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Delta RC-33 planer for beginner

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Forum topic by nek4life posted 03-09-2019 09:45 PM 576 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nek4life

8 posts in 135 days


03-09-2019 09:45 PM

Looking into buying my first planer and found a used Delta RC-33 13” Planer with single phase 2HP motor. Wonder if this would be a good planer for a beginner. I found it sitting in the corner of a wood working equipment shop and asked the owner about it. He said it was for sale and came from a high school so it hasn’t seen commercial use. It has some light surface rust on the rollers, but no pitting or anything and could probably be cleaned up with a little work. He’s gone through the machine and everything is working and showed me a board he planed with it. There was a light horizontal mark at one end, but I’m wondering if it’s just because of the board length and not having longer wings on the machine to support the piece.

He’s asking $400 for the machine and comes with the stand. I’m wondering if this is a good price. It seems like a decent price to me, but that’s why I’m asking here as well. From my reading it sounds like I should ask if it also comes with a knife setting jig? Anything else I should ask about?

I was looking into the lunchbox style planers, but this is less expensive and seems like a lot more machine. I believe I have one 4-prong 220V outlet in my garage I am thinking about having swapped over or adding a sub panel with more outlets since my electrical box is right in the garage. I’ve read that the lunch box planers are a lot louder as well. It would be nice to be able to take the planer outside in the summer, but that’s the only advantage I see for having one vs this more heavy duty planer.


7 replies so far

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CaptainKlutz

1494 posts in 1913 days


#1 posted 03-09-2019 10:57 PM

If machine runs, is not rusty, blades are serviceable, doesn’t leak oil, and doesn’t make any bad noises (bearings/belts); $400 is decent price. It’s a little high if it needs any parts replaced.

It’s a good machine for anyone needing a planer, and not afraid of tool maintenance.

The DC-33 is more of an industrial use planer, than lunch box units intended for hobby use. They are intended to run, and can last forever with right maintenance. It is related to the Rockwell/Delta made in USA RC-33, and information for predecessor can be found on vintagemachinery.org. The primary drawback on DC-33 is the 13” width, that made it less desirable at time it was made .vs. the other Asia made 15” clone units that sold for about same price.

For comparision: In a place with active used tool market, can find 15” planers in need of rebuild for $150-300, and similar vintage units in usable condition sell for $500-600. Newer units (< 10 yr old) sell for more money. If machine still has original input/output tables, they can sell for a little more as those are first things trashed

Besides motor/cutter head bearing growl/screech; primary things to watch involve the feed rollers. If it has rubber roller(s), these can age poorly and need replacing (~$150). If the roller bushings were not oiled regularly and worn unevenly, then can require replacement (~$60 in parts). Generic blades are only $50, but still a consideration for negotiating a lower price.

FWIW – I find 2 recurring issues with these style planers:

1) The mid-sized (13-20”) industrial planers were never perfect in regards to snipe. But with right settings, the snipe was very minor and generally not an issue. Fixing/reducing/preventing snipe has volumes published on WWW if you want know more.

2) Never met a used 13-20” planer that didn’t have a small oil leak. Most time it was noticed by saw dust sticking to gear box around the cutter head seal. Units with oil seal on outside of gear box on chain side, tend to weep a little there also, as that seal is PIA to set properly. If the tool has 2 speeds and has been handled rough, the shift lever can get bent; which either damages the oil ring seal, or makes it ineffective. Small leaks are usually ignored, as replacing these < $3 each oil seals requires removal and/or tear down of the gear box.
IME – One unstated reason many of these planers get pulled from commercial service is when oil leaks become spots on floor, and no one wants to tear down machine. :-(

Cheers!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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nek4life

8 posts in 135 days


#2 posted 03-09-2019 11:09 PM

Wow thanks for the thorough answer! I really appreciate it! Lots of great stuff here to think about.


Besides motor/cutter head bearing growl/screech; primary things to watch involve the feed rollers. If it has rubber roller(s), these can age poorly and need replacing (~$150). If the roller bushings were not oiled regularly and worn unevenly, then can require replacement (~$60 in parts). Generic blades are only $50, but still a consideration for negotiating a lower price.

After doing a bit more research I did notice in the instructions that the rollers in the bed are missing. Are these the feed rollers you are talking about?

