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RBI 820 4 in 1 - Any One Use This

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Forum topic by lansinwd posted 07-30-2014 01:17 PM 4519 views 1 time favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lansinwd

19 posts in 1906 days


07-30-2014 01:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question planer sander

I am looking at getting a bigger planer to speed up the process a bit. One option available to me (2 hour drive to get) is a very lightly used RBI 820. This has a 15” planer capacity and has a 5 HP motor. The person is asking $1000, but seems willing to go lower. There seems to be very little on the web in regards to reviews, and of the few sparse reviews, they seem to range from terrible to fantastic. I would probably just hold off for a cheaper planer, but I like the idea of being able to use the sanding feature for end grain cutting boards. Not sure I would use the molder or gang cutting options at all.

Does anyone here have any experience with this particular model or RBI in general?

-- Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me


36 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

4658 posts in 1536 days


#1 posted 07-30-2014 01:25 PM

For that kind of money, I’d hold off unless you really want the sanding feature. In my experience planers with the ability to switch out the cutter head for a sanding drum or moulding head are great from a versatility standpoint but leave a little to be desired when compared to a dedicated machine. You can get a brand new Grizzly for close to the asking price of this used machine. Personally, I’m holding out for a good deal on a 20” planer in decent shape and not too far away. Right now there’s a JET 15” for $500 and a Powermatic 15” for $700, each less than an hour from me.

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lansinwd

19 posts in 1906 days


#2 posted 08-21-2014 02:10 PM

I am starting to understand that there has been little experience with the RBI combo machine, however, I thought I would give this one more shot as I think I am going to pull the trigger on a planer this weekend. A guy pretty close to me has a 15” Delta (22-780X) good shape (dull blades) and is pretty firm at $700. The RBI that mentioned before has dropped down to $850 and I have a feeling he will go to $750.

Any thoughts on what I should do? The RBI has a 5HP motor and 20” cut, but I only build small projects for the most part (but would like to buy rough lumber) so the extra width and power would not be a huge factor, I am more concerned with longevity (quality) of the tool. The molder head would be nice for some picture frames that I would like to make though. Only other difference is the drive 15 minutes for the Delta 4 hours round trip for the RBI,

Or should I continue to wait for a better deal. I still need to get a BS and a Jointer, so the better I do with saving money on buying the right planer, the quicker I can move on the other tools.

@bigblockyeti, I saw the Jet and Powermatic that you were talking about as well, but I have never heard back from either seller on them so there wasn’t much of an option there, hopefully you were able to get a hold of them.

Thanks for any advice.

-- Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#3 posted 08-21-2016 03:46 AM

What did you end up doing? I’m 2 years late, but having been a dealer for RBI in times past I have a lot of experience with their machines. They are not particularly cleverly made, but they are durable, and many parts are off the shelf stuff. I have an old 612 model I bought new in 1980 (?) and it’s still running strong. I’ve replaced one feed roller and another needs replacing now. Thousands of bd ft of hardwood lumber have gone through it and it has made many hundreds of linear feet of custom molding.
At $750 dollars, I would not have hesitated and would have walked past your other choices to get it.

DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

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RBIDoug

8 posts in 272 days


#4 posted 02-24-2017 02:48 PM

Dank:
I just bought a used RBI 820 with molding, sanding, and gang saw heads. Am trying to get it to not snipe or at least reduce the current amount of snipe. I noted that you were a RBI dealer in the past, can you give me any pointers?
Doug

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Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#5 posted 02-24-2017 03:13 PM

Hi Doug, sure. Snipe on these machines should be nearly non-existent. The basic principle in play here is the tendency of the trailing end of the board to snap up when it leaves the infeed roller. This means that there is a force being applied to cause the end to lift off the bed. Most often this is caused by the leading end of the board sagging without support. Several things to do.

One is to adjust the outfeed table so the outboard end is 1/8” to 1/4” HIGHER than the cast table, turning it into an up ramp. Adjust further outfeed support accordingly. The infeed table usually does well if it is in the same plane as the bed.

