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Machine mods, oddities, and fix-ups #3: Kity K5 machine

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Blog entry by Loren posted 819 days ago 9769 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Belsaw planer dust collection Part 3 of Machine mods, oddities, and fix-ups series Part 4: Record RPML 300C mini lathe »

By today’s standards in N. American machinery the K5 is not impressive in terms of power or capacity. When these were still available they were priced at around $1400 I think and that was 20-30 years ago. Mine is 1983 vintage.

Now I have some really good machinery and I didn’t need the K5 but I had an opportunity to get one at a good price and I am curious about the engineering of European combination machines. I’ve owned several INCA combo machines and a Robland for awhile.

The Kity has a 5” jointer, a 5” thickness planer, and a x-y slot mortising table that mounts to the planer bed. This is by far the coolest part of the machine and the main reason I bought it. I don’t intend to use the mortising table because 1) due to the direction the jointer/planer cutterhead spins it requires left-hand end mills and I have right-hand ones, 2) the chuck is too small to take 1/2” shanks, and 3) I already have a more robust slot mortising machine and 4) I don’t have a need to do slot mortising on job sites. Still I should mention that the x-y table on the KITY is very similar to the INCA ones and equally well made. In fact I’d say it’s the part of the machine that exudes the most quality and I suspect that’s because KITY used it on higher-end machines as well. At some point maybe I’ll set it up with a router as the engine.

While I’m writing about INCA I should mention that I believe the French-made INCA machines were made in the same factory as the KITY machines and that KITY borrowed some engineering ideas from INCA. KITY machines use a lot more formed sheet metal parts while INCA machines use mostly Injection Molded Cast Aluminum (which is what “INCA” stands for) for the same sort of parts.

The power unit, 1 HP motor, is mounted to the base of the table saw. The saw is pretty chintzy in terms of how the tilt works and the blade raises and lowers. Very chintzy in fact. There is no positive stop for a 90 degree angle to the table and the “trunions” are just slotted pieces of sheet metal. The design does keep the weight down and the cost of manufacture as well. All the tables are nicely finished anodized cast aluminum, so it’s not like the machine is cheap through and through, it just makes a lot of compromises.

The table saw does have some cool things about it though. It takes a riving knife, which mine didn’t include. The rails can be slid to the left or right to support cuts and 2 support tables are included. The fence is kind of lame and you have to clamp it at both ends. The saw is certainly not designed for heavy work at all, but I’m actually thrilled because the miter gauge is well made and has this right-angle casting with allows it to be used for cutting tapers.

The shaper is small but well though-out. I didn’t test it because using this shaper doesn’t interest me. When these machines came out the small spindle moulders (shaper) was what people in Europe used, since handheld routers were expensive and the explosion of supply of 1/2” shank router bits had not occurred yet. These days a 1/2” router inverted in a simple table will outperform this little KITY shaper in many ways at not much cost… so unless you were to acquire a K5 with a whole bunch of cutters for the moulder I would recommend investing your tooling dollars in router cutters instead.

In the past I owned a larger KITY shaper with a 1.5 HP motor and used it for a few jobs. It was a compact and neatly engineered little machine, but underpowered. It had a really cool little sliding table I was sad to part with when I sold it. This shaper appears on a higher end KITY 5-in1 combo models and the sliding table can be moved to the table saw as well. On a later version of the K5 the mortiser runs on its own motor, the jointer/planer is bigger and in fact the whole machine is bigger and more robust.

Now you have to understand that I bought this machine to take it apart and use it as a jobsite tool. I have little use for the shaper so I took everything off the stand and disassembled the stand. I am going to use the jointer/planer and table saw only as a portable unit for installations where a little jointer and planer would be most useful. I mentioned earlier that the saw’s miter gauge is usable for cutting tapered filler strips, which are needed often installations and hassle to cut safely on site with most common jobsite power tools. Really, ask anybody who does installations. The ability to cut tapers and manipulate straightness and thickness of small parts on a jobsite are difficult to do quickly and safely without bringing a lot of conventional gear. The table saw and jointer/planer combo however solves that problem in a compact package that is light enough for one person to carry up stairs.

-- http://lawoodworking.com



8 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2584 posts in 1615 days


#1 posted 819 days ago

This would be an ideal tool for a small spaced shop and still have all those tools available to use in one location.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2363 posts in 2035 days


#2 posted 819 days ago

when you think about it you should be able to do anything with that setup.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12560 posts in 1931 days


#3 posted 819 days ago

Hi Loren. I have a Kity combo machine that I bought 16 years ago. It has a table saw, shaper, mortiser, jointer and planer. It is a economy machine mainly for hobbyists, but it has served me well. I have only had to replace a starter capacitor the whole time I’ve had it. You can see it on my workshop photos. After moving to a new house in 2001 I was grateful that it wasn’t so heavy to move.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7230 posts in 2245 days


#4 posted 819 days ago

KITY hasn’t been imported to the USA in over a decade I think.
The company went under a few years ago but I think the
KITY assets were acquired by another machinery maker in
Europe.

I’ve seen a couple of Asian-made knock-offs of the K5
jointer/planer for sale on Craigslist. I have no idea who
imported them or when.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11056 posts in 1703 days


#5 posted 801 days ago

That is a cool machine- kind of like a Shopsmith,but without the lathe and bandsaw…but with other tools. it looks like you can have more than one tool available at any time which is a plus. I have never seen one. Thanks for posting. I learned something new today!!.......................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Loren's profile

Loren

7230 posts in 2245 days


#6 posted 801 days ago

It has one motor and you switch the belt around but setups
can mostly be preserved.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Rick's profile

Rick

6455 posts in 1630 days


#7 posted 748 days ago

Nothing Here other than Copymatch.com Owned by Loren Woirhage in Easthampton MA, (Long Way from CA) or the Book?

-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View onlywood4my's profile

onlywood4my

1 post in 331 days


#8 posted 315 days ago

Hi Folks, I just got a kity for £200!! The kity 2600 is now on sell at £2,599.10p only. For info contact: www.kityuk.net

-- steve

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