15" planer for Christmas... and you can help

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Forum topic by joeyinsouthaustin posted 12-05-2012 02:03 PM 2899 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1294 posts in 2068 days

12-05-2012 02:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tools tool purchase planer spiral helical new resource planing

I have $4000 to spend (US) I need a 15” planer, helical, reliable, for a commercial setting. NEW not used 3 phase not availiable.


I am not going to share what I am thinking, I want a clean pool….Just vote and give quick statements about your experience with the tool.

The 735 finally gave up after hundreds of thousands of board feet (est.), 2 motors, 4 cowlings, 2 chains, 2 cogs, and others… what a workhorse. (I think it may have heard me discussing a new one yesterday and this morning came back with..”you can’t fire me….I QUIT”)

-- Who is John Galt?

19 replies so far

View APease75's profile


18 posts in 2289 days

#1 posted 12-05-2012 02:37 PM

personally if i were you i would look very hard a a grizzly model. I wish i could find the article, but a year or so ago i read an article on about how most of the big tool manufacturers tools came out of the exact same factory in taiwan. The only real differences being the apperance (paint and such), and perhaps the use of an upgraded spiral cutterhead (powermatic employs the Byrd Shelix). My dad and i each have a few pieces of grizzly equiptment (dad has the 12” jointer/planer and i have a 14” bandsaw) and we have been very pleased with the performance. So if i could get virtually the same machine for less money then i would very much consider it. In fact i have been drooling over the grizzly 15” planers for some time, but when my dad got the jointer.planer, i got the hand me down shopsmith 12” unit, which is a killer machine.
good luck, i hope this helps a little.

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18 posts in 2289 days

#2 posted 12-05-2012 02:39 PM

I know from that article that Grizzly, Powermatic, Jet and 6 or 7 others were in the batch from the one factory.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3061 days

#3 posted 12-05-2012 02:48 PM

In that price range you actually have a great option to buy American if you prefer. Take a look at the Woodmaster 718 (this is their 18” model; they only have 12”, 18” and 25”). This tool also has the ability to produce molding or serve as a drum sander or rip saw as well. Sounds like you need a full time planer, however, which is fine. I use mine as a planer 99% of the time, and only convert when I have an occasional molding need or am sanding end grain. With the spiral cutterhead I have never gotten any chip-out, so I don’t hesitate to use the planer where I might otherwise use a drum sander. I only pull out the drum sander for end grain or cross grain sanding. The drum sander capabilities are not world class (adequate, not great), but the other functions are fantastic.

-- PaulMayer,

View toolie's profile


2121 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 12-05-2012 03:12 PM

$4000?? sounds like a good candidate for wasting a boatload of money on a jet or, better yet, a powermatic. hopefully, buying one of those overpriced brands is a mistake you’ll avoid.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2068 days

#5 posted 12-05-2012 03:51 PM

toolie I don’t want to waste my money for sure… but you give no recommendation.. what is your recommendation besides jet or powermatic… and specifically why? thanks

-- Who is John Galt?

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117090 posts in 3573 days

#6 posted 12-05-2012 03:58 PM

I have a grizzly 20” spiral head planer and it has been great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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3051 posts in 2253 days

#7 posted 12-05-2012 04:04 PM

I agree with Paul. It looks like the Woodmaster 718 exceeds your requirements, if you upgrade to the spiral head cutter, and leaves you some cash to play with unless you opt to add their Pro Pack which would put you $300 over budget.

-- Art

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2068 days

#8 posted 12-05-2012 10:46 PM

now the interesting part… I just found a used woodmaster 718 in town for $800, used as a dedicated planer, with the pro pack still in the box. I have heard mixed reviews on woodmaster and grizzly hot and cold. a1jim how is dust collection on that. pmayer I have heard bad things about dust collection.

this is what I like, toolie it is not too late… you can offer alternatives

-- Who is John Galt?

