Recommendations for a Planer/Thicknesser

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Hi gandalfs staff, you mention you are a hobbyist so have you considered a smaller, cheaper, slightly more portable machine such as a German made elektra beckum hc260? I recently acquired one for a total snip, literally in perfect condition and does a great job for me as a hobbyist too. It comes with a wheeled base so easy to move it round the workshop - just remember not to try and move them using the beds! These machines generally go for anywhere from £300-£700 and I think they are great. Obviously a total different ballgame to the other machines mentioned but might be worth considering if you want something to help you with your hobby. I don’t know how readily available the instructions for these machines are either as I’ve never had to look. Mine came with the original instructions so if you do ever decide to go down this route let me know and I can email them across to you.

Cheers
Pete
Thanks for the feedback. I did think about it (thats the Metabo one right?). I was concerned that it just wouldn't be accurate enough vis-a-vis the fence alignment etc. I've got nothing to base that on, as all the reviews said it was a good little machine, but given it is an alumnium construction I was just concerned - the problem is I am not a patient man....if it was out of alignment and I couldn't fix it in 30 minutes it would likely be struck by a hammer out of frustration...... :)
 
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I spent weeks going round in circles over different machines, eventually went for the Itec 260s from Scott & Sargeant and I can safely say I am 100% pleased and satisfied with it i have listed below a few reasons for my choice I actually brought it without seeing it as it was mid lock down
Spiral Block a lot quieter easy to set up and I have turned a few chipped cutters with no track being left in the timber
The tables lift as one with no alteration for the fence to change to thickness mode as a lot of my timber is similar size I leave the fence alone and just check for square ever now and then the longest time is the time to crank the depth handle (a small 3d printed gizzmo to go in a battery drill is on the to do list)
Scott & Sargeaant do a full pre delivery inspection alignment check and test before the machine is delivered
Once unpacked it planned and thicknessed spot no fettling required
At the time of buying that had a great package deal with a itech dust extractor
Usual day to day maintenance good wax on the tables and had to tension the drive belts fairly early on which was no issue and something i sort of expected on a new machine
I do use resin cleaner on the block most weeks and at the same time I tensioned the belts i checked all the insert screws on the head with no issues found

Customer service from S&S was also very good
 

Ollie78

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@Gandalfs Staff

Just saw this on the for sale section,

Might be up your street. Not sure how you would repair the bed, add some weld then grind it back I guess, might be fine as it is anyway.

Ollie
 
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Been mulling all the feedback/info over the past week or so...... I think I am set on getting a helical/spiral cutter block for a number of reasons, mostly relating to noise, ease of set up and finish. I appreciate the feedback from those with more experience than me that an older fully cast iron machine is the better bet from a machine performance perspective but the cost is just beyond what I want to spend.

So after a conversation with S&S I had thought I was going to purchase an iTech 310s, (shoproom model - so lightly used) which was reduced from £3.6k to £3k. Unfortunately a different salesman at S&S sold it to someone else - thats on me for taking too much time to decide :rolleyes:.

So I am now considering
  1. New itech360s @ £3.6k (spiral and digital readout, tables open independently and wierdly lift to the front for thicknessing)
  2. New Hammer A3 26 @ £3,250 (spiral cutter block/analogue clock, tables linked and lift to the back for thicknessing)
  3. Axminster AP310SPT @ £3,100 (spiral cutter block, difgital readout, linked tables and lift to the back for thicknessing)
I think with all of the above you dont have to remove the fence to switch between planing and thicknessing.

I'd rather go for the Axminster simply because it is £500 cheaper and I can put that towards the Dust Extraction unit I need to purchase also ..... but I'm wary because I understand that Axminster don't have the best rep for quality or post sales support?

Would welcome any further feedback on the above machines and for someone to make the decision for me.....

One final point - I looked at the Jet JPT-310HH )after seeing Peter Parfitts review but it was about £3.8k and I could only find it on sale at www.machinery4wood.co.uk - does anyone know if there are any other companies selling Jet machines in the UK that might have it cheaper?

