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Hammer A3 31 v Sedgwick MB Planer Thicknesser

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Charlie Woody

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I am considering getting a Hammer A3 31; instead of a Sedgwick MB (both second hand). My rationale being:

Sedgwick MB

PROS
Fixed planer tables so limited risk of getting out of level
Longevity
Reliability
Availability of spares

CONS
Needs to sit out from the wall to allow for the fence support. My workshop is long and narrow so might just take up too much space.
Blade changing can be fiddly
Not sure my electrics are up to it

Hammer A3 31
PROS
Quick setting blades (real boon for me as with my varifocal glasses it is fiddly & time consuming to get blades set correctly)
Small footprint
Easy changing modes
Electrics can cope (need to double check with my electrician)

CONS
More risk of tables going out of alignment

I am therefore leaning towards the Hammer but wonder if anyone who has one has had any issues with the following:
Tables going out of alignment
Availability of spares and costs
Cost of blades
Anything else I should be aware of

The machine I am considering is 4 years old and reportedly well looked after.
What checks should I carry out before buying?
Asking price is £1,200 .... does that sound reasonable?
What other advice do you have regarding my choice?
 

johnf

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Hi I have a A3 31 as part of a combi and have been using it for the last 5 years the tables have never altered in that time if they do everything is adjustable
Planer blades I think are about £40 a set for the cobalt ones double sided by the way so £6 66 per edge how much does sharpening cost ( they last ages by the way ) change the blades in five mins easy
Buy a dial gauge for the thicknesser and repeat accuracy to a 10th of a mm is easy
extension tables just clip on

you won't regret it
 

Charlie Woody

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Thanks John, that's reassuring.

Hammer products seem to be hard to find second hand ..... any idea why? Presumably some one must need to upgrade, downsize, retire etc so how come they don't appear on ebay, second hand machinery dealers etc?
 

Modernist

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Charlie Woody":267ky5dh said:
Does anybody else have any thoughts on this please?
They haven't been around very long compared to the others and, since they don't have some of the usual faults users are generally happy with them.
 

gardenshed

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At 4 years old I suspect it's probably the earlier version. I had it's bigger brother the A4 410mm version, I had the familiar alloy fence issues that Felder had at the time with both machines.
If you use the machine regularly the cost of the knives can get expensive, the cheaper ones are made from putty or cheese I can't remember which :D .

Things have improved with the the newer version of both machines.

FWIW If you plan on using the machine a lot, once you've cranked that handle round a few times to get to thicknessing mode and back again & lifted & lowered the tables with the Hammer you may sometimes wish you'd bought the sedgewick :D .
 

Charlie Woody

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gardenshed":1gqyxgrr said:
.... I had the familiar alloy fence issues that Felder had at the time with both machines.

FWIW If you plan on using the machine a lot, once you've cranked that handle round a few times to get to thicknessing mode and back again & lifted & lowered the tables with the Hammer you may sometimes wish you'd bought the sedgewick :D .
Could you please elaborate on the "alloy fence issues" and the "cranked that handle" and "lifted & lowered the tables"?
 

Bradshaw Joinery

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I have the felder 531, and am very impressed with it, i changed from a mint wadkin baos, similar to the mb in functionality.

you may have to flip the tables up every time to switch over, but you can easily see feeding material through the thicknesser.

the blades are a bit dearer than resharpening hss ones, but obviously dont have the initial cost, and its one less thing to organise.

the only fault i had with mine was the thicknesser drive is through a wheel, with a sprung loaded drive. this slipped once through my error of putting a tapered piece through (too thick) and it knotched the drive wheel, causing a knock....... needed replacing, but was done under warranty.... :).

the fence on the 531 did look alot better when i looked at them side by side in the showroom, so couldnt comment on any problems with that.

What sizemotor is in the planer? and how many knife block? seemed to be the biggest decision when i was ordering mine.
 

Charlie Woody

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Bradshaw Joinery":1dp266g3 said:
What sizemotor is in the planer? and how many knife block? seemed to be the biggest decision when i was ordering mine.
It has a single phase 4hp motor. I had assumed it was a 3 knife block ..... but just rechecked the details sent to me and it does not confirm that. Will need to check.
 

johnf

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Charlie Woody":1ydjigj3 said:
Bradshaw Joinery":1ydjigj3 said:
What sizemotor is in the planer? and how many knife block? seemed to be the biggest decision when i was ordering mine.
It has a single phase 4hp motor. I had assumed it was a 3 knife block ..... but just rechecked the details sent to me and it does not confirm that. Will need to check.
Planer blocks are three knife
 

Orcamesh

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Charlie, where did you find the Hammer A3 31? I'm looking for one too, but no luck searching online so far. Have you bought it yet? If you don't want it I would be glad to consider it!

cheers
Steve
 

Willis

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I have the MB with Tersa block and I think its excellent, very heavy, solid, doesn't need too much adjustment, not finshed well but does works as it should.

I had a Felder table saw some time ago and it was far better engineered although had some electrical problems (new circuit board £200).

I would go Sedgwick everytime as it just feels like it will out live me, but I like the solid feel but don't do fine work much
 
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