New Planer/thicknesser

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Tazio

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Hello there
I am in the process of scaling down my workshop ..currently have large 3 phase separate kit so out is going my lovely 7ft 4” guillett planer and 24” thicknesser and in comes a combination mechine , trying to decide between a 260 mechine or 310 to be fair as I will now be the only person in the shop a 260 maybe enough !.
so the first question is to the 260 users on here apart from the obvious size difference how do you get on with a 260 ?… I originally 25 years ago had a Sedgwick MB so know that the 310 style mechines are more than large enough for me , but the small size of the 260 I find attractive as my workshop will be considerable smaller .
Also there are a huge number of combination mechines out there and having delt with Scott and Sargent in the past the itech 260/310 do look very good value any comments on these mechines ?..or others … to be fair I will not be using the planer a huge amount hence going to a smaller mechine !.
any comments much appreciated
 

Jones

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I find a 260 machine is wide enough for most work I do and wider planks can obviously be cut and jointed, a bit more work but not a problem. I think the main issues are quality and table length. Bigger machines tend to be better quality and more solid though there's plenty of better and more expensive 260's available.
 

woodman2

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Whatever you decide upon you must go for a spiral block option. Super quiet, super finish less strain on the electrics. Felder/Hammer or iTech are the ones to consider. Have just brought the 260mm iTech but yet to use it in earnest. Excellent build, very solid.
 

Tazio

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Whatever you decide upon you must go for a spiral block option. Super quiet, super finish less strain on the electrics. Felder/Hammer or iTech are the ones to consider. Have just brought the 260mm iTech but yet to use it in earnest. Excellent build, very solid.

thanks perhaps you could keep me posted on how you get on with the itech please as that’s very much on my list ..if you don’t mind me asking what type of joinery are you using the 260 for ?
 

Tazio

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I find a 260 machine is wide enough for most work I do and wider planks can obviously be cut and jointed, a bit more work but not a problem. I think the main issues are quality and table length. Bigger machines tend to be better quality and more solid though there's plenty of better and more expensive 260's available.

oh ok what 260 do you use ..yes I think 260 250 actually size is wide enough for most work ..hence why I am considering a 260 to be fair the itech does look a pretty decent mechine .
 

Farm Labourer

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I've just taken delivery (3 weeks ago) of a Hammer A3/31 with a Silent Power cutter-block. I'm delighted with it. I must admit the extra 2" of cut is useful for me as I seem to finish lots of boards at 150 and join them.
 

Jones

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My 260 is a metabo one,so not the best ,I would like a hammer or itech one and may well get a 310 wide one when I upgrade My work is a mixture of doors ,windows ,doors and drawers for built-ins, bookcases, etc. It's generally only the panels for frame and panel stuff and tops that are too wide for me to plane ,but as these can be over 450 mm wide I'm never going to get a planer that big. On the occasions I have needed wide planed for stair stringers etc the merchant I often use has a 600 wide pt. Whatever you get make sure knife change is easy and doesn't need a reset,so esta, tersa or spiral though I think all new machines will be one of those systems
 
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I went through the same process of selection around 18 months ago, even driving a fair few miles to actually have hands on various machines, not putting any wood through but just feeling and seeing how they were made.
My main criteria was as quiet as possible, spiral block and easy change over with ideally linked infeed - outfeed tables
I have had the Itec spiral block 260 for just over 12 months and I am really impressed with it.
I have it on a mobile base and its fairly easy to move around the workshop.
The swap over from planer to thicknesser takes a couple of minutes at most and the majority of that time will be spent winding the thicknesser handle up or down as it needs to be at about 145mm to allow the chip collector cover to rotate.
I have just rotated the carbides for the first time no issues with seized screws and i used a brand new torx bit and before reinstalling soaked all of the cutters and screws in bit cleaner
The machine was PDI'd and after unpacking was ready to go, thickness gauge is accurate so is the planner depth or cut, the fence is pretty bang on but I do usually just check it with a square when I have moved it, chip extraction is about the same as most other machines I have used.
The only maintenance I have had to carry out apart from a nuts and bolts check and also waxing the tables is I had to re-tension the drive belts which took around 10mins, its really quiet in use even with fairly deep and wide passes.
My work is mixed 260mm is fine as are its max / min thickness's
I mainly recycle scaffolding boards and buy in rough sawn hard woods oak, ash, beech from a number of local mills there is only me in the workshop and i do tend to treat my kit well normally when jointing I'm at 1.5mm depth and on thicknessing around 1.5mm to 2mm, I would rather take a couple of extra passes and have the machine last me the rest of my career. I am based in the midlands if ever you are near by happy for you to call in. I would say that out of the various available with similar specs it offers the best value for money
 

eribaMotters

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Does a 310 have a much bigger footprint than a 260.
Is it easier to source a 310 or a 260.
Are 310 machines generally of a higher build quality.
Can you afford either.

