Glossary Intro and Glossary Annexes

Combination Woodworking Machines

By combination machine" in a home woodworking shop usually means a piece of machinery with a small, space-saving footprint, that includes a table saw with an circular blade and a tilting table, or a tilting arbor, a 30" lathe, a drill press, a disk sander, a shaper, and you can add such accessories as a jig saw, a bandsaw, and an abrasive machine.

Often powered from one source, a Fractional Horsepower Electric Induction Motor, or a gasoline engine, and either by Lineshafts and belts, or -- later -- by several motors.

European woodworkers, who put a premium on space, provide a good market for combination tools.

(Several European-made combination woodworking machines -- Felder, MiniMax, Robland, among others -- are marketed in America today. I myself own a 2001 Robland X31 combination machine.

Regardless, here in America, we tend more toward single-function machines, although lathe-based, multipurpose-tool designs -- Shopsmith and Total Shop -- are still popular in home shops. For example With considerable pride, I own a 1947 Shopsmith 10E. Because the serial number is so low, the 1947 date is indisputable. Nonetheless, post WW II American-made combination tools come with trade-offs. Their chief assets are a small footprint and numerous power tools, running off a single arbor. These combination machines are driven by one motor -- early models are underpowered, an 8" saw blade with tilting table, and accessories that are scaled for work with small workpieces. For fexample, the 8" saw blade can barely cut through a 2 X 4 laying on the flat side. Regardless, these machines -- especially the original Shopsmith are engineering marvels.)

The etymology of a term that designates a concept of a woodworking machine performing more than one function present obvious difficulties, because of the difficulty of finding the origin. As readers will note below, combination machines -- regardless of how reliable -- were being discussed as early as 1816 -- (see thesis by James Lindsey Hallock, as cited below). My search unearthed a use of "combination woodworking machine" in 1868 -- see text in box below:


Parks' Improved Foot-Power Mortising Tenoning Machine

The combination machine herewith illustrated and described, is offered to the consideration of woodworkers as one possessing to a high degree the quali- ties of convenience and practicability. It is intend- ed for mortising and tenoning, mitering, cornering shingles, cutting 0. G. on the ends of sash rails, tonguing and grooving stuff for corners of drawers etc., and mortising for the ends of blind slats-for all of which it affords speci'l conveniences.

Source: Manufacturer and Builder Volume 21, Issue 1, New York: Western and Company, January 1889, page page 18 -- The 1868 date is interesting, because the earliest date for the Oxford English Dictionary records is 1901.

Combination Machines

Historically, lack of floor space has driven woodworkers to demand combination woodworking machines, with smaller space-occupying footprints, and multiple functions, by utilizing one or more motors (or alternative power sources) to operate several tools integral to that machine. To a lesser degree, for industrial operations, lack of financial captital is another factor driving the development of combination woodworking tools. (The latter observation comes from sources such as Bale, cited below.)

Combination machines are frequently found in nineteenth century woodworking shops. According to James Lindsey Hallock, in the 19th century, motivated by needs similar to those that drove smaller operations to select the bench saw for the small shop - - also discussed in Hallock -- were developed a diverse family of combined-function woodworking machines".

Both Hallock and M Powis Bale are sources for accounts of combination woodworking machines in the early 19th century. Hallock, unfortuntately, does not document his claims, and while I have no reason to doubt it, it is a topic that I will try to confirm in due time; Bale, however, as I point out below, is more forthcoming with his evidence of 19th century combination woodworking machines.

In designing a general joiner or other combination machine, the great point to aim at is simplicity of the mechanical arrangements, combined with ready adaptability to the various work to be performed, the whole being under the easy control of the operator.

Mistakes have often been made in constructing the general details of too complicated a character, so that even when efficiency of production is attained it is more or less neutralised by the first cost, cost of working, keeping in repair, and the amount of skill required to operate.

Some designers also strive to give their productions too wide a field of operation, losing sight of the fact that a moderate range of work, rapidly and accurately performed, must be held to be in every way better, and commercially more economical, than a greater variety of work indifferently turned out.

