Hammer A3-31 or Jet 12 with spiral head?

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Forum topic by TDog77 posted 03-17-2012 01:23 AM 5513 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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125 posts in 2319 days

03-17-2012 01:23 AM

I am upping my allowance a little for my jointer planer combo machine trying to do it once and right as I can and have narrowed it down to the aforementioned two and would like opinions. The Hammer would be 3727 to my door with a rolling base and the Jet would be about 3273 with the stand. I feel a little pressed as the sale on the jet (500 off) ends in two days and there is no where even close to me where I can look at both. I get a better gut feel on the Hammer especially with it being made in Austria and not you know where and that it might have better resale as well but I could be wrong. I should mention that I could really use it right now and the Hammer is about 45 days out…Ouch

4 replies so far

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2850 days

#1 posted 03-17-2012 03:36 AM

I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Jet, but honestly, I’ve never heard anything negative about a Hammer. I’m in the market for a new jointer and the Hammer A3-31 is at the top of the list.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View ruel24's profile


79 posts in 2260 days

#2 posted 03-17-2012 03:57 AM

If you do some research, you’ll find people loathing the fence, having motor and capacitor problems, table alignment problems on both the jointer and the planer tables on the Jet. That’s not to say you’ll have any of those problems, but they do seem to be common problems.

You may not hear so much about the Hammer because it isn’t as commonly bought. It’s probably a good machine, and worth every penny. However, realize that most people feel better about their purchase of a Mercedes than they do a Chevrolet, despite that actual quantitative numbers regarding reliability show that they are just about equals. But the fact that you spend so much makes you feel as if you got your money’s worth, somehow…

Personally, if I could afford a Hammer, I wouldn’t hesitate.

View rum's profile


148 posts in 2552 days

#3 posted 03-17-2012 05:38 AM

Yeah expect some delay in getting the Hammer… They are basically made on demand.

It will almost certainly have better resale than the Jet (rightly or wrongly). Throwing in the spiral head makes it complicated. I’ve been very happy with the Hammers cut quality (do get some spare cobalt knives if you go that way they are vastly superior to the stock HSS ones) but there is always that niggling doubt :D So far I couldn’t be happier having gotten the Hammer, but I’ve never used the Jet so take that with whatever grain of salt you want.

The Hammer also has a few options you can add later that are pretty sweet. The “digital” depth wheel (it really just tracks wheel revolutions and angle and translates it into a counter) really does make getting repeatable cuts a breeze. I now keep track of the setting on most of my work and can just dial right back to where I was (yeah the side gauge is “relatively accurate, but we’re talking within a couple of thou here – amazing). I also added an outfeed extension to the planer and that has been brilliantly helpful when doing longer boards solo. Mine came with the mortising head (package deal), and I haven’t used it a lot as I had to save up for some bits and didn’t get any until fairly recently :| It looks pretty useful but I still need to wrap my head around when I should use it instead of doing things by hand :D

The new style center lock fence on the Hammer has given me no problems, although honestly its a little more sheet metal than I was hoping for (its stable.. just well.. you know doesn’t look as nice as it should imho :D).

Flipping the tables up is easy with the newer joined tables and they lock down easy and solid.

Do make sure you have GOOD dust collection (I suspect this is true with either of them). With the hammer taking full width cuts on a 12” pine board you produce wispy “feathers” about 1/4” wide, 8+” long and thin as tissue paper (people disbelieved they weren’t from a spiral head cutter and no I still don’t understand how it makes them – something with a chip breaker I assume). I can fill a 30g barrel in ~15m or less when planing rough stock, 4” is barely enough if you can do 5” or 6” hose that’s better. I have a heavily modded HF (thien top hat, yadda yadda) and with 8’ of 5” flex it works well enough (some chips are left on the table but 99% are taken up).

View rogerrylie's profile


8 posts in 2228 days

#4 posted 03-17-2012 02:16 PM

I got the hammer A3-31 but I couldn’t afford the extra 800.00 for the spiral head. It hands down beats the Jet. If I had the extra money I think now I would have gone for the 16 inch A3-41. It does take a while and the shipping is expensive but it is worth it.

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