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Do fancy spiral thicknessers just work without tearout?

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Cabinetman

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It’s the SCM minimax FC 350. Tersa blades are about £50 for the three but they last a long long time and they are reversible. I make furniture for a living so the use of the PT is a lot at the beginning of a job not so much at the end if you know what I mean, I probably only buy one set a year. Well technically it is made overseas – Italy lol. Ian
 

Cabinetman

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Just been looking at the 30 C and it looks a decent machine, an up-to-date version of mine. I noticed that the firm where I bought mine, MJM woodworking machinery (Hull) is selling it with Tersa blades for £3073 plus Vat, which is not very much money for a very capable machine. Ian
 

Amateur

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Its (more or less) fine on softwood, or, for instance, straight grained hardwood, but figured hardwood, even even stuff like oak with non-straight grain, and its not good.

Ive had the machine for some years, and been through various blades, set with care, and never had much luck with it.

With regards to "trueness and flatness", to me, that sounds like wood workers obsessiveness. Remember, its the thicknesser. One table that goes up and down. if its on the wonk, then the work will end up wedge shaped, which, unless you can say otherwise, is unrelated to tear out.

I guess if the table was vibrating or wobbling, then maybe that may affect things, but its not.


I know its a £1000 machine or whatever, but, to me, its pressed steel from china. I have modern Japanese CNC here, and old British cast also.


Really, my query is as to if there are machines that you can just feed figured wood through and not have to worry, or if a easier to use router sled is the answer, or maybe a drum sander.
I'm at a loss for words.
All tools have to be set up correctly if you want a good result, so maybe you should spend some time setting the planer up correctly?.
In other posts you say you want cheap ways/machinery to fulfil certain tasks...Yet here you have a £1000 machine sitting round collecting dust unused?
Why? Either sell it or start learning how to use woodworking equipment.

I think your basic problem is everything.
Nothing makes sense.
But I stand to be corrected.
 

julianf

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I'm at a loss for words.
All tools have to be set up correctly if you want a good result, so maybe you should spend some time setting the planer up correctly?.
In other posts you say you want cheap ways/machinery to fulfil certain tasks...Yet here you have a £1000 machine sitting round collecting dust unused?
Why? Either sell it or start learning how to use woodworking equipment.

I think your basic problem is everything.
Nothing makes sense.
But I stand to be corrected.
Where in this thread is it concluded that it's not set up correctly?

Or are you saying that the reason it has tear out is that it, by default, must not be set up correctly?

If the latter, if the machine will perform perfectly and it's just operator error, then, logically, why does anyone ever bother with anything more than £1000 Axminster machines, if all they need is setting up correctly....

Can I ask which thread your agregression is really being carried over from? If it's one where our political differences have become clear, then maybe you should address me there instead?
 
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Ollie78

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I had a scheppach with straight knives which was a good machine but would certainly cause tear out on stuff with reversing grain, curly maple, ripple sycamore and sapele etc.
I got a spiral machine (Hammer with silent power ) it is very much better on curly grained woods. I kept a few super gnarly boards just to test it out including one bit of brown burry oak that was impossible to plane satisfactorily on the scheppach. It has planed it all smooth with no tearout whatsoever.

It is not without issues though, on super hard woods you can see the tiny scollops it creates in the surface. I have noticed this in some very old dry oak and a bit of paduak, its nothing a quick pass with a card scraper won`t remove though and I wouldn`t go back to a non spiral cutter now. It is also much quieter.

I think a lot has to do with the shearing action of the cut, try passing your stock at a slight angle to replicate this on your machine, I have seen people put extra bevels on the knives or change the grind angle completely which apparently helps though I never tried it.

Ollie
 
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Amateur

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Where in this thread is it concluded that it's not set up correctly?
If it was set up correctly you wouldn't be having the tear out problems. As much,at any rate and they could be dealt with by sanding as other members have suggested.
Do you use a clock to ensure all aligned correctly and equally?
Even using a magnetic setting tool still needs checks doing.
 

Inspector

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I get the temptation to switchover to carbide but I'm cheap and only a hobby user so I haven't given in..........yet.

I do have a suggestion you could try that helps. Have a wet rag or a spray bottle handy and wet the wood lightly in the areas that tear out and let it absorb the water for a half minute or so and then run it through the planer. The wetted fibres become easier to cut and most of the moisture goes with the chips. If you do a couple light passes wet you will have a much better surface, sometimes with no tear out but if any remains it will be far less than if done dry. Not really practical in a high production environment but fine in a home shop.

If it is something you already know about and it doesn't help........well.......never mind.

Pete
 

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Can I ask which thread your agregression is really being carried over from? If it's one where our political differences have become clear, then maybe you should address me there instead?
Aggression

I would also dampen the surface where the grain swirls. This helps if everything else is set up spot on.
and use a sander to finish.
 

julianf

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To try and reduce the tedium of this thread, i grabbed a scrap bit of, I'm pretty sure, sepele, this evening, and ran it through -


IMG_20210411_195207528.jpg




IMG_20210411_195152379.jpg



I tried to catch the light in the first photo to show the lack of any visible ripple whatsoever. No tear out, no ripple.



This is some mahogany from a while back -

IMG_20200622_112608894.jpg


I know the ROS is in the photo, but that's just to finish it off. Again, no tear out issues.


Tediously I'm posting these to demonstrate exactly what i stated in my second post of this thread (we are now on page two) -

The thicknesser does flatten some stock fine. (There was a post in this thread indicating that sepele was problematic, but i have no issues with that, even with my (implied) poor setup / lack of skill / etc. etc.)

