stationary or portable planer?

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Forum topic by scottstef posted 12-08-2014 03:15 AM 2607 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 1307 days

12-08-2014 03:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question planer milling

My delta 22-580 planer seems to be crapping out. After 10+ years of usage i can’t complain. I am thinking about possibly moving up to a stationary planer. Besides the size, what are the advantages of one? I will be getting at least a 13 inch, probably more likely to get a 15 inch if i go stationary.


10 replies so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1363 days

#1 posted 12-08-2014 03:55 AM

Ha ha ha! How’d you do it? How’d you kill the Delta planer? I have the 22-560 that I bought in the late 1990s and it just won’t die. I need it to crap out so I can justify to my wife buying a combo jointer planer like the minimax. I don’t have the real estate in my shop for a dedicated planer and a dedicated wide jointer. And I find that using more capacity on my planer is limited by my 6” jointer THAT ALSO REFUSES to die. It is a conspiracy. I like the idea of the weight behind the stationary planers. I’ve never felt comfortable trying to plane bigger slabs of wood through a lunch box planer.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1707 days

#2 posted 12-08-2014 04:04 AM

Weight, Capacity and Power are the things that come to mind. I don’t think you are going to get a lunch box planner over about 13” capacity. Also I find stationary planners to be quieter especially the spiral head ones because of the motors they put in them.

I suppose you could argue that once you get a stationary planner setup it should cut better than a portable model you have to take down and move but I haven’t found much of a difference myself between portable and stationary planners on things like snipe. Both types can produce good results or poor results depending on how well setup they are.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#3 posted 12-08-2014 04:07 AM

I don’t see much advantage in a 15” over a 13” planer. Most small tabletops or casework tops are 20-24” wide or more. So you will be doing glueups in stages reqardless of which planer you purchase.
Stationary planers are quieter, but they are huge. Most stationary planers lack depth stops, which is a feature many benchtop planers have.
The Dewalt 735 is worth a look. I use one on the Dewalt rolling planer stand and it is plenty stable planing long heavy planks.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View runswithscissors's profile


2767 posts in 2052 days

#4 posted 12-08-2014 04:28 AM

Grizzly for a while had a 15” lunchbox planer. I was very dubious about it; it had only a 12 or 13 amp motor, as I recall. At least it had the wide capacity for when you might need it, but I’d be surprised if it could take any more than a 1/64” cut on anything that wide.

My favorite (earlier) planer was an old (1982) Rockwell/Invicta 13” planer. What I liked was its flawless material handling (stock feeding, lack of snipe). I almost pulled the trigger on a Shellix cutterhead for it—even had it apart to take the critical measurements needed—when I decided I’d end up with a 30 year old planer with a heck of a lot of money in it. I wanted the helical head not only for the convenient cutter changing ability, but also because it was a howler (though not as bad as the DW735 I had earlier). It’s the straight knives that are loud, not the motors.

So I ended up with a JJP12-HH combo machine, and have been very happy with it. It only has 12” capacity (but 8” vertical capacity). The helical head is significantly quieter.

When it comes to capacity, look at it this way: no matter how big your planer, eventually you will need to plane something too big for it.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View scottstef's profile


18 posts in 1307 days

#5 posted 12-08-2014 12:04 PM

i was looking at the the 15+ inch simply because i have an 8” jointer. i realize there will always be a wider board than i have tools to work. i think the switch went in the delta. i figured since i have a wider jointer now, that i should at least consider a wider/bigger planer. With it being broken, i can probably justify (beg) it with the wife.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2520 days

#6 posted 12-08-2014 12:17 PM

I replaced my 22-540 with the 15” Delta, and the difference is substantial in may ways. I’m happier with the stationary, but it comes with a little more maintenance (gear oil changes, chain lube, etc) although that maintenance in a hobbyist setting is infrequent. The biggest difference is the power, you can hog off wood all day and it doesn’t break a sweat. It also takes 240V power,, and weighs it will likely need a mobile base. It’s very hard to do the very lightest of cuts like you do with a lunchbox. The feed roller on most of them is serrated steel and it leaves tracks is you don’t remove enough wood. I’m not sure about the 15” versus 13”, but I think that part hasn’t been a very big deal, either would probably do.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1747 days

#7 posted 12-08-2014 02:16 PM

I was working backwards. When working in a millwork shop in during college, we had a 24” Delta/Invicta for the good planer and a Powermatic 160 as the “utility” planer. They were both great machines, fairly quiet (with sharp blades) and the Powermatic with an upgraded motor could plow of 1/2” off a 2×12 in a single pass. After beginning to collect my own tools for my shop, a large stationary planer wasn’t in the cards so I bought a DeWalt DW734 which has fulfilled my needs well. The main difference with a larger planer (aside from being able to plane wider boards) is the ability to make fewer passes to achieve the desired thickness. They are also quieter, again with sharp blades, and won’t bog down nearly as easily. The negatives are: They’re expensive, they require 240V power, they take up a lot of space and they’re heavy. It really boils down to need and want, if you need it, it’s easier to justify, If you want it, that’s between you and whom ever you have to convince that it’s a good idea to get one!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2541 days

#8 posted 12-08-2014 02:26 PM

I agree with Fred.
I spent the better part of 12 years with a Rigid 13” lunchbox planer that refused to die. A real screamer…
I finally borrowed the money from my MIL to get a Grizzly 15” spiral head stationary. The difference was I could not plane quite as thin as the lunchbox, and the serrated wheel problem he mentions.

But you soon learn to move around those problems. And the ability to plane crotch and flame wood where my old lunchbox would send most of that up the vacuum as tearout is just a joy.
And truth be told, I am amazed at how often now I say I can “only plane up to 15”. I just cannot imagine going back to 13”. After keeping the Rigid around for the first 8 months or so, just to see, I finally put it on CL for $125 and it went away quickly.

Oh, and I also was able to put my ear protection back on the wall.
And I to have a space restriction. I have to open my garage door to plane anything longer than about three feet long.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2343 days

#9 posted 12-08-2014 04:53 PM

Despite being a professional that works on large-scale projects, my preference is for the lunchbox planer. At one time we used to plane with a 15” Grizzly or a 20” Rockwell but ended up putting them aside in favor of an ancient, 10” Ryobi.

The big reason for the switch was that the bigger planers required planning for a final pass of at least 1/32” to avoid gouges from the toothed, metal rollers. That’s easier said than done when you’re deciding on the fly which side needs an extra pass to maximize the amount of useful wood. It’s also hard to plane tenon stock to perfect size, mill 1/16” thick stock or run curved parts through a full size planer.

Big planers are great for processing large amounts of rough lumber. They lose much of their advantage when all you need is enough wood to piece together a small table top.

-- See my work at and

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2473 days

#10 posted 12-08-2014 05:27 PM

The big reason for the switch was that the bigger planers required planning for a final pass of at least 1/32” to avoid gouges from the toothed, metal rollers.
. It s also hard to plane tenon stock to perfect size, mill 1/16” thick stock or run curved parts through a full size planer.

Big planers are great for processing large amounts of rough lumber. They lose much of their advantage when all you need is enough wood to piece together a small table top.

- JAAune

Although I wish I had bigger space in my shop to accommodate both types(stationary ,lunchbox) . a used stationary planer could come in handy on occasion but the DW 735 has been a pleasure to work with in my small shop

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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