By some engineers, various appliances for joinery purposes have been added to the ordinary rising-spindle circular-saw bench. The planing is generally performed by means of a cast-iron disc, fitted with suitable cutters, which project slightly beyond the face of the disc. This disc takes the place of the circular saw, and the wood is fed by hand between its face and that of the fence plate. For squaring up and rough planing, this plan may be of some value, but for a finer class of work it cannot be recommended. Considerable skill and care is also necessary in operating, as the cutters require to be very finely sharpened and adjusted, or the work turned out is of a very inferior quality.

Source: M Powis Bale, Woodworking Machinery, Its Rise, Progress and Construction, 1800-1880, London: Crosby, Lockwood, 1880, pages 181-185.

M Powis Bale: A machine patented in 1867 could saw, plane, mould, cut tenons, mortise, bore, miter, chamfer, bead, rabbet, groove, and cut lap joints



THE combining of the functions of several machines into one, under the title of "general or universal Joiners", is of comparatively modern origin, and is more or less confined to this country, as we find very few machines of this class in use in America or on the Continent, although it is doubtless preferable, where the machines can be fully and constantly employed, that they should be separate and distinct; but as a large number of the building establishments in this country are not of sufficient extent to so profitably employ them, a well-designed combined machine, performing a considerable range of work, and produced in the first instance at a moderate cost, cannot but be of considerable value.

On the first introduction of `general joiners' they were very generally condemned, it being held that it was impossible to combine satisfactorily in one machine so great a range of work.

This idea has now, however, been sufficiently disproved, although a large number of engineering abortions tended for some time to throw discredit on these very useful machines ....

In the year 1867 Mr. S. Worssam, of London, patented an improved general joiner.

The improvements consisted, firstly, in the application to such machines of an apparatus whereby tenons may be completely cut in one traverse of the wood, second the application to such machines of an arrangement for producing larger and more perfect mouldings, and third, an improved arrangement for squaring out the end of mortises left of semicircular form.

This machine, with its various appliances, is capable of performing nearly the whole of the operations required in a joiner's shop. including sawing, planing, moulding, tenoning, mortising, boring, mitring, chamfering, beading, rebating, grooving, tonguing, &c.

All these operations are performed independently of each other, or in conjunction. The planing and moulding are performed by rotary cutters, a self-acting roller feed carrying the wood beneath the cutters. The speed of this feed can be graduated to suit the nature of the wood being operated on. Tenons are formed either with circular saws or rotary cutters, as may be desired. The wood is held in a vertical position by a suitable cramp. The mortising is performed by a rotary auger, the wood being traversed up to it by a hand lever; the lengths and depths of the mortise are regulated by stops. Curved mouldings are worked on a separate vertical spindle. A traversing plate for cross-cutting, squaring, mitring, &c., is fitted to the saw table, and altogether this machine roust be pronounced one of the most efficient of its class....

Source: M Powis Bale, Woodworking Machinery, Its Rise, Progress and Construction, 1800-1880, London: Crosby, Lockwood, 1880, pages 181-185.

Their attraction was economy: compared to their big brothers, they were cheap, and they occupied a smaller space on the shop floor.

Their disadvantages were:

first -- like all combination machines -- each function of the machine is compromised somewhat by its need to accommodate the other functions.

second -- converting the machine from one function to another is time-consuming, often eating into production time, thus reducing profit for the the shop owner.

Overhead Costs Vs Operating Costs

There was a trade-off between high overhead costs on one hand, and high operating costs on the other; between fast production of identical items on one hand, and slower production of diverse items on the other.

The driving motive for inventing machines with multiple functions was the desire to fabricate finished parts for products such as Conestoga wagons, railroad cars and the like. "Early machines designed with combined functions were little more than systems of jigs and clamps, designed by sash makers to speed up their work". [This is a claim made by Hallock, but his allegation is not documented.]

