15” planer

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Forum topic by Trout121180 posted 02-08-2018 02:38 PM 876 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 42 days

02-08-2018 02:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: 15”planer laguna powermatic jet oliver baileigh

Hello all,
Although I have used this site countless times as a reference this is my first posting. I’m not sure that there is anything I can ask that hasn’t already been answered but I am having a very difficult time with my current situation and would really appreciate your help!!! I would classify myself as a beginner in Woodworking albeit a serious one. I am able to retire in 10 years and it is my dream to start a small one man woodworking shop when I retire. But for now it’s just a hobby. My current problem is that I am looking to upgrade my current planer. I started like most beginners with a used dewalt 734. Although I liked it I wanted something bigger and better. While scanning Craigslist I found someone that was selling a bunch of tools. A delta shaper, a DJ-20 8” delta jointer and a 22-785 delta X5 jointer. My friend and I went there toghter and we were able to get a great deal by buying everything he was selling. I kept everything except the shaper. And I was able to sell my dewalt planer for $100 more than I bought it. While I absolutely love the DJ-20 planer I was not happy with the planer. The dust collection wasn’t great. The placement of where the DC hose connected to the machine was in the way and the finish was far worse than that if my little dewalt. So I posted it on Craigslist for $1500 thinking that for that price it would take awhile before I even got a response. To my surprise I received serveral offers the first week. The first guy that actually showed up paid me my asking price. It caught me off guard and hadn’t even started looking at what I was going to replace it with. Which leads me to my current problem. Which planer do I buy?? I have spent hours on the internet doing research. I have read forums, reviews, blogs post. You name it I ha e read it. What I have learned is that most people believe that all 15” four post planers are basically the same. They are made in the same factory with the same mold and that the only real difference is the paint. Unfortunately that hasn’t made my decision any easier. But I think I have narrowed it down a little bit. I want this to be the last planer I buy. So I eliminated steelex shopfox and Grizzly’s. (Also they are on back order till April/May). What I am looking at is the powermatic 15hh. The jet 15” with HH. The laguna 16”. The baileigh 15” and the Oliver 15”. I was able to get all the information I needed on the powermatic and jet but have gotten little to no info on the the laguna, baileigh, and Oliver. So my questions are
1. Does anyone own the laguna, Oliver, or baileigh. If so what do you think and where can I get more info on them.
2. Is the laguana Oliver and baileigh made in the same factories in Taiwan as all the others.
3. Do you believe that these companies will be around in the years to come for replacement parts?
4. And most important what one should I buy and what if anything am I missing or not thinking of???

Thanks in advance for any help. I know this has been discussed before but I just want to make sure I am making the right decision.


-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

27 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10105 posts in 3582 days

#1 posted 02-08-2018 03:07 PM

You might take as look at Woodmaster. They
have dc feed motors instead of a gearbox so they
can feed really slow for a fine finish.

I had a 4-post planer I wasn’t crazy about, but that
was because I found the 2hp motor couldn’t take
deeper cuts and I found myself having to take
more passes than with my previous planer. I never
messed with the speed control on it but I think
it only had 2-speeds.

My present planer is European made and has a lever
on the side for variable speed. The speed range
is pretty wide but it’s done with pulleys I think
and has a separate ac motor for the speed. The
wider speed range is probably because of the
separate motor.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4879 posts in 3895 days

#2 posted 02-08-2018 03:44 PM

Why did you eliminate Grizzly/Shop Fox?


View Trout121180's profile


44 posts in 42 days

#3 posted 02-08-2018 04:05 PM

Hello Bill,
From my understanding the 15” planers from steelex,shopfox and grizzley are behind schedule and won’t be available until sometime after April. Also from the information that I could find these were the lower quality machines out of the ones I mention. As I stated above I am under the impression that most of these are the same besides the fit and finish. And although everyone has there favorite it seems that the gerneral consensus is that Grizzly (shopfox and steelex) are not made to the high tolerances of the other companies. All that being said the powermatic is almost $1,000 more than the shopfox. But my train of thought is that I would feel better with the 5 year warranty vs a one or two year warranty. And overall I would be getting a better machine with a lower chance of getting a machine that I will ha e issues with. Whether that be right from the start or years down the road.