I’ve been trying to find parts online to see how much they cost or are even available, but no luck so far. I did see a cardboard box under the machine so maybe they just aren’t installed. I’ll be sure to inquire about them to see if he has them or not. It seems like you’d want these to help the wood go through the machine smoothly.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1494 posts in 1913 days


#3 posted 03-09-2019 11:53 PM

After doing a bit more research I did notice in the instructions that the rollers in the bed are missing. Are these the feed rollers you are talking about?

It seems like you d want these to help the wood go through the machine smoothly.

- nek4life

The primary purpose of the in-bed rollers is to push lumber up against the upper feed rollers to help lumber feed correctly.
Setting the height of these in-bed rollers is project dependent and can be PIA.
If you mostly surface smooth lumber, can set them flush with table and ignore them. I keep mine set at ~0.001 above the table, as that was about best setting for minimal snipe on smooth lumber and 99% of time rough lumber feeds easily with minimal cut depth. If I get my hands on some really rough cut lumber, I have raised them to 0.005” above table to improve lumber feed. But, typically for only a couple boards – just take s heavier cut on first pass.

Maybe, should say this:
The industrial planers have many more adjustments than hobby grade lunch box units. This enables optimization or tuning for softwood/hardwood or cut thickness; where lunch box units have pinned knives and one setting – thickness. The industrial planers will also hog off up to 1/8” in single pass, which is beyond capability of hobby planers.
For a newbie, all the extra settings/capability can be overwhelming, and complete waste of money/time; if you only buy s4s lumber for your projects?

I have never regretted owning the various models of larger industrial planers that passed through my garage shops over the years. They run all day, taking a big 3/16” cut, eating every stick of lumber I feed them, and beg for more. Can not say that about the Delta 22-580 or Dewalt 735 planers, that I have also owned. Smaller motor means more cuts, smaller rollers – more feed roller cleaning, and changing blades more often. When I have space, and money; will always seek out one of those industrial (15-20” preferably) planers for my shop.

Best Luck on your decision.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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runswithscissors

3052 posts in 2444 days


#4 posted 03-11-2019 11:34 PM

I owned the Rockwell/Invicta (made in Brazil in about 1982) version of that planer, and there was a lot to like about it. I got it really cheap, as the drive chain had broken, piled up in the cast iron gear cover, and broke the gear cover. I was able to fabricate a new cover out of 1/8” plate steel, and bought a replacement chain from Grizzly, as the chain was metric. Worked great. That experience taught me why many parts would be cast rather than welded—lots more labor intensive to fabricate.

That was an excellent planer. Out of 4 or 5 I owned over time, it was the best by far. Had very little snipe. I toyed with the idea of putting in a Byrd helical cutter head, and was about to pull the trigger when I decided to go another direction.

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

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nek4life

8 posts in 135 days


#5 posted 03-11-2019 11:49 PM

Good to hear it’s a nice planer! Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

I gave the shop owner another call today. Asked him if he had the missing rollers and he does, however the previous owner had remove them and lost the parts that hold them in place. Wonder how easy it would be to find some replacements. I think they are what make them height adjustable. I’ve been searching online without any luck, but I have no idea where to look especially since I’ve just gotten into this hobby.

I also asked if he had the knife setting jig and he doesn’t, but said he just uses a dial gauge to set them. Is this a must have part? I’m looking a bit more into this as well.

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1745 posts in 3227 days


#6 posted 03-12-2019 10:22 PM

buy it…..your asking about minor stuff that can easily be worked out….whats not easy is finding one of these for that price

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nek4life

8 posts in 135 days


#7 posted 03-13-2019 01:09 AM

Yeah you’re probably right. A planer wasn’t first on my list, but thought this seemed like a good deal.

I was able to find the parts online. You need 4 of them and they are $12-13 a piece. I might see if he’ll split the difference and let it go at $375.

I’ll likely have to wire my Garage for 220V as the outlet I thought I could use after doing a bit more research I think the outlet I have is for a generator which would be nice to keep in case I need one (I live in the boonies.)

And yet this afternoon I got a message from eBay that there’s 15% up to $100 coupon today through the app and there’s a DeWalt 735x, which I had been looking at before running into this planer, for $500 with the coupon brings it down to $450… maybe the universe is trying to tell me something lol.

Anyway thanks for all the insights I really appreciate all the help. Especially being a newbie to woodworking and just getting into the hobby.

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