A second thing is to actually hold the board as it exits applying up pressure.

These two actions assume that the tension on the outfeed roller is adequate and balanced. Check the nuts holding the springs to see that they are indeed applying sufficient pressure equally. They should compress the spring a minimum of 3/8”, assuming that the springs haven’t weakened.

A further tip is to wax the bed with a good quality hard (Carnuba) wax like Lundmarks. Lacking that, baby powder is a good lubricant for the bed. While this doesn’t address the snipe issue it sure helps the planer.

Any other questions, let me know. I have a moulding head with wide and narrow knife holders if you want it.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

View RBIDoug's profile

RBIDoug

8 posts in 272 days


#6 posted 02-24-2017 04:41 PM

Thanks Dan,
I’ll give your suggestions a try and let you know. Holding up on the board seems to be a learned process and I’m afraid with my lack of experience it might not be(for me) a 100% repeatable. It would be my luck to ruin a project just because I either forgot or did not do the maneuver properly every time.

Thanks for the offer of the moulding head but a brand new one (still in the box) came with the unit, as did the sander and the gang saw attachments.

I wonder how many of these RBI/Hawk planers are out there in use? Did I buy a “turkey”.

Thanks again,
Doug

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Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#7 posted 02-24-2017 04:50 PM

They’re out there. I sold some, and I’ve had another recent inquiry. They along with their big brothers are very durable and useful machines. No turkey.
You don’t have to buy knives from RBI, though I think you still can. They contract them out, so you might as well buy from a reputable knife maker. The small holder uses Sears shaper cutters in sets of three. The small ones can also be used in the planer head without taking the knives out (at least on the 12” ones you can). Just remove the center gib and replace the spacer with a knife. Just make sure they are well seated in a clean pocket and tightened securely. Saves a lot of trouble for small stuff.
You need a special table for making moldings and they are easy to make. Can help you with that too.

DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

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RBIDoug

8 posts in 272 days


#8 posted 02-24-2017 05:04 PM

Mine came with a spars set of sharpened knives, the ones in the unit do need to be changed out though. What is the process to get the old knives re sharpened? Can this be done on the machine or do they have to come out and be sent out?

thanks again for all your help,
Doug

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#9 posted 02-25-2017 04:41 AM

If the knives are not in too bad shape you can stone (diamond plate is faster) them pretty easily in place. With an appropriately coarse grit, place the stone on the knife edge and rest the other end on the steel head behind the knife to hold the angle. Go to the finest grit you have, not less than a medium arkansas stone or a fine diamond plate (not extra fine or extra extra fine…waste of time). You can do this a couple times before you have to remove the knives.

When you do remove the knives, run the set screws in the jibs all the way back and beat the gib with a big 3 lb hammer on a hardwood stick…a single very sharp blow should loosen the gib. Take out the jack screws and coat them with NeverSieze or the like and do the same with the set screws in the gibs. The steel set screws in the gibs interact chemically with the aluminum gibs and you want to prevent that from going any further than it already has.

If I’m still alive at that point, you can send the blades to me and I’ll sharpen them for you. Or you can take them to most any sharpening shop. It’s not hard to do it yourself…just need a block of wood with a groove to hold the blade as you work it over a stone. Some guys put all three blades together into a bundle for stoning. That may help you hold the correct angle (30°).
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

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RBIDoug

8 posts in 272 days


#10 posted 02-28-2017 06:32 PM

Dan,
Installed new blades last night and it is cutting smooth as glass now, but I still have a lot of snipe unless I verrrrrrrry slowly sneak up of the target thickness at about 1/16 or less of a inch at each pass. All the hardware was very nice, no hard to remove screws or gibs. I did note that the infeed roller is not in as good shape as the outfeed roller. Should I swap them? Could that be causing my snipe problem? Any suggestions?

Also, even with the vac system going there is a lot of dust and shavings coming out of the infeed during operation, is this normal for this planer or can I do/add something to lessen the clean up hassle?

