This is one powerful and classic saw. Outfitted with an 18" blade and a 4 wheel power feed, it's our go-to saw for production runs. For our designated purpose, the fence system is just about the best around. It'll go through 4" thick cocobolo 'like butter' and 5" with just a little 'wheeze.' A slab of cocobolo on the fence face and as a ZCI assures a consistently smooth surface for the workpiece to slide on, as the coco is almost self-oiling. I've never been much concerned 'how they look,' only 'how they run,' and this one runs as good as the day she was born.
I've considered restoring some of our older stuff however, either out of laziness or choice, have come to the conclusion that I can always restore them but that it would take another 50 years of hard use to get them back to the condition they are presently in. The 'beauty' of that condition is that they look beat but as I have already said, run as good as the day they were new, and I consider that aspect a wonder in itself. So, I keep them as they are and marvel at the qualtiy that was built to last.
As far as I know, Northfield Woodworking Machinery is one of only two remaining manufacturers who still produce their products here, in the good ol' USA. They are in Northfield MN. Tannewitz in Jenison, MI. is the other. They still make their trusty #4 Table Saw in two variations. On their homepage, Northfield offers a machine registration so if you happen to pick up one of their old beauties, register with them and they'll even send you a set of safety stickers. I've registered both of mine with them (check out our Northfield 28" bandsaw too) and you'll end up with the stickers pictured below. I think it's pretty neat for them to want to keep track of the stuff they still have out there. Either that or they're not really keeping track and just want to get safety stickers on all of their stuff.
I'm not sure how it is now, but a few years ago when I was buying our machines and setting up our shop, these things were going for 'a song.' The world economic collapse was fresh and the furniture manufacturers in the midwest and east coast were 'dropping like flies.' They were either closing up for good or moving their manufacturing to China, but in either case, they were not keeping or taking their machines with them. This one came out of the Riverside Furniture Corporation factory in Russellville, Arkansas. Riverside, along with hundreds of others closing down, created such a glut of old 'arn on the market, theat these things were going for practically nothing, This one's purchase price, rigging and freight to the west coast, cost less than the new Amana blade and replacement power feed rollers cost me once I got it here. It was really sad to see our great furniture manufacturing base decimated as it was but it has been only one of many industries that suffered the same fate. Perhaps it is with their demise and the spawning of the Walmart / Ikea concept that will give opportunity to guys like me, custom guys, but only time will tell on that one. As it is right now, it's pretty tough being a 'custom guy.' People may like 'custom stuff' or the idea of it, but they also like the Walmart / Ikea price and there seems just too little appreciation for quality anymore.