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Thread: Benchtop planer recommendation

  1. #1
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    Default Benchtop planer recommendation

    I'm sick and tired of using my handheld power planer for everything. I see a DeWalt 12" 15amp 20,000rpm 3-knife machine for $400. WEN 2-knife for $250. A Delta 2-knife for $320.
    There's also a DeWalt with 2 speeds for $600.
    I don't want to spend a fortune because I don't use it that often but I don't want to throw good money away on a piece of junk.
    Any experience out there with these machines? Any other recommendations not more then $400?
    Thanks!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I'm sick and tired of using my handheld power planer for everything. I see a DeWalt 12" 15amp 20,000rpm 3-knife machine for $400. WEN 2-knife for $250. A Delta 2-knife for $320.
    There's also a DeWalt with 2 speeds for $600.
    I don't want to spend a fortune because I don't use it that often but I don't want to throw good money away on a piece of junk.
    Any experience out there with these machines? Any other recommendations not more then $400?
    Thanks!
    I'd be comfortable with the DeWalts. Almost as good as a small vintage planer. I prefer the 2-speed, for versatility... but it's not critical. The Delta is a step down. The Wen... I have no experience with, but would expect it to be a bad idea.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have the DeWalt, 3 knife single speed. It replaced my old Delta last year. I've only had it about a year and have not had to turn the knives over or swap them out yet. I remember that was kind of a PITA with the old Delta. So far, I've been happy with the DeWalt - seems like a quality machine. 2 speed wasn't important to me.
    It feeds better, snipes less and I can go significantly thinner (< 1/8" as opposed to 1/4") before it shreds the stock without using a backer. That is useful for making laminations.

    Travis.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have the same DeWalt as Travis. Nice piece of machinery it has held up pretty well in my little amateur shop. I find uses for it, like rough cutting staves for a birdsmouth spar on the tablesaw and working them down to their finished thickness with the planer.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuri View Post
    I have the DeWalt, 3 knife single speed. It replaced my old Delta last year. I've only had it about a year and have not had to turn the knives over or swap them out yet. I remember that was kind of a PITA with the old Delta. So far, I've been happy with the DeWalt - seems like a quality machine. 2 speed wasn't important to me.
    It feeds better, snipes less and I can go significantly thinner (< 1/8" as opposed to 1/4") before it shreds the stock without using a backer. That is useful for making laminations.

    Travis.
    Plus another for this Dewalt planer
    The carriage lock really helps with snipe and the feed tables work well.I haven't changed knives yet but the manual claims it's easily done, light cuts make it easier on the motor.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have a planer similar to the WEN – Chinese – it cost about $150, about 10 years ago. I have used it a LOT on both softwoods and hardwoods (like hard maple, walnut, mahogany, oak) and I have to say it has performed pretty well. It's only two-knife at 16000 cuts per min. but it produces a reasonable finish. I have 3 sets of blades and I use it enough so that they need changing and resharpening several times times a year. Changing the blades is a PITA – but not impossible. It's noisy and the on-off switch falls apart at regular intervals. It does a decent job and seems to put up with a fair bit of abuse. If/when it goes up in smoke, I'll probably replace it with a better known make, but at the time it was all I could afford. Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I had the Dewalt for 8 years, loved it. Only changed knives once, maybe twice. It was easy, and I didn't realize the 1st time they are double sided. Get the extension table to help control snipe.
    I sold it with the rest of my shop when we moved last year and bought a tool nuts shop, with a Grizzly 15". It's nice having the extra inches but it requires more maintenance, and is not a bench top for sure!
    Steve B
    TraditionalSmallCraft.com
    Rivus 16' Melonseed

    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Makita.
    Easy to change blades. Quiet (relatively speaking). I've used mine in my shop for boat and furniture stuff and on jobsites for 11 years now. Absolutely great tool.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I admit I don't know how the knives are adjusted on these new machines, but this gadget from Rockler was a lifesaver in accurately adjusting the knives on my old Craftsman jointer.

    http://www.rockler.com/rockler-magnetic-jointer-jig

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have a Makita as well, and I like it a lot. A bit more than $400 though. Mine was about $550.
    "near it, a small whale-boat, painted red and blue, the delight of the king's old age."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have the Delta 2 knife, had it for about 17 years, never had a problem with it ever, like you I only wanted it for occasional use and it's worked out just fine, I'm still on the first set of blades but recently bought a second set just in case, it's had a lot more use lately on the mini tug but is still going strong.

