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Jointer/planer or separate machines

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Forum topic by jjames posted 03-13-2016 01:38 AM 2077 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jjames

10 posts in 1814 days


03-13-2016 01:38 AM

Hello all, first post here.
I have seen some posts on this topic but I have a more specific question i want to throw out there. I am a hobbyist woodworker, still learning a lot. I have narrowed a purchase decision down to a couple of specific tools. They are:

A Hammer A3-31

or

A pair of Grizzly machines
GO453ZW planer
GO490XW jointer (maybe a GO495X)

My question is not really around the differences between the combo machine versus separate machines. Although I welcome thoughts on that. It is more around the quality of these tools and the performance, reliability and longevity I can expect. I do not like fiddling with tools. I appreciate using top quality tools. The Grizzly machines would save me some serious money, about $1,300. But if the Hammer unit has a measurable difference in the areas i mentioned, its worth it to me. I have heard nothing but good about the A31. And mostly good (by a high margin) but with some spotty bad posts on Grizzly in general.

I stared off making bad decisions when I first started buying tools. Do not want to go down that road again. But also do not want to over spend just because I can.

Any thoughts from all you experienced folks would be appreciated. thanks in advance


9 replies so far

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runswithscissors

3128 posts in 3033 days


#1 posted 03-13-2016 02:55 AM

There is a Powermatic/Jet outlet south of Seattle that sells “scratch & dent” machines via Craigslist. The discounts are significant. I bought the Jet 12” combo machine with the helical head, and paid about $1800 for it. I had to haul it myself (about a 2 hour drive), because they don’t ship.

The advantage of the Jet is that switching between functions is about as quick and easy as you could make it. The jointer tilts up as a unit, and the fence doesn’t have to be removed. The only way it would be quicker to change over would be to have the dust hood redesigned so that it wouldn’t run into the planer table when you go from planing to jointing. Not sure how that could be done, but I’m thinking about it.

I love the helical head, and would be sad to have to go back to straight knives. The jointer bed is almost 56 inches long, whereas the Hammer’ is only 50 (which may be okay in a really small shop). I’m planning on making removable table extensions for it. The fence is aluminum, but it seems plenty sturdy and rigid, and I have no complaints. It does use the Euro style blade guard, like the Hammer, but I’d rather have the pork chop style.

It is possible to overload the machine by taking too deep a bite when planing. This sometimes happens to me when I’m trying to plane a board of uneven thickness (after jointing). The claimed horses are only 3, which is less than both Grizzly and Hammer. There is a sort of clutch (basically an idler pulley on a lever) that makes the drive rollers go that you have to remember to engage when planing (i’ve forgotten a couple of times). I try to remember to disengage it when jointing, but it probably doesn’t matter that much.

All in all I really like the machine. Though 12” is a narrow planer by today’s standards, on the other hand, a 12” jointer is truly a luxury.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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MJCD

608 posts in 3380 days


#2 posted 03-13-2016 02:59 AM

This is a bit of apples-to-oranges; in the sense that Hammer is well-past the DIY quality; whereas Grizzly not so much – IMHO. Don’t misinterpret the Grizzly comment – many, many a fine woodworker on Lumberjocks has completed an equally-impressive number of fine projects with their equipment.

I have the Hammer N4400 bandsaw, and it will handle anything and everything I throw at it. Also, I’ve seen the A3-31 in action, and it is quite capable – it is a buy-once piece of machinery.

Having said this, Felder can be tough to deal with – they have a very Teutonic (German/Austrian) approach to Customer Service, and their accessories, if you need them, are expensive. But you get the quality and consistency that flows into your woodworking.

I prefer separate machines: at some level, I’d have the carbide-insert cutters for Planers and straight (non-helical) cutters for Jointers – for all that I’ve read, straight cutters still provide a smoother finish than the segmented carbide. Also, when I’m on a project, I don’t want to spend time converting machines, one-to-another.