It is difficult to tell just what they were; descriptions are sketchy. One machine of 1828, mentioned in the Franklin Journal, was designed to saw, plane and mortise for sash and doors. The editor of the Franklin Journal couldn't tell much from the description, but it seemed "to resemble, in many particulars, other machines which (had been) made for similar purposes". 26 [volume 119 -- have requested this article]

An 1816 machine used a hand crank and flywheels to power some sort of sawing, planing and boring mechanism. An 1831 device combined eight contrivances, including a reciprocating plane, for making window sash.

Universal Woodworker


The 1880s saw introduced several combination machines, called "universal woodworkers". These machines -- usually based on either the jointer-planer or the table saw -- combined several different machines into one frame. Likewise, further expanding their utility, they could operate with different cutterheads and saws on one arbor or even combined these funtions.

However ingenious, great variation prevailed in their design or the quality of their construction.

The significance of these machines was chiefly economic. They enabled persons with limited capital to overcome the otherwise prohibitive business of mechanized woodworking.

Variation in Power Sources

For money-strapped entrepreneurs, many ways existed to cut costs. Shops were powered by a mule and a treadmill or or a helper and a hand crank. Notes James Lindsey Hallock, page 81:

"Even so sophisticated a machine as the automatic window blind mortiser could be bought in a hand cranked version".

The eighteen-eighties and eighteen-nineties also saw the development of an entirely different family of combined-function machines that reduced the number of steps involved in the production of identical parts. Typical of these was an 1883 relishing [sic] and mortising machine for cutting sash and door joints; it worked on the two sticks to be joined, both at the same time. It was claimed to make enough parts for one thousand doors per day. Another machine bored, gained and mortised railroad car sills, saving much manual labor in handling and re-handling the massive pieces.

Expanded-Function Planing Machines

An 1883 door finishing machine planed, sanded, and poIished assembled doors in one pass, saving handling a while ruining at the rate of one hundred doors per hour.

Planing machines with extra moulding cutters became common in the eighteen-eighties; they avoided the same problems of material stacking and rehandling.

Source: Adapted from James Lindsey Hallock Woodworking Machinery in the 19th Century University of Delaware thesis 1978, pages 80-85

no 760 Portable: motor driven combined machines


R. E. Dewalt.
Hanchett Saw:
Hutchinson Mfg.
Lu., Inc.

Union Machine Co.

The Dewalt machine is of the bench type and is designed for bolting to the bench close to the wall, as it requires no rear clearance.

This machine is used for ripping, cross cutting, mitering or dadoing at any angle, making compound cuts, shaping, moulding, sanding, grinding, etc. and may be fitted with attachments for turning, jig sawing, flexible shaft boring, screw driving, etc.

This machine comprises a bench pedestal which carries at the top, on a graduated collar, a horizontal arm 30" long which may be swung in a complete circle and is vertically adjustable by screw and crank through a range of 6" from a low position of 16 1/2 ", above base line of pedestal. This arm is machined in the lower edge to receive the dovetailed slide from which the motor yoke is pendant. This yoke is attached to the slide by means of a square headed shaft which establishes the parallel or right angle setting of the yoke. The motor is pivoted in the yoke and swings from horizontal to vertical and is located on the principal angles by a pin which engages holes in an aluminum segment. The motor of 1/3 H. P., 3600 R. P. M. ball bearing type is fitted to receive tools on each end of the shaft. The smooth cutting saw 11" in diameter is covered by an aluminum guard and has range to work stock up to 2" thick and cut off up to 16" wide. Net weight complete 175 lbs.