Colin
 

Tazio

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I've just taken delivery (3 weeks ago) of a Hammer A3/31 with a Silent Power cutter-block. I'm delighted with it. I must admit the extra 2" of cut is useful for me as I seem to finish lots of boards at 150 and join them.

thankyou for the reply I am based in Suffolk so not far away ..harleston is lovely my brother used to play for the magpies !… I will take you up on your offer so thanks for that !
 

Tazio

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I went through the same process of selection around 18 months ago, even driving a fair few miles to actually have hands on various machines, not putting any wood through but just feeling and seeing how they were made.
My main criteria was as quiet as possible, spiral block and easy change over with ideally linked infeed - outfeed tables
I have had the Itec spiral block 260 for just over 12 months and I am really impressed with it.
I have it on a mobile base and its fairly easy to move around the workshop.
The swap over from planer to thicknesser takes a couple of minutes at most and the majority of that time will be spent winding the thicknesser handle up or down as it needs to be at about 145mm to allow the chip collector cover to rotate.
I have just rotated the carbides for the first time no issues with seized screws and i used a brand new torx bit and before reinstalling soaked all of the cutters and screws in bit cleaner
The machine was PDI'd and after unpacking was ready to go, thickness gauge is accurate so is the planner depth or cut, the fence is pretty bang on but I do usually just check it with a square when I have moved it, chip extraction is about the same as most other machines I have used.
The only maintenance I have had to carry out apart from a nuts and bolts check and also waxing the tables is I had to re-tension the drive belts which took around 10mins, its really quiet in use even with fairly deep and wide passes.
My work is mixed 260mm is fine as are its max / min thickness's
I mainly recycle scaffolding boards and buy in rough sawn hard woods oak, ash, beech from a number of local mills there is only me in the workshop and i do tend to treat my kit well normally when jointing I'm at 1.5mm depth and on thicknessing around 1.5mm to 2mm, I would rather take a couple of extra passes and have the machine last me the rest of my career. I am based in the midlands if ever you are near by happy for you to call in. I would say that out of the various available with similar specs it offers the best value for money

that’s very good info thanks for all that I would like to see the 260 in operation as the itech is on the extensive list but still concerned as we started off 25 years ago with the Sedgwick MB which is a 310 mechine , before moving onto the much larger Guillett planers ! However I would like to be able to manage with a 260 simple on the basis of size and portability . Where in the midlands are you ?
 

Manchild23

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normally when jointing I'm at 1.5mm depth and on thicknessing around 1.5mm to 2mm,

I have this machine and have done for around a year of hobby use. I’m really pleased with the machine overall having upgraded from a sip planer. As other have said, the itech is nice and quiet, very clean cut, solid, easy to switch over and competitively priced. Chosen over the Axminster machine due to the beds pivoting up together.

Are you able to thickness 1.5mm to 2mm full bed width in hardwood? I have found the machine starts to bog down much above ~1mm in oak/beech around 200mm wide (although I’ve been working with character grade). That does start to feel a bit limiting, but it is workable for me taking smallish cuts for wider boards. How often do you lubricate the bed and with what? Perhaps I could be lubricating more often which may help.
 

ndbrown

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I am a part time furniture maker, I would struggle to fit a 310 in my particular workshop but have been using a spiral block Hammer A3-26 for four years and a similar sized Sedgwick before that. Build quality exactly the same on the Hammer A3 range. I have table extensions for occasional planing and thicknessing of bed rails but for everyday furniture 260 is more than enough for me.
nigel
 

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I have this machine and have done for around a year of hobby use. I’m really pleased with the machine overall having upgraded from a sip planer. As other have said, the itech is nice and quiet, very clean cut, solid, easy to switch over and competitively priced. Chosen over the Axminster machine due to the beds pivoting up together.

