Lunchbox Thicknesser Vs PT/HC260

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
26 Feb 2013
Reaction score
I wanted to be a hand tool woodworker but honestly I don't find hand plane thicknessing rough sawn boards particularly enjoyable and have decided to bring in a couple of machines to pick up some slack.

I was pretty much set on picking up a lunchbox thicknesser, either the Dewalt 733 or Makita 2012NB but having read a few threads and shopped around a bit I can pick up the Metabo HC260 planer thicknesser for not much more so I was wondering whether anyone has had both and could give some guidance on what worked and what didn't for them please?

At the moment I am erring toward the Record/Metabo 260 PTs as most items I hope to make will be on the smaller side of things once the workbench is done and I can focus on the more interesting side of furniture making, joinery.

I have machine experience having been on a number of furniture making courses in the past using Hammer/Felder equipment and also use a range of machines throughout my work.

I have read through numerous threads via the search function but was wondering whether anyone had any more light to shine my way?

If youre set on furniture, get the planer.
But be prepared to have to "improve" stuff to make it work as it should.
You're comparing two different types of machine so you need to decide what you want to achieve.

A thicknesser will not give you a guaranteed flat reference face, so if your rough sawn board has a slow wave in it then your thicknessed board will also have a slow wave.

Without going into the merits of particular brands and models (because I have none of the ones you mention) you need to decide what you're willing to do by hand.

If you get a thicknesser then be prepared to finish planing one face flat by hand. You'll also have to get one face perpendicular and flat by hand too.

A planer thicknesser will let you do all of this on a machine.

So,how much hand tool work do you want to eliminate?
Thanks for the replies guys. I understand the differences between the two types of machine and LancsRick has it right that ideally I need to decide how much hand planing I want to jettison.

I guess I’d like to know the differences in quality between the two types of machineplamer thicknesser and lunchbox thicknesser, the 260 models seem to offer a lot for the price, but do their shortfalls make the machine overly frustrating to use? Obviously I don’t expect pro machine quality but will these type of machines make a suitable stop gap until I have a more permanent workshop and can accommodate a bigger and better machine?
A top quality lunchbox or bench top thicknesser like the DeWalt will deliver high quality, snipe free, results with perfect parallelism (it'll be the same thickness on one side as the other), and it'll do this in hard or soft wood.

It will also remove a great deal of the hard graft from the component preparation process.

What it won't remove though is the skill, as has been pointed out, you'll still need hand planing skills to get one face reasonably flat (doesn't have to be perfect, because you'll be flipping the workpiece over for each subsequent pass), more of a skill challenge is that you'll have to learn to edge joint.


Personally I'd suggest that unless you can acquire this fairly basic level of hand planing skill then you don't have much of a future as a woodworker, it's like saying you want to learn to drive but you don't want to tackle hill starts.

A cheap planer thicknesser on the other hand holds out the promise of doing away with the hard graft and also de-skilling the entire job.

However, I'm sceptical that it'll actually deliver on that promise without spending a bit more money. Cheap P/T's tend to have wonky fences that flex under pressure, the infeed and outfeed tables are rarely true and often drift out of alignment when they're opened and closed for thicknessing, the feed rollers aren't engineered well enough to prevent snipe, it'll be a few tenths thicker on one side than the other, etc, etc.

So, unless you're just doing rough work in softwood, then there's every chance you'll still have to build up your hand plane skills in order to correct all the flaws that the cheap P/T has made.
Custard - I appreciate your input having seen your previous posts regarding the Dewalt 733 and also your industry experience. Thanks. I would like to clarify something that my post didn't really convey, I can flatten a board and joint an edge but doing it from rough sawn timber is relatively new to me as my experience has only been taking a hand plane to the timber once it has been machine prepared, basically finessing the joint and removing machine marks.

I have previously read your thread 'How To Edge Joint' but will give it another read as while I can do it, it takes some time.
The lunchbox machines Excell in portability. So if you need to move it or store under a bench then they cannot be matched. Of course the planer thicknessers can do to jobs. I wouldn't consider the very small ones from wood star and Screwfix as they can be a lottery as to how well they are aligned with no possibility to adjust.

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk

Latest posts