My studio is filled with many machines for Woodworking and Metalworking. Most were made between the 1940’s and 1950’s, a golden age of American manufacturing. Industrial machines from this era were built to last and are widely available in these modern times.

I recently got a phone call from a friend and fellow furniture maker Douglas Thayer about a Cincinnati Horizontal Mill which was at an auction he was attending. I was keen on owning a horizontal mill for a while and with the new shop I actually had the space to house it. I authorized a bid and he bought it for the princely sum of $400- not bad considering it weighs nearly 4000 lbs. It turns out the machine, a Cincinnati MH, was built it 1939, making it nearly 70 years old. Quite amazing.

He brought it back to his shop and sent me a picture.

pete mill 009

An absolutely beautiful machine! Look at that rump!

I quickly made plans to travel to Douglas’s shop and pick up the beast. I rented a trailer and set off on the three hour drive from Saratoga Springs to Westhampton Mass.

I showed up in the early evening and after a tasty dinner we set out to prep and load the mill.

By ten o’clock we have it skidded and tarped and ready to load on the trailer.


Some fancy forklift driving leaves great tire tracks.


The massive skid we built does not allow douglas’s forklift to get close enough to the center of gravity, so we need to pivot the mill of a central point to gain the needed height to reach the trailer.


We get the mill on the trailer and push it forward with a 4×4. The forklift turns out to be more powerful than the 4×4!


The next morning things look so much nicer, the rain has stopped and we strap and bind down the mill. Here I am ready to hit the road.


After a very safe and easy drive I arrive at my studio and back the trailer up to unload the mill. I am working alone and don’t have a forklift as strong as Douglas, so unloading is a process I like to call “Egyptianing”


Using rollers, a pry bar and a device called a pallet jack I am single handedly able to ease the mill of the trailer.


I get the mill of the trailer.


Only one problem, the skid is a tad too long. Fortunately a solution presents itself.


The remedy is quick and effective.


Ready to move into place


And lastly, the difference between my horizontal mill and my vertical mill (aside from the way they cut). The tool holder on the bottom fits my horizontal mill, the tapered section is what gives it is rigidity, contrast it to the toolholder on the top the amount of taper is not even comparable. This mill is a beast!