|Review by Deeppocket||posted 12-26-2012 10:38 PM||7400 views||1 time favorited||17 comments|
I purchased a Laguna 16” Planer last month and have a mostly positive review of the machine and the Company. As a disclaimer, I am retired, and enjoy woodworking as a hobby. My Planer experience is limited to my 13” DeWalt lunchbox Planer and now this industrial machine. I did not work in the industry. As a second disclaimer, Laguna did send me a T-Shirt after my purchase.
Laguna’s 16” Planer is very similar to the Powermatic 15HH 15’ Planer, and probably came out of the same Chinese factory. Powermatic uses the well known Byrd cutter head with 74 individual carbide cutters arranged in 4 rows, and Laguna uses a German cutterhead with 108 cutters in 6 rows. Both use the preferred helical design. FineWoodworking rates both of these as superior to other carbide cutterhead designs on the market. Other differences in the two machines are minimal in my eyes.
The advantages of the segmented carbide cutters are well documented and praised with good justification.
Before purchasing, I’d suggest you download the Operating Manual for both machines for comparison. The Powermatic instructions are vastly superior to the Laguna for what is essentially the same machine. You may have to ask Laguna for the proper link because the website directs you incorrectly.
As a comparison to my previous DeWalt (1hp) planer, this Laguna (3hp) is a beast! It hogs wood so fast my Onieda d.c. can barely keep up with the chips. I wonder if the dust hood could have been improved to reduce the mess created in 10 minutes of cutting?
The resulting surface is flat and glossy, but even Laguna’s manual states the surface is “not as smooth as a parallel blade system” because it does leave very fine cutter lines the length of the board. This required all of 10 seconds to clean up with my ROS, so in my mind, it is not a problem. I’ve experience absolutely no tear out on Oak, hard Maple, and mahogany.
A digital read out (RDO) is included on the Laguna, but is an option on the Powermatic. This is a great device as it accurately displays the the thickness of the board as it exits the planer. Unfortunately, the design of the DRO is such that I need to get on my knees to read the display. A future generation of this devise may correct this flaw by tilting the display to face upward least 45 degrees But despite that, it is a great addition. One caution however, the Laguna instructions to set up the DRO are hopeless and wrong. The Powermatic instructions for the exact same device are good.
Assembly of the Laguna was painful because of several design issues and poor instructions. This was my first experience installing in/out feed tables and only after an hour they were finally in and level. There is very little clearance for inserting the set screws and jackscrews. Patience required. The installation of the dust hood requires the disassembly of the rear return roller and both its’ stanchions. Not hard, just time consuming and unnecessary with a design tweak. Similarly, to inspect or adjust the cutterheads, all this needs to be removed. I am assuming this is the same with the Powermatic.
Bottomline, I am delighted with the performance of the Laguna, and pleased with the pricing as compared to the nearly identical Powermatic. Another option if you don’t need to hog a lot of wood is to consider purchasing an aftermarket Byrd cutterhead and installing it in your DeWalt 13”planer. Less money, good cut quality, but I don’t know how long a 1HP motor would last under those conditions.
I found the people at Laguna to be both helpful and knowledgeable.