Thanks again for all you help and advice.
Doug

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Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#11 posted 02-28-2017 11:29 PM

Yes, a messed up infeed roller can be the cause of the snipe. The irregularity can grab the board and pull it off the table as it passes the end of the board. Get a replacement…the new material they use is far superior to the old rubber. I wouldn’t waste my effort to move it.
1/16” is a good maximum for the finish passes. I seldom allow my 12” planer more than 1/16” depth of cut. While these are among the few that can successfully remove up to 1/4” at a pass, it’s not smart to run it at that capacity for too many reasons to go into here. A straight blade cutter head has limitations compared to the newer segmented helix heads. The slow feed speed is in your favor for smooth cuts because you get about 90 CPI cuts per inch, which on a 3 1/2” diameter makes for very tiny ripples. i.e. a smooth looking cut. (A hand plane is still far superior…)
My current configuration for dust collection is a retrofit…it wasn’t an option when I bought. I have learned by experiment that cutting three sides of a rectangle in the lid above the cutter and bending the resulting tab into a semi-circular shape sent a stream of chips out the top that had no place to bounce back. When I got a big dust collector and cut that tab out (mistake), the chips began to bounce out the front. So I reconfigured the outlet by putting a “scoop” shaped tin above the outfeed roller positioned so that it cannot ever contact the knives even if there is an “explosion” from cantankerous wood. That shields the vertical surfaces that cause the bounce back and directs the stream of chips coming off the top of the head upwards where they then ride the air stream to the cyclone. There is still a dozen or so chips that bounce back out the front, but the back is clean. It’s going to be awhile before I can improve on that I think.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

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RBIDoug

8 posts in 272 days


#12 posted 03-05-2017 05:25 PM

Dan,
Thanks, as always your advise is appreciated, this if my first planer and I have a lot to learn.
I am building a jig to sharpen my own blades and noted your comment that the blades were cut @30 degrees. I built the jig and installed the blades only to discover that my blades were cut @40 degrees, so I’m going to have to recut the jig which is not a big deal, just time to set up the mill. What is the best 30 or 40 degrees, or ??

I ordered the new infeed roller and at the same time inquired as to the correct blade angle but the order taker person did not know but assured me that some one would call me back——that’s was 5 days ago. Not encouraging.

Best,
Doug

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#13 posted 03-05-2017 06:10 PM

You are not likely to hear from them re: blade angle. I have mine sharpened at 30° and that seemed to be factory original. However, any angle will work up to where the heel begins to drag on the cut, which may be close to 45°.
Here’s the scoop…like hand planes, blade angle may be a preference more than a necessity. Some angles are better for some things than others. 30° is a safe bet for most wood working tools as a general rule of thumb, but there are good reasons to deviate from that. Generally speaking, the higher the angle the more durable the blade becomes. Steeper angles may tear out less, but they take more power to run. Softer woods may crumble instead of cut cleanly with high angles, while figured wood will tear out less. Very dense woods or extra dense deformities (think knots) can readily chip a low angle edge because the force overcomes the ability of the hard, brittle steel to hang together at the very thin edge.

So it’s a matter of knowing what you are going to do and what to expect. If 40° has been working well with what you do, then stick with it. No reason to change. It may require fewer sharpenings.

FYI, if a streak develops because a stone or, heaven forbid, a piece of metal went through, just reset the blades staggered enough to wipe out the ridge. You can get a lot more mileage out of the blades this way. They’re freaking expensive.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

View taxque's profile

taxque

15 posts in 2577 days


#14 posted 04-04-2017 09:07 PM

Dan,

I just bought a used 820. I got it to make louvers for plantation shutters. I only have a planer head – so if you still have the molder head i man in serious need of one.

-- G Heard

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Dan Krager

3725 posts in 2049 days


#15 posted 04-04-2017 11:22 PM

Yes, it’s still here.
PM me.

DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com Any contact lens that slips from the eye will acquire the ability to camouflage itself as it falls to the ground.

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