Stumped on surface planer

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4 Dec 2019
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Good evening,

I am looking at buying a surface planer. I've been searching and reading a lot about them, but I am still none the wiser as to what I want or need to buy.

I was thinking about spending £500, give or take. I would prefer a dedicated surface planer as I would have thought that for the same money it would do a better job than a combination unit, but all I can find in this price range are combination Planer/Thicknessers. When I search for dedicated surface planers the entry point seems to be in excess of £1,000. I can't justify that cost at the moment as this is only a (relatively new) hobby for me. I've looked at second hand, but with no real idea what I'm looking at I wouldn't be confident that I was buying something that would work and would do what I need.

What I'm after is something reliable that works 'out of the box', other than standard setting up, and gives me good results so that I enjoy working with it. I think anything 250mm and up would be wide enough for me.

At the moment I'm looking at either a Scheppach HMS1070 or a Metabo HC260C, both available from the local hardware store, but reviews on here and elsewhere do not give me much confidence that they will produce the results I'm after.

Is there anything out there that I might have missed, or am I stuck with a combination unit for my budget?

Thanks in advance.
Welcome to the forum.

Those two are planer thicknessers, the very thing you said you didn't want. However, I would suggest that the combined machine is actually what you are best having....just not those tiny things with no weight (ie not very stable) and short beds. The longer the bed on a planer the better. A couple of minutes on Ebay brings up some very much better options:


I would go for either of those every day of the week rather than those little portable jobbies which can only realistically handle boards small enough to be dealt with by a hand plane.
There really isn’t any decent mid-ranged surface planers being made anymore, they’re all either tiny hobbyist models which may as well not exist because of the low quality or massive behemoths like a Martin that you’d need a mortgage to pay for it.

There’s plenty of secondhand Multico surface planers (9” models are more common than the 12” ones) online usually in single phase supply which can be had for very fair prices at around £300 or so. They also quite often have some attachments like a tenoning carriage which can be handy.

I have a separate surface planer and thicknesser, it makes it so much easier and quicker to work rather than swapping out dust hoods, lifting beds, etc on a combination model.
Thank you both for your responses.

Yes, the two models I mentioned are both combination models, as that was all I could find in my price range.

Thank you for the links to those ebay items. The Axminster one looks clean and well maintained, but unfortunately is about 7 hours drive from me and I don't think it would fit in my own car. My main worry buying second hand is that I don't know enough about what I'm looking at so I would be in real danger of over paying, buying someone else's problem or both. It does seem like that is the only way I am going to get what I want though. As you both say, the models that seem to be available to me new wouldn't be of a high enough quality to be worth having in the first place.

I'm going to have a look on ebay and see what comes up. Is it acceptable on the forum to post links to ebay listings in order to ask questions about and get opinions on the listing?

I'll be in touch.
Thank you
I sympathise with your position. I too am looking for a planer thicknesser and have a similar budget. I’ve driven miles to look at used units only to find they are nothing like described and the owner unwilling to reduce the price, which means I only now only look at localish units. However after 6 months nothing had come up so I’m getting more tempted to get the metabo unit which i believe is the best compromise for a new unit, the 20% eBay discount at FFX means it’s below £500 pounds at the moment.

Still sitting on the fence.....
I've got the Electra Beckum 260C, ancestor of your Metabo I suspect. Great little workhorse. Did several thousand feet of reclaimed floorboards one afternoon for me. Went through three sets of blades; sharpening bill, sure, but took varnish, knots, the odd nail in its stride. Recommended. Axminster ( as opposed to the older APTC) stuff is recycled Heinz beanz canz. Garbage.

Thank you for all of the further responses.

I have found the Axminster Craft AC250PT Planer Thicknesser at £849, which I think I would be willing to stretch to, but from SammyQ's reply I am wondering about the quality. For the price I would expect it to do a good job, but I can't help wondering why it is the same cost as the Axminster Trade AT150SP 150mm Surface Planer, which has 100mm less width and doesn't do thicknessing. It's mainly the 100mm extra width I'm interested in.

