Alot to like about this planer...

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Review by Brad_Nailor posted 01-17-2011 05:28 AM 14259 views 1 time favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Alot to like about this planer... No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Well, I have been wanting to get one of these since I first read about them, a ways back. I read all the reviews and really wanted this planer over the DeWalt two speed. I finally got the opportunity to buy one and I took delivery of it about a week after Christmas. I bought it from Highland Hardware..they had it on sale for $499.00, and $48.00 shipping. It came UPS, and it was really heavy. Hand trucked it down to my shop and opened it up. Packed very well, and didn’t seem damaged at all. I had finished a custom made rolling stand for it and I quickly mounted it. Here it is mounted to the cart, and set up ready to plane…

After mounting it I looked over the instructions and then checked the tables for level. Everything seemed in alignment. I then wiped it down with a rag and some mineral spirits. It had some oil on the tables and in a few other spots. I fired it up and did some test planing. It is really quiet…you don’t hear any planing sounds, just the motor whining. I was planing a piece of 4/4 cherry. The chip extraction was excellent, and the surface quality after planing was amazing…glass smooth, no knife marks..excellent! There was no noticeable snipe…I mean not even negligible, sandable amounts..NONE! Although, I was planing a relatively short piece of wood..I will have to wait and see how it does with longer pieces.
So I wrapped it up and moved it to the corner where it sat for about a week. I scrounged up some scraps and some drop that I bought at the local hardwood dealer and figured I would give the planer a decent workout, because most of what I had was F1S, and various thicknesses. I set the planer up and the first thing I noticed was everything was covered in oil again. So I broke out the mineral spirits and wiped it all down again and re waxed the tables. I started pushing some maple through it and I noticed that the chip extraction wasn’t as good as it was with the cherry. I was getting some chips out the front and the back, and piles under the infeed and outfeed tables. It was planing well, and effortlessly. I was taking 1/32” passes, with hard maple and it wasn’t even slowing down at all. I finished that up and it sat for a day while I ripped and glued up a cutting board. When the board was out of the clamps, I went to flatten it out with the planer, and I had to wipe the planer down AGAIN! Geez..i think they over lubricated this planer…. But it worked flawlessly to flatten the cutting board, with no snipe, and no tear out of some figured spots on the board.
So overall I would have to say I LOVE THIS PLANER! It gets high marks for packing, factory set up, quietness,
quality of planing, lack of snipe. The only thing I have to criticize is, the excessive amounts of lubricant that I am STILL wiping off it, and the decent, but not outstanding chip collection. I give the planer 5 stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of making the helical head jump in a portable planer.


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30 comments so far

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#1 posted 01-17-2011 05:41 AM

I gotta say I am a little leery of this brand from the reviews and after heavy salesman-ship while I was bandsaw shopping at a local cheapo tool store. I am leaning toward Grizzly again.
Keep us posted on how she runs, hopefully yours will continue to perform well

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

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#2 posted 01-17-2011 05:46 AM

I saw one of these in Woodcraft a few weeks ago. Looks exactly like my Ridgid TP1300.. Even the same dust catcher

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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#3 posted 01-17-2011 05:53 AM


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#4 posted 01-17-2011 05:56 AM

2-3 years ago I bought a new Steel City 13 inch planer, but it does not have the helical head. Not sure they made one back then. Hopefully the helical head makes all the difference because I am not happy with mine. The knives are disposable, not to be sharpened. If I had know this I might not have bought it. If you run a planer as much as I do, it can get costly…and I baby mine to keep the knives sharp as long as possible. It helps that the knives are double edged, but still costly. Helical heads are oh so nice.

I loved my planer too, at first. Then certain features started to not work, etc. I take great care of it and all my equipment, so I have to blame quality. Not in a hurry to buy Steel City again even though they have a great reputation. In fairness, I might just have gotten one of the not-so-great ones that got past quality control.

Thanks for the post. Glad to see you are enjoying it. It is a relief to have a planer in the shop. Have some fun with it!

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

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#5 posted 01-17-2011 05:56 AM

Nice looking planer.

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#6 posted 01-17-2011 01:51 PM

Congrats on your planer Brad. When I was looking this one was high up on my list but it was $100 more last spring.

