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Thread: Best Small Planer?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Best Small Planer?

    I know this is "one of those questions".... The regulars and old hands get weary of such things. I know because I've been there, on other topics on other forums. Still, I have to ask...

    Price is less an issue than compactness and quality. I want to mount it to a rolling wooden stand that I will make, and roll it under the workbench out of the way when not in use. I won't use it all that often. Not as much as the TS, chop saw, bandsaw, jointer. I would really like to get a high quality machine, something it's easy to set knives on, something with a company that backs things up and is available and has parts etc.

    Also considering one of the combination jointer/planers (although small, think small...not the big machines). I had a Hitachi years ago that worked pretty well (although it was noisy as hell).

    Any help would sure be appreciated...

    Mark

  2. #2
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    Jan 2010
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    DeWalt DW735 gets consistently top reviews in the category.

  3. #3
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    Neil is right on target with the DW735 and go ahead on put a Byrd head on it and forget setting knives and if you use it long enough they will pay for themselves.

    There are a couple of small J/Ps that you can get by with, though none can be called "quality" so I can't recommend them for the long haul.

    Saving space on the jointer and keeping quality is a little harder.

    You may want to spend some time and determine exactly how much space you will need for the lunchbox planer and a jointer, it may actually mean you can get a smaller combo. The Grizzly 10" J/P only takes up 27 x 46.

  4. #4
    The DW735 with a Byrd will run you $1k. Nice, but I question the value...

    I have the 735, and am not significantly impressed with it over my previous planer, a DW733. I see the DW733 and 734 on Craigslist often for ~$300. I think either of those models would meet your requirements.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Thanks guys. A couple of thoughts/comments, and perhaps I can continue to pick your brains?

    First, a stupid comment... I suppose I may just have to get over my dislike of yellow tools (and orange). Sort of kidding. It's really a dislike of Home Depot...

    I don't know what a "Byrd head" is...help?

    I had not noticed the Grizzly 10 inch combo machine. Looks pretty cool. But (a) it weighs 317 pounds and is one piece (one crate), I'm not sure I could even get it down into my basement; and (b) I don't love the look of that jointer...

    I will use a small jointer almost every day when I'm in the shop. It's something I will flip on and use constantly. Planer... only once in a while. I really need to be able to have a jointer out and available all the time. I'm torn between a benchtop like the little Griz, a 4 inch like an older Rockwell (used to have one, loved it), and a stationary closed base machine like the Griz 452 etc. But the planer... really, I just need something I can tuck away under a bench and roll out now and then.

    The ones I was looking at include the Griz 689, the Delta Shopmaster, the little Craftsman that looks to be a re-branded Delta, the Makita 2012, and I suppose the DeWalt and Ridgid machines. I like the compactness of the Delta... have no experience with the Griz... Is the DeWalt really significantly better than these?

  6. #6
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    +1 DW 735. HD blew them out a while ago, at 279 or so. I see them pop up on CL every once in a while. If you can get one for around that price, no need to think about it. Buy the infeed/outfeed tables. They only 50 bucks from Amazon. Since you did mention price is not a problem, as mentioned, get the shelix and you'll have a planer that will last a long long time. The turret stop is outstanding. Once set, you can reliably plane to 1/8, 1/4 and 3/4. On the digital caliper, it comes out .125/.500/.750 respectfully. You only need to set it at one of the stops. The rest follow automatically.

  7. #7
    A couple of months ago, I replaced my Delta 13 inch planer with a Steel City 13 planer. Could not be happier. The Steel City has a helical head and produces a very clean surface. Thus far, I have planned about 150BF of cherry, maple and oak with no issues at all and almost no tearout, even on the figured maple. I would highly recommend the unit.

  8. #8
    I know what you mean about disliking Home Depot - but the Dewalt planers are still better than anything else on the market (even if Home Depot sells them...).

    A Byrd head is a helical cutter head - instead of 2 or 3 long (13") straight knives, you have many dozens of small (~0.5"x0.5") cutters.

    The Makita looks nice, but is very expensive, and looks similar to a DW734.

  9. I found a General 130 14" planer. Well built, very solid for a small machine. Everything is adjustable, so you can dial it into perfection. Lunch boxes are not what i'd deem quality machinery, plastic, under powdered, whiny, and in my opinion produce mediocre results. Straight blade changes are about 30 minutes, which doesn't fit your criteria, but you can buy after market insert heads for the General.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maik Tobin View Post
    A couple of months ago, I replaced my Delta 13 inch planer with a Steel City 13 planer. Could not be happier. The Steel City has a helical head and produces a very clean surface. Thus far, I have planned about 150BF of cherry, maple and oak with no issues at all and almost no tearout, even on the figured maple. I would highly recommend the unit.

    The negative is the cutters are HSS and not carbide and the constant buzz around Steel City would scare me off.


    To the OP a Byrd head is a helical head with multiple indexed carbide cutter inserts instead of blades, when they are worn you turn them 90 degrees and being carbide they last a LONG time compared to blades. They also are excellent for highly figured woods reducing tearout. Search Byrd, spiral head and or helical head and you will find a TON of discussions. Normally, I am not big on putting a Byrd in a lunchbox since I assume most people will move up later BUT if you don't see the room anytime soon I would do it.

    As for the 10" Grizzly 300 pounds in nothing to get in a basement people here do worse all the time, ASSUMING the steps can take the weight plus two men. What don't you like about the jonter portion? If you have room for the 452 you have room for the 10" combo, put it on a mobile base and you are set. The combo is in two crates BUT the base doesn't shed that much weight but it does get it under 300#.

  11. #11
    + on the DW735. For occasional use, unless you use a lot of highly figured wood, the Byrd head might be overkill $$$ wise. Of course if money is no object ...

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    If you're looking for something just a bit more portable than the DW735 (which I have and love), FWW Best Tools of 2009 actually rated the Craftsman 21759 AND the DW735 as both "Best Overall"! However, since they were both $530 (this isn't the cheaper of the two Craftsman planers), I would definitely go with the DW735. They actually rated the Ryobi AP1301 as "Best Value". Timed blade changes went from 8 min to 13 min.

    They rated the Ridgid lunchbox highly, but said blade changes were fussy.

    I have my DW735 mounted on a rolling cart and like it, though I also take it off the cart and store it on a shelf sometimes. One nice thing on the DW is that the 735 has it's own "chip ejector blower" which is very strong, and will actually push the chips out with enough force to run them through a Thein baffle on top of a trash can--no DC required. Get the infeed/outfeed tables if you buy one.

    As I recall, you're into making dollhouses or birdhouses or something small I believe? If so, and you never need to joint anything long, you may be served OK with a small 4" jointer as you say... so long as you don't decide you want to make a bit of furniture next year! But for me, and it sounds like you also, the changeover time of a combo machine would be a real pain.
    Thread on "How do I pickup/move XXX Saw?" http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=597898

    Compilation of "Which Band Saw to buy?" threads http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...028#post692028

  13. #13
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    I've owned the Ridgid 13" from HD for years and no problems.
    Donny

  14. #14
    not at all impressed with the DW735. Not built to last IMO. Dewalt machines are generally built for occasional use and you will rarely see Dewalt in a professional shop. With the exception of dewalt routers specifically the 625 and the old dewalt RAS.
    Fullerbuilt

  15. #15
    BTW my hammer A331 doesnt take much more room than my old powermatic 6" jointer. plus you get the benefit of a 12" jointer which if you dont have one you may say you dont need one. Once you have one though it changes everything. I now wish I had a 16" jointer but wouldnt kick a 14 out of the shop. on sale with free shipping right now.
    Fullerbuilt

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