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I Used Search, Read Up, And Now Need A Final Opinion


Carl762
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I going to buy a thickness planer. I was set on getting the 13" Dewalt DW735, until I read a few bad reviews. I then searched this site and read up, but still need some help making up my mind.

I'm trying to narrow it down, and I'm heavily leaning on purchasing this one:

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores...uctId=100083773

I read here on the site that the Steel City 13" Deluxe Planer might be a good buy. I notice that Woodcrafters has it, which is close to home.

I then looked at, briefly, the Delta 13" 22-580.

However, I'm leaning towards the Ridgid. The $200 saved from purchasing the Dewalt can be well spent on a drum sander, which will essentially complete the outfitting of my shop.

Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you.

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I have that Ridgid planer. Love it. No problems whatsoever. Works great, leaves a really smooth planed surface.

You might check to see how long it'll be before the newer model is out though. It's going to have three knives instead of two, and operate at a higher speed, so lots more cuts per inch. Going down in price $20 or $30 too, I read somewhere.

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I have that Ridgid planer. Love it. No problems whatsoever. Works great, leaves a really smooth planed surface.

You might check to see how long it'll be before the newer model is out though. It's going to have three knives instead of two, and operate at a higher speed, so lots more cuts per inch. Going down in price $20 or $30 too, I read somewhere.

Thanks. I will check, but I'm going to have a, a real problem having to wait. :D Dang!

I just read another great review. The Ridgid is looking real good. Thanks again.

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Personally, I would skip the planer and buy a wide drum sander. Unless you are going to be hogging 1/4" off your body blanks all the time, a wide drum sander is by far a more useful tool. A drum sander will also allow you to deal with thin woods (cover plates, veneers, fretboards binding, etc..) as well as handle figured woods with no concerns about tear out. You are also going to be able to sand wide surfaces nice and smooth. I have a Performax 16/32 that is one of the most used and trustworthy tools in my shop. If you ever think you will want to get into acoustic instruments(madolins, acoustics, archtops, semi's with bent sides and so forth) these sanders are gold.

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Budgets are something we all have to work with, but if you can swing it or maybe save up a bit and go right to a drum sander you would do well.

These are some of the prices for sanders.

Performax 22/44-$999.(22" drum one pass bodies and then some, big drum, easier on sandpaper)

Performax 16/32-$849. (this will do your bodies in one pass 16" drum), and is open ended and can do wider bits in two passes as it is open ended.

Performax 10/20-$449. (10" drum, but open ended and can do a body in two pass or very accurately prep. each half before joining leaving very minimal clean up). There are actually a lot of acoustic builders that speak highly of these, I have never used one.

Link to Performax Sanders

Steel city Makes a 16 x 32 that sells for $699.

Delta X series 18" open end runs about $950.

Peace,Rich

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Performax 10/20-$449. (10" drum, but open ended and can do a body in two pass or very accurately prep. each half before joining leaving very minimal clean up). There are actually a lot of acoustic builders that speak highly of these, I have never used one.

Steel city Makes a 16 x 32 that sells for $699.

Wow, I hadn't seen those two. I'll have to look into those. One of those would be within reach in a reasonably short period of time.

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I have both the RIGID planer and a Performax 16-32 drum sander. I use them both, a lot. Here's my take:

RIGID planer: The main reason I got this was because I have a good local lumber dealer who sells "in the rough", so I need to mill the rough surfaces off myself. It will produce tear-out in highly figured woods. But...it also comes in VERY handy when milling really oily or resinous woods to thickness specs, stuff like bocote, cocobolo and ziricote. Those woods will gum up 80-grit paper on a thickness sander in no time flat. I even use it for rough-thicknessing of acoustic backs & sides to 3/16" by using a planed hardwood "sled" underneath, with 80-grit paper to hold stuff down when I run it through...never had a problem. I can even shave down to 1/8" no problem (in 1/32" steps), and it is MUCH quicker than the drum sander.

Performax 16/32: Don't get less than 16", it's just very nice to be able to run a solidbody through in one pass. This I use for fine milling to final finish spec, and for milling highly figured woods (flames, quilts & burls) where the planer would tear it out. It is way slower than the planer, but you're doing finer sanding here.

If you're going to be doing this for the long-haul, get both. For me, the difference between paying for wood "in the ruff" verus S2S has made up the cost of the planer over ~1 year. And get a good dust collector...a shop vac will last you ~10 minutes.

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I agree with the Performax. I have the 22-44 and don't know how I got along all this time without it. That being said, there are plenty of times I do need to hog off a lot of material on a project (not just guitars) and that's where a thickness planer excels. Simply put, I use my planer to dimension my rough lumber and my Performax to sander to do the finishing. I had a Delta 22-580 and loved it, but recently upgraded to a Grizzly G0453 15" http://grizzly.com/products/15-Planer/G0453

I'm not a rich guy, but always try and buy quality tools. With tools the more expensive quality tools hurt only once (at purchase time). Second rate tools will hurt every time you fire it up or have to replace it. Good luck.

Gil

Edited by Berserker
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Fine Woodworking just reviewed Small Planers, worth a look.