    Phill

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I admit I don't know how the knives are adjusted on these new machines, but this gadget from Rockler was a lifesaver in accurately adjusting the knives on my old Craftsman jointer. http://www.rockler.com/rockler-magnetic-jointer-jig
    The blades on the DeWalt machines have a machined hole/slot that matches an indexing pin on the rotating blade mount. There is no blade depth adjustment possible -- the blade height is set by the indexing pin. Blade replacement is quite easy with this system, and no gadgets are needed. There are other newer machines with similar systems -- don't know which, however.

    The second speed on the DeWalt 735 allows many more cuts per inch, resulting in a much smoother finished surface, and also minimizes, and even eliminates, tear out on figured woods.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Nolan View Post
    The blades on the DeWalt machines have a machined hole/slot that matches an indexing pin on the rotating blade mount. There is no blade depth adjustment possible -- the blade height is set by the indexing pin. Blade replacement is quite easy with this system, and no gadgets are needed. There are other newer machines with similar systems -- don't know which, however.

    The second speed on the DeWalt 735 allows many more cuts per inch, resulting in a much smoother finished surface, and also minimizes, and even eliminates, tear out on figured woods.

    Good to know.

    Also, I can see that it takes a standard thickness wrench to swap the knives. The tools needed are provided and stored on the machine from the factory.




    My old Delta (which was a great little planer and served me well for about 15 years) used a non standard thin wrench and that was easy to lose. It's these little details though that are appreciated. I don't know if the newer Delta's have these conveniences built in or not. I own a few tools by and have been happy with Delta - mostly, but when it came time to replace the portable planer, the DeWalt seemed to get the better reviews. So, that is what I went with.

    Travis.

  14. #14
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    Default Benchtop planer recommendation

    Dewalt DW735 rocks. Most excellent planer/thicknesser. Disposable two-sided blades run about $50/set. You can buy better ones from Infinity cutting tools, including carbide blades (significantly more expensive, though.) Blade change is dead simple. The hex wrench needed is built into the planer. Whole process takes...15 minutes? Even if you haven't done it before.

    However...

    It's about as loud as an F-16 at full throttle. With afterburners. I might be exaggerating...just a little.

    Has a squirrel cage blower built into that exhausts the chips. The blower is powerful enough that it will throw the chips about 30 feet.

    Unless you're out in the garden with the thicknesser and are looking to mulch the garden, you'll want to build Phil Thein's cyclone baffle to sit on top of a barrel and collect the chips. 90 percent of a cyclonic dust collector at a fraction of the cost.

    http://www.jpthien.com/cy.htm
    http://www.jpthien.com/smf/index.php?board=1.0

    More on the Thein baffle at Sawmill Creek woodworking forum.
    Last edited by Nicholas Carey; 03-18-2017 at 08:05 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have an old Delta 22-560. I think I bought it in 1999. Occasional use only. It has given me no trouble and does a nice job. Snipe is no concern because of the cutterhead adjustment lock. It seems that most of the newer crop of portable planers have this feature. My brother in law had a Dewalt and seemed to like it a lot.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    i have the Dewalt 735(13"/2-speed) w/ the folding tables on the Dewalt stand

    https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW735-.../dp/B0000CCXU8

    i really enjoy the results i get w/ it

    sure makes playing in the shop a whole lot more fun

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Mcconkey View Post
    Makita.
    Easy to change blades. Quiet (relatively speaking). I've used mine in my shop for boat and furniture stuff and on jobsites for 11 years now. Absolutely great tool.
    I'll second that. I can't wait to upgrade to a 15" planer now that my shop is growing, but if time is not of the essence a 12" is fine.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    YES, THE DEWALT IS LOUD. Sorry. I have the 2-blade, and it's just fine for as much as I use it. I did get a digital scale for it recently, but haven't installed.

    Chip

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    In my tiny home shop I have an Inca combination jointer surface planer. This machine holds three disposable, two sided, blades. It has a 42 X 16" bed and is dead nuts smooth and quiet. I bought this machine second hand for less than 400 dollars. New it would be around $1400.00. It is the most quiet jointer-planer I have ever owned and the dust collection ports work very well. The snag is that these Swiss machines are no longer imported to the US. They do show up on Ebay from time to time but, they are so much in demand that they don't last long.
    Jay

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have the Delta 22-580 planer. I have no specific complaint, but I'd be surprised if there aren't better options.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    3 blades is the ticket for a smooth finish
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I also have the three blade, two speed DW375 planer with in/outfeed tables. Built a stand for it with a cabinet to hold additional tools. One comment not mentioned - the beast weighs 92 lbs alone which is a heck of a "benchtop" planer if you plan on moving it up on a bench for a job then putting away for space. The other DeWalt is lighter and better suited for that.
    Last edited by schoonerjay; 03-24-2017 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Specified planer

