Hammer A3-31 - Initial Review Has Been Updated

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Review by Kopion posted 11-11-2014 01:54 AM 10698 views 1 time favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hammer A3-31 - Initial Review Has Been Updated No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Please see the updated review, here:

View Kopion's profile


17 posts in 2298 days

46 comments so far

View Andre's profile


4265 posts in 2810 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 03:03 AM

I picked up a 40 + year old Hitachi(F1000a)that has better tolerance than that after buying a Laguna Helical Head Planner which is now my rough Milling machine! Oh yeah paid $200, but another $300 for new blades. Looked at some of that high price stuff but decided to stay on my Beer Budget and spend the money on wood instead. LOL!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View rhett121's profile


15 posts in 2317 days

#2 posted 11-11-2014 03:36 AM

WOW! And to think I was about to buy one myself, I guess I’m going to have a closer look at the JET models instead, I have several other JET tools anyway and nobody from that company has ever tried to insult me for it… yet.

I’m really sorry to hear about your experience with them, it looked like such a neat tool but I will not stand for poor customer service no matter the price.

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4008 days

#3 posted 11-11-2014 03:42 AM

I am so sorry to hear you’re having this problem with this manufacturer. I have never really heard anything bad about that Mother Day has pretty good machines but I definitely will be looking at them now. F start looking for something else for a larger jointer

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View chem's profile


44 posts in 2609 days

#4 posted 11-11-2014 04:19 AM

I have a Hammer C3 31 combo machine which essentially has an A3 31 as a component. I have been quite pleased with the machine (using it a bit more before I produce a review). My experience with customer service was quite good from helping with wiring it up to choosing accessories and troubleshooting things that were all my fault in the end. I also was treated with great care during the purchase process as they realized this was quite an outlay for a hobbyist. The jointer planar side on the combos has been great and a 12 inch jointer with a helical head has been a life changing experience.

-- chemist by day, woodworker time permitting

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2341 days

#5 posted 11-11-2014 08:05 AM

I watched the video. Is it off by .007? My crappy jet 6” is off by about .008 and given it was a 500 dollar jointer I can live with it. I think the casting just sagged a bit. I still get decent results with it. But if I paid ten times as much I’d be really pissed. Give them an ultimatum. Either replace the table(s) or take the darned thing back. If there is a machinist in your neck of the woods maybe you can get the tables reground. But it would void the warranty I bet and … 4500 dollar machines shouldn’t need to be reground.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View sublimolt's profile


5 posts in 2297 days

#6 posted 11-11-2014 08:59 AM

That sounded like a lot of work

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2429 days

#7 posted 11-11-2014 01:50 PM

I really like your review and your methods. You followed protocol, gave them time to respond accordingly, and you have every right to publicize your disappointment.

I have a $500 10” contractors table saw that has a top within 0.001” all the way across its MUCH larger surface. Your table should never of gotten past quality control. And based on their attitude, I can now see how. With today’s machining tools, there is no excuse for such a lack of precision.

I would return it, if you can, if that is your wish.

-- Brad, Texas,

View SpartyOn's profile


69 posts in 3151 days

#8 posted 11-11-2014 02:39 PM

Good objective review – fair and balanced. Like Rhett121, I too was looking at this machine with my main hesitation being cost. I know combo machines can be a bit of a pain due to having to make changeovers, but I like the idea of saving some space in my small shop. I’m going to have to reevaluate my options.

Thanks for taking the time to review.

View Twodeuce's profile


21 posts in 2863 days

#9 posted 11-11-2014 02:44 PM

I have heard similar things. Unfortunate you were treated that way for such an expensive machine.

View Kopion's profile


17 posts in 2298 days

#10 posted 11-11-2014 03:54 PM

I watched the video. Is it off by .007?

.007 on the outfeed, and between .008 and .009 on the infeed. I initially made the Video exclusively to send to Felder/Hammer so they knew I was using appropriate methods to measure (an actual precision straight edge instead of a level or something else). A little off topic, but the Woodpecker’s straight edge is better than their guaranteed tolerances. I’ve always been impressed with Woodpecker’s products. I just wish they made some of them out of stainless steel. Aluminum doesn’t behave well when it is dropped on a concrete floor. I have a formerlry-precision square that is a testament to that.

View Ottacat's profile


555 posts in 2856 days

#11 posted 11-11-2014 04:27 PM

Good review, I agree with other sentiments that it was fair and balanced. I considered buying this machine when I was setting up my shop but I simply felt it was too expensive for a hobbyist like myself. One interesting point is when I contacted Hammer here in Canada to get the quote, the sales rep literally hounded me for the couple of weeks I spent deciding. I guess they prefer to spend their money on sales staff instead of service staff.

I do truly wish SawStop would branch into other tools like this not so much for the potential ‘safety feature’ but rather for the fact that their saws are amazingly engineered and their support is first rate. I too have a PCS and I had a couple of issues (my fault during setup), however their customer service was absolutely top notch. They didn’t degrade me for buying the PCS instead of the industrial model.

View Mario's profile


204 posts in 4401 days

#12 posted 11-11-2014 04:43 PM

I own an A3-31 myself and understand what you are going through: customer service, spare parts and technical advice basically suck. I had to figure out all the posible adjustments by myself, wait endleslly for replacement parts and the only feedback from the company was the same: “pay us to have a service tech check your machine on site” and of course got calls from their sales rep trying to sell me their newest versión with hélix cutter and maybe some other machine. Guess what? this is about the only Felder machine that will be in my shop, my savings will go to Powermatic, no complaints whatsoever with them. The A3-31 has a superb design but it´s the lack of customer support from the company that brings it down.

View Dutchy's profile


3986 posts in 3173 days

#13 posted 11-11-2014 06:41 PM

Hello Kopion,

You wrote:

I like(d) the fact that it was made somewhere other than China.

Are you sure?


View Kopion's profile


17 posts in 2298 days

#14 posted 11-11-2014 08:22 PM

Hello Kopion,

You wrote:

I like(d) the fact that it was made somewhere other than China.

Are you sure?

- Dutchy

I’m darn sure. Even if the quality of Chinese products was equal, I’d still endeavor to not purchase products from a country with such a poor rights record. I doubt that needs any substantiation. Not that my own experience is anywhere near the level of atrocities that they still continue to commit, but I was in Beijing this year (on an educational trip), and virtually all of us had our hotel “safes” broken into and searched while we weren’t there. I’m not going to say how we know, but we know. And, for what it’s worth, I’m not an “activist” or anything either. I know I’m way off topic, here, but did you know that the Univeristy of Notre Dame doesn’t permit its licensees to manufacturer anything in China? (I’m not Catholic, either, but I greatly respect ND’s position here. If they find anything that was made in China, they give it to their priests or charities, and it’s a breach of contract with the manufacturers). O.k. So, yeah, I’d still buy European.

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 4173 days

#15 posted 11-12-2014 01:31 AM

I was looking at purchasing one of these about five years ago, I ended up purchasing a Delta 8” jointer and Delta 15” planer… not 100% happy with those two products either but thats another story. I actually had a Hammer sales rep call me last week asking me to purchase the product… 5 years ago I was looking at this! even when you don’t buy from them they are a nuisance. They are like a bad ex that doesn’t know its over.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

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