The Hanchett "Three in One" machine, is a. compact, accurately built, motor driven tool embodying a tilting saw table, a six-inch jointer and a drum sander. This machine is built on a well designed, cored pedestal mounted on rollers and fitted with a roller jack which locks- the machine in position or raises it on the rollers for easy portability. Within the pedestal is located a 1/2 H. P. motor belted to a countershaft also housed within the pedestal. From this countershaft a three-unit, lever controlled drive is used for the three cutting arbors. Motor control switch and lever which control the drive are located on front of pedestal. Belt from motor to countershaft is provided with a lever operated binder pulley. Movement of the control lever applies power independently to each of the. three units. Saw arbor and the jointer spindle are mounted in standard ball bearings and the sand drum shaft in bronze bearings. The three units, sand drum, saw and jointer are mounted in a cored, one-piece, self-contained housing' mounted on the pedestal and readily removable for access to motor and transmission within. The cast iron saw table is 15 1/2 x 20" in size and may be adjusted vertically or tilted to any angle up to 45 degrees. The ripping gauge is of the, tilting type, adjusts on a track at edge of table and may be used on either side of saw. The ripping gauge is also employed as a jointer gauge and is accurately fitted for that purpose. The cutting-off gauge may be used on either side of the saw and is of the swivelling type. Table is fitted with throat plate and saw guard. Saws are 7" diameter and have a maximum projection of 2". The jointer table is 6 /"x20" and the front and rear sections are adjustable on inclines. Cylinder is of the round, thin knife type carries three knives and is covered by a competent aluminum guard. The shaft which carries the sand drum is mounted in a screw adjusted yoke and the drum may be adjusted vertically in relation to the cast iron table which is 10 1/2" x 20" in size. Paper is mounted on the drum by means of a steel clamping bar. All tables may be set in align_ ment and the combined area is 20 "x33 ". Height 35". Net weight 450 lbs.

The Hutchinson Wood Worker, Floor type is essentially a building trades machine and is designed" with special reference to use in carpenter shops and on building jobs. This machine is readily separable into three parts by loosening one set screw and four bolts and may be easily transported. The machine comprises the following independent units: Rip saw, parallel traveling cut-off saw, six-inch jointer and twelve-inch sand disc, and is built on a bolted-up east frame which carries a glued-up wood top 30 "x46 "x30" high. Rising from the rear center of the table is a round, machined post which carries above the table a competent housing vertically adjustable through a 12" range by screw and handwheel. Mounted on this housing, on ball bearing rollers, are two round steel rods which carry at the front end the horizontal saw arbor yoke and at the rear a motor of 2 1/2 to 5 H. P. belted to the arbor by means of a special rubber belt 3" wide by 93" long. The entire frame carrying motor and saw arbor has a horizontal movement, on the rollers in the housing, sufficient to cut off stock up to 8 "x16". The housing is also fitted to swivel on the post through a range of 180 degrees so that the travel of the saw may be at any angle. This arbor is used for cutting off, dadoing, gaining, etc. and is pulled through the cut by handle on front of arbor yoke. The housing is adjusted vertically to bring the saw or other tool into the desired relation with the table which is fitted with a transverse groove to receive the lower edge of saw. Arbor has range to swing saws to 20" diameter. The same arbor when ,swung to a transverse position as regards the table is used for boring, the end of the arbor opposite the saw being fitted to receive bits which are served by a sliding table. Sanding is also accomplished by mounting a disc on the boring end of this arbor.

Mounted below the main table is the ripping arbor vertically adjustable by handwheel and screw and with range for saws to 12" in diameter as well as dado heads and other tools. For driving this arbor the upper sliding frame with motor is adjusted so that the motor shaft is parallel with the rip saw arbor and the same belt used for driving the sliding upper saw is employed on the ripping arbor. The jointing attachment involves a complete bench type jointer with six-inch .round, thin knife cutter head and adjustable tables 10"x38" over all. A double faced pulley on motor drives the jointer and rip saw arbor by means of independent belts and both may be used at the same time the jointer being mounted at one side of the main frame and the rip saw at the other side. Suitable ripping and cut-off gauges are mounted in grooves in the main table. Saw arbors are speeded at 3000 R. P. M. Weight complete with motor 1160 lbs. Floor space 72"x96".

