Laguna Tools - PX16 planer (Rating: 4)

I'm not big on using message boards but I was doing research for the new Laguna planer models and couldn't find anything so this is my review for others checking out the Laguna planer redesign.

First basic info: I am a one person custom furniture and cabinetry shop in LA. Been in business since 2013. 1400ish sqft shop.

I replaced my dewalt 735 bench top planer which I had upgraded with the Byrd Shelix cutter years ago. Great little machine with the upgrade but I've pushed it past its limits.

My options: I didn't want to order online, backorders are crazy, I'm way too busy to invest and have to wait months for a new machine. In stock options at my local supplier: Powermatic 15in 100 year anniversary edition, 16in laguna original model, laguna PX16

The PX16 sat at the high end price wise, powermatic in the middle, laguna 16in original on the low end.

What pushed me to the PX16 - I was already leaning laguna because it was 16in vs the 15in. I know from my jointer that every inch of width you can get is worth it. I was pulling the trigger on the original 16 laguna until I started digging into the specs on the PX16 and two numbers caught my eye - feed speed 28ft per minute and max cutting depth 1/4in. Other new models are 26ft per minute 3/16 max depth.

I run a business and as they say, time is money. I am always on the look out for ways to improve my efficiency without any sacrifice to quality. At my shop I timed my 735 with a 5ft x 5in rift white oak board. My 735 can only handle a 1/32 pass, more than that is just all struggle. It came out at 22.3 seconds to run the full board. At the store the PX16 is noticeably faster but in my shop with the same rift oak board I clocked it at 11.5 seconds with a 1/16in pass (there is a margin of error in my timing, I was just using my Iphone stopwatch, both machines timed at the fastest feed rate setting).

So to point out the obvious, the PX16 milled the board at about twice the speed taking twice the thickness. What would take me about 4 hours on the 735 will take me about 1 hour on the PX16…. that's huge.

At the store we did an 1/8in pass and I didn't notice any slow down. As mentioned earlier they claim it can do 1/4in passes which I would never do. But I figure if it could handle 1/4in… it should never have a problem with any stock at 1/16in.

I also like that you can see into the dust collection area and all you have to do is remove two screws on the dust shoot to open the top of the machine in case there's blockage or to check the cutters.

I am still wary of the infeed and outfeed rollers vs tables especially with 7 - 10ft lengths. We will see.

The machine is very quiet. The digital read out was easy to calibrate. The wood surface comes out smooth. I'm getting some snipe but this is the first day I've had it in my shop, also all the planers had snipe at the store. I also liked that Laguna places the dust collector hose attachment past the side of the table, powermatic has it near the middle of the table, sure you can add an attachment but when spending several thousand on a machine I want those details.

At the store they did need a tech to come in and do adjustments on the rollers before I took it. Initially it wasn't grabbing and pulling the wood in right away which meant the infeed roller was out of alignment. They said the outfeed is slightly off which may pull boards to the left or right but there are rails to prevent anything going too far to the side.

Overall I'm excited to do some milling on this thing. It's fast, it's quiet, surfaces are smooth, pricey but if it maintains it's specs I'll make that money back within a few projects. For a hobbyist I'm not sure if it's worth the extra cost just for the speed.

I have several hundred board feet of 8/4 ash and oak to mill for jobs over the next several weeks so I'll try to come back with an update after I've really had it doing work.