What would you pay for a Rockwell 653 Versa Plane?

I am considering completely restoring a Rockwell 653 EHD 10A 3" Versa Plane (older polished aluminum version)  but wanted to get some thoughts from people. 

For the scope of restoration, I plan on replacing the bearings, brushes, all of the hardware (and replacing with stainless steel equivalents where possible), replacing the cord and belt, polishing up the body to give a nice ‘new’ shine to get it back to original ‘new’ condition, having the cutterhead sharpened as well as restoring the case to original. 

The planer has a case which is in great condition, the sharpening attachment and a virtually unused grinding stone and overall is great condition. 

What are your opinions on what you would pay for a planer in virtually ‘new’ condition? 

They don’t pull the kind of big bucks the 100 does.  The one you are talking about go for $200-300 on eBay.  I gave one away for trade at $200 value that I paid $80.  But I consider myself lucky.   

Advice I was given and will pass along is the cutter head needs to be in good to great condition.  The spiral blades are often carbide and can be sharpened. Be on the lookout for big major chips or chunks making it impossible to resharpen.  You can purchase and find new blades/cutterhead but that can go anywhere from $100-300 just for that part. 

Are you looking to restore it to sell it in new condition?  I don’t know what those would sell for since I’m in a different market for the 653. 


Here’s a perfect original that went for $300 with everything including an extra brand new cutter head.  I say restore it only if you’re going to keep it.  Restored won’t fetch as much as a clean original.



I paid $75 for a really nice one at an auction.  I figure I could get $200 for it on eBay.

Bree - it might not be worth it. If what the gentleman says is true $200-300 for one… with yours being renewed you prob want to atleast double your money or you’re wasting your time… so @ 5 -6 hund tops, and skil 100s at $600 +, well, I think you should touch it up a bit on the cheap and sell as is. Or keep it and use it?:confused:

I bought a used in good condition, minus the blade for $200.  Carbide tool in Ventura makes a steel replacement for around a hundred.  I was following a new condition one on e-bay for a while.  He was asking around $600, and couldn’t sell it.

They show up a lot on ebay. I watched for a year and got one for $200 with an extra cutterhead and belts. I used it to skin a blank and stashed it. They are awesome planers but i am used to the skil.

  While on the subject of 653’s…  I am in need of a small part for a 653 type 3.

#153 on a parts diagram-   “block”       is the square insert at the front shoe mount/adjustment point. No longer available from manufacturer.

It’s all I need for mine to be usable…   Any help appreciated.

I took a look at the parts list.    Look like a simple fabrication.    A DREMEL,  DRILL,  SANDER (perhaps), are the most likely tools.     You might even find a square nut that fits the opening, and just drill it out.     Lots of options, on how to solve the ‘‘problem.’’     Improvise.



I saw this ad today on Craig’s List Hawaii: http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/tls/4485349941.html.

I wouldn’t pay you anything for one.  Have seen plenty on Ebay over the years for cheap, but have no interest in them.  A 7.5 Amp Skil is plenty and worth more to a reall shaper.  Foam blanks just don’t require that kind of “hoggin” these days.  

I definitely agree about the Skil 100. I have a completely restored Skil 100 Type 4 7.5A that I put new bearings, bearing spring washers, new brushes, new (NOS) brush caps, a new cord on and then replaced all the hardware with stainless steel hardware, then powder coated it and sharpened the blade. A lot of thanks to PeteC for the information about replacement parts, a few important tips and for sending me an engineering drawing of the front guide pin so I could make a new one. 

After ripping down the Rockwell, I can definitely see very obvious differences in quality between the Skil and the Rockwell. The Rockwell has quite a few poor casting marks, bubbles in the casting, etc.and definitely did not seem to be near the quality of the Skil. I definitely like the Skil’s feel in my hands, but I also like that I can take a TON of material off in a hurry with the Rockwell. I personally like having both, but if I had to choose, there would be no question about going with the Skil over the Rockwell. 


Heres a couple of mine.

Love 'em for thicker blanks and wood boards.

I wouldn’t pay for one because I already have one. But, if I didn’t have one I’d pay 3-400 bucks for a really nice one or one set up for shaping. Prices very and there are good deals to be had. Last a lifetime mowing foam I recon.  It’s tough to beat the ergonomics of the skil, tho.  Mike

I Have noticed that the price on skill planers has become soft. The days when people were paying close to $1000 for a buffed and polished skil are over, at least for now.  The 653 never got the  very collectable status that the skil received. 
If you are looking for reselling the 653 I’m not sure putting a lot of time and effort would pay off. . As others have said they are great for mowing big blanks. The thing is a beast.

Fixer upper on Ebay  $100


You are accurate in what you speak.   A few old school guys still keep them around.  Blanks can be bought “close tolerance” these days though so there is not as much need for removing massive amounts of foam.  The Swaylocks Crew has had a bit of a fetish with them and every collector has one in his collection.  Sounds like some of the boys are over it.  You did really well with the Skil.  Every time I pick one up I have Pete go thru it and do all of the above.  I think I may have stumbled onto the best one I may have ever owned recently after hearing Pete’s assement of it.  Looking to catch Pete  down in SC at the Aipa day at Surfing Heritage on the 31st and pick it up.  He’s pretty amazing .  Lowel

I picked up a nice 653 planer for $50 at a garage sale and of course it needs a little TLC. I’m replacing the motor brushes but cant find any specs on the length. I have the used ones so I know the height x width. Any help on the length would be great.