LumberJocks

Anyone with Experience with a General International 13" Planer with Helical Head

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by ellen35 posted 919 days ago 5368 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2035 days


919 days ago

I have been looking for a new planer. Right now I have the Ridgid lunchbox which works well (I will be passing it along to a friend should I actually be able to find a new planer). I was at a local machine supplier 2 wks ago and saw the General International 13” with a helical head. I did as much research as I could on this machine and couldn’t find anything of substance. FWW says it is a good machine and one of the other magazines reviewed the cutter heads and compared several small models. Please… don’t tell me to go to Craig’s List. I am not mechanical, or I would trick out the Ridgid with a helical head. What I am really interested in is whether anyone actually has some experience with this machine and how he/she likes it.
The pros for me are:
size (add weight here too)
simplicity
110 line
helical head
price is OK at around $550

The cons for me are:
helical head is high speed steel
there are only 2 sides to the blade (not 4 like some of the others)

The real “con” for me are the HSS blades.

I could use some wise advice from those of you who have one or who have investigated purchasing one.
Delta is coming out with a new lunchbox with a carbide helical head in April. I just hate being the first one to buy a machine until the bugs are worked out. I know Delta has been purchased recently and the Delta guys I talked with at the Woodworking Show were very positive (like they would say their new product will be a crappy one!)

Thanks for your help.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire


14 replies so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2368 posts in 2041 days


#1 posted 919 days ago

Good post Ellen. Can’t help you but would be nice to know if my Dewalt ever dies.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View patron's profile

patron

12976 posts in 1944 days


#2 posted 918 days ago

hi ellen
having never even heard of this company
but googled all i could find
looks not to bad
but doesn’t have a lock lever
like my ryobi does
but the helical head sounds good

the listing i found
were all for $699
don’t know where you got the $500 from
maybe the guys you talked to at their booth

more newer is more better
have fun

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2252 days


#3 posted 918 days ago

Ellen, I think you’re doing the right thing by looking for some feedback and proof before jumping on the wagon.

While HSS is not necessarily a bad thing, usually when using inserts, carbide is indeed the preferred choice of material. It seems like the new Steel-City planers also use a 2-sided HSS cutters, I would guess this is the same machine (as General International is made in asia as well), but this is just a guess. if they are, you might be able to catch a glimpse of it in the Woodcraft store in NH as they carry the SC line of tools (call them). I went there when I was shopping for a TS, but was not very impressed with what I’ve seen.

As for ‘newer is better’ – not necessarily and definitely not in todays economy where mfg. are trying to reduce their costs and have you still pay more for it (I guess it IS better for the mfg).

unfortunately in the lunchbox planers 110v friendly market there isn’t many options these days to get the best features that the bigger machines have. I would suggest waiting it off, or go with a 15” model (albeit might require 220) if you really need heavy duty planing to do and lots of it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2035 days


#4 posted 918 days ago

Sharon,
I believe the Steel City did not get very good reviews. I agree about “newer is not necessarily better”. I have seen the General International at Burns Tool in Fall River. It looks like a decent machine…I am just interested in what others think about it before I make a final decision.
Thanks for your input, Sharon. I appreciate your thoughts.
And thanks David…

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View patron's profile

patron

12976 posts in 1944 days


#5 posted 918 days ago

i guess what i meant
was that newer is exciting

but like birthdays
they are fun till you hit 21
after that they just keep piling up

and need to be re-assessed
from time to time

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1529 days


#6 posted 918 days ago

Ellen, I would suggest going directly to General's site and calling one of the reps there with some questions. They are usually very good to talk to.

Almost all of my shop is General green, I have a larger thickness planer and it has worked very well for me for years.

I don’t know anything about the helical head for the 13”, the 15” has 4 sides to the blades.

All the Best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1681 days


#7 posted 918 days ago

Hi Ellen, Is Gen Int’l the Canadian co? If it is the one, it has a good reputation, although I don’t own one of their machines. I have been using a DeWalt 734 planer with good results. It is easy to use, but due to a temporary lack of attention, I ran a pc of wood through it that a hidden nail and, you guessed it. I had to rotate the blades (3) and now it’s doing the job again, nicely. I did find out the hard way that those blades are as sharp as razor blades . . . a slip of the oilly rag put a cut about an inch long on my thumb. So, if you have to change the blades, do be extremely careful. You may find the DeWalt 734 planer on sale from rime to time for as much as $100 below posted price.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2035 days


#8 posted 918 days ago

Randy,
I thought about calling them to see if they offered a carbide tipped model. I’ll try to do that this week.
Little Paw,
Yes it is the Canadian company. I know they are pretty reputable.

So glad to get some feedback here. LJs are so knowledgeable and give perspective to any discussion.
Thanks, everyone… keep the thoughts coming.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2035 days


#9 posted 918 days ago

David,
I just re-checked the price and you are quite correct… it is $689.
And that is with HSS blades…
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View patron's profile

patron

12976 posts in 1944 days


#10 posted 918 days ago

well the search goes on then

may the best lady win

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

756 posts in 920 days


#11 posted 918 days ago

I wish I could give more information but I’m sort of in the market for a portable planer as well and haven’t picked one out yet. It will be a helical cutterhead machine for sure.

General does seem to have a good reputation for quality though. It would probably be the first planer I’d check out. Preferably in person if possible. HSS blades wouldn’t necessarily be a turn-off for me. The old Rigid at the workplace gets a blade sharpening no more than once a year and that is with standard straight knives. We put a lot of wood through that machine in a year.

The Steel City benchtop jointer got a lot of negative reviews so that doesn’t give me a ton of faith in their planers.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View AlanBienlein's profile

AlanBienlein

140 posts in 1277 days


#12 posted 916 days ago

I just converted my Ridgid TP 1300 planer to the helical head from” http://www.accu-head.com/#!products":http://www.accu-head.com/#!products . This is the same head thats in the General International surface planer.Here is a link to the owners manual showing the head on page 15.http://general.ca/pg_index/manuals/30-005HC.pdf was $250 plus shipping. I talked to their technical support and found out they are working on a carbide insert option. On mine I replaced all the two sided hss inserts with 4 sided carbide inserts I got from this company http://www.carbideprocessors.com/4-sided-1-hole-insert-knife-t04f-grade-14mm-x-14mm-x-2mm-southeast-tool-si-141420-sp/ . There was a night and day difference between the two as the carbide inserts gave a much better finish. I also have a video of me running some curly maple thru it that had some serious tear out.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2035 days


#13 posted 916 days ago

Alan, thanks for the info.
I’ll be pursuing the carbide option too.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View pdoubleu33's profile

pdoubleu33

6 posts in 789 days


#14 posted 789 days ago

@Ellen. I’ve had this planer for a year and love it. I have experience with all the other similar brands. Sorry, this way late to help I’m sure.

@Alan. I bought the same carbide blades. How did you install them square? Tough w the 4 sided. My boards have lines now.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase