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I can see how a planer in my wood shop would be a great tool. but they ain't cheep, and there are many brands and sizes. I think 13 inches is about right, as it will handle up to a 12 by. If anyone has tried out the models from sears or hf or hd and can relate your experience and satisfaction level that would be great.
 

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I don't have any past experience with HD, HF or Sears planers.

I do have a 13" Grizzly floor model planer that I like, but new its about twice the cost of the tabletop planers. But before you make a choice on what to buy, make sure you investigate replacement blades and their costs. Some planers use 'disposable' blades which aren't meant to be sharpened. That is OK if that is what you want, but explore those choices/costs before you buy.
 

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I wore out a Dewalt 12 1/2". It planed a lot of boards. I replaced it with a delta 15" floor model. I bought it from an online auction site called MachineryMax. It was brand new in the box. It retailed for about $1200. I paid $575 including shipping. Check out their site they have some pretty amazing deals.
 

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Have you checked craigslist? Sometimes you can find a good used floor model cheaper than a new bench-top because not many people "need" a 18 or a 20" planer so they don't sell fast

I have a Delta 12.5" and it works fine as long as it has sharp knives. And there's the problem. Fleet Farm here is WI sells the planer but not replacement knives. :scratch:

I also purchased a used Woodmaster 718 for $450. Knives are $80 a set

I like the Woodmaster for larger jobs like a pile of rough cut lumber.
 

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We picked up a 12" Powermatic planer, made when Ike was president, cast iron, 300 lbs, 3 hp , 3 phase. Don't send a boy to do a man's job. It was pricey(less than 1K), but well worth it if you need to make alot of 3/8th" material for innercovers and roofs.

Crazy Roland
 

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A planer is a wise investment, but choosing one that's not up to the tasks you're going to ask of it, you'll be mad at it and yourself.
If you're a weekend warrior, a bench top model will get it done.
If you're remotely serious about woodworking, go bigger. I promise you'll be glad you did.
I started with a bench model, and killed it within 6 months.
I skipped over the mid grade models and right into a 3hp 20" spiral head beast that weighed in at 1400#.
But, the money was well worth the results.
I could hog rough lumber 3/16"at a pass.
The finish was almost stain ready.
I realize that there's budgetary considerations, but buying the right piece of equipment initially saves a lot of time and hassle in the long term.
 

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I ran a 12 1/2 delta Bech top for years. Great for small jobs but doing a pile of rough sawn is tedious. I recently bought a 15" 3 hp shop Fox from a school. $600 but a pure joy to use.
 

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Like others have said, the box shop 12-13" planers are good for hobby woodworkers.

I needed one many years ago and bought a portable 13" Rigid with stand from home depot. ($350 ?)

On my 12" rough sawn pine boards it took several passes to get both sides smooth because it would only take a 1/32" to 1/16"
per pass without much trouble. Works well on narrower boards though and have passed thousands of lineal feet through it.

But if i had to do it over knowing how much wood has been planed i would go bigger .
 

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I've had a Delta portable planer almost identical to this one, for somewhere between 10 & 15 years, and it's still going strong. It was on sale for just over $200 at the time. I'm a hobbiest, but have run a ton of wood thru this machine over the years. As others have reported, a 1/16th of an inch is about as much as it wants to take in one pass, depending on the wood species -- maybe a bit more with soft woods like pine and cedar. I do a lot of wood segmenting and run it thru with no problem. Lot of furniture with shelves made of strips of wood glued together -- again, no problem. It came with a spare set of blades (that are a bugger to re & re...), but it provides an extremely smooth surface requiring only a light sanding before finish. The cuts are accurate with opposite sides perfectly parallel.

It's greatest issue -- not mentioned here yet -- is snipe. Even with carefully aligned rollers to bear the weight of the wood passing thru, it still takes a pretty good bite from the end of the piece. I've largely overcome that with sacrificial follower boards, that take the snipe cuts as they pass thru behind. With smaller boards, I've used a hot glue gun to to quickly glue longer sacrificial pieces to the work, and knock them off with a hammer when done. It's a PIA, doing this...

More expensive higher quality planers don't have snipe issues.
 

