Reviews :

APTC CT330 Thicknesser

Submitted 14 years ago by Charley


Product Model: CT330
Product Price: £378
Performance:
Build Quality:
Value for Money:
The CT330 thicknesser is the first machine I’ve reviewed from Axminster’s (APTC) white range. I have to say it’s very impressive. It has a wide capacity that lets you plane wood up to 330mm wide and 150mm thick. The two tables are nice and flat and with both of them down the overall table length is 950mm

The build quality is very good; the top of the casing is steel and has two rollers on top so you can easily roll the timber over ready for the next cut. The sides of the casing are made out of a tough plastic and the base is cast alloy.

The powerful 2.5hp bush motor should cope with anything you feed it, even the hardest of woods. It’s capable of taking 3mm off at a time but for the best results it’s best taking a little bit off each pass. Of course being a bush motor it’s a noisy machine so ear defenders are a must.

There are handles in the sides to make it easier to move around, although I wouldn’t want to be moving it around much as it’s heavy (34kg) This at least means it won’t move about when in use!

To move the cutterhead, you turn a knob that’s on the top of the thicknesser clockwise or anti-clockwise which will raise or lower the cutterhead on the four support posts. The cutter head travels down very easily and smoothly but you need to use more effort when raising it. A great little feature on this thicknesser is that you can put the knob on the left or right hand post which is a big plus if you’re a lefty like me.

When reading about thicknessers you will hear a lot about snipe. Snipe on a thicknesser is most commonly caused when feeding long pieces through without some sort of support and near the end of the cut the work piece lifts up causing it to be slightly thinner at one end. Snipe can also occur on shorter pieces on some thicknessers on the market and is mainly due to them being poorly made or the cutter head moving while in use. With the CT330 they have done all they can to help prevent snipe occurring! There’s a lever that locks the cutter head securely in place and has long folding tables. Out of all the testing I’ve done I’ve never noticed any snipe at all.

There’s a plastic dust hood that comes with the thicknesser and it quickly attaches with three screws. It has a 100mm dust port which can be connected to a dust extractor. As I’ve only got a small hoover I made a simple adaptor. As a thicknesser creates a lot of chips you need it connected to some sort of hoover as the machine can get clogged up pretty quickly. Unfortunately the dust hood is the one thing that lets the thicknesser down, It does do its job and gets rid of the chips, but once attached you can’t close one of the tables as it gets in the way, so if you want to store the thicknesser away after use you have to remove the dust hood first.

The thicknesser comes with a pair of double edged disposable blades/knives so when the cutter edge becomes blunt you can just flip it over and use the other edge. Replacement disposable blades are £24.77 for a pair. Changing the blades couldn’t be any simpler, just remove the cutter head guard then remove the screws securing the blade. No need to worry about accurately installing the blades as there are notches for the holes in the blades to line up with so you just drop them into place. Two handy magnets are supplied to make the job faster and safer.

I was very pleased with the results the thicknesser produces. I tested it with pine, mahogany and oak and was left with a smooth surface. On a piece of mahogany 840mm long after it went through the thicknesser at one end it was 12.08mm thick and at the other it was 12.05mm and in woodworking you can’t fault that.

The two rubber coated feed rollers don’t only do a good job at pulling the wood through evenly they also don’t leave any marks on the work piece.

At £378 the CT330 is at the top of the portable thicknesser market. Not that I would call it portable as I mentioned above it’s a heavy piece of kit. In my opinion it isn’t expensive for what it does, it’s a tool that will get used for every project, the CT330 does a fantastic job on soft and hardwood and it’s very difficult to fault.

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