Ended up getting a really super deal on the DW735 that was too good to pass up.

Planers and jointers are amazing tools, and so fun to watch the grain emerge as you mill the stock.

The helical head seems the way to go these days, and I am sure you will like it a lot!!

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#7 posted 01-18-2011 04:28 AM

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#8 posted 01-18-2011 04:33 AM

I’ll be curious to see how this holds up and works for you. My neighbor also just picked one of these up on sale from Highland as well. I’ll have to make sure to tell him about your oil experience.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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2545 posts in 5036 days

#9 posted 01-18-2011 06:37 AM

This planer is identical (except for the helical head) to the older Rigid two knife planers. The planer I was borrowing was this style, and it was over 5 years old and still functioned perfectly. It didn’t plane wood with as nice a finish as the helical head does, but it worked well with no snipe. I hope it holds up well..I p[payed alot of money for this thing!

There is no kitty litter in those containers. I re purposed the empty plastic containers to hold sand for counterweight for my pickup truck. That unfortunately, until I get a jointer to put in that where they live.


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#10 posted 01-18-2011 04:11 PM

I have had this planer for about a year now, and the best thing I can say about it is, I can’t wait until I get rid of it. The planer worked great for the first few months, then knife marks started to appear and snipe on one side. I worked with tech support, when they answered, rotated the knifes, it helped some but just moved the marks to different sections of the board. Snipe has never gone away after it showed up. I have spent hours adjusting the planer to specs – no luck.
My experience has taught me to stay away from inexpensive helical planers.

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1512 posts in 4543 days

#11 posted 01-18-2011 04:52 PM

Bud: I am no expert by a long shot, but I’m missing the connection between the planer having a helical cutting head and snipe. Snipe is usually due to movement of the board with respect to the cutting head, and this comes about by either movement of the board or movement of the head… so i dont really get that. my planer has a cutter head lock, which is supposed to help, but i can still get nasty snipe if my in/out feed tables are not set correctly. in fact, if the planing bed surface was flat and very long (like a jointer bed) a planer wouldnt need a cutter head lock at all.

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2545 posts in 5036 days

#12 posted 01-18-2011 05:05 PM

I am a little confused. A helical head cant leave “knife marks”. Steel City makes another planer that looks exactly like this but with conventional knives. This is a helical head planer with individual index-able cutter heads.You can get a cutter head with a mark in it, but if you rotate the cutter head that edge that has the imperfection in it doesn’t make contact with the board any longer. Also, you are getting snipe on an edge of the board? Do you mean one end? Usually snipe is associated with the ends of the boards..I have never seen a planer that snipes the edges of the board? I know with the standard two knife version of this planer, or the older Rigid that’s identical to this planer, you are going to get knife marks. Also, you have to be very careful when you flip or change the disposable knives because if you tighten the knife down unevenly, you can get non parallel planing..which might be what your experiencing, with snipe on an edge..just guessing..If you do have the helical cutter head..I did read where you have to be very careful when rotating or changing the cutters. If you don’t seat them properly, or there’s some sawdust under the cutter head it wont lock down flat and parallel, and that might lead to some uneven “knife marks” in the board. Steel City recommends you take each cutter head all the way out screw and all and blow any debris out with compressed air and wipe the cutter head before re installing it.


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#13 posted 01-18-2011 05:13 PM

I saw one of these being demonstrated at the Woodcraft in Towson MD last year. Even though it was in the “shop” in the back of the store the noise level was stupendous, with a lot of noise in the higher frequencies. One would need to get the very best hearing protection available.

I wish manufacturers were more concerned about noise level.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

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#14 posted 01-18-2011 05:13 PM

Have been considering one of these. Perhaps someone could do a video of planing a board, or let us know where a video could be seen. Very good post on the planer Brad. Wish I could get my shop to look as good as yours.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

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#15 posted 01-18-2011 05:34 PM

8iowa…Its noisy, but not much noisier than a shop vac, or any other portable planer when idling. Where this planer excels is when you put materiel through it it doesn’t get any louder. I was taking half turn (1/32”) passes on hard maple and I could hardly tell the difference between the idle noise or when it was planing…a huge difference from my conventional knife planer.


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