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I also have a Performax 16-32. It sits nicely on top of my Planner, so it doesn’t take up any room.

The open ended design is both good and bad. It really isn’t stiff enough for production work, but with light passes it will perform well especially for Luthiey. It will definitely serve you better than a planner will.

I do remember seeing a Delta machine that was much beefier and was somewhat less expensive, but that was several years ago.

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I also have a Performax 16-32. It sits nicely on top of my Planner, so it doesn't take up any room.

The open ended design is both good and bad. It really isn't stiff enough for production work, but with light passes it will perform well especially for Luthiey. It will definitely serve you better than a planner will.

I do remember seeing a Delta machine that was much beefier and was somewhat less expensive, but that was several years ago.

I have both the delta and the Performax drum sanders. Not really a whole lot of difference between the two. They are not planers but sanders and have a limited capacity to remove lots of wood.

The higher end $500 range of 13" planers are generally better over all, adding another $300 will just get you a drum sander. Using a drum sander as a planer is a time consuming process and will require very heavy grades of sand paper 36-80 grit. So you have that added expense. Plus it will take many more passes to do what a planer will do in just a few.

Even though they are open ended models but I didn't find the machines capability diminished. Yes using it 24/7 would be out of the question but I have run hundreds of passes on these sanders without any problems in a single days worth of use.

A good addition to a planer but not a replacement.

If you are worried about buying a planer that gives good results you may need to move up to a 15" stationary planer and spend another $100 plus and make sure you have 220 volt power. Plus several strong people to move the thing if it has to go up and down stairs.

FYI: The planers which made the grade in FWW were the Dewalt 735 and the Craftsman 21759. I am not a Sears power tool lover and the Dewalt looks like a good solid machine.

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I also have a Performax 16-32. It sits nicely on top of my Planner, so it doesn't take up any room.

The open ended design is both good and bad. It really isn't stiff enough for production work, but with light passes it will perform well especially for Luthiey. It will definitely serve you better than a planner will.

I do remember seeing a Delta machine that was much beefier and was somewhat less expensive, but that was several years ago.

I have both the delta and the Performax drum sanders. Not really a whole lot of difference between the two. They are not planers but sanders and have a limited capacity to remove lots of wood.

The higher end $500 range of 13" planers are generally better over all, adding another $300 will just get you a drum sander. Using a drum sander as a planer is a time consuming process and will require very heavy grades of sand paper 36-80 grit. So you have that added expense. Plus it will take many more passes to do what a planer will do in just a few.

Even though they are open ended models but I didn't find the machines capability diminished. Yes using it 24/7 would be out of the question but I have run hundreds of passes on these sanders without any problems in a single days worth of use.

A good addition to a planer but not a replacement.

If you are worried about buying a planer that gives good results you may need to move up to a 15" stationary planer and spend another $100 plus and make sure you have 220 volt power. Plus several strong people to move the thing if it has to go up and down stairs.

FYI: The planers which made the grade in FWW were the Dewalt 735 and the Craftsman 21759. I am not a Sears power tool lover and the Dewalt looks like a good solid machine.

If you are building one or two guitars a year and you buy lumber that is close in dimension, then the time spent making multiple passes is not that big a deal.

Spending a lot of money on a machine may not be worth it to some, but that a choice one must make.

There is nothing better than an abrasive wide belt or drum sander for surfacing figured wood such as maple. The tear out from a planner can ruin your wood and just try to plane a .120” piece of wood down to .095”.

I have run several thousand board feet of lumber through this machine to remove planner marks. Is it the best machine for the job??? NO, but it is beats using a random orbit sander or a cabinet scraper.

I can’t justify buying a larger wide belt machine, my production runs a few and far between.

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Nice perspective! I have the Performax 16/32 and use it 7 days a week. It's 5 years old now and works like it did when I first bought it. A great purchase! My planer though gets very little use except for removing the surface roughness on rough lumber. Maybe it gets used once a week at most. I never use the planer on figured woods like curly maple. It's 15 years old though.

I can't imagine neck building without the sander. From my perspective, save up for the sander and get a planer later. If you're not doing a ton of volume, then using it to take the roughness off will work fine.

90% of the time stock goes from the bandsaw right to the sander. Of course a jointer is also very helpful, but that work could be done creatively on the table saw.

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Maybe it is worth mentioning that if I have 3/16" or more to mill off I am usually taking that piece to my bandsaw to claim veneer. If it is a one piece body I am not likely to take it to the bandsaw, but I use two piece just about all the time. Most of the time I want a veneer for matching covers anyway. I don't run a lot of ruff sawn cheap lumber (it is usually spendy, and worth saving veneers if I can get them). Either way though, if you only have a 24" body blank it is not that time consuming to sand even a 1/4" off. Space for space, and dollar for dollar a drum sander is the best choice HANDS DOWN for a hobbiest luthier. No discounting that planers are useful, they just are not as useful or flexable or accurate as a drum sander in a hobbiest luthiers shop.

That is my stand, and my strongest recommendation.

Peace,Rich

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