The Hutchinson Bench Machine is a small edition of the machine just described and comprises an over-cutting saw arbor together with an independent ripping arbor and a bench jointer all driven by one, 1/2 H. P. motor, which takes current from any lamp socket. This machine is built on a cast base 18"x24" in size fitted with short bench legs. It embodies the same sliding frame with arbor and motor as the larger machine. The arbor is mounted in .chain oiling bronze bearings and is speeded at 4200 R. P. M. Range is to carry -Saws to 10" diameter. The sliding frame swivels to any angle but is not vertically adjustable being served by a vertically adjustable table. The independent rip saw arbor and the jointer are mounted at opposite sides of the frame and are driven in the same manner as on the larger machine. Bench space 36"x36" Weight including motor 245 lbs.

The Union Combined Machine comprises the 6" Jointer" and the Universal Saw of that company both mounted on a cored pedestal and driven by a single motor of 1/2 H. P. mounted on a lever controlled swing frame and fitted with one belt which is used to drive either of the machines, being slipped from one pulley to the other. The frame which carries the two machines is mounted on a pedestal fitted with two rollers at the back and two ,stationary feet at the front and provided with a handle which when pulled forward forces down a third roller and takes the weight off the stationary feet. Net weight bench type 193 lbs., complete with pedestal 355 lbs.

Source: Cosgrove's Handbook of Woodworking Machinery 1923, plus supplement February, 1924

First Delta Combos Come in Late 1920s



    Delta Combo Late 1920s

    Both the circular saw and the jointer are mounted on one stand, thus forming one complete unit which is driven by a 112 H. P. motor. This gives sufficient reserve power for even the toughest jobs. The circular saw and jointer combination, as represented by this unit, will be found exceedingly convenient, as a piece of stock may be ripped to size and then finished on the jointer without loss of time or effort.

    The 8-in circular saw is equipped with a table which may be tilted to an angle up to 450. The miter gauge has graduations and can be set accurately at any angle up to 600, in either direction. Adjustable stop rods are provided which come in very handy for cutting multiple p i e c e s to exactly the same lengths. This machine has a very good and serviceable rip gauge which can be placed on either side of the blade. It extends clear across the table, thus forming a very good guide for the wood that is being ripped.

    The 4-in jointer has tables that are both adjustable. Also note the long guide fence which can be tilted to any angle up to 45°. Jointers that have tables that are nonadjustable, or those that have only one table that is adjustable, are very limited in their usefulness. It is very desirable to have accurate graduations so that the fence may be tilted and set at any angle without first having to look for a protractor or angle gauge.

    The few hand tools that are needed in a workshop, such as is here described, should include clamps, hand screws, oilstones, screw drivers, squares, chisels, augers, drills, and hammers.

    The workshop shown in Figures No. 10 and 11 appeals to many who have no band saw or lathe work. This shop occupies an 8 by 10-ft. space. The boring, routing, and mortising machine is mounted on the same stand, together with the 8-in, circular saw and 4-in. jointer. All the machines are placed in such a manner that none of them interfere with the others while being operated.

    Many cabinets, and practically all furniture, as well as all screen and storm sash work, is held together with dowels, or mortise and tenon joints. It is difficult to bore the holes for the dowels accurately by hand. The making of mortise and tenon joints by hand is even more difficult. Therefore, a boring, routing, and mortising machine is indeed handy and very necessary. It enables one to do work accurately, and quickly, and gives the work that professional appearance which every craftsman desires.

    On the boring, routing, and mortising machine shown in this shop, the table may be raised and lowered by turning the ball crank. It is easy to adjust the table accurately.

    The table is slotted in two directions, and the guide fence can be placed at right angles to, or parallel to the bit. A pair of adjustable hold-down rods keep the stock from lifting up on the table, while a pair of adjustable curved rods prevents the stock from being pulled away from the guide fence. The table slides on two heavy steel bars. A chain connects the table to a foot lever. By pressing this lever the table is moved forward, bringing the work in contact with the bit. Springs under the table return it to the starting position.

    The boring spindle is not a part of the saw arbor. It is entirely separate from either the jointer or the saw, and it may be operated while both the circular saw and jointer are idle. A great variety of work can be done with this combination machine. To make window screens, take 11/8 in. lumber, rip it with the circular saw, and joint the edges on the jointer. Then cut it to length and make the tenons on the circular saw. The mortises or dowel holes are then made on the mortising machine. Screen mouldings may be made with the moulding cutter.

