Moak Machine & Foundry
by Stephen Thomas


Moak Machine & Foundry, Port Huron, MI 48060 were still in business until about 1990 or maybe a little later. They had a full page ad in the 1987 WMMA Buyer's Guide from the IWF show that year. I don't know who, if anyone, bought the assets. Bullard Devlieg bought a lot of those old bankrupt companies and sells some parts for some machines; but again, this is just a guess, no real info.

The machines had a pretty good reputation. It's just that that kind of machinery isn't used much by industry anymore (individual non automated machines run by "craftsmen"). And they got way too expensive new for the small shop and home shop guys to consider. Plus, the Euro stuff (SCMI,Pinhero,Martin, etc) was much better marketed, while the 3rd generation of old family companies sat on their duff and expected orders to flow in automatically.

Although I have never actually run one, Moak's bandsaws and monotrol tilt arbor saw (table saw) are right up there with the best of the genre. I'm not fond of wedge (inclined) bed jointers, which was Moak's style. Personal preference aside, however, they are very good machines. Dealers still ask prices equivalent to the typical old "good" industrial names for similar 12 or 16 inch machines. Newman, Porter, and Northfield made very similar, high quality rugged inclined bed machines. I favor the J.A. Fay & Egan, and Oliver style with the full sub-bed support and smaller ramps at each corner.

If you like it, and it's complete and in good condition with the guard and dust scoop, I'm sure you won't go wrong for anything less than say $1,000. It's probably worth more, especially if they throw in a 3Hp or better single phase motor, but how long will it take you to sell it if you decide to change? (Actually, check this, I can't remember Moak's system, but some Porters were DMD and you can't conveniently change the motor) If you can't do repairs yourself and thus know how to judge costs accurately, steer well clear of old industrial machines missing parts or with broken castings. They are too heavy to move and take up too much space while you try to decide whether to sink 2 or 3 time the purchase price into repairs. The machine would be worth it, probably, but not the bargain you expected.


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© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
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