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the dewalt portable has heavier blades than the rest. I am told that the rigid portable is also good and has the best warranty. I have had a dewalt for years, the heavier knives make a difference I think.
 

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I picked up the Ridgid 13" bench top planer. I give it a 7 out of 10. It works decent. The blades are very sharp but rather thin. They dull very quickly and are reversible. The reason I don't give it a 10 is the snipe factor is next to impossible to over come. The in and out feed tables are perfectly level and ends of the boards get sniped. I now run 14' thru at a time any just cut off the last 3".
 

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Vance wrote:

That three phase sucker has to make the electric meter spin!

I use an inverter, which seems to help. I will try to check it. Never noticed it that much on the bill, but it you get done in a few days what might take a week with smaller unit.

Crazy Roland
 

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If you are only planing boards 10" or less and not tens of thousands lineal feet of lumber than the smaller planers would probably
do anyone just fine. Portable is nice if you don't have much shop space. You can get it out of the way when you don't need it.
I had about 400 lin ft. of 1x14 to 1x16" rough pine boards hanging around forever and finally got an order for a wide pine stereo cabinet so trucked it to the mill to get planed to the tune of $110.00.
Snipe can be a problem at times so got use to planing before trimming to desired length when possible.
 

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a 3 phase motor is always more efficient than a similar single phase motor. the problem is that most non industrial areas only have single phase available. in my area 3 phase is commercial rate which is 3 times residential rate, I am lucky 3 phase is not available here...... there are 3 basic ways to change single phase into 3 phase to run a 3phase motor.....the cheapest way is a capacitor box type, this will only give you 2/3 of the motors rated output. the motor and converter will overheat above this. this takes more power than true 3 phase, but it is cheap, best suited where the motor is only under light load without much of a start load...... a solid state inverter is a lot more money, it must be over sized with single phase input, a 10hp 3 phase motor would require a 15 hp or 20 hp inverter depending on application, this is the clear choice for variable speed applications. a solid state inverter should only be used with a motor that is rated "inverter rated", this means better windings in the motor, these solid state units are high tech, they cannot stand lighting and power surges...... for single speed heavy loads [planer] the best choice is a rotary inverter. it should be sized as close as possible to the load without being undersized, about 1 1/2 times size or less. the rotaries are dependable and low maintainence.......a few years back a local machine shop way back in the woods built there own rotary that was a bit different, it used so little electricity that the power co. investigated, changed meters and sent out spies. the power co. then sent up engineers from over a hundred miles away to try and figure out why it worked so well.
 

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We have an inexpensive ryobi in my woodshop. Bought it used... Even cheaper lol. It does 12" no problem and has become a real asset for us. Been goin for years with no problems. Only had to change the knives once. I can't afford $1000 do.lars for a "better" one.
I did adda leveling board to it for getting boards perfectly level though. Not hard at all.

It's a great planer for the price and will just buy the same one again if it ever fails.
 

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Matheson - Good points. I run the planer at 60hz for roughing, and 90 hz. for finishing. Saves a little time.

Open loop vectorless Inverters are pretty reasonable, and easy to set up. Tell them about Baldor vector drives, what they can do. Mine had me outsmarted for 3 weeks.

Crazy Roland
 

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I have the Dewalt 13. It was as fancy as my budget would allow. For the most part I go with the wood magazine or the Fine woodworking recommendations and both rated it as the best of the bench tops. It has been some years ago so maybe check again, they seem to be really accurate on their equipment reviews.
Not mentioned here is dust/ chip collection: The fan is so strong on the DW that it will actually overwhelm my collector. Without a dust collector is a fan off the rear to diffuse the exhaust but it throws an impressive load of sawdust 30’ out the driveway. I made a separator out or a garbage can that now takes up as much space as the floor mounted unit would have.
For the snipe I built a table that has feet. The unit is clamped to the table saw and the mdf table is 5’ long that fits my table saw with extension table.
Blade change is easy, they are two sided and about $40 on amazon. I dulled a set of blades in a weekend (black walnut) and complained about the blade life to the MFG and they sent me another set free of charge.
If I had to do it again I would go right now and buy another one.
 
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