    This machine is portable, and can be placed anywhere in the room.

    A 1/2 H. P. motor provides the required power.

    Source: Herbert Tautz The Modern Motor-Driven Woodworking Shop v 1 1930, pages 23 - 29: --

New Shop Tools Need Little Space: Rockwell Releases Deltashop in 1953

Obviously licking their wounds from incursions into volume of sales by Shopsmith, Rockwell-Delta issued their Combo power tool in the ealry 1950s. Check out this tri-color leaflet that extolls the virtues of "The Deltashop", as being "the only right combination of basic power tools" and/or this 6-page set of assembly instructions. deltashop_in_PS_encyclopedia_1955 (My personal experience with combo tools comes from a Shopsmith 10E 1947 that I have owned for 40 years. Under-powered, 8" saw, tilting table - I know that with the Deltashop, Rockwell-Delta tried to better the Shopsmith by offering a combo machine -- with a 3 foot square footprint -- which included a saw with a tilting arbor --, etc., but, evidently, over-all, well engineered. However, since I have never seen a Deltashop, my comments about it must remain tentative.

Why didn't the Deltashop last?

The Shopsmith -- in its first iteration -- died about the same time: in the 1950s.

Coming on the market at that time are the two 10" RAS, dewalt and delta - I have one of each - and maybe it is these saws that helped knock Shopsmith and Deltashop off of the market. click here, though, to find out what other technological advances were occurring for woodworking tools during the 1950s.)

The statement below is the teaser for a brief article in Home Craftsman, "New Shop Tools Need Little Space", January February 1953

    To help the man with only a small home workshop, machine-tool designers are developing combination machines ... One basic unit performs many operations

delta_combo_late_1920sTHE home workshop in the early 1950s -- with its power-driven equipment -- originally in the late 1920s. With electrification, and the apperance of the fractional horse-power motor, manufacturers saw a new market for power tools. Manufacturers such as J D Wallace, Boice-Crane, and the upstart Delta ? set about designing individual machines which were miniature copies of their big brothers used in industry. (For more on woodworking machines in the 1920s, click here. )

Expanding the Functions of a Machine's Drive Shaft

Traditonally, industrial-level woodworking machines were single-purpose units. Circular saws. Drill presses. Lathes. Shapers. Jointers. Power planers.

With the appearance in the 1920s of the scaled-down versions of these machines, quickly manufacturers designed accessories that made possible the use of one machine to do woodworking operations normally performed by other machines.

Expanding the Functions of a Circular Saw's Arbor: Dadoes -- Molding Heads

In the late '20s, most circular saws had a tilting table. Click here for an account of the evolution of the tilting arbor

Dadoing is a term that means cutting a channel in wood across the grain. It is accomplished by installing two saw blades with chippers between them on the arbor of the circular saw. This is called a "dado head." deltashop_dado_1953

The width of the channel can be varied by adding or taking off chippers. Another form of dodo saw uses a saw blade set between beveled washers. By adjustinq these washers, it is possible to vary the width of the groove.

(Caution: Do not, do not, dado as shown in this photo. Notice that the operator's fingers will pass over the dado blade, separated by less than an inch for the rotating teeth of the blade. It's just too easy for something unforeseen to occur, the wood doesn't hold, and the fingers get cut in the blade.)

Molding heads -- for installation on the arbor of a bench saw -- convert that machine into a molding cutter, an operation similar to a shaper or a planer with molding cutters.

During this period the craftsman had to have several individual machines, sep­arately powered, if he wanted equipment that would do all the work required in pro­ducing a variety of projects in his home workshop. This, of course, required a relatively large area for his shop.

Post World War II Changes the Rules

The postwar period -- with its boom in the construction of homes-- click here -- presented an opportunity to the home craftsman. Space for home workshops were available in basements and two-car garages. Accommodating woodworking machines had its limits, though, and - noting the desire for the capability of expanding the sizes of homes - architects and home-building corporations soon began marketing "expandable" houses.

by limiting the space available for his shop equipment. What was needed was a machine with a small footprint only limited space, take the place of as many individual machines as possible and be powered by a single motor.