Thanks
 

Against_The_Grain

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Or... you could buy a decently made secondhand Sedgwick or similar for under £1000, buy a decent extractor secondhand for £100 or so and then have over £2000 left in the pot for other tools and more importantly, wood.

Helical cutterheads are very tempting, and they are designed to be tempting with every hobby outlet pushing them like crazy as there’s very good margins in selling them, but are largely wasted on the hobby woodworker as they do not produce enough work to justify it. The points of the cutters lasting longer and it cutting quieter are pointless if you only use it for less than a day a year, at that rate you would only change HSS knives every year or more which isn’t exactly rocket science to do and the noise will only be ongoing for an hour every so often. If it was running for eight hours of the day every day I would understand but it simply won’t be.

Save your money, buy some wood and actually learn woodworking.
 

Spectric

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Helical cutterheads are very tempting, and they are designed to be tempting with every hobby outlet pushing them like crazy
I think the spiral cutter blocks are more common than the helical ones, they look very similar but there is a difference:

1656064293301.png


Both can cause issues with changing the cutters, and when I change my PT I will buy something with disposable blades like tersa, accept the noise a P/T has been making for decades and just buy some decent ear protectors .

 

morqthana

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Yes, because old scaffold boards (and pallets) definitely will have embeded grit and or metal in them, they will nick the blade and can scratch the tables as cast iron is relatively soft.
Also, Gandalf - why are you using reclaimed ones?

If it's for the character, then fine, but I've been looking at scaffold boards recently, with the idea of using them for fencing, and I've found that reclaimed ones have gone the same way as sleepers, and acquired a "trending premium", and now cost more than new ones.

You're in London - these people sell sanded ones: Items for sale by furniture.highquality.scaffolds1 | eBay

If you really must do it then get a wire brush on a grinder and give them the once over to at least give yourself half a chance.
Or get a metal detector? Doesn't need to be a sooperdooper almost a ground radar jobbie that will find buried Roman treasure - I imagine almost anything will pick up nails and staples almost on the surface.
 

Bojam

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Been mulling all the feedback/info over the past week or so...... I think I am set on getting a helical/spiral cutter block for a number of reasons, mostly relating to noise, ease of set up and finish. I appreciate the feedback from those with more experience than me that an older fully cast iron machine is the better bet from a machine performance perspective but the cost is just beyond what I want to spend.

So after a conversation with S&S I had thought I was going to purchase an iTech 310s, (shoproom model - so lightly used) which was reduced from £3.6k to £3k. Unfortunately a different salesman at S&S sold it to someone else - thats on me for taking too much time to decide :rolleyes:.

So I am now considering
  1. New itech360s @ £3.6k (spiral and digital readout, tables open independently and wierdly lift to the front for thicknessing)
  2. New Hammer A3 26 @ £3,250 (spiral cutter block/analogue clock, tables linked and lift to the back for thicknessing)
  3. Axminster AP310SPT @ £3,100 (spiral cutter block, difgital readout, linked tables and lift to the back for thicknessing)
I think with all of the above you dont have to remove the fence to switch between planing and thicknessing.

I'd rather go for the Axminster simply because it is £500 cheaper and I can put that towards the Dust Extraction unit I need to purchase also ..... but I'm wary because I understand that Axminster don't have the best rep for quality or post sales support?

Would welcome any further feedback on the above machines and for someone to make the decision for me.....

One final point - I looked at the Jet JPT-310HH )after seeing Peter Parfitts review but it was about £3.8k and I could only find it on sale at www.machinery4wood.co.uk - does anyone know if there are any other companies selling Jet machines in the UK that might have it cheaper?

Thanks

Hi Gandalf

There are pros and cons to buying new vs second-hand.

