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

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Blog entry by Loren posted 04-25-2012 06:25 PM 14609 reads 0 times favorited 12 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.


12 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile


2597 posts in 2057 days

#1 posted 04-25-2012 08:13 PM

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

2495 posts in 2476 days

#2 posted 04-25-2012 11:18 PM

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


14706 posts in 2373 days

#3 posted 04-26-2012 08:58 AM

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


7967 posts in 2687 days

#4 posted 04-26-2012 05:24 PM

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

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.


View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14012 posts in 2144 days

#5 posted 05-14-2012 01:16 AM

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


7967 posts in 2687 days

#6 posted 05-14-2012 05:39 PM

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


View Rick's profile


8286 posts in 2072 days

#7 posted 07-06-2012 06:19 AM

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

-- Can You Hear The Toilet Flushing?

View onlywood4my's profile


1 post in 773 days

#8 posted 09-11-2013 07:36 PM

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

-- steve

View ARBY's profile


2 posts in 240 days

#9 posted 02-10-2015 05:35 PM

Hi Loren, I have a Kity BestCombi (K5) which I have had for about 3 years.
I wonder if you have any advice for me?

With a view to resurfacing the thicknesser table I unbolted the planer infeed and outfeed tables then decided it looked too complicated!
however I now find I cannot get the tables to sit level with each other; there does not appear to be sufficient adjustment now, but there used to be, so I must have something wrong!
Can you suggest where to start, do I set up the outfeed table first?

I am in the UK and cannot find anyone who can service this machine or supply spares. I have the owners book which is totally useless, but very little else.
Perhaps with your experience you might have some ideas.
I would be very grateful for any advice you could offer.


PS as a newbie I apologise if I have posted this in the wrong place.

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2687 days

#10 posted 02-10-2015 06:14 PM

The outfeed table is fixed but adjustable by loosening, as
I recall, 4 bolts heads. Then you have to play around with
it to get it even with the knife edges at the apex of their
arc and also in aligned with the infeed table The infeed
table would be moved up to the same plane and
you should be able to finagle the outfeed table. It took
me about half an hour I think.


View ARBY's profile


2 posts in 240 days

#11 posted 02-11-2015 08:25 PM

Hi Loren,
firstly thanks so much for your rapid response.

A quick update: I bit the bullet and removed both infeed and outfeed tables again. The infeed is attached to the height adjuster with 4 studs and nylock nuts, and I found the inner two were not pinched firm; I also found a wood chip underneath the bed stopping it from seating properly!

So a good clean out, re-torque the nuts, and at last I could get a flat bed. After a couple of hours and resetting the knives I have now got a working planer! (I think it deserves some new knives now though).

Once again thanks for your help, it was gratefully received.


PS. I am really impressed with your seven string guitar, I’ve no idea how you would play it though, I struggled with 6 !!!
Thanks again.

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2687 days

#12 posted 02-11-2015 09:06 PM

I’m mostly a 6-stringer these days because 7 strings don’t
really work great for my present styles.


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