However, its unreliable with more figured wood, and was asking if spiral....


I appreciate people trying to help, but, constantly telling me that the tool must work, and must just be set up poorly, whilst completely overlooking all the interspacing comments from other people stating that they have also found difficulties with similar machines, before swapping to other cutters (and then loosing those issues) is, basically, just a waste of everyone's time.
 

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I think people have tried to answer your question in the best possible way they can to be honest.
You will find that most professional workshops plane and finish sand to get the results your looking for.
Buy a professional roller sander. That will fix your problem.
Do you want to do that?
I think your looking for a fix that you now start to realise may not be fixable with the set up and stock you have.
Throw away tip cutters, which may or may not solve the problem have not been proven, in my mind to say 100% they will prevent your problem. I doubt it will.
One glaring option is not to use or select timber that has changing surface swirls. A simple fix.
Go and Get some uniform one direction timber with no surface changes, then stick that through your planer.
Don't want to do that?
Then look at cosmetic filling and finishing.


Most of us come up against some sort of problem areas during our ventures into woodworking.
At the end of the day you ask the question, listen to the advice, take it or not on a forum.
But at some point solutions become exhausted, and post dry up.
 

Doug B

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Julian you’ve had two answers from people with actual experience of both standard blades & spiral blocks both giving positive endorsements of carbide tips over straight knives. Could I suggest you get in touch with Felder they will organise for you to see a demonstration of a spiral block machine belonging to one of their customers in your locality, you will probably have to wait a little until restrictions are eased a little more but it would be well worth the time & effort as you can then make your own mind up if the benefits are worthwhile
 

julianf

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Julian you’ve had two answers from people with actual experience of both standard blades & spiral blocks both giving positive endorsements of carbide tips over straight knives. Could I suggest you get in touch with Felder they will organise for you to see a demonstration of a spiral block machine belonging to one of their customers in your locality, you will probably have to wait a little until restrictions are eased a little more but it would be well worth the time & effort as you can then make your own mind up if the benefits are worthwhile
Yes, thank you. My question was answered before the photos posted.

Its curious to me that there are retrofit heads for a number of the more expensive devices, but none at the lower end of things. I know that, at the lower end, and upgrade is going to be a fair percentage of the price, but the numbers of "cheap" axmister machines must run to so many multiples of the high end machines, that i wonder if it wouldn't be profitable for someone to make the reterofit heads.

But that's a diversion - as you say, and, indeed, id already realised, it seems, from peoples comments above, that a different blade will likely result in the gains i would like.

When coivid finally ends (or at least the biological phase of it) then i will do some driving around to try and get some visual experience of the spiral cutters.

Thanks to all.
 

Inspector

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Julian if you want to retrofit your machine contact Sheartak. They are a Chinese company that make a ton of cutter heads for planer/jointer/thicknesser/surfacers. Covered all the bases there. :) If they don't have it in their list they will make it and add the head to their catalogue. They also make heads for other companies. I have a Hitachi F1000A planer/jointer (12"/6") and they are that only people that have a head for the thicknesser side and are working on the jointer side for a guy so it will be available soon. Prices are competitive and they will tell you what dimensions they need to make them on their CNC machines.

Pete
 

Hornbeam

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I have had a Hammer A3-31 with spiral block for the last 8 months which replaced a Startrite SD310 2 knife HSS blade block. With the Startright with new blades I didnt get muck tearout but you had to be careful with grain direction. With the spiral I have had no tearout and the finish is fantastic. One reason why I think there was so little teariut with the startright was that it had rubber feed rollers so you could take a very light pass. With a serrated metal infeed roller you have to take off at least 0.75mm otherwise the marks show. The bigger the depth of cut, the more the risk of tearout
ian
 

julianf

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Hi

Your Axminster is very similar to my Record PT107 and that did not perform very good either but I did a lot of homework. The issue was the setting of the three blades, an absolute nightmare and extremely frustrating and I tried many methods. To achieve good results all three blades need to be set identical and that is what I could not achieve no mater what I did although at one point I did get two near perfect so removed the third and just tried it. It actually gave better results with two blades correct than with just one set wrong so now how to fix. There were no aftermarket spiral cutter blocks that could just be fitted as an aftermarket replacement so started to look at the disposable knife types and found my solution.

It was the Esta knife system from ESTA Knife System and I suspect you would need the same as my 107, the EST 260K

The initial outlay is fairly high but setup is instant and the blades are both cheaper and reversable so in my opinion a good solution.

I just gave advancedmachinery a call, and explained my issues. I said that i was getting tear out on figured wood, and someone on a forum had recommended that i gave them a call, however (and i said this to them) i could not understand why swapping my flat knives for theirs would make a difference other than convenience.

I had a fair chat with them, and they were very helpful (and honest) and the conclusion was that carbide blades probably would make a bit of a difference, but simply swapping one flat knife for another, all be it in a carrier, would not (assuming the knife without the carrier was set correctly)

They mentioned spiral, and said the drawback with spiral was possible lines the other way down the wood, but that would be fine with further finishing.


Ultimately they were, as i say, helpful, and honest in that they did not think swapping to their blades would be a silver bullet for me.



Im currently thinking about -

drum sanders
wide belt sanders (if i had 3ph and more space, so probably not, although a few 1ph seem to exist)
improving my router sled contraption
or selling the planer and getting a spiral head one



I was tempted to put some of the current work through the thicknesser this morning. Ive not used it since i run that sepele through it for the photo above.
I thought id chance it... and then remembered i had some offcuts, so i should test on them first.

Ill not be putting the bits i care about though. Ill take some photos later and post them up.
 
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