I also see that if I got this I would need to spend on a proper chip extractor, rather than the vacuum one I use with my table saw, which seems to be a couple of hundred pounds.

Does anyone have experience with Axminster Craft machines?

I have the Axi 250 PT since a year now, and it has performed flawlessly so far. Changed the cutter about a month ago, wasn't as complicated as many say (though I wish I had a spiral...)

If you can stretch a bit, I think this is a very good option. However, you need to get a proper chip collector, as this produces a lot of waste...

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Thanks Noho. I think I'll sort it out after Christmas now, but I'll probably try the Axminster. Any recommendations on a good chip extractor that matches?

I got the chip collector at the same time, it was the model on display. I think they revamped their range. If you check the data on the PT they give the Min air flow, and you can see what collector is suitable. 1,5 hp should be fine

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Axi 250 PT is what I'm hoping to buy mid May 2020

I would like to know what chip extractor you would use for this as I don't think my Record Power RSDE1 would cope ??
As with any of the machines we use in the workshop, IMO you need to overwhelm the extraction to get it to work effectively, the min air flow given by the manufacturers is just that a min in ideal conditions, my Kity PT used to bog down with a 600cfm extractor which is above the min recommended, I now use a 2000cfm extractor and it no longer has any problems getting rid of the chips.
Good Afternoon,

To follow up, I have been looking at my options and have broadened my search a bit. I have found some different planer/thicknessers, both used and new, but would like to know what I would be getting for my money vs the cheaper Axminster AC250PT.

My short list at the moment is:

AC250PT £849 New
Scheppach Plana 3.1c £1,170 New
Wadkin Planer Thicknesser 12" £1,100 Used - Allegedly immaculate condition

All prices include delivery.

So I know the Wadkin has an extra 2" thickness, but other than that, what's the advantage over a new item for the same price?

The Scheppach seems to have a more powerful motor than the Axminster, but other than that specifications seem to be very similar. The Scheppach also specifies induction motor, whereas I can't see this mentioned for the Axminster. Both have 1,090mm table length and 3 knife HSS Cutter blocks.

All input appreciated.

Is that Wadkin a single phase model? If so it’s worth every penny of that and more, if not that means that it’s a 415V three phase machine which potentially you can’t run from a home supply unless you’ve got three phase on tap or wish to invest more in a phase conversion setup.

Wadkin is built to last a lifetime.
Axminster and Scheppach are built to a very tight budget with subpar components.

No mention of the power supply on the Wadkin. Assuming it's three phase, what's involved in a phase conversion and is it pricey? I've only got a regular 240v supply to my garage.

You have a few options, you can change the motor out to a single phase model but thats not ideal for a few reasons. Often people buy a small VFD unit and use it with the 3 phase plugged in. I'm not sure how they work, just that you can expect to lose a good deal of the power of the motor if its being used this way. There are other options but they get more involved and expensive. The best bet is to buy a single phase thickness planer with an induction motor and stay well away from the offerings of Titan and Erbauer as they are just too loud and not fantastic machines.
For a similar price to a new Erbauer P/T you could find a decent used Electra Beckum, Kity, Startrite, Record, Axminster or Jet.
LoveMonkey":3i5l4ajt said:
what's involved in a phase conversion and is it pricey? I've only got a regular 240v supply to my garage.

I'm no expert on the subject of electricalmadoodits but the Wadkin BAOS planers have a reputation for being a right pain the in proverbial for a conversion, mainly down to the two motors inside the machine, one driving the cutterblock and one for the power feed which is two-speed which further complicates things.

It's probably not worth the hassle if you don't have three-phase on tap or a generator to run it. From what I've heard you've got to drop the motors of the machine out through the bottom of the base which makes motor-swapping very difficult without lifting gear.

A good machine to look at would be a 12" Sedgwick MB, which are quite common in single-phase, or a Felder AD731 which are also commonly single phase. Both can be occasionally bought for less than £1000.