-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View msinc's profile (online now)


293 posts in 438 days

#4 posted 02-08-2018 04:26 PM

I like Powermatic…but that is just me. I have owned Grizzly and had absolutely zero issues. I currently have a Shop Fox lathe and it works just fine, zero complaints. Powermatic seems to retain more resale value than the others. I can also add that Powermatic has excellent first rate customer service. I had to use them once and I can say without hesitation they are fantastic {well, at least they were with me}.
All that said, when you say the others aren’t available until April, are you sure the ones that you believe are available actually really are??? Many machine sellers play this game where they advertise as though they have whatever you want. They do this just to get the sale and your money and then tell you…”they are not shipping for another month”, etc. Insert various excuses. They have your money, they string you along knowing you don’t like it but cant do anything about it. Just saying…just because a website has a “add to cart” spot to click on does not mean they actually have the machine sitting there. I am going thru this right now with a PM2000 cabinet saw that was supposed to take one week a month ago. I got a call yesterday that I should have it in another month because they are building the latest model with digital blade angle readout. Before they have your money it’s “one week” then once they have it the timeline automatically jumps to at least “another month”.

View rwe2156's profile


2844 posts in 1415 days

#5 posted 02-08-2018 04:40 PM

The Steelex, Grizzly G0453Z and PM 15HH are identical machines. The difference in cost is the name, the motor and the switch.

If you buy the PM then you’re paying $1000 for maybe a better motor and the yellow paint.

The Grizzly 20” has been rock solid performer in my shop for >10 years.

You need pretty deep pockets to afford Baileigh or Oliver.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Trout121180's profile


44 posts in 42 days

#6 posted 02-08-2018 04:45 PM

Actually the baileigh is right around the same price as the powermatic. It sure about the Oliver but I think it is a little more expensive. But it also comes with a 5hp motor rather than the 3hp motor that lo the other brands have. And I am sure that I could get the powermatic within a week after ordering it. But as far as all the other brands I am not sure.

DOes anyone ha e first hand experience with either the laguna Oliver or baileigh?

-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View summerfi's profile (online now)


3847 posts in 1621 days

#7 posted 02-08-2018 06:39 PM

I went through the same decision process last fall and ended up buying the Powermatic on Black Friday at 15% off. The Grizzly and it’s clones use foreign made cutter heads with 14mm cutters that are straight on the sides and aligned straight with the board. Jet uses 15mm cutters with a radius on the sides that are canted to the board, but the cutter head is also foreign made. Powermatic uses the same cutters as Jet, but the cutter head is USA made Shelix brand. The Powermatic also has a few more cutters than Jet. Since the cutter head is really where the rubber meets the road on planers, I felt better about the Powermatic, especially with the nice discount, longer warranty, better resale value, and good customer service. So far I’ve not been disappointed. I can’t speak to the Laguna, Baileigh or Oliver.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View Trout121180's profile


44 posts in 42 days

#8 posted 02-08-2018 07:48 PM

Thanks Bob, I agree with your posts and I’m strongly leaning in that direction. I guess the fact that NO ONE seems to own the laguna, Baileigh, or Oliver says something. If they were better machines someone would have said something by now.


-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View JBrow's profile


1341 posts in 854 days

#9 posted 02-08-2018 08:29 PM


Woodmaster may be worth a look. They offer 12”, 18”, and 25” wide planers. In addition to the dc variable speed feed motor mentioned by Loren, their planers can also be converted into moulding machines and offer other features. These machines are made in Missouri and feature USA made 5 hp or 7.5 hp motors. My 12” Woodmaster planer was bought in the late 1980’s and still runs well, although I am a hobbyist. They offer a 60 day money back guarantee and a 5 year limited warranty. They are offering sale pricing until February 19.

View Trout121180's profile


44 posts in 42 days

#10 posted 02-08-2018 10:51 PM

That’s makes two people mentioning woodmaster. I have never really seen them disscussed until today. I really appreciate the info. I am going to try and see what kind of info I can gather on them. Thank you both for bringing them to my attention.

