James took the time to explain what belts I needed and what tools would work best to change the belts…. Please note all this info was free of charge.
It was obvious to me that changing one of the belts could be a bit difficult because of a housing around the pulley. James then explained how to disassemble the unit. I believe it would involve removing one of the bearings. Again, all this info with professional tricks of the trade was offered free of charge. I could have taken the info and possibly got my Drill Press functioning. However, in the short conversations I had (email and land line ) with James I knew I was dealing with a gentleman that was extremely knowledgeable about these old machines. Luckily I was able to get James to do the restoration work on my old Drill Press.
Meeting James in person was a real bonus, got a short tour of his shop, with chance to look at some of his work. James really takes pride in his work and this becomes very obvious when he shares his knowledge about the machines in his shop. Got my Drill press back and it runs as good or better than it did when a Walker Turner built it.
One very a Happy Customer. Thanks, James.
From Ken B. - Long Beach, CA
I met James via a Craigslist ad when I was looking to restore a big 1953 Delta DP600 drill press I’d owned for many years. He sounded like a nice guy who knew what he was doing, so I took a chance and gave James the job. Being a bit of a perfectionist, while the drill press was away being worked on I did fret about exactly how it would turn out in terms of fit and finish. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. When James delivered the finished press, the workmanship was amazing. Perfect paint everywhere, including the motor. Parts I simply could not find, new or used, had been replaced as needed. The machine was clean, polished and ready for another 60 years of use.
I heartily recommend James and his services. He really is a genuinely nice guy who knows his craft.
From Chris W. in Altadena, CA
I found James via Craigslist when I was trying to decide whether to save or scrap a 15” Duro bandsaw gifted to me in rough shape. The machine had been through a lot of “ad-hoc” fixes prior to me and I wasn’t sure it could be saved, but it had some local history so I wanted to try. James came out to assess the machine and seemed almost as excited to unwind it’s mysteries as I was. After identifying the saw could be rehabilitated, James and I talked about what I wanted out of the saw and away it went. Two weeks later, on-time and under budget, James delivered the saw and went over all the discoveries, repairs, and some custom parts he fabricated. James is as close to being the machine-whisperer as anybody I’ve ever met and I would gladly entrust future tools to him.
From Lew J. - Corona, CA
James is a true artist and craftsman in every sense of the word.
My whole life experience has been a connection to woodworking and woodworking machinery. Vintage machinery such as: Yates, Delta, Walker Turner, Atlas, Norfield and Craftsman shaped my life. From early childhood, working with my grandpa, to later years working with California millwork and window manufacturers; these machines from the 1880’s to 1950’s served me as a learning experience; and later gave me the ability to earn a living. Over the years I collected a few machines that were representative of my life experience.
James has an eye and the talent to bring these representatives of our past back. His attention to detail, keen perception, and natural mechanical ability brings these tools of our forefathers back for another 100 years. His restorations are exquisite! New bearings obsolete or broken parts are remanufactured. James is to vintage machine restoration what Sam Maloof was to furniture artistry. His beautifully finished pieces make a statement in your shop, museum or man cave. What a beautiful item to hand down to the next generation.
From Bob T. - Nashville, TN
I bought a 1940s Craftsman drill press. When I got it home, I discovered it was in worse shape than it looked; it had been abused. The paint was peeling, surface rust on everything and the power cords were coming apart. The motor died drilling the first hole. James looked it over and said he could restore it. He had to straighten the quill, install new bearings and clean out grease that was so old it had solidified. When he returned the drill press, it looked like new! It was beyond my expectations. It purrs and the paint job is beautiful. Even my wife was impressed. Every detail was done to perfection, including the model information plate. The old drill press is now nicer than anything I could buy new. I highly recommend James for any machinery restoration job.
From Joe H. - Beaumont, CA
James, Words cannot express how pleased I am to know you. Your kindness, ingenuity, and integrity are remarkable. The lathe and sander are beautiful machines. I am so pleased with all of the tools you restored for me. I look forward to future projects. Best to Melinda! Thank you again, --Joe