Yet another planer thicknesser question

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moosepig

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Hi all,

I'm in the market for a new PT and have narrowed my preference down to two basic options:

Record Power PT260 [ https://www.scosarg.com/record-power-pt ... hicknesser ]
Axminster AH160PT [ http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-ho ... ser-101142 ]

I'm very much a hobbyist. My shop is small and space is very tight, so whatever I get will need to be on wheels, with all 4 wheels steerable. My chip extractor has a flowrate of 850 m3/h. I have a PT at the moment if you can call it that; it's a cheap Clarke's jobber from Machine Mart which is made from chinesium, has warped beds, couldn't flatten a day-old pint of beer, and snipes hugely when thicknessing. I bought it to see whether I'd really get into woodworking - and it's done its job in that regard, but is no longer good enough.

Things I like about the PT260:
  • Price. Cheapest half-decent PT on the market by a long way.
  • Size. Can be stored with the outfeed table removed, saving space when not in use.
  • Reputation. Lots of good words said about these units on here and elsewhere.
  • Popularity. Plenty of reviews all over the place, clearly not made entirely of chinesium.
  • Proven design. It's been around a long time, and that suggests it's pretty good.
  • Loads of spares, blades etc available all over the place.
  • Wheel kit
  • 5 year guarantee. Just in case.

Things I like about the Axminster:
  • Cast iron planer beds
  • Thicknessing bed locks
  • Digital thickness gauge available
  • Reviews well, at least on the Axminster site!
  • Easily adjustable outfeed table
  • 3 year guarantee

They both run off 13A supplies, which I need.

The thing is - given this is likely to be the last PT I will ever buy - is the Axminster worth the extra £240-odd?

Concerns I have about the PT260 centre mainly about reports of problems getting everything set up every single time the outfeed table is removed and replaced. I don't want that sort of hassle, I get precious little time in the shop as it is. Do owners or ex-owners on here have this issue? Also, are the aluminium planer beds sturdy enough to stay true for a long time? If I buy the PT260, will I end up regretting not getting something better?

My concerns about the Axminster revolve around two things, quality control and weight. I read a scathing review on here of a trade rated Axminster PT not dissimilar from the AH106PT. Axminster's manual for this PT is extremely good, but some of the close-up photos in that very same manual show some dodgy finishing, with paint splashed on the sides of the planer beds and chipped elsewhere. Although their customer service is exemplary Axminster remain the only company I've ever sent anything back to in my life on quality grounds, and have had replacements sent out for broken items as well - it's as though they are getting their customers to do the quality control for them. Do others feel the same or am I drawing unfair conclusions? Do any of you own this model of PT and how would you rate it? Also it's heavy - 150kg - and my shop floor is 12mm ply over 12mm T&G on 4x2 joists 350mm apart. I'd need to make (or add to the price) a very sturdy wheeled base.

I'm aware that there are clones for both the models I have listed: Metabo for example do a HC260 (although there are some differences); Charnwood do the W583 (a few differences but essentially the same thing). I settled on Record Power because it's already equipped with HSS knives and can take TC; I settled on the Axminster because of free delivery, good customer service and good reviews.

I've thought about buying used and I've been watching Gumtree and Ebay for a long time - basically I'm fed up waiting for the right thing to come along in the right place at the right price. If I had a larger shop with a good floor I'd probably already have some old cast iron and this thread wouldn't exist :wink:

Grateful for any thoughts or advice.

Cheers,
Moosepig
 

MattRoberts

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Wow, that's a hell of a post! :D

It's a tough decision, as they're both good machines in my book. I'm not sure anyone's going to be able to particularly swing you one way or the other over anything major.

All I can say is if it were me, and I was buying new, I'd go for the axminster. It's a more robust machine, with a slightly better fence and more robust frame, and the unit stays as a single unit when switching from one mode to the other.

The pt260 (which is what I have Btw) is a great entry machine, but it's very bare bones. Minimal frame (particularly around the lower half), flimsy dust extraction shroud and flimsy fence.

That said, the difference is not huge between the two, so I think you'd be happy with either.
 

skipdiver

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I also have the Record and i would say it is just about as entry level as i would go. There are cheaper ones i wouldn't even consider. It was bought with infrequent use in mind as i was too busy to spend much time in the workshop. I now spend a lot more time in the workshop and if i was buying one again, i would spend a bit more for something more substantial. So out of those two, i would bite the bullet and go Axminster, although the Record is a decent machine for the money. Mine cost exactly the same price about 15 years ago as they are now, so given inflation, they are very competitive. Good guarantee with them also.
 

MikeJhn

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From what I can see there is no comparison between the two.
Record
Alloy beds
2 blade block

Axminster
Cast Iron Beds
3 blade block

Miles apart IMO, but either will require better chip extraction than your present set up.

Mike
 

dzj

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Chinesium. A funny word. When I was a kid we made fun of things made in Japan. :)
 

philipjdall

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I had the Elektra Beckum (they got bought out by metabo, so essentially the same thing) version of that model for about a year. It was pretty good, and I made some nice things with it, but it has it's shortcomings. Switching between thicknessing and planing is fiddly, and the machine can go out of true in the process. Same goes for the fence. The drive belt can slip on bigger pieces. It's also too light, and when jointing anything sizeable the machine isn't very sturdy. Weight is your friend here, so if you can get away with a slightly heavier machine then definitely go for it.

FWIW I upgraded to the jet pt260 but I think this may be beyond your budget. But for the record it is a superb machine that I have no plans of upgrading any time soon!

P
 

GrahamF

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I bought the Record to replace one of the *rap Clarke/Erbaur clones and it's much better. Never found a problem or need for adjustment when table replaced for planing. Only complaint is the Record jacking mobile base with 2 fixed and 2 swivel wobbly castors which may be OK for occasional move but not regularly as I have to do with cramped space. Chopped the legs down and mounted on 4 swivel castor base, solved the problem. Never seen or used the Axminster so can't compare.
 

NickN

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Just bought the Record Power PT260 today, with the CX2000 chip extractor, as a show deal - 92kg the box for just the PT260 weighs! Had a thorough demonstration of how to adjust everything etc. and it looked like a machine I'd be happy with, and for a good price.
 

memzey

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Well done and best of luck with it. I found my woodworking became much more productive and enjoyable when I bought a planer thicknesser as it allowed me to concentrate on the fun side of preparing wood rather than the boring mass removal of stock to a thickness. Oh and you should consider yourself lucky at 92kgs - mine weighs in at 380!
 

deema

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There always appears to be lots of old green Sedgwick P\T available on eBay which tend to be three phase. However the price that they seem to go for is approximately £500. The difference in price between what you’re looking at and these machines means that there is just about enough to convert then to single phase.
 
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