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My first planer... cheap, easy to use, and portable

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Review by Shopsmithtom posted 04-09-2008 10:42 PM 7421 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My first planer... cheap, easy to use, and portable My first planer... cheap, easy to use, and portable No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Well, for anyone who expects an in-depth review that has it’s foundation in a thorough understanding of wood planers, you’re going to be disappointed.

This is my first planer and I’ve only actually been near an operating one once before, so all you’re going to get is a novice’s impression of a machine that’s probably meant for a novice. Maybe that makes me the perfect guy for the job, after all.

This model sells locally for $239.00 and (of course) lists much higher. I did a brief blog about this a couple of days ago and mentioned that the reason I couldn’t resist getting this was the price ($186 with free shipping from Amazon.com)...that and my experience watching one in use with Lumberjock “Woodgizmo” who was kind enough to plane some stuff for me for a recent project. I think his was also a Delta. I really wasn’t planning on getting one just now, but you know how it goes when you find a price that’s too good to pass up…you make up a reason to give your spouse that makes it seem almost un-patriotic not to buy it.

So I did it.

It’s definitely user friendly in that you can have it up & running in about 5 minutes. All I had to do was install the elevation crank, the cutterhead cover, and level the in/outfeed table extensions. Like I said, all done in 5 minutes.

Since space is an issue for me, I just clamped it to my B & D workmate with a couple of C-clamps. Moving it around is only mildly inconvenient and probably wouldn’t even be that if I was 20 years younger. The carrying handle is padded which is good foe carrying, but not for it’s other use as a stock transfer bar…oh, well, you can’t have everything. (oh, wait, yes you can…I have a Shopsmith…sorry, just couldn’t resist)

In use, I adjusted the crank 1/2 turn per each pass and the planing went great. I’ve shown a piece of pallet wood and how another looks after planing. Looks like mahogany. I thought it was prudent to remove all the nails before planing it, although if I hadn’t I could probably have included the blade changing procedure in this review.

In use, everything went as I’d expected. The up/down adjustment works well and the thickness scale was dead-on. Each 1 full turn supposedly gives 5/64” adjustment. That, also, seemed accurate. As to snipe, there appears to be a little, but it doesn’t seem excessive, and since this was my first try with the machine, It might just be my inexperience.
I give this 5 stars, not because it’s the best around, or because it has a ton of features, but rather, I believe it does it’s intended job as a portable low cost planer very well, and it has a 2 year warranty as well. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you




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Shopsmithtom

780 posts in 2853 days



14 comments so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2647 days


#1 posted 04-09-2008 11:20 PM

Nice review. Thanks

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2427 days


#2 posted 04-09-2008 11:24 PM

thanks for the review. its been between this and the grizzly for awhile but i think that now i might be leaning a little bit more toward the delta. thanks for the review.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2480 days


#3 posted 04-09-2008 11:48 PM

Hi SST,

Nice review and I agree it is a good planer.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View dlcarver's profile

dlcarver

270 posts in 2389 days


#4 posted 04-09-2008 11:59 PM

Do you wear that bow tie and tux when you operate it? That’s ok, I like to come home and dig right in without changing too. Nice review also! Looks like a good one.

Dave

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,http://dlcarver.etsy.com

View tooldad's profile

tooldad

657 posts in 2373 days


#5 posted 04-10-2008 05:50 AM

I had one in a school shop I previously worked in. Not too bad, I think it was $300 when I ordered it. However I would spend a little more and go with the Dewalt 735. (I think that is the number) It is the one with the 4 posts, so a cutterhead lock is not needed, has repeat thickness setting, 2 speed feed control and easy to change indexed 3 cutterhead blade system. I have changed blades at least 6 times in the 3 years I have had the machine, it can be done in about 10 minutes. The entire top lifts off and you look down from the top since the motor is behind the cutterhead. This is the only planer I have changed blades on and not cut my finger in the process. Beware to anyone changing planer blades, they are as sharp as a surgeon’s knife and you will be bleeding before you even know you are cut. At least it doesn’t hurt that way. Finally the planer has a chip ejection fan/blower. That thing can inflate my dust collector and it has to travel through 6 feet of 4” flex hose, 6 feet of 6” pipe, and finally through about 12 feet of 8” pipe to get there.

