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76 posts in 2766 days
153 posts in 2235 days
#1 posted 04-14-2011 10:03 PM
Great review, thank you.
I have the same machine, but I bought it used. It was a bit beat up, and I did have to make a few adjustments to the jointer tables, but now am very happy with the results as well. I agree with the fact that it would be better if the fence was mounted in the center. I will try your suggestion of clamping it tight around it’s center point.
The changeover is quite easy, it takes a bit of crank-turning though, so I it’s worth to plan ahead and avoid multiple changeovers.
The mobility kit indeed makes it easy to move the machine, however it’s designed to move forward and backward, not sideways. This may be an issue for some people; it’s possible to build your own mobility base though, you can see it here if you have a login for the forum.
Until recently I always had problems with the planer, I literally needed to push in the wood to get it to feed through. I was afraid I would have to adjust the rollers. But the fault was just bad maintenance—I don’t think the planer table, or rollers for that matter, had ever been cleaned. I took about an hour to completely clean the planer table, followed by some carnauba wax and polishing. Now it runs perfectly again, really nice, and I have no trouble with snipe at all.
The only other problem I had with this machine is the dust port. The plastic cracked a bit, but I was able to fix this with duct tape. Also, to be able to connect a 2 1/2” dust collection hose, you will need some type of adapter, because the dust port has a metric measure. I found a thick rubber adapter in the plumbing section of my hardware store… I know it sounds like a “Mickey Mouse” solution, but it fits really well and doesn’t allow any dust to escape.
I do recommend to get the accessory extension table for the planer, especially if you are planing shorter stock. It will make planing multiple pieces easier without your stock dropping down…
One question I have: You said “The knives, dual sided, simply rest on their placement pegs.”—I must have misunderstood something, because when I turned the knives over, I did make “the usual” alignments. I should check again to see what you meant by the “placement pegs” because it sounds like I went through a lot more trouble than necessary?
49 posts in 2626 days
#2 posted 04-15-2011 05:25 AM
I own one too. I have the Bryd spiral head. Got my last November and am still learning to use it. Love the european guard. One problem I haven’t solved is snipe in the jointer mode. The fine turning outfeed doesn’t seem to give it enough adjustment to make it right.
In any event it is quit a machine.
-- REL, North Jersey
#3 posted 04-15-2011 06:35 AM
@deke: Anything is possible. Seriously though, I would say you don’t have to worry much about the low headroom (the machine is not very tall), but rather about how to get it around any corners that you may have, and how you can build some solid ramp that would allow you to slide it down safely.
I suppose you can get the exact dimensions online somewhere.
#4 posted 04-15-2011 08:56 AM
Just added the last paragraph to the review. I consider this to be one of the best part of owning the tool: the support and “checking in” Hammer has provided for me with the a3 31.
Tebi, I added a 4 inch reducer to that dust port. I’s part number 02.2.021. I found this on the Hammer site.
About the blades; they fit right down into the cutterblock. Here’s the side view: There’s really nothing to adjust there. They came aligned and I’ve yet to do anything but just put them in the holders and screw them down.
Rel: I resolved the jointer snipe by using even solid pressure on both the infeed and outfeed portions of the stock as I feed it. After it passes under the guard at the end of the pass I switch to full pressure on just the end of the piece on the outfeed table. Also, I adjusted the outfeed table height even with the blade height (using a digital height gauge resting on the outfeed table). I matched this height on the infeed table, then ever so slowly backed it down to the depth of cut I was seeking. I haven’t adjusted this in months. Works great that way.
Deke: I have every confidence this could be moved down some stairs. I wouldn’t do it, however. I would hire a local moving company and let them have at it. For what would be only 100, maybe 150 dollars, it would be money well spent. Here are the rough dimensions: height – 38” width: 36” depth: 20”. Not counting the jointer bed. You have the dimensions for that in the review.
#5 posted 04-15-2011 09:15 AM
Thank you for the clarification, Tablesawed. Now I remember that I had to actually use the adjustment screws, which you haven’t had to yet. As I said, my machine was used, and the knives were not perfectly aligned. Anyway, I fixed that right after buying the Hammer, and it all works fine now.
2 posts in 1566 days
#6 posted 04-16-2011 02:55 PM
A friend told me to join Lumberjocks and read this review. I am very close to buying my first set of Hammer machines and this review helps a lot. I does seem however that Hammer has a few design changes to the A331, Dual lifting tables and a different fence being the biggest.
New A331 link: http://www.hammerusa.com/us-us/products/jointer%E2%80%93planers/jointer-planer-a3-31-equipment.html
and if you click on the buy now button you can see if and when the unit is on special, works great. I just love the people at Hammer and thought I should also add my positive comments for the machine and the company.
Guess it’s time for my new era of woodworking to begin
106 posts in 1795 days
#7 posted 03-27-2012 02:48 AM
I just recently purchased a Hammer A31. I will say this machine has saved me. I received it this past friday and spent the weekend getting everything all setup. Sunday I started working with it. I put 300ish bd ft of 8/4 ash through this thing and it didn’t blink. I went through 4 30 gallon trash cans full of chips. The chips are so small that they do not clog the dust collector. I did notice scalloping when doing deeper cuts, I just do a final pass at a smaller cut and it turns out flawlessly.
As a side note the boards I was putting through were 8/4 ash 6 – 12” wide and over 90” long. I had an infeed and outfeed roller to get this done. There is no way I would have been able to do this with my old jointer. I am starting my workbench build and was waiting for this specific purchase to do so.
My A31 has the new center mounted guard and fence. I will say I don’t have to do much at all to switch over to planer mode.
The one problem I have had is the amount of force required by me to move the heavy stock through the jointer. I figure its because of the size of the workpieces I was jointing. I had to wax the tables after every one or two boards to get them to slide across without giving me a hernia.
I would recommend this machine to everyone. I don’t think it is that loud with the straight knives. Compared to my old lunchbox this thing is really quiet. This tool will last and I have no regrets at all on the purchase.
If you do purchase one of these make sure you have material to build a ramp and have a pallet jack ready. It is not a joke to move this thing off of the pallet. I built a ramp out of 3/4 plywood and 4×4’s and rented a pallet jack. I had one person make sure the machine was stable as I moved it down the ramp. The packaging for the machine was the best I have ever seen.
I also agree with the support. They were in contact all the time. The best part was when I called and asked for my sales rep he knew me. We would chat a bit and I would bounce different ideas off of him. He also wasn’t trying to sell me upgrades even though I would try to find excuses to buy them. The whole experiance was amazing. I wouldn’t doubt that I’ll be purchasing a few more hammer products as the years go on. I have my eye on the bandsaw right now, but I don’t think I’ll be upgrading my rikon 14” at the moment.
-- Will work for wood...
24 posts in 2006 days
#8 posted 03-29-2012 02:12 PM
you show a picture of the two tables lifting separately. I thought the current version had both tables lifting as one?-bernie
40 posts in 1591 days
#9 posted 10-16-2012 04:12 PM
After reading through this review and others, I just ordered my A3-31 today. Got the silent power cutter head. It will be a few weeks to get here, but I am looking forward to it.
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