Help with old Elektra Beckum HC 260 planer thicknesser

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h2h

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I got the planer running pretty good today - not good enough but way better than any point previously. I got the knife setting jig mentioned yesterday. Whilst it does not let me magically set the blades correctly by itself, it does make the whole tedious process of trial and error an awful lot faster.

Just to recap the whole thread, I am not very experienced and I got a used HC260 with the intention of upgrading the blade holders with the ones that give you allen key fine tuning feature. But that did not work, the older machines have different cutting blocks and the upgrade does not fit. Since then I have gotten loads better at setting the blades but still finding it difficult to set the blades perfectly. Without using any additional roller stands etc.

I have been realising today what many of you were probably thinking a long time ago - I should have got a more modern machine to begin with :lol:

On one hand, I'm happy to have made huge progress with the machine. I have learned a lot and got an awful lot better at setting the blades. And I'm getting closer to good results.

On the other hand I'm thinking, even if I did get this machine to give perfect results then :-
A) The amount of setup time is still quite high, even with my jigs retaining me the correct knife positions.
B) I'm concerned about table sizes and the max length of timber I could realistically get perfect results with on a machine of this size.

So its a HC260, both tables add up to 800mm. Just like the Record PT260, it's a machine of that size - 500mm infeed and outfeed tables. Actually I only just realised my tables are smaller than new hc260's. Here are the table sizes for my current machine and some others :-
a) My current old hc260 - 800mm,
b) New Metabo hc260 - 1040mm,
c) Record pt260 - 1040mm,
d) Axminster AW106PT2 - 1090mm
So we are really talking about 800mm for my current machine and lets say 1050 for all the others.

So I would like to ask you more experienced folks one very important question... if you want to get great results, what is the maximum length of timber you would use on a machine with 800mm table length, and how much would that increase with 1050mm table length?
 

h2h

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Have spent another day on the machine today and concluded the thicknesser bed is out of alignment. That can be sorted out I understand but I am going to sell this one and get a brand new machine. Probably another HC260. I would like the Record pt260 but that costs a fair bit more. Seems like these machines have all gone up in price over last 4 years or so, I'm guessing that is related to tarrifs on chinese steel maybe.

I have learnt a lot trying to get this machine to run good. During this time I have also learned if there is one woodwork machine to spend more money on than the others, it's the planer/thicknesser. Every other machine can be less than perfect with much less consequences, a less than perfect P/T is a huge problem and its errors carry through to whatever other machines you might use after planing. And that is no good.

I'll put it up for sale for cheap on here in a few days. It's basically a 1979 HC260, it's in great condition all round for its age, but the thicknesser bed needs realigning.

Sorry if I have been asking too many dumb questions - you guys probably get tired of novices arriving here with 40 year old machines seeking assistance! :)
 

Petey83

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You'll not get any benefit from buying a new HC260 - Metabo, Record or otherwise branded. If anything you EB is probably better built than the modern ones. There is just as much chance of you having to adjust the out feed table, trust me on that one.

I've just returned a Metabo HC260 I'd had for a couple of weeks as I deemed it not fit for purposes and it developed wear very quickly.

A number of steel bolts are directly threaded into aluminium which is a recipe for trouble and this was proven when one of the 4 bolts used on the brackets of the out feed chewed it's threads while I was trying to align the out feed table.

I'd suggest saving a bit more and looking at the Axminster craft PT as it's more cast iron construction and is not drastically more expensive than the Record machine.
 

h2h

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Thanks a lot for the advice Pete, sorry to hear of the problems with your HC260. The attractive thing about getting a new HC260 was at least I can send it back if for example the thicknesser is out of alignment. The old machines definitely have their plus points your right.

I have spent a LOT of time looking around at new and used machines now. And yes I looked at the axminsters - I always considered them out of my league, and they are. However, when I looked at the axminsters I skipped over the first machine, the 'Craft AC250PT' - I equated the 'craft' with what might have been known previously as 'hobbyist' which I recalled being more a HC260 style machine so I just skipped over that and went directly to the entry level 'Trade' machine.

But I was wrong about that, the AC250PT is the full works for £850, only 50 more than the Record PT260 as you say. Cast iron tables, triple blades, digital readout - it's a dream machine! The best machine for the money out there was ironically the only one I had skipped over by mistake, and I would have never have double checked that if you hadn't have made your post, so thanks a lot for pointing that out :)

It's all way more than I can afford of course, but I have actually been talking to Axminster and am thinking of taking the plunge. It's a bit scary to spend that much money but it's definitely a great machine for the money. I never thought I would own a machine of this caliber - I feels like getting a rolls royce to me. But I'm thinking about doing it.

Charnwood have great machines too such as the W583, and I liked the idea of getting a charnwood because they look great and they are only 20 mins away from where I live. That's where I went to last week to get the knife setting jigs. But the W583 is £1000.

I am more used to titan, clarke, mcallister type stuff and tbh whilst it would be nice to have top end everything I don't really need it. Although I do have my Charnwood W030 spindle moulder (which I have never even used because I can't get the wood squared up to begin with for frig's sake...) I have never had any really good machines except for that. It's idea of getting something as nice as the axminster is quite exciting. And I have come to feel if there is one machine to go overboard on, it is the PT. I had not felt that way previously. Lesson learnt.
 
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