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Advice please on buying a used planer

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Just4Fun

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As a hand tool woodworker I know very little about power tools. I have seen an old 30cm wide planer for sale which is tempting as a way to eliminate some of the grunt work involved in preparing stock, but I don't know what to check before I buy.

Is planer even the correct term to use? It is not a thicknesser, it is the power tool used to get a good face and a square edge on a length of timber. Is this what some folk call a jointer?

I know nothing about the blades on such a tool. Are they proprietary to each brand? Is it possible/likely that the blades could be damaged and replacements not be available? Is sharpening the blades a DIY task?

The planer motor is 5kw so I assume that means it needs a 3-phase supply. This sounds like a powerful machine to me but I have nothing to compare it with. Is it OK?

What should I check on the machine before buying? How do I know if it is worth buying or a pile of scrap?

What question(s) should I be asking if I actually knew what I was talking about?
 

marcros

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Do you have a model and brand?

Is it a planer, a thicknesses or a combi machine? The planer (American "Jointer") will have long(ish) beds, for flattening the first side and edge by cutting from below. The thicknesser (American "planer") will cut from above using the first face as the reference, and the combi will be both functions in a single machine, which may (dependant on the model) involve lifting the tables somehow or lowering the thicknesses bed to allow in the dust extraction hood.

Do you have three phase power? Some models have 2 motors, so using a vfd isn't so easy.

Some models have very proprietary blades , with slots in. Others are only proprietary in that they are a custom size and alternatives can be found. In my opinion, the best are those that take the tersa system, meaning that you can swap blades in a minute or two. Some models can be converted to this system, and either Appleby woodturning or Woodford tooling sold the conversion kits. I have Teresa, but it was factory fitted so I haven't used the kit. For resharpening standard blades, I would send them out so that they are balanced. It wasn't very expensive when I last had some done on my old planer.
 

Trevanion

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5KW motor? That sound a bit excessive for a 12” model!

I actually prefer a dedicated surface planer and dedicated thicknesser rather than having a combination unit. They take up a little more space but they’re much more comfortable and quicker to use separately.
 

MusicMan

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Please post a picture(s) if you can, as it will help to identify the make, model and (to some extent) the condition. Yours does sound like a planer (jointer).

Planer blades can be sharpened if you have a suitable grinder and jig. The latter are costly, but pay off after less than about ten sharpenings.
 

Just4Fun

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I don't have make or model details. Those are not given in the ad and I wanted to find out a bit more about what I should ask before I make contact. The ad is here. It looks to me like a dedicated planer, not a thicknesser or combination model.

I do have 3-phase power at the house, so it is not impossible to get a supply routed to my workshop. Currently my workshop has no power of any sort so this may be the thin end of the wedge.

How can I recognise if the blades are proprietary? Or do I need to find out the make & model and then check it from that end?
 

Trevanion

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That looks like it’s got a thicknessing table so it could be a combination unit. I have no idea on what the brand is but I’m fairly certain on a machine that old it will have standard knives that are clamped in place without grooves or holes. It also seems to have a rebating ledge which makes the machine quite handy, it means you can drop the infeed table lower than usual to create rebates, my surface planer goes down to a 25mm depth of cut for rebates and tenons.
 

MikeG.

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Trevanion":2fzu4kdj said:
.......I actually prefer a dedicated surface planer and dedicated thicknesser rather than having a combination unit. They take up a little more space but they’re much more comfortable and quicker to use separately.
That's generally so, but not universally so. Mine involves no change-over from one mode to the other whatsoever. You just push your work over the top of the table, or you pass it through under the table.
 

MikeG.

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Just4Fun":15kr7stm said:
.......Is planer even the correct term to use?....... it is the power tool used to get a good face and a square edge on a length of timber. Is this what some folk call a jointer?..........
The machine you describe is called a planer in Britain, but a jointer in America. As usual, we're right and they're wrong. :lol:

However, as Trevanion has said, that looks to me like it's got half a chance of being a planer/ thicknesser (combination machine). Even if that isn't what you want (you'll soon find it useful), having a long-bed wide -cutter machine like that for a very low price would be a godsend. Clearly those photos are useless, so if you can get to look at it before you buy it, so much the better. Be aware that you might need to check your power supply, and you'll certainly need some way of shifting such a big lump of machinery.
 

toolsntat

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I'm not sure if you are going to find a manufacturer's name or number on that machine.
Just from what I see it looks to be a homemade affair?
Cheers Andy
 

Trevanion

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MikeG.":2r6e6nlh said:
That's generally so, but not universally so. Mine involves no change-over from one mode to the other whatsoever. You just push your work over the top of the table, or you pass it through under the table.
Surely you've got some kind of extraction hoods that you have to put on/remove? Unless of course, you just let the shavings fly like the bad ol' days :lol:

That was my main gripe with a Sedgewick, they're built very well but they're an absolute pig to change over between modes if you're in a hurry. Want to thickness? got to wind down the table to take out the extraction box, wind it back up to where you want it, take bridge guard off and put extraction box in place, put bridge guard back on to lock extraction box in place and now you can finally thickness. The Felders (Or at least the 90s era ones) were relatively quicker and nicer to use because of the lift up beds but if you wanted to go from surfacing to thicknessing you needed to pull the tables up, flip the extraction port over, wind the table up 60 revolutions of a handwheel if you wanted to plane something 20mm or so.

I'm not going back to crawling under the top tables to thickness stuff ever again though, being able to thickness stuff at waist height without bending down is a joy.
 

MikeG.

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Trevanion":2qmrxcz4 said:
MikeG.":2qmrxcz4 said:
That's generally so, but not universally so. Mine involves no change-over from one mode to the other whatsoever. You just push your work over the top of the table, or you pass it through under the table.
Surely you've got some kind of extraction hoods that you have to put on/remove? Unless of course, you just let the shavings fly like the bad ol' days :lol: ......
Erm......yes, well...........Is that the time? Lovely day. Must dash..........
 

Fitzroy

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A planer is a simple machine. A spinning head with an infeed and outfeed table. Things that can cause problems:

- Bearings in the spinning bit are worn.
- Replacement blades are not available.
- Screws/bolts holding the blades in are seized.
- Tables are not coplanar, either along the length or across the width.
- Individual tables are not flat/true.

So long as you can replace the blades and adjust the tables to be coplanar then you can make it work.

Fitz.

I would be concerned about the lake of guarding on the cutter head, mine terrifies me on the rare occasion I can achieve what I want with the guard in place. There are plenty of videos about how to make a guard though.
 

Doug71

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You asked can the blades be sharpened. I get mine done professionally, think they charge 40p per inch of blade so each 12" blade is £4.80.
 

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