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Hammer K3 Winner Review

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Review by Howardh posted 07-30-2012 03:05 AM 13415 views 1 time favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hammer K3 Winner Review Hammer K3 Winner Review No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I noticed no one had posted a review about this saw so it’s time! Anyone who is interested in getting a SS ICS should consider this saw first. For a short time I had a Laguna Platinum series and was not pleased at all. Numerous problems, wobble in the arbor, not good. Sold it, saved my pennies and after a long process, decided on the Hammer. What a great decision! I have had it about 4 months and I smile every time I walk past it in the garage. Those Austrians have it going on. Set up took about 2-3 hours and it came with about double the number of nuts and bolts it needed. Another plus, no cosmoline! They use a special paper so there was nothing to clean up after it was assembled. Speaking of assembly, as typical the European manufacturers, their instructions were awful. I ended up bringing my laptop outside and followed along the Youtube assembly video they put together. They didn’t make the model I wanted, a 48” slider with a 31” rip capacity. When the saw arrived in the U.S., they cut it down for me but you can’t tell it. They did that good a job. There is a long list of features:

1. The slider. With the 48” length, you can cut a 48” piece of plywood quite easily with one person. The slider allows you to hold the workpiece down securely while the slider pushes the workpiece through blade. Your hands never get within a foot of the blade. Let’s say you want to rip a 8” wide piece of hardwood. I will crosscut it first to slightly longer length than needed and then secure it to the slider. Don’t even need the fence at this point. Just run it down past the blade and you have a perfectly edged board. Move the fence over to where you want it and make pass after pass using the slider. It’s not just for sheet goods! The slider can be locked down if necessary so the saw can be used as a conventional cab saw. The slider is about 10” wide so there is plenty of support. For added support, my unit came with a supplemental support table as you can see. It’s the angled piece bolted on the side of the slider. It provides plenty of support even on 3/4” plywood. It’s so strong I can sit on one end (203#’s) and it doesn’t flex. It’s a beautiful thing!

2. The crosscut fence. It’s about 3’ long and has a positive stop at 90 deg. It’s dead nuts on. The edge is only a few millimeters away from the blade so the workpiece is fully supported right up to the edge of the blade. The measuring tape is easily moved if you change blades from a normal to a think kerf. It also has a built in flip stop. Very solid piece of engineering.

3. The fence. It’s very cool. In the normal position, it’s 5” high and can be easily adjusted so it floats just above the top of the cast iron table. I added the micro adjust which makes it very easy to get an exact measurement. In addition, I added the Wixey digital table saw scale. It allows measurement down to .005”. I simply get it close, then use the micro adjust to get it perfect. The fence can also be rotated 90 deg to get it .75” high for use with ripping very small pieces, i.e. .25” strips. They won’t get trapped and shot backwards. The fence also adjusts fore and aft with the twist of a lever so you can use it as a stop. You have to be careful to have the end of the fence no further down past the middle of the blade to eliminate kickback. Once it’s locked down, it is rock solid. No movement of any kind. You can use it with and without the slider depending on what you want to accomplish.

4. Power. It comes standard with a 4HP single phase motor. It’s a bit loud with the 12” blade but very quiet with the 10” They use a proprietary arbor bore, 30mm with two 5mm pins hold it place. I wanted a thin kerf blade so I ordered one from Forrest and it works great. It stops very quickly, especially with the 10” blade. Maybe 2-3 seconds. I opted not to get the scoring blade but I can add it at any time. I understand it’s really good if you do sheet goods but frankly I didn’t see any noticeable tear out on the BB I was cutting recently. I can only imagine what it would look like with the scoring unit. They include a narrow wood throat plate and I use it for a ZCTP. It can also be used for a dado unit. With 4HP on tap, 8/4 hardwood is no match. No burning, no bogging down. Especially when used with the slider, the edges are jointer good.

5. Dust collection. Much better than my Laguna. It captures most of the dust. I use a dust deputy attached to a Festool CT26 and haven’t had any issues.

6. Fit and finish. Typical Teutonic quality. Everything fits the way it should and is very heavy duty. There are also loads of accessories available through Hammer but you had better hold on to your wallet! You only thought Festool was expensive. I wanted to get this cool glue cup and with shipping it’s $40! Yikes!! Not doing that any time soon.