One thought is to get your feet wet with the Grizzly machines. Then, as your experience matures, and your projects become for complex (more demanding – tolerances and machining requirements (2” or 3” Hard Maple, Jatoba, ...)), you can sell the Grizzly machines, and see what your equipment Bucket List looks like. For me, I’m at the end of my 6” Powermatic Jointer and Delta Cabinet Saw; and looking for the Powermatic 3000 table saw and Martin Jointer and Planer – my current woodworking begs for different tools now.

Ask Felder to make you an offer – you can always walk away … or not.

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JBrow

1368 posts in 1928 days


#3 posted 03-13-2016 03:01 AM

jjames,

With the budget you have, I suspect that either way you go will serve you well. First as a hobbyist, there will not be much stress put on the machines. Second, based on the Grizzly bandsaw I bought, it appears that Grizzly puts the extra money they charge for their higher end machines into the machines. I suspect the two Grizzly machines on your list would be fine, although I do not have first-hand knowledge of either. However, I think the jointer may not be available at this time.

Personally I like separate machines that perform only one function. That way the machine is ready whenever I need to mill some stock. Nonetheless I looked at the Hammer hoping I could save some space by upgrading my jointer and replacing my planer. However, I thought the planer bed might be a little too low when planing a large stack of lumber. Also, I thought the jointer guard might get in the way. My decision to forego the Hammer in no way was based a perception of inferior quality.

It seems to me that going with the machine(s) that best meet your requirements and preferences is the way to go. I do not think you will be disappointed in quality no matter which way you go.

View redm's profile

redm

5 posts in 42 days


#4 posted 01-17-2021 01:59 AM

I find myself in a similar situation. I’m between at a MiniMax 30CX, or a Hammer A3-31, and a pair of Grizzly separate units, and a Powermatic 8” 60HH and just keeping my Dewalt 735. Any feedback is appreciated!

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Kudzupatch

118 posts in 2217 days


#5 posted 01-17-2021 02:06 AM

No comments on one brand vs. another, I am an old iron guy.

But there is something to be said for a having a machine set up and leainv it that way. Not having to break it down to do a quick job.

While you may try to do all the planing, joining or what ever at one time it always seems to me that I need to make one more cut. Having to change a machine over and trying to reset the cut to match past ones would really bug me.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

11018 posts in 4656 days


#6 posted 01-17-2021 02:15 AM

If you have the space separates are nice.

A big wide jointer is terrific on occasion but plenty of nice furniture has been made by people with only a 6” jointer, if that. In my part of the country the boards I can buy in many species aren’t commonly wider than 8” so I could get by with that sized jointer.

That said, I have a 16” combo and like it a lot but that has to do with the high quality of the machine in general more than a need for such a wide jointer. I do have an extension table for it (Hammer may offer one) that makes it hella long on the outfeed side.

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redm

5 posts in 42 days


#7 posted 01-17-2021 02:20 AM



If you have the space separates are nice.

A big wide jointer is terrific on occasion but plenty of nice furniture has been made by people with only a 6” jointer, if that. In my part of the country the boards I can buy in many species aren t commonly wider than 8” so I could get by with that sized jointer.

That said, I have a 16” combo and like it a lot but that has to do with the high quality of the machine in general more than a need for such a wide jointer. I do have an extension table for it (Hammer may offer one) that makes it hella long on the outfeed side.

- Loren

Thanks for the response. Which 16” combo did you go for, and how much/how long was the extension table?

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Loren

11018 posts in 4656 days


#8 posted 01-17-2021 02:50 AM

It’s a Knapp. I got it used and the maker is now out of business. I think the extension table brings it to 86” or so.

View redm's profile

redm

5 posts in 42 days


#9 posted 01-17-2021 04:28 AM

To update what I’m looking at, the stand-alone equipment would be Grizzly G0858 (8” Parallel + HH) and G1033Z 20” Planer with Byrd head.

It’s about the same price as the Minimax and the Hammer. (Its in stock though)

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