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Steel City 40300H Portable Planer with Helical Cutter - Problems?

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Forum topic by John Moore posted 318 days ago 2224 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


318 days ago

I just received my second 40300H (bought on Amazon) and am wondering if the problems I’m having are endemic to helical cutters, or if I’ve received another wonky machine… As with the first machine- I set it up according to the directions and ran through a couple of test boards with better results, but still disconcerting.

The first machine left a lot of gouges in soft pine, and a few too many light gouges in white oak. The new machine leaves less in soft pine, and almost imperceptible gouges in white oak… is this something I should expect from a helical planer? Am I always going to have to go back & hit it with the sander to get the gouges out? If so- that’s going to be a bigger problem on soft woods, since I’ll have to leave the boards proud & then be very careful in my sanding to get them to the final size. Anyone use this machine & have a similar experience?

Oh, yeah- both of the machines looked like they could have been either refurbs or returns… the protective blue plastic was missing off of the bed and the front rollers had sawdust on them. Does Steel City test the machines before sending them out? If so- that would explain the sawdust… I’m still concerned.

John Moore


12 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile (online now)

NiteWalker

2640 posts in 1162 days


#1 posted 317 days ago

I’m pretty sure the blue plastic was from being tested; my dewalt 734 arrived the same way from cpo dewalt, but was otherwise brand new.

As for the planer, I’d return it to amazon, spend a tiny bit more and get the version with carbide knives (same exact planer, just with carbide inserts).

AFAIK, the gouges are normal. You can minimize them by removing the knives, cleaning under them and reseating them. The smallest amount of debris can affect the fit, and cut quality.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View BJODay's profile

BJODay

324 posts in 528 days


#2 posted 317 days ago

I have been reading LJ reviews on planers. The negative reviews on Steel City concerned the excessive oil and grease they are slathered in for shipping. You can find lots of info on them on this site.

http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1863
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1858
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/820

BJ

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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


#3 posted 317 days ago

NiteWalker – good info about the carbide knives & re-seating the current knives.

BJODay – I’ve read those reviews, and they are mostly complaints about the 40200… seems like the 40300 that I’ve received doesn’t have the same grease problems (so far).

I’m going to do a thorough cleaning when I re-seat knives and see if that takes care of things… if not- then I plan on contacting Steel City to see if they’ll ship me a set of the carbide knives so that I don’t have to return yet another planer.

Thanks all!

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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


#4 posted 317 days ago

Update: I just got off the phone with the very helpful people at Steel City (no wait & a human answered the phone!). According to them they don’t test all of their machines, only a certain percentage if there is a factory-related issue that they are aware of. So… it seems that Amazon has now sent me 2 used or returned machines. I’m going to contact Amazon & see if I can be guaranteed a new/unused machine, and if not- back it goes.

Oh, yeah… I asked about the carbide knives on the 40300HC that Highland sells and it is a custom machine they make just for Highland. If I can’t get a new one from Amazon I’ll spend the extra $50 ($10 more than Amazon & & 40 shipping) .

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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


#5 posted 317 days ago

Update #2: I just got off the phone with Ed from Highland and he was very helpful & informative… turns out that the stock cutters are too pointy for how they are positioned in the cutter head, so they can create longitudinal nicks.

Also- Bill from Steel City just left me a message saying that the carbide cutters have a slight relief to the corner, so that should mitigate the nicking/spidering. I think they should contact their factory & suggest the same improvement to their stock cutters.

I guess I’ll just buy the carbide version from Highland, especially since they were so helpful.

John

View DJAPitts's profile

DJAPitts

1 post in 239 days


#6 posted 239 days ago

John,

Did you get the machine from Highland? Any comments on the HC version?

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4272 posts in 1633 days


#7 posted 239 days ago

’ it seems that Amazon has now sent me 2 used or returned machines”
I do not think so.

The cutter head on the steel city is made by Accu-head it is cheaper (around $250.00 on E-bay) but not as good as the Shelix head.
The Accu-Head is not a true helical head.
It will leave valleys.
The Shelix head is the best but it is expensive, one for my Ridgid planner is $437.00

-- Bert

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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


#8 posted 239 days ago

I ended up not buying the one from Highland, as it was the Accu-Head. I’m probably going to wait until Spring and pick up something that will work with the Shelix head.

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b2rtch

4272 posts in 1633 days


#9 posted 239 days ago

Check Grizzly

-- Bert

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John Moore

8 posts in 337 days


#10 posted 239 days ago

I was looking at the Grizzly options, and they look good. I’m also considering the General planer. I’m kind of hoping I can find something used in my area and add the Shelix head, but the budget’s a bit tight at the moment… now, if I could only get some of the other toys sold (ie, typewriters, camera, sewing machines) I could probably buy a new planer!

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b2rtch

4272 posts in 1633 days


#11 posted 239 days ago

This is what I did with my jointer:
http://lumberjocks.com/b2rtch/blog/31439

-- Bert

View AlanBienlein's profile

AlanBienlein

137 posts in 1259 days


#12 posted 239 days ago

I guess I’ll have to disagree about the accu-head. This January will be two years that I’ve had it installed in my Ridgid TP1300 planer and have had no problems what so ever. I don’t even look at grain direction anymore. The best part about it was I had no problems planing ipe with it this past week and it came out beautiful.

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