Hammer - A3 31 (Rating: 4)

So my brand new Hammer A3 31 jointer/planer combo machine was delivered yesterday. I would like to thank everyone that has posted info on their machine here on the forum. A large part of the reason I bought this machine sight unseen was the great reviews. I have to say the reviews were correct this is a great machine. I put it together, took about 3 hrs, including the carrymaster casters. (Again thanks for the great idea, I love them.) This is a one time buy, it is heavy, well made,and the fit and finish are perfect. I got a couple of extras as advised, the small extension table and the digital handwheel for the planer table. I am very happy with both of them. I am going to put the Hammer through its paces over the next month or so, I have several projects that have just been waiting for it to get here.

That is the good, now for the bad. I am so disapointed with the service. Here is why, while I was still considering what to buy, the salesman for Felder was right there for every question by phone or email. The problem started when I said send me the paperwork for purchase. He sent it that day, while on the phone I asked him to confirm when he got the paperwork back. (I was out of town and not at my home computer I wanted to be sure he got it.) He said he was going to be gone all day, but he cc'ed the lady in the office who would take care of the paperwork to let me know. (He also told me the week that it was shipped he would call me to go over the unpacking of the machine. Still haven't got that call.) Two days later no answer to my email, I called his cell phone no answer, so I left a message. Next morning I called again, that afternoon he gets back with me. Yes, he got the paperwork. I was good to go. The machine was not due to reach the US for another couple of weeks, so I sat and waited. While I thought about it, I sent an email to him asking what the cost for the long extension table was and an extra set of knives. I am still waiting for a reply, that was nearly four weeks ago. I kept looking at the forums here for advice on the set up and actual operation. Someone had posted that they had Felder drill the holes for the caster prior to it being sent. I liked the idea so I called him again, and left a message. That was two weeks ago. As of today he has only returned one call, the one to let me know that the paperwork was good. So much for service after the sell.

In addition the manuals leave a lot to be desired. By my nature I am a firm believer in reading the manual. I read all three of them at least twice.(Downloaded them from the Felder website.) Well there are mutiple errors in all three. The biggest has to be on the one for setup. The manual starts out well but it jumps from page 21 to page 134. Guess what part is missing Chapter 11 "Assembly". I downloaded it twice and checked it once online, it simply skips the assembly part. Even the instructions that came with the machine for some of the table assembly the drawing is incorrect in the way the bushings go on. On a scale of 1 to 10 these manuals are a 3, just so sad.

One more thing, in passing the lady I dealt with for the purchase of the machine happended to mention in passing that I could use my credit card since the purchase was under $5,000. (That was what I was using.) However, this had never been told to me. Since I had already put my nonrefundable deposit down,
20%, it would have been nice to know this up front. They knew that I was using a credit card, since the paperwork I sent clearly stated the full purchase price had ok'ed. What if the total purchase was more than $5,000 and I had planned to use my credit card? I would like to think they would have told me up front if I couldn't have used it, but now I have my doubts.

So for now I have my machine (love it), I will post a complete review in the next month or so. Thanks for reading.