Take a new machine and you can easily find something that meets your specified criteria, is covered under warranty, and hopefully comes with good after-sales technical support. However you will pay the full price, which for these (Axminster, iTech, Hammer, Jet) 260/310 combined P/T machines with spiral/helical blocks is not cheap. I bought my 310 helical block PT from a European supplier (Holzprofi France) who like many others have their machines made in the Far East. Their higher end "pro" grade machines are still made in Eastern Europe but the "Maker" range is manufactured in Taiwan. I've been super happy with it. It is heavy (200+ kg) and robust, came well calibrated, is easy to use/adjust, and gives a high quality finish on even the most dense and abrasive tropical timbers. Having simultaneous opening tables is a big plus and personally I wouldn't consider the old 'butterfly' style tables that open independently. Too much faff. Holzprofi France are great to deal with and provide excellent support should you need it. I'm sure the machine is at least on a par with the equivalent Jet (JPT310-HH) and other similar machines like the ones you mention. I choose Holzprofi over the comparable Jet machine because of their reputation for top customer service and the fact that they would ship here to my door at a reasonable price. Whether (and at what price) Holzprofi would ship to the UK I'm not sure but I can recommend the DR310 as a quality machine.

That said, I choose to buy new only because the opportunities to buy used here in French Guiana are rare or non-existent. If I had access to a thriving second hand market (like in the UK) then I would have seriously considered buying a quality used machine, heavier duty, more cast iron. I'm not a mechanic and wouldn't fancy having to do extensive work on a used machine but would happily take a well-loved or reconditioned Sedgwick, Wadkin, SCM, Felder, etc. I don't think that a spiral block is critical unless you plan to work with predominantly dense exotics or highly figured timbers. I would though take a Tersa block over conventional knives for ease of change. If you can find a used machine in excellent working condition with a Tersa block installed and the price is favourable over buying new then I reckon that's the way to go. But you need to trust the vendor or have the knowledge/skills to be able to inspect and assess it's condition.

Ultimately, it's your money and if you're happy to invest £3000+ in a new machine then I think you'd be happy with the quality of the machines you have identified. I can't fault my machine and I use it a lot with tropical hardwoods and it hasn't let me down yet.

Good luck!
 
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Inspector

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You could buy a good used cast iron machine with straight blades and if you have your heart set on a spiral replace the head with money left over. Not as much left as Against_The _Grain suggests but still lots less than new. Below is a link to the ones Sheartac make for the Sedgwick machines as an example and they will custom make heads for ones they have not made before for similar money. The prices in the link convert to about 1,230 pounds


Pete
 

Doug71

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I tend to keep out of these discussions as I think it's up to the individual what they want to spend their cash on and when it's a hobby people are often happy to spend more on something (people spend crazy money on bikes etc), I also understand all the new v old arguments.

I will just say I bought most of my workshop machines second hand including a Sedgwick Planer, Minimax panel saw, Wadkin spindle moulder and Robinson mortiser, the combined total of these 4 machines was less than £3.5k. They are all industrial machines which will last me out and I could sell any of them tomorrow for what I paid for them. To buy them new today including the tooling that came with them you would probably be looking at £15-20k.

I would be having a good look at what is available used but I am a tight Yorkshireman!

It's worth keeping an eye on these guys as they seem to sell quality used stuff at a reasonable price, it doesn't look like they have any PT's at the moment although the combination machine looks a good buy.

 

Spectric

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I would be having a good look at what is available used but I am a tight Yorkshireman!
There is nothing tight in getting value for money and you have sought a level of quality that is not readily available today, those machines would have been the work horses in their day for many a woodworking shop, cast iron is just a statement of I am here to stay!
 

RobinBHM

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I tend to keep out of these discussions as I think it's up to the individual what they want to spend their cash on and when it's a hobby people are often happy to spend more on something (people spend crazy money on bikes etc), I also understand all the new v old arguments.

I will just say I bought most of my workshop machines second hand including a Sedgwick Planer, Minimax panel saw, Wadkin spindle moulder and Robinson mortiser, the combined total of these 4 machines was less than £3.5k. They are all industrial machines which will last me out and I could sell any of them tomorrow for what I paid for them. To buy them new today including the tooling that came with them you would probably be looking at £15-20k.

I would be having a good look at what is available used but I am a tight Yorkshireman!

It's worth keeping an eye on these guys as they seem to sell quality used stuff at a reasonable price, it doesn't look like they have any PT's at the moment although the combination machine looks a good buy.

I’ve bought from Target, they are pretty good and they palletise and send machines by pallet delivery for about £70
 

RobinBHM

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I tend to keep out of these discussions as I think it's up to the individual what they want to spend their cash on and when it's a hobby people are often happy to spend more on something (people spend crazy money on bikes etc), I also understand all the new v old arguments.

I will just say I bought most of my workshop machines second hand including a Sedgwick Planer, Minimax panel saw, Wadkin spindle moulder and Robinson mortiser, the combined total of these 4 machines was less than £3.5k. They are all industrial machines which will last me out and I could sell any of them tomorrow for what I paid for them. To buy them new today including the tooling that came with them you would probably be looking at £15-20k.

I would be having a good look at what is available used but I am a tight Yorkshireman!

It's worth keeping an eye on these guys as they seem to sell quality used stuff at a reasonable price, it doesn't look like they have any PT's at the moment although the combination machine looks a good buy.

As somebody who has bought machines for business use for joinery and furniture and have bought both old and new, I can say the rigidity of cast iron older machines is a huge benefit.


Comparing machine specifications and features doesn’t tell you how a machine will perform in practice.

Ive used both old Wadkin spindle moulders and brand new Italian spindle moulders. My experience with a Wadkin BCC and a Wadkin EQ is that these machines have fences, fence adjustments, rise and fall work smoothly with complete rigidity day in day out.

I had a Wadkin BCC for 19 years in a joinery factory, it worked as well the day it was sold as the day I bought it, and it was used everyday.
 

Hornbeam

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I have had both old cast iron machines and modern machines. At the start of covid I purchased a hammer A 3 31which has been truly excellent (but produces too many shavings for my local tip)
Some people go on about lifting tables and having to wind the thicknesser table up and down every change. I think if you are using a fixed table, you still have to do this to get the extraction box under and personally I prefer the easier access for thicknessing with lift ups
I have no issues with changing the spiral cutters but I only use hardwoods so not a lot of resin build up
Of the 3 machines I would pay the extra money and go with the Hammer it will not disappoint and will hold its value. Axminster seem to change specs too frequently and not been over impressed with spares for older machines. Cant comment on I tech but S&S are very good
One last point on lift up tables. As my workshop is quite small (about 5m X 4.5m) I find it really good to leave the tables up in thicknessing mode when not in use as it has a much smaller footprint (and stops me leaving things on it
Ian
 
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Also, Gandalf - why are you using reclaimed ones?

If it's for the character, then fine, but I've been looking at scaffold boards recently, with the idea of using them for fencing, and I've found that reclaimed ones have gone the same way as sleepers, and acquired a "trending premium", and now cost more than new ones.

You're in London - these people sell sanded ones: Items for sale by furniture.highquality.scaffolds1 | eBay


Or get a metal detector? Doesn't need to be a sooperdooper almost a ground radar jobbie that will find buried Roman treasure - I imagine almost anything will pick up nails and staples almost on the surface.
Reclaimed simply for the 'character'. I'm near an industrial auctioneers and they have wood auctions every few months or so. Last week I picked up 30'odd boards for £200 - a mix of stuff from 4' to 8'. It's enough to keep me going through the summer :).

I've got a 'burnisher' tool - it has tough nylon bristles that clear out the grit/dirt from the surface of most rough sawn timber. I'm banking on this along with a decent metal detector to help me keep the blades free from nicks/chipping.

Thanks for the input.
 
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You could buy a good used cast iron machine with straight blades and if you have your heart set on a spiral replace the head with money left over. Not as much left as Against_The _Grain suggests but still lots less than new. Below is a link to the ones Sheartac make for the Sedgwick machines as an example and they will custom make heads for ones they have not made before for similar money. The prices in the link convert to about 1,230 pounds


Pete
Thanks for the tip.
 
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