Dewalt and Delta have merged and even the tool rep for my school who can sell me either and was first a delta rep says the dewalt is the way to go and that machine would stand up even in the school shop environment.

I have sent at least 4 complete kitchen rebuilds through my planer, and dozens of other personal projects. Lumber from Pine and cedar to maple, oak, ash, and cherry.

The only drawbacks are the cost at nearly $500, and the weight, it is about 75lbs. Not really too portable. I do remember reading in one of the magazines it rec’d top tool, but not top value for the same 2 reasons I just listed.

Just my 2 cents. Tooldad

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2474 days


#6 posted 04-10-2008 05:58 AM

nice review. Can you tell us where you get those pallets?

I have a cheap Delta planer too. It works fine. I have i sitting in a tool well with 24” of infeed and outfeed. that keeps the snipe down.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

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Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 2457 days


#7 posted 04-10-2008 04:06 PM

Great Informative Review! Impressive Results with Pallet Wood -

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View Shopsmithtom's profile

Shopsmithtom

780 posts in 2853 days


#8 posted 04-10-2008 04:14 PM

I’m thinking of building a longer infeed / outfeed extension to use when I clamp this to my bench. I do think that’s the way to go. As to pallets, I got a bunch at a local landfill where they are stacked up. They sell the good ones for a buck each and the ones with broken parts are given away or trashed. I usually take the ones with broken parts because there’s a lot of good pieces, and, of course, because I’m cheap.
You can also watch larger business that get stuff on pallets. They often toss them. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2474 days


#9 posted 04-11-2008 05:15 AM

The infeed/outfeed is what does the trick . Check out my bench. It holds a planer, mortiser and it also servs as a massive router table. Click on the thumbnails to see bigger pictures.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2727 days


#10 posted 04-12-2008 06:24 AM

Nice review, I have had the same model for a year or so. Like you, it’s my first so I can’t give a comparitive analysis. However, I’m very happy with it. The depth adjustments are fluid and blade changes are straight forward. Snipe is an issue, but my understanding is that almost all benchtops don’t have the locking mechanism that reduces snipe. Dust collection is not accounted for so much either but I typically angle the rolling flip top cart (see my projects) towards a floor sweep/dsut collector.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 2517 days


#11 posted 04-15-2008 03:33 PM

I have to say that I had this planer and did not like it. It had horrible snipe no matter what I did. I finally sold it and got a Dewalt 734 and have never looked back.

-- www.craftedbytim.com - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & www.craftedbytim.com - I make. You buy.

View Bigbuck's profile

Bigbuck

1347 posts in 2322 days


#12 posted 05-22-2008 06:56 PM

While there is at tendancy for this planer to leave snipe on the first and last few inches of a board it can be reduced and even eliminated (virtually) by lifting the board slightly as it goes in and out of the machine. Taking light passes also helps. While this planer doesn’t have many of the features of more expensive planers it will get the job done if you are on a budget. If I could have afforded it at the time I probably would have went with the Rigid planer. The Dewalt is just to expensive for me given the amount of work I do.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View steveosshop's profile

steveosshop

230 posts in 2284 days


#13 posted 06-29-2008 02:31 AM

I have this planner and use it a lot. I really like the fact that the blades are easy to change and are self indexing so you do not have to worry about squaring all the cutterheads to perfection after each blade change. There is snipe, but I tend to leave the boards a little long and then cut them down to final size and noone ever knows the difference.

-- Steve-o

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hasbeen99

183 posts in 2198 days


#14 posted 07-01-2009 08:55 PM

I just bought one of these planers (mildly) used. It’s my first experience working with a planer, and I’m really encouraged by this review, and the comments that followed. Thanks everyone!

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

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