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by schoonerjay View Post
    I also have the three blade, two speed DW375 planer with in/outfeed tables. Built a stand for it with a cabinet to hold additional tools. One comment not mentioned - the beast weighs 92 lbs alone which is a heck of a "benchtop" planer if you plan on moving it up on a bench for a job then putting away for space. The other DeWalt is lighter and better suited for that.
    So... you're saying you have to put your coffee down first? <G>

    Yes, some of the new ones are getting very close to the line that separates 'benchtop/portable/lunchbox' from 'stationary'.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Box, and if I recall correctly, the planer itself specify two persons should move it! I read that afterwards. Also glossed over those instructions when putting together the Laguna 14 Twelve myself - 295 lbs and I'm amazed I didn't throw out my back.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    The "other" DeWalt, the 12-1/2" 734, weighs 80something pounds itself. At 70 years old, I have to put down my coffee AND spit on my palms to lift it, so I too built a rolling stand for mine. It's an excellent machine, and although my philosophy is generally to bite the bullet and pay for the one you're not going to regret, in five years I haven't yet wished for the fancier one. Really nice finish, no snipe atall, I'd recommend it. It IS loud.

    Best,
    Chris
    "Where we would wish to reform we must not reproach." -Thomas Paine

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I'll throw in another suggestion - and, yes, I realize this is likely to be dismissed as untested, naive, and ill-considered.

    The Cutech line of planers is a viable option. They offer straight-knife and spiral cutter-head planers at reasonable price. Their economy 13" spiral cutter-head model is priced at $399 and it weighs 60 lbs. https://www.cutechtool.com/13-Spiral.../40100h-ct.htm

    I bought the deluxe 13" Spiral Cutter-head planer ($499, weighs 66lbs) a bit over a year ago and have been pleased with the product and the customer service. https://www.cutechtool.com/13-Planer.../40600h-ct.htm

    Just another option to look at.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by BobW View Post
    I'll throw in another suggestion - and, yes, I realize this is likely to be dismissed as untested, naive, and ill-considered.

    The Cutech line of planers is a viable option. They offer straight-knife and spiral cutter-head planers at reasonable price. Their economy 13" spiral cutter-head model is priced at $399 and it weighs 60 lbs. https://www.cutechtool.com/13-Spiral.../40100h-ct.htm

    I bought the deluxe 13" Spiral Cutter-head planer ($499, weighs 66lbs) a bit over a year ago and have been pleased with the product and the customer service. https://www.cutechtool.com/13-Planer.../40600h-ct.htm

    Just another option to look at.
    Those off-brand tools can be a real bargain. Sometimes.

    Problem is: quality control.

    A lot of those tools imported and branded by smaller outfits purchase their castings, controls, knives, gears, plastic parts, etc. from the very same suppliers that better known brands do. But I've mentioned the issue of QC before. The smaller importers aren't large enough to support in-house/in-country, competent, QC staff. So they go without. Or they hire someone on a contract basis, or share someone with other importers. And those sorts of QC efforts are susceptible to corruption and/or incompetence. So... it's luck of the draw.

    Bigger outfits - like DeWalt, PorterCable, Grizzly, Skil, Rigid, etc. - do have their own QC staff. It's more expensive to do so, but the results are much more consistent. And the prices higher.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Hi Rich,
    a heads up. I picked up a flyer at Home Depot tonight and they've just dropped the price on their 13" 3 blade planer.
    Was $599 now $449. That's $150 or just over 25%. That's up here but they may have done the same where you are. Worth a google or a phone call.

    Their planer gets decent reviews.
    basil

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by goodbasil View Post
    Hi Rich,
    a heads up. I picked up a flyer at Home Depot tonight and they've just dropped the price on their 13" 3 blade planer.
    Was $599 now $449. That's $150 or just over 25%. That's up here but they may have done the same where you are. Worth a google or a phone call.

    Their planer gets decent reviews.
    I'll check it out tomorrow.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Benchtop planer recommendation

    I have a Makita. Works fine, some snipe issues that are manageable. Cost has gone up enough not sure it's what I'd buy know. Rollers are $$$ to replace.

    CUtech - one of the Chinese houses is selling a spiral cutting head benchtop planer for cheap , as shown above. That's the solution for clean cutting.

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