Planer Thicknesser advice.

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roadrunner45

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Hello All,

Is buying a planer thicknesses a worthwhile addition to a workshop , where i plan to build general wood working project?

Have people brought one and not used as much as planned?

Thanks for you help and comments.
 

monster

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Its an essential if you want to start getting serious with your woodworking - gives you so much flexibility and freedom as you can now size timber to suit and opens up the ability to easily use rough sawn timber.
 

Sawhead

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Once you get one life in the workshop will become much easier. Never need to worry about odd bits of timber, they can all be made the same size quickly and easily. You will love it.
 

Ollie78

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It's possibly the single most useful machine in the workshop. Enabling you to quickly prepare timber and save money by buying it sawn.

Ollie
 

martin.pearson

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While the comments have all been positive I will add that it may depend on which machine you buy & what sort of wood you want to be able to thickness, I started with one of the cheapest planer thicknessers from screwfix (I think) cost me about £150 at the time, didn't last very long at all but I only work with hardwoods & I think it was just to much for it.
 

heimlaga

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It is indeed possible to make do without a planer/thicknesser. I did so for many years and hand planed everything. This was so slow that I didn't get very much made.
Then I bought my first planer/thicknesser which was a 10 inch Ejca. It was some 60 years old and partly disassembled in cardboard boxes. I put it back together and fixed it up and it more than doubled my productivity at once all while reducing my frustration.

You certainly can make do without but if you can afford one and have room for one get it. The planer/thicknesser and the table saw are the primary machines and doing the work that was done by helpers and apprentices in the old days. If money is tight those two are the machines to be prioritized and it is very vise to buy better quality and larger machines than you think you will need.
The rest of the work can well be done using simple hand tools either home made or purchased secondhand for small money.
 

Terry - Somerset

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My 8 year old cheap thicknesser failed after 8 years light to moderate use. Thought about fixing it but decided to replace - like an old car needing a repair it is only a matter of time before another aged component fails.

Taking light cuts it copes fine with hardwoods - beech, oak, ash etc. I have a fairly modest workshop (garage + a bit) - regard it and the bandsaw as essential.

A few thoughts on machine selection:
  • basic thicknessers starting at ~£300 are fine for hobby and light work. If the work you anticipate is more demanding - eg: larger volumes or long lengths then a more expensive machine will last longer and perform better.
  • consider whether you want a combined planer thicknesser or just a thicknesser. The former can be more versatile, but swapping functions can be a pain.
  • be aware that capacity is important - buy a machine with an 8 inch capacity and you will quickly find the shelf you want to thickness is 11 inches wide!
 

Insanity

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Depending on how much work you're doing, it could pay for itself. The screenshot is from Slhardwoods, same size board, £10 more for PAR.
Another reason is that if you do buy PAR, there's no guarantee it hasn't warped by the time it gets to you, and there will be nothing you can do about it.
Like Martin said, Screwfix do a really cheap planer thicknesser, it is quite decent to be honest for the money, but no more than 1mm passes even though it's rated for 3mm. However, if it goes wrong, you have to carry it back to screwfix yourself to replace it!
 

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Jones

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A planer thicknesses will enable you to use a wider range of timber much more easily. It will literally save you days of work per project.
Many 'essential' gadjets cost far more than they're worth and have set up times that negate any time saved .
Spend as much as you can afford on a good planer thicknesser my 10" one is an ok size but I'd like a spiral cutter one when I replace it possibly up to 12".
 

m.webb63

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Like Martin said, Screwfix do a really cheap planer thicknesser, it is quite decent to be honest for the money, but no more than 1mm passes even though it's rated for 3mm. However, if it goes wrong, you have to carry it back to screwfix yourself to replace it!

I got one recently and had to return it as the beds weren't flat. They said if I'd kept the box and packaging they'd have got Royal Mail to collect it.

I'm in a similar position to the OP and thinking of going down the thicknesser route.
 

Ntre25

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It's a real time and cost saving machine. If you are only going to work on small items, then you could manage with hand planes. It's one of those long term investments and as always buy the best you can afford so that the machine can provide you capacity and deal with hardwoods.
 

peter-harrison

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I agree with all the above. Square straight timber is essential to most cabinetmaking.
just one thing- you need to factor in how you are going to cope with the dust and shavings!
 

heimlaga

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As pretty everybody else seem to talk about cheap beginner grade models from China I want to point out that there are two ways to go.
Either buy cheap and if you keep working wood upgrade in several increments, or buy once and keep the machine for life.

We are all different. Some are impulsive and start a hobby and get some tools only to get tired of it in a couple of years. In that case there is no point in buying high end stuff that lasts for life. On the other hand you end up with very high total tool costs if you upgrade several times from an entry level model to a cheap model to a slightly less cheap model and so on. There isn't much of a secondhand market for low end Chineese woodworking machines so money spent is usually spent never to come back and it will take you decades to work your way up to a machine that doesn't fight back when you use it.
The most poignant example of this is stick welders. Most people who have done a bit of stick welding are pretty much certain that this is a very advanced art which neither he/she nor any other hobbyist or part timer will ever master. Usually they have reached that conclusion by using such an inferrior welder as even the most skilled professionals would struggle hard to produce tolerable hobby grade work with.

I tend to delay larger tool investments either until totally enevitable and I am totally conviced that I will keep using the tool for many decades to come, or usually until I come across a rebuildable secondhand unit for small money.
This in turn means that I can neither get my investment back. As other people tend to be sceptical against obsolete industrial machines with home made upgrades. On the other hand most of my investments are in the form of time not money and once rebuilt my machines are usually good enough for a lifetime of use or more. I get very god machines for very little money.
On the other hand I am fully aware that everybody doesn't have the necsessary skills nor the time that I use as leverage to my secondhand tool investments.
A few time my attempts at foreseeing future needs have failed. My first planer/thicknesser was one of those instances. It took me only a year to get so much paid work to do on it that I had to upgrade to a 24" model.

We are all different and we all benefit from analyzing our needs and our resources in a matter of factly way before deciding which machine to buy and whether to buy new or secondhand.
 

accipiter

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Wouldn't be without my "sandwich box" thicknesser; Triton TP125 now. I've found it very useful. Does up to 12" wide boards by 6" thick... yet to try 6" thick though ;) Depends on your price limit and workshop space as to what you get.

I've been trying to get the Triton planer; TSPL125. It's a 6" wide planer but has been out of stock for ages. Did have one on pre-order with Yandle's - advertised as available approx. 8 weeks but after waiting 12 to 16 weeks had to cancel. May regret as I paid their then advertised price and it'll no doubt be at a higher price when available... but that's the Q - when will it be available. Only have a very small workshop.
 

stuart little

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While the comments have all been positive I will add that it may depend on which machine you buy & what sort of wood you want to be able to thickness, I started with one of the cheapest planer thicknessers from screwfix (I think) cost me about £150 at the time, didn't last very long at all but I only work with hardwoods & I think it was just to much for it.
Sounds like the same model I bought first off, also didn't last long, I replaced it with a Metabo - never looked back!
 

Henniep

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Hello All,

Is buying a planer thicknesses a worthwhile addition to a workshop , where i plan to build general wood working project?

Have people brought one and not used as much as planned?

Thanks for you help and comments.
I'm still a hobbist but can't do without my thicknesser.
 

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