$350 for a thickness planar what should I get?

I'm looking for a thickness planer and plan on getting it from Home Depot. They have Rigid, Ryobi, Delta, and Dewalt brands. The Ryobi is fairly cheap $200 I think. I have a Rigid router that I am quite happy with and have been leaning towards that model.
Any suggestions on features I should look for? I have never used one and am not sure what to look for. The basic use is for rough saw oak and other hardwoods. Most pieces will be less than 6 feet in length, width around 8"-12" and thickness from 1/4" or so up to 3".
Thanks.
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-@-.com wrote:

Under those conditions I'd give the Ryobi about a month. Buy the best that you can afford, planers do a lot of heavy work.
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I have a freind that purchased a harbor freight 3 H.P. 13" last summer, (they run about $399.) cheaper when there on sale, anyhow, he had a ryobi before and say's the H.F. is a real horse compaired to the pony he had. know another guy's got one also and say's his works fine to. they also have a 2 h.p. 10" for $199. worth check'in out ross www.highislandexport.com
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I have yet to buy a Harbor Freight power tool that I didn't have to rewire the switch. Lou
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Lou wrote:

I've been using my planer, jointer, bandsaw and lathe -- all from HF -- for about two years now and have yet to have to rewire anything.
I had to junk a motor ... but that's another story altogether (the capacitor smoke had all leaked out).
Bill
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The Rigid probably has the best warