Favorite floor model planer

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Forum topic by Tooch posted 02-27-2014 05:36 PM 3510 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1747 posts in 1872 days

02-27-2014 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question planer recommendations purchase

Dealing with planer snipe in my shop is alot like golfers learning to “play with a slice”. Over the years, I have tried every trick in the book (and some from fellow LJs) to fix it, called the manufacturer (which coincidentally was useless), and finally accepted my poorly designed machined and now just add 6 inches to each work piece when rough-cutting to plan for the infeed and outfeed snipe.

So, in the immortal words of Owen Hart – “Enough is Enough!!! AND ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!”

Currently, I’m looking to advance my machinery to the next level by replacing the bench top HD brand with a floor model and helical head. My budget is around $2,500 – $3,000, and I’m looking at both Jet and PowerMatic Brands. Rockler has a sale going on right now, so I may be able to get a little bit more for my money, so I’m looking to make a move soon.

Two Options I’m looking at are:

Does anyone have experience with either of these, or know/use a similar model that you would recommend>?

Thanks for looking, comments and suggestions are welcome/needed!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

51 replies so far

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3738 days

#1 posted 02-27-2014 06:16 PM

If I were buying a stationary planer…. regardless of brand, it would have a helical cutterhead. Beyond that, it really doesn’t matter too much who made it, it is a pretty simple machine, and everyone basically has a fixed head with an adjusting cast iron table.

They will all come from asia, so the Powermatic label isn’t a guarantee of quality anymore.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Loren's profile


10381 posts in 3644 days

#2 posted 02-27-2014 06:35 PM

As with all of these machine questions, it depends on the
type of work you do.

Sanding is a bigger time bottleneck than thickness planing
in my experience.

I realized that a sniping benchtop planer is annoying, but
it may go away if you install a long melamine sub-bed and
a digital height gauge to compensate for the melamine thickness.

View TechTeacher's profile


38 posts in 2392 days

#3 posted 02-27-2014 07:07 PM

Plus one on the Helical head. Putting a helical head into an older planer would be an option too if you could find a nice machine. I put a Bryd Shelix head in a Powermatic machine a year or two ago. Took some time but it wasn’t too hard. Removing the old knives/head was probably the worst.

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 2443 days

#4 posted 02-27-2014 07:42 PM

I would look for an older American made machine and put the helical head on it. JMO…

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2879 days

#5 posted 02-27-2014 09:05 PM

I have the powermatic planer; overall for the price, it is a good, reliable machine. The extension tables are a bit finicky to get aligned though, and even with them aligned perfectly (or within a few thousands of a inch) I get a bit of snipe. Less snipe than my old Dewalt 13” planer but still noticeable. I imagine that any planer around this price point is going to be similar.

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

View Tooch's profile


1747 posts in 1872 days

#6 posted 02-27-2014 10:25 PM

part of our problem with installing a (large) infeed/outfeed table on the bench top models is physical space. with so many students, you never know when you will need the planer so having it be mobile isn’t really a possibility, and out lab is [fairly] full as it is right now anyhow. adding 4’+ of linear space isn’t really feasible.

I’m thinking/hoping/praying a bigger, heavier table will help. please tell me it will…..!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Hammerthumb's profile


2844 posts in 1971 days

#7 posted 02-27-2014 10:35 PM

I agree with Manitario as I have the same PM 20”. Light final cuts will minimize snipe to a point that you may not even notice it. Be prepared for adding some power for this planer though. I have run a separate service for it as it is very power hungery.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2879 days

#8 posted 02-27-2014 11:27 PM

I’m not sure a bigger, heavier table will make a huge difference in snipe; my impression is that long, flex free infeed/outfeed tables are the key to eliminating snipe…As Hammerthumb mentioned, keep in mind that the 5hp machines need a 50amp breaker…

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

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#9 posted 02-28-2014 12:06 AM

Where I used to work, the run anything through it planer was a 16” Powermatic 160, put through hell and still ran like a champ. The good planer was a Delta/Invicta 24” model that had a 10hp motor and turned rough wood into glass. The newer Taiwanese planers to me are all the same, just depends on which formerly great brand you’re willing to bet on.

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3692 days

#10 posted 02-28-2014 12:21 AM

I have a grizzly 15 inch floor model planer and have never had any snip and all I do is insert the board and let it go thru, no holding the end up going in or out.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View Tooch's profile


1747 posts in 1872 days

#11 posted 02-28-2014 11:09 AM

Thanks for the ideas, guys.

Hammerthumb and Manitario – the electric is not an issue as this is for a school setting with lots of open breakers, but I will definitely keep that in my when installing whichever one I go with.

Bigblockyeti - that’s exactly what I need… a “Run-anything-through-it” planer that I can put through hell.

wiswood2 - I have absolutely no experience with grizzly tools. from what I hear they are fantastic… what part of the country are they from?

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Tooch's profile


1747 posts in 1872 days

#12 posted 02-28-2014 11:10 AM

also- if anyone can clear this up for me…. What is the difference between a spiral head and helical head?

my impression is that a spiral head has a singular, curved blade; whereas a helical head has multiple carbide blades that can be rotated…. is that correct>? or am I way off>?

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View robdem's profile


380 posts in 2602 days

#13 posted 02-28-2014 01:22 PM

Tooch check out online store cpo outlets having 15 percent of sale on jet and powermatic tools I just ordered a jet drum sander last week from them no tax and free shipping . Sander was at my house in one week .

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2879 days

#14 posted 02-28-2014 03:11 PM

Tooch; spiral head and helical head are just different names for the same thing, a head with rows of multiple carbide blades in a spiral or helical pattern.

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

View BilltheDiver's profile


253 posts in 2881 days

#15 posted 02-28-2014 04:08 PM

I have a 15” Powermatic with a spiral head (3 blades which flex into a spiral head, not replaceable inserts). I got it used and love it. It has no noticeable snipe. My previous planer was an old Belsaw and impossible to tune the snipe out of.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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