7. Mobility. I added their mobility kit which is a set of wheels on one end and a steel plate on the other. A wheeled bar, ordered separately, is positioned under the bar and pushed down which raises up the machine so it can be moved. From that position, it’s pretty easy to move around a 700# machine. I was surprised at that. I can also use the bar for the A3-31 I have ordered.

Final thoughts. I never thought I would spend $4000 ($2990 plus a few accessories + shipping) on a machine I had never seen in person but I’m glad I did. It’s powerful, very well engineered, very safe and a joy to use. It took 3 months to get it but it’s worth the wait. I’m glad I got it over the SS. Oh! The folks at Felder in DE called me several times to make sure everything was as expected. They gave me great support on the setup and when I discovered a small part was missing, they got it to me right away.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.




View Howardh's profile

Howardh

22 posts in 858 days



44 comments so far

View dnick's profile

dnick

937 posts in 1106 days


#1 posted 07-30-2012 03:55 AM

Congratulations. If I spent that kind of money, I’d expect perfection. Never gonna happen for me.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3847 posts in 2092 days


#2 posted 07-30-2012 08:02 AM

Being from that part of the world … a long time ago … I am always amazed at the amount of engineering and precision the Austrians put into their products. Similar to the Swiss Elu products, Freud from Italy, and other well engineered European products. Unfortunately I don’t own any European made products … a little too costly!

I have watched the Hammer videos on many and, apparently the look on my face, made my wife think I was watching porn. Boy, was she surprised …!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View lj61673's profile

lj61673

234 posts in 1123 days


#3 posted 07-30-2012 02:13 PM

Great review and very detailed. This model slider is fast becoming an alternate tablesaw for those not enamored with the SawStop option.
I have yet to read a negative comment on this saw. Great choice.

View Howardh's profile

Howardh

22 posts in 858 days


#4 posted 07-30-2012 02:30 PM

I have always thought it a bit odd that no U.S. manufacturers have come up with a true slider of their own. Jet has that sliding table option but it’s pretty short and sits a foot away from the blade. I suppose the price point would scare a lot of consumers off but then again, SS is selling a lot of their $3000-$4000 units. They make so much sense. Maybe that’s the reason! I look at this type of purchase as a lifetime investment. I should never have to replace it. I’m not into boats, motorcycles or RV’s so this is my big ticket hobby. All those other things have to be replaced from time to time but a quality woodworking machine should last for as long as I need it.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.

View Domer's profile

Domer

248 posts in 2090 days


#5 posted 07-30-2012 03:21 PM

I have heard great things about that saw. But my one question is, how do you get it serviced if there is ever a problem. Are there service centers around the country?

Domer

View Howardh's profile

Howardh

22 posts in 858 days


#6 posted 07-30-2012 03:28 PM

The have one on both coasts. I have heard they have guys that will travel to your location if it’s something serious. Otherwise, if something breaks, they can walk you through the process. They forgot to install the fence micro adjust on mine so they sent me the parts and then included a great tuturial on how it’s installed. It took me about an hour.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1199 days


#7 posted 07-30-2012 03:44 PM

I wish you luck with Felder service. I have a Hammer A3 31 jointer/planer and a 24” Bandsaw, service on both sucked to the point that I am going with Minimax for my slider. They both arrived broken, took 3 months and legal threats to have them fixed, in short from the manager down the CS sucked.

PS, Hammer is made in China, not Austria, only the Felder line is made in Austria.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1417 days


#8 posted 07-30-2012 03:50 PM

Oh man, Howard. You didn’t just compare SawStop to a Hammer slider did you? Lol. You’re a lucky man to own this saw, but ownership has a price. If I wasn’t a vintage junkie, the Hammer is where I’d be looking. Like old novice, I’ve been salivating over them for a while now. I signed up for their e-mail alerts about a year ago and unlike some other companies with which you’ve had experience, the sales pressure was very low. They know you want it; no sense in pestering you about it, lol. I’m taking detailed notes of your experience. Thanks!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Howardh's profile

Howardh

22 posts in 858 days


#9 posted 07-30-2012 04:05 PM

Hmm. The Hammer line is definetly made in Austria, not China. I know that for a fact. See this link. http://www.hammerusa.com/us-us/products/jointer%E2%80%93planers.html Some folks have had bad service in the past but I haven’t so far and I have read from many others that they raved about the service too! I’m sorry yours didn’t work out. It seems to be the exception.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1199 days