Are you able to thickness 1.5mm to 2mm full bed width in hardwood? I have found the machine starts to bog down much above ~1mm in oak/beech around 200mm wide (although I’ve been working with character grade). That does start to feel a bit limiting, but it is workable for me taking smallish cuts for wider boards. How often do you lubricate the bed and with what? Perhaps I could be lubricating more often which may help.
Depending on the hardwood and and how straight the grain is 1.5 to 2 at full board width is ok yes the machine bogs slightly i have found that the belts loose tension fairly easily mine are almost at the adjustment limit and i will replace with some better quality belts soon.

With regards to the bed and the tables I use Axminster machine wax blow the dust off apply with a no grit scotch bright pad (white) leave till it goes dull then polish up with a cloth, I tend to do it before I start a reasonable milling job, I've just finished about 2 hours of planeing and thicknessing and gave the tables a wax just before I started
 

Manchild23

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With regards to the bed and the tables I use Axminster machine wax blow the dust off apply with a no grit scotch bright pad (white) leave till it goes dull then polish up with a cloth, I tend to do it before I start a reasonable milling job, I've just finished about 2 hours of planeing and thicknessing and gave the tables a wax just before I started

Thanks, will give this a go, I’ve only ever just wiped on, haven’t waited and polished, and not applied very often, so sounds like that will help me with capacity.
 

Daniel.l

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I am currently saving up for a new planer thicknesser and I looked at quite a lot a the different brands and the sizes. I have a 260 record at the moment I bought second hand but it has too many problems.
I have found a few times that I've had to use different ways of flattening pieces or to reduce the size of projects to suit the table width so I am looking at the bigger 310 size at a minimum now. I have pretty much decided on a hammer machine from all the reviews I have read which have been pretty good.
Itech are the same as SIP and my past experiences with a SIP table saw haven't been good that is why I am avoiding them.
Another nice machine is the jet but they are similar prices to the hammer they also come with a helical head
 

Spectric

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Whatever you decide upon you must go for a spiral block option.
That is very debatable, I am sure you will get a few replies to spiral blocks. For me if I was buying tommorow it would be Tersa and I believe that is what @MikeK has coming with his new machine. Because I made a mistake with a PT107 I had to retrofit the ESTA Knife System with disposable blades so that I could get it setup easily.

I have found the 260 width is fine but have had two jobs it could not do, both curved items that would not fit through the 260 and maybe the extra width would have been nice to have. As you are an experienced user of such machines I would suggest you pay attention to how easy it is to change over from planing to thicknessing because that can be a real PITA and something you have not had to put up with to date.
 

Hornbeam

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I have the Hammer A3/31. I find when I have the tables lifted as for thicknessing that the effective footprint is much small so me be a consideration in a small workshop See picture in Nigels post above
 

MikeK

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… to be fair I will not be using the planer a huge amount hence going to a smaller mechine !.
any comments much appreciated

The choice of cutter head type is a personal decision, and I chose the Tersa cutter head for my new P/T. The spiral cutter head option would have cost an additional €800 and would have been a special order with delivery sometime this summer. The machine with the Tersa cutter head was in stock and is in my garage now waiting for me to move it to my basement shop. While I can afford the extra €800, I did not see any value in the spiral cutter option beyond the novelty factor. Noise is not a consideration for me since my shop is in a below-grade basement with no exterior doors or windows.

Replacement Tersa knives are €50 for a set of three disposable HSS double sided knives. I don't know what the life expectancy of a set of four-sided carbide cutters for the Xylent head is, but I can buy 16 sets of HSS Tersa knives, which is 32 knife changes, for the initial cost of the Xylent head. None of the production shops in my area use spiral or helical cutters, but use the Tersa cutters instead. Time is money for these shops and paying an apprentice to rotate the dozens of cutters and torque the cap screws is not cost effective.

The total time to change the three Tersa blades is less than a minute and does not require any special tools. I intend to keep two sets of knives, one set of chrome for bulk removal and a set of HSS for finish work. The ease and speed of changing knives makes this an economical choice.
 

clogs

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I have been checking out the prices of Tersa and spiral.....
when retro fitting a machine they cost about the same.....
So airing on the spiral side.....
just ordered a pair of new ordianry HSS 250 blades for my mobile DeWalt dw27300.....almost £40......!!!!....non genuine.....
 

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