-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View Loren's profile


10105 posts in 3582 days

#11 posted 02-08-2018 11:02 PM

I never buy machinery new. I had a Woodmaster
though and I thought it was a good machine.
It’s a bit pricey but if you compare an 18”
new Woodmaster to a 20” Powermatic, both
with helical heads, you’ll find the Woodmaster
offers variable speed and molding capacity at
a similar price. I wouldn’t recommend getting
excited about making custom molding for big
profits with a Woodmaster as their marketing
suggests, but they are good machines.

I like to buy and sell machinery and see what
different things do. I’ve found some great bargains
at auctions and from private sellers, but I understand
that some people want to buy once and just
focus on working with wood.

View AZWoody's profile


1311 posts in 1158 days

#12 posted 02-09-2018 01:20 AM

I have a 20” grizzly with a helical head and never had any problems. It has always left an excellent finish that needed minimal sanding.
I always though Baileigh was also using the same factories as Grizzly, just painting the machines blue. For that matter, most of the planers you’re still considering are all basically the same mold just different specs.

Check this link…

That being said, I have a Woodmaster on order as I make a lot of turning blanks and work with large slabs so I have the 25” with the helical head and a shaft with 4 saw blades to be able to rip stock quick. Woodmaster is not cheap, but it’s owned by the same company that made my sawmill and they have excellent customer service. If I have a question on a new product or an idea on how to use something, I can email the president of the company and he messages usually within minutes and tells me the answer, or gets the person who can answer it for me in contact.

View Kelster58's profile


523 posts in 474 days

#13 posted 02-10-2018 01:18 AM

We have been replacing equipment in our school over the past ten years. We’ve purchased Bailiegh, Saw Stop, and Grizzly. Students can be tough on equipment. The only equipment we haven’t had problems with is Grizzly. Baileigh and Saw Stop pieces all went down. Both companies were responsive with parts and solutions. We had to repair the equipment ourselves. The grizzly pieces are still cranking, no problems. I can tell you none of those pieces are babied, the students use them hard and they learn the hard way with them some times….......

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View Trout121180's profile


44 posts in 42 days

#14 posted 02-10-2018 09:01 AM

Once again thank you to everyone that responded. I have looked into the woodmaster and although it seems like a great machine I am really just looking for a planer. The major selling point of the woodmaster seems to be that it can be a molder, Rip saw, and drum sander.

As far as grizzly goes I have talked to people that either swear by grizzly or swear they will never buy a grizzly again. The main reason I am hesitant is because my good friend that got me into woodworking has had two bad experiences with grizzly that I have seen first hand. Also they only offer a 1 year warranty. And on top of all that it would be a several month wait before I would be able to get a machine even if I wanted too.

Also although I am very intrigued by the laguna, Oliver, and baileigh, (especially the laguna) I have decided to stay away from those machines do to what seems to be a complete lack of information about them. IMO if these machines were as good or better than the other popular brands somebody somewhere would have some experience with them.

So that leaves the Jet and the Powermatic. They are within a couple hundred dollars of each other and both have a five year warranty. I was able to look at floor models of both of these machines and it really does look like I could take a part off the jet and bolt it right to the powermatic and never know the difference. But the powermatic has the actual Byrd head which makes me lean towards them.

Unfortunately neither is on sale right now. Going to try and find out if either will be offering a sale in the next couple of weeks if not it looks like I am just going to suck it up and get the powermatic.

Lesson learned don’t post your current planer until you know what your going to replace it with. If I would ha e waited till Father’s Day weekend I bet I could have gotten an extra 15% off. Ah well.

Thanks again. I will lost some pictures once it is up and running.

-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View Sawdust35's profile


30 posts in 796 days

#15 posted 02-10-2018 02:38 PM

I bought the Jet 15HH in early March 2017. Rockler had a 10% off sale and I didn’t have to pay sales tax or shipping for lift gate service. I really like the surfacing quality and the power the machine has. At the time of purchase a woodcraft sales person told me Powermatic would not be offering discounts on their equipment any longer. Which is false based on the yearly Black Friday sales. If the Powermatic 15” shelix planer had been on sale I would have gone that route for the shelix head.

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