View APease75's profile


18 posts in 2289 days

#9 posted 12-06-2012 01:25 AM

good call on the woodmaster pmayer, i didnt even know about them, right now it is only like 2300 on their website

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2632 days

#10 posted 12-06-2012 01:26 AM

To hit on what someone else said, just because a two tools come from the same factory does not make them the equal. The difference you pay for a powermatic vs. grizzly makes the fit and finish better and constrained quality control. If you have the money, go with your gut and get the machine you could see yourself with for the next 20 years. At $4000 you are going to get a great machine.

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2387 posts in 3542 days

#11 posted 12-06-2012 01:52 AM

We have the wood master 725 with the 7.5 HP motor. This machine is a workhorse, gave 2000 for it used and it came with extra head for molding knives and also came with drum sander and gang rip. W e cut a good amount of crown and other moldings and we plane a ton of wood. We recently planed 800 bf of mesquite that still bad bark on it. The lumber was sliced at just over 1” for us and the planer made light work of it.

Don’t discount the value in a good used planer. I have had a chance to purchase a 2000 lb 25” Oliver and also a 25” PM weighing in at around 2000 lbs at auctions. Both of the planers were great buys at 1/2 or less of your budget and would last a few generations.

The thing I guess I have noted is the wood master is light in the britches when compared with the cast iron tanks of yesteryear. I am sort of a nut for the old iron because many times you can get much better quality and value for the same or less money. At least that has been our experience.

-- .

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Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2181 days

#12 posted 12-06-2012 03:00 AM

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95 posts in 2822 days

#13 posted 12-06-2012 03:26 AM

i’m not a grizzly fan at all. One of the few machines i have left is the grizzly 220v single phase 20” planer with spiral index cutterhead. It has been a good machine . I would not get anything smaller.

I would personally spend the extra money on this machine . My first choice would be the powermatic 22.

Check your local industrial woodworking machinery dealer . they too might have older bigger single phase machines.

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3061 days

#14 posted 12-06-2012 03:50 AM

I believe that the dust collection on older models had some issues due to the design of the dust hood. If I recall correctly the older style dust hood was positioned so that the chute pointed straight up at nearly a 90 degree angle. At some point they redesigned the dust hood so that it angles toward the rear of the machine so that it aligned more the direction that the debris was flying. I think, but I’m not sure, that you can install a new style hood on an older machine. The guys at WM will know for sure.

My 718 is only a year old, and it has the new style hood. When I have all of my other blast gates closed I get about 850 CFM at the planer’s dust chute, and it collects virtually everything, even when planing stock that is quite wide. If I open one other 6” gate on the system my CFM at the planer drops to about 550, and then I would give the dust collection a B- or so. I will also qualify that by saying that I am admittedly a bit of a dust collection fanatic, so many people might be comfortable with what I am calling a B-.

On another note, I have been super impressed with their customer service. They have a couple things going for them. One is that they essentially only sell two products; planer/molder/sander/ripper combo machines like we are talking about, and dedicated drum sanders which I have never seen in person. Secondly, everyone that I have talked to there has been with the company for a long time, and they seem to actually use these machines at home. I pressed them with some hard, esoteric questions, and the guys who answered the phones could actually answer this stuff. And just a couple weeks ago I screwed up a part on it, totally my fault and I told them that, and they sent me not one but TWO free replacements that arrived two days later just so that I could have one on hand in the event that I did it again (he obviously had me figured out!). I get so sick of dealing with customer service people who are constrained by asinine corporate policies that prevent them from doing the right thing, that when I get exposed to a company who goes above and beyond it really stands out to me.

-- PaulMayer,

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18 posts in 2289 days

#15 posted 12-07-2012 04:40 PM

actually i didnt come uo with the notion that because a tool comes from the same factory they are equal, Fine Woodworking did. But i also have no reservations of spending money, i bought the new model 52” delta unisaw 2 1/2 years ago, lol, most people told me i was nuts.

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