#10 posted 07-30-2012 04:23 PM

The link says the felder machines are made in Austria. The only guy that would help me when my machines was down said he checked the crating when the machines came into the warehouse and it said made in China. You do know that hammer is the Felder “cheap” line. Anyhow, I am glad you are happy with your machine and it works as advertised, far as I am concerned I am not touching Felder again with a 10 foot pole. Mini Max seems to always have good CS reviews and I can’t see their machines being any worse or lower quality than Felder.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1417 days


#11 posted 07-30-2012 04:53 PM

Man, if I bought a Felder and wasn’t happy…well, I wouldn’t be happy. I know that Hammer is the Grizzly of Felder but this is the first bad thing I’ve heard, JGM. I’ve always loved minimax but I’m usually looking at their planers; don’t know a whole lot about their TS. I will by tomorrow though! :)
Edit: Dan (from handplanes) has a minimax combo and the surface coming off of that thing is incredible.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Viktor's profile

Viktor

448 posts in 2143 days


#12 posted 07-30-2012 05:19 PM

There was an interesting thread about where Hammer is manufactured:
http://www.sawmillcreek.org/archive/index.php/t-21650.html?s=b74bfa03943471e7f57d89490df6cc0e

The verdict:
—————-
I want to clear up a couple of things that have been put forward at the FOG lately about where HAMMER machines are being produced.
Since the introduction of HAMMER in 1997 several competitors alleged that HAMMER machines are build in the Czech Republic, Bulgarian and lately also in China.
It is true that not all components are produced at our factory. For example we had to close down our foundry in 2000 because it was too small for the volume we needed and we did not have any space left to expand. However more than 95% of the components of the HAMMER range are being produced and assembled at our factory in Hall in Tyrol, Austria. And most importantly, all machines have to pass through our quality control. I have posted some picture in the Photos section that show the assembly of the HAMMER machines at our factory in Austria.
We also reserve the right to outsource HAMMER components globally in order to offer the best value possible. This was the case with the limited edition models SP3. We have outsourced several components to a well respected supplier in China. However the finals assembly and the production of the most critical components (fences, electrics, gear drives, knife system, …) was done at our factory in Austria. The outsourcing of these components allowed us to offer the SP3 at a greatly reduced price. The limited edition model SP3 was based on the construction of the A3-31 with some changes and new additions. Also we were testing the market with the new HAMMER colors.
Since then we have introduced the new HAMMER range in the new colors and other new technical features like a new sliding table, new fences and improved saw and shaper units. Due to the success of the SP3 we continue to use several outsourced components on the new A3-31. This allows us to offer the A3-31 at a bargain price. The rest of the HAMMER line continues to be manufactured entirely in Austria.
If any customer still has doubts about the HAMMER range being produced besides the FELDER and Format-4 machine at our factory in Hall in Tyrol we would like to welcome him/her to see our factory with his/her own eyes.

Best Regards
Wolfgang Geiger
Product Manager, FELDER Group

———————————
But that was in 2005

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1199 days


#13 posted 07-30-2012 05:20 PM

Mini Max was the first one to come out with a single move of the two sheets for their jointer/planer in fact Felder just copied or made a similar design for their A3.

My issue with Felder/hammer was the CS, the machines, once they work are great. But it is like the Damocles sword, I am dreading the day something goes wrong and I have to call these guys to fix it. I try to keep up with the maintenance schedule by myself but you know how it is, sooner or later I will need them and I feel it is going to be a battle once again.

Anyhow, I am sure the K3 is a fine machine, and if Howard is happy with it, then that is all that matters.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1199 days


#14 posted 07-30-2012 05:25 PM

Thanks for the post Viktor, I take the letter with a grain of salt because it looks like what Chrysler does here in Mexico. I own a Jeep Liberty, everything is made in Mexico, all the parts are shipped back to the US and assembled there, and the Jeep has the tag Made in the USA…..uh huh….

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Howardh's profile

Howardh

22 posts in 858 days


#15 posted 07-30-2012 08:07 PM

I checked with Felder and they confirmed all their product lines – Hammer, Felder and Format 4 are made and assembled at their factory in Austria. Nothing Chinese about them. They had no idea where someone would get the idea that the crates say made in China. Maybe it was a cheap knock off. That’s been known to happen. The real ones all come from Austria.

-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.

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