In the intervening 20 years, tool manufacturers attempted to design such a piece of equipment, but were not too successful.

With the pressing present-day demand, the designers set to work in earnest and have come up with some excellent basic units that are the answers to the home-craftsman problem of having power-driven equipment in a limited space.

As a result of this concentrated effort on the part of designers, some of the leading manufacturers of home workshop equip­ment have made available complete, in dividual units that can be used for opera­tions such as sawing, dadoing, jointing, jig-sawing, mortising, boring, turning, shaping, sanding, grinding, routing, saber sawing and horizontal boring. The photographs show how various basic units are adapted to these machine-tool operations. All the machines are so versatile, however, that it is impossible to illustrate every operation each will perform.

Expanding the Functions of a Drill Press

One of the most outstanding pieces of equipment that received this treatment was the drill press. While it was originally designed to bore holes, attachments were developed that allowed operators to convert their bench top drill press into

a hollow mortiser,

a router,

a shaper,

a surfacer,

a dovetailer,

a jointer,

a drum sander

a belt sander.

Mortising, or the cutting of square holes in wood, is possible on a drill press. To mortise on a drill press requires an adapter to take the hollow chisel itself and a bit. The most common application is in making the "mortise" part of mortise-and-tenon joints used when assembling frames. Often, as well, craftsman cut door-lock mortises.

Jointers are used primarily for squaring and flattening the edge of a piece of wood. For squaring, flattening and thicknessing workpieces, and Jointing -- especially when combined with a power planer often replaces hand planing. By tilting the fence or table, it is possible to plane a bevel on the edge or face of a piece of stock. deltashop_rabbeting_1953

Rabbeting, that is, cut away a portion of the edge of a workpiece of wood -- creating one half of the "lap" of a joint, to be combined with a corresponding lap cut on a second workpiece -- can be made on the jointer simply by adjusting the fence or the table, depending upon the machine being used. (My apologies for the lack of clarity of this image -- will try to get an alternative.

Horizontal boring -- that is, boring a hole with the bit in a horizontal position rather than vertical, as on the conventional drill press -- is on operation that the home craftsman will find extremely helpful at times. workpieces too long to fit under a vertical drill press can be bored without difficulty on a horizontal boring machine. Wide boards that require the boring of dowel holes in the edge when building up wide panels can be held steady on the table of a horizontal boring unit.

The Origin and Impact of the Shopsmith

I have documented the remarkable account of the origin and impact of the Shopsmith -- perhaps the most universal image of the combination wooddworking mcahine -- here.

Sources: M Powis Bale, Woodworking Machinery, Its Rise, Progress and Construction, 1800-1880, London: Crosby, Lockwood, 1880, pages 181-185.; "New Shop Tools Need Little Space", Home craftsman January february 1953, pages 24-26; James Lindsey Hallock Woodworking Machinery in the 19th Century University of Delaware thesis 1978, pages 80-85.

"Today, a Combination Woodworking Machine is a machine with a small, space-saving footprint, with an array of operations, usually including a table saw with an circular blade and a tilting table, or a tilting arbor, a 30" lathe, a drill press, a disk sander, a shaper, and you can add such accessories as jig saws, bandsaws, and abrasive machines, such as a disk sander.

Often powered from one source, a Fractional Horsepower Electric Induction Motor, or -- in the late 1920s and early 1930s -- a gasoline engine, and either by Lineshafts and belts, or -- later -- by several motors. European woodworkers, who put a premium on space, provide a good market for combination tools, but while space in the footprint is a premium, have engineered these units so that usually three 3-hp motors drive five tools: tilting arbor circular saw with sliding table, horizontal mortiser, jointer, planer, and shaper.

Here in America, while in general woodworkers tend more toward single-function machines, multipurpose-tool designs (Shopsmith and Total Shop) are still popular in home shops.