LumberJocks

12-1/2" benctop planer

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Review by rwyoung posted 2024 days ago 2739 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
12-1/2" benctop planer No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

For the same reasons I wanted a benchtop jointer, I wanted a benchtop planer. There are a few reviews of the 13” model around and looking at their manals on line, the 12-1/2 is quite similar and somewhat cheaper.

The unit came well packed with two pieces of form fit styrofoam and a nice heavy poly bag to protect the planer. Also in the box was a chip collection shroud with a 4” port in addition to the stock deflector. As near as I could tell, the collection shroud is a “bonus” as I didn’t see it listed on the web page. Also included in the package are all the hex wrenches, open end wrench and screw driver you would need to setup and adjust the machine. A knife setting jig is included. It is not magnetic but does look like it will do a good job.

One issue I was a little bit concerned about was the review of the 13” version found in FineWoodworking found the cutter and bed to be far out of parallel. My test found that it was about 0.003” which seems very reasonable. The unit is adjustable in steps of about 0.125mm (close to 0.005”) to fix such an issue but it doesn’t seem necessary on my unit.

The infeed and outfeed beds include rollers and their heights are adjustable.

After setting up and checking everything I made some test cuts in birch and pine. After a slight adjstment to the infeed bed I was able to reduce my snipe to about 0.002” and sometimes I couldn’t even “find” the snipe. This model does NOT have a cutter head lock. It will be an issue I watch as the planer gets more use.

So far I’ve fed maybe 10 linear feed of material in widths from 3” to 6” with no problem. Tested with pine (2×4), cherry, birch and walnut. All cut quite well, most tear out in the birch but that is somewhat normal (I’ve heard) for birch. This isn’t to say the tearout was severe, just a few bits and a few minutes with a card scraper made it dissapear.

So far I’m quite satisfied with the planer and at $189 it seems to be a very good deal. The test will be after the first 100 board feet of cherry have passed the knives.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.




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rwyoung

369 posts in 2070 days



7 comments so far

View Routerisstillmyname's profile

Routerisstillmyname

679 posts in 2107 days


#1 posted 2024 days ago

This model does NOT have a cutter head lock. It will be an issue I watch as the planer gets more use.

Good info, Thanks

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12841 posts in 2581 days


#2 posted 2024 days ago

sounds like a good tool for a real good price

good posting

welcome to lj’s

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View rwyoung's profile

rwyoung

369 posts in 2070 days


#3 posted 2024 days ago

I should be more clear about the infeed and outfeed bed adjustments, it is the bed ANGLE that is adjusted. The hinge fixes the infeed/outfeed height where it meets the planer’s bed. But by changing the resting angle of the infeed and outfeed beds you have some control over how far the rollers can “flap” the board and thus reduce snipe.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View dsb1829's profile

dsb1829

367 posts in 2225 days


#4 posted 2023 days ago

Nice initial review. I went with the SM346 last summer. Main reason for going with it was the larger beds, increased cutting capacity, and the cutter head lock. When I replaced my knives I had to realign the cutter to the bed, honestly it was about a 10-15minute process and not a big deal.

I will be curious to see your followup after you run some more wood through it. How was your manual? I noticed that the parts list on mine didn’t jive with the diagrams.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

View rwyoung's profile

rwyoung

369 posts in 2070 days


#5 posted 2023 days ago

I was of the impression that the SM346 also lacked a cutter head lock (per the review from FineWoodworking).

And yes, there are some interesting anomalies in the manual. But if one looks closely at parts and does a little independent thinking, it all works out.

My budget for new machines was $400 so I opted for the SM344 as once you add in the shipping cost I came in at just under $370 for the SM150B and SM344.

p.s. – oh wait, I see it in the manual for the SM346, “roller case lock lever” That must be their cutter head lock.

Like I mentioned above, after adjusting the angle of the infeed bed my snipe was pretty much down around 0.002”. If it stays like that I can live with it. :)

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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rwyoung

369 posts in 2070 days


#6 posted 1895 days ago

I’ve run quite a bit of white oak through the planer and it has stayed pretty true. The snipe may have increased slightly. In all honestly, I have not done any precision measurements nor did I save the first few pieces that went through so all I have to go on is how the boards feel. Furthermore, it may be a technique issue as I get considerably less (to none) if I lift the trailing edge as it enters and the leading edge as it leaves.

The knives are probably due for a sharpening or at least need to be honed. I’ve also run a lot of pine through and that means stopping and cleaning pitch a few times.

All in all, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth with this little planer.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#7 posted 1895 days ago

I hope it gives you great service. good review.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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