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Axminster CT1502 jointer/planer (pictures...!)

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Wood Monkey

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Woking
I’ve been contemplating buying a bigger jointer for some time as my small bench top one often comes up short (literally) on what I need.

The Jet 200mm would be very nice, but in a hobbyist workshop I couldn’t justify the price and hence the Axminster CT1502 150mm was the only real contender.

Reading about the planned Axminster 2012 price rises in these very pages during the Christmas break (CT1502 went up £115….!) coupled with some Axminster vouchers for Christmas and the decision made itself. I’m only 20 miles from the Axi store in High Wycombe so I also saved £50 on delivery.

Here’s my experience with pictures just for you picture addicts.

The tool comes in 2 boxes weighing 31kg and 73kg. The guys at the store were way ahead of me and had it loaded on a flat bed raising trolley. You could get the boxes in just about any estate car or even a decent sized hatchback but I wouldn’t fancy lifting it over the boot lip.



I didn’t take a picture of the items in their packaging, but this shows that they are very well packed.



One box contains the cabinet stand which includes the motor and the other contains the main tables and fence. Various other bits and pieces are spread between the two boxes – blade guard, dust chute, fixing bolts and so on… I nearly killed myself wresting the boxes 150ft from my drive to my workshop and then again lifting the table assembly onto the cabinet.



Once the two parts are put together it’s a simple job of attaching the dust chute and installing the drive belt. I think I read in the ‘adequate’ manual that the drive belt tension was pre-set. I certainly didn’t adjust it and it’s running smoothly. One thing I did do was to stick some duct tape over the slots in the dust chute before fixing the 100mm cowling on.



The tables and fence were all coated in heavy machine oil which cleaned off easily to reveal completely unmarked surfaces. The fence assembly installs easily and setting it to 90deg was very simple. After installing it there is a very slight hollow around the middle of the fence. I used a good quality straight edge which showed this up, but it is tiny (I’ll measure it when I find my feeler gauge). Once locked in place the fence is very solid. Without my feeler gauge I was not able to accurately measure the tables, however a visual inspection using bright lights and a decent straight edge seemed to suggest they were pretty linear – I figured the best method would be to try it.



1st test was on a piece of sawn Oak from the scraps bin. It’s about 600mm long and had a 5mm bow.



After a couple of passes it had a nice flat reference face.



2nd test was some 50mm square (well almost square) Oak again from the scraps bin.



A couple of passes later I again had a reference face which was then held to the fence and within a few passes I had a nice square edge.



Two pieces of Oak that wont be going back into the scraps bin.



The final test was a 1m piece of Iroko which is the full 150mm width. I thought I’d also take this chance to see if the waste chute worked OK without an extractor.

The board planed very nicely.



The waste chute was OK..



… but lots of peripheral waste gathered around the machine so I think I’ll stick with the extractor.




A few additional points. The in built wheels make it very mobile. It slots away nicely under the bottom shelf of my wood rack.

I’d read some reviews that said it was very quiet and they were not wrong, but I’m running a DX4000 extractor with it and this certainly isn’t quiet. However with the quietness comes smoothness and this has impressed me.

I’m not a huge fan of the guard and would much prefer the US type ‘revolving clam’ guard, but it’s adequate and I certainly wouldn’t want to see the knives spinning around anywhere near my fingers.

You get 2 decent push pads with the machine and a clumsy push stick which seems to be made from the slipperiest plastic I’ve ever come across. A spanner and a couple of allen keys.

In summary I’m impressed. Certainly longer beds and wider blades would be very nice, but for my intended use this machine is looking promising. I’ve a project coming up which involves a large amount of sawn beech and my feeling is that the CT150 is going to be very busy.

Now if I can just find a way of justifying a Domino XL I’ll be a happy man… ;-)

Jon
 
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