Needed advice on a 5 Function Combination machine

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Forum topic by Jim Burke posted 09-09-2011 09:21 PM 2428 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Burke

2 posts in 1451 days

09-09-2011 09:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: combination machine laguna mini-max hammer tools 5 function machine felder

I have a small shop, it’s an over-sized one car garage (it’s about 12 feet wide) and I’m looking at buying some essential wood working equipment. The heart of every woodworking shop is a nice table saw. I also think I need a jointer, a planer, a band saw, and a drill press. When I started looking around I had myself convinced I was going to buy a new Uni-saw ( it looks like an incredible piece of machinery). Then I looked at a SawStop, and was convinced I needed the safety of that unit. When I looked at either saw, with an attached side table, it was really looking like it would take a ton of space. Then if a bought a separate jointer, and planer it seems like I might not have enough room in my little shop. So, now I started looking that the entry level 5 function combination machines from Hammer, Mini-Max, and Laguna. These machines seem to pack lot of equipment in a small footprint. They also pack alot of costs in a small footprint as well. My question, is there anyone out there that has gone though this decision making process and if so, what did you decide? If you bought a combination machine, which machine did you buy? Are you happy with your purchase? would you do anything differently?

I would really appreciate any help you can give me.


Jim Burke

-- Jim, Arvada Colorado

3 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2648 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 11:00 PM

I’d say it depends on how attracted you are to mechanical side of
machine woodworking. I’ve had combo jointer-planers by Robland,
Makita, Belsaw, and INCA. The Robland was the older XSD310
and while I really liked the mortiser on it, the jointer tables were
a bit fussy and the planer lacked refinement. It was very powerful though.

In terms of table saws, the tablesaw-shaper combos don’t make much
compromise in the saw function and the shapers are powerful and there
when you need them; and the slider is there for tenoning and whatnot.

It’s easy to buy more machine than you need. If you’re doing full-scale
furniture making and building entry doors, those combo machines are
made for that kind of work. For sheet goods, only the higher-end
5-way combos are equal to a small dedicated slider.

I still have the INCA and only use it for the jointer. All my other machines,
presently, are not combos.

Resale value on bought-new combo machines is about half the new price –
and there’s a lot of sellers gnashing their teeth at the losses they’ll
take on these behemoths if they price them to sell for cash on the
second-hand market. Most of the used machines were bought new on
credit by inexperienced hobbiests or naive would-be pros, so condition
of the used machines is usually pretty good as they’ve seldom been
used much.


View Minorhero's profile


360 posts in 1605 days

#2 posted 09-09-2011 11:28 PM

What you buy depends a lot on what you plan to make. You do not have to have a 72” extension on your table saw. Most woodworkers get by just fine without it. Quite a few garage woodworkers get by without a bandsaw and use a jig saw instead (again depending on what you plan to make).

If you are new to woodworking you might want to buy only the bare needed machines, like just a table saw, use it for a bit and decide if you really want to buy the rest. There are a lot of projects that can be done just fine with a table saw and finished lumber.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


9808 posts in 1683 days

#3 posted 09-11-2011 04:21 AM

Maybe a Shopsmith is what you would like to look at. New ( they still make then here in Ohio), or used. Not sure about a planer for them, though.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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