Oliver Machinery - 4420 16 inch planer with Helical Head (Rating: 5)

Hello Fellow Lumberjocks,
I am writing to review the Oliver 4420 16" 5hp thickness planer. This is going to be a two part review. I just received the machine today. So this part of the review will be about my initial impression, setting the machine up, packaging, and Oliver customer service. I will follow up with an update after a few months when I have run several hundred board feet of lumber through the machine.
I will start off by saying I did a ton of research before I made this purchase. I looked at several different machines including Laguna, Woodmaster, Grizzly, Jet, Powermatic, Steelex, Shopfox, Rikon, and Oliver. After several sleepless nights and hours of online research I chose the Oliver.
It seemed that although most 4 post planers were very similar ( made in the same factory in Taiwan) the Oliver went the extra mile on what matters. What sold me was
1. Superior magnetic on/off switch.
2. 5hp motor compared to three on most other models
3. Helixcal cutter with Germain made carbide cutters
4. Built in mobile base
5. Oliver's reputation of high quality machines

So I ordered my Oliver from Elite Metal Tools. After calling several different dealers they gave me the best price. They guys there were great and I would recommend them to anyone looking for large metal or woodworking Tools. Although the machine was the same price just about everywhere ($3,199) Elite Metal Tools charged nothing for shipping. Because it was being freight shipped from Oliver's warehouse in Kent Washington to Connecticut some places wanted to charge me up to $600. Plus $150 for residential and lift gate service. Elite Metal Tools said you are buying the machine and not shipping so they covered everything including the $150 fee. No other company would even consider that.
It took 7 days to get to my house from Washington. When it was delivered the driver brought it up my whole driveway and into my shop which was a god send. Upon inspection everything seemed to be intact. The planer is just short of 700 pounds. And I was very fearful of it getting damaged while in transit. But Oliver goes above and beyond when crating this machine. It took me almost half an hour just to get it uncrated. I have received heavy machinery before and I can say hands down that this was packaged twice as bettter as anything else. Besides the machine actually falling over I'm not sure it would even be possible to get damaged. I know it doesn't seem that important but let me tell you it's super frustrating to be waiting a week for something then have it finally arrive only for you to reject delivery. Then have to spend a good part of your day on the phone dealing with different people trying to get another machine back to your house. Or worse yet accept the delivery find out it's damaged then have to recrate the machine or try and get replacement parts shipped to you.
Anyway after I finally got all the crating and blocking off the machine I had the task of getting it off the pallets. The actual machine was on a smaller pallet that was actual on top of a bigger pallet. Lucky Oliver has four lifting post that slide out. With the help of the lifting posts I slid the pallet and machine off the larger pallet and then tilt the machine itself off the smaller pallet. Having two people would have made throng much easier but I got it done. Once the machine was on the ground the built in mobile base made it easy to roll it wherever I wanted. The machine was fully assembled except for the dust hood, infeed/outfeed tables, the magnetic switch, and the handle for raising and lowering the table.
I will say I was very disappointed with the instructions. There basically wasn't any. I guess I got spoiled with my saw stop table saw. Anyone who owns a saw stop knows what I am talking about. And although the assembly was straightforward it would have been nice to have a nice set of instructions to make things go faster. The infeed tables were a pain to put on. Once agian it would have been much easier with two people. But the biggest pain was that there was near impossible to get a wrench on the bolt heads once they were in place. The same can be said was the dust hood. The return bars on top of the machine made it difficult to fasten the dust hood on. Minor things but still kind of a pain. My biggest disappointment was that no pig tail or whip came with the machine. Most machines I have purchased have a six foot cord coming out of the junction box and you put on the plug of your choice. But this had nothing. Not a big deal but now I had to go out and get a 12/2 cord. In my opinion Oliver could have kept the two screw drivers and the two wrenches they sent with the machine and added the power cord. Or better yet for $3,200 it should of had both. But once I bolted on the magnetic switch and put on the handle to raise and lower the machine and wires up the junction box and plug it was ready to go. Overall I am very satisfied so far with the machine. I was impressed with the checklist of test done on the machine that Oliver sent. The fit and finish is top notch. The outfeed tables and super heaven duty. The magnetic switch looks top of the line. A started it up and ran a couple of boards through and they came out like glass. But I did not have time to check thickness and Such. I haven't even turned on the digital read out. I will get in to all the meat and potatoes in my next post. I just wanted to educate people on my experience with Oliver and my initial impression. In my hours of research I found little data on any of the new Oliver machinery which was the only reason I was some what hesitatant to purchase this machine. So this is a review of them as much as it is the machine. So far I am very pleased. I have called there customer service a couple of times and the techs were very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. Can't wait to put the machine to work and let you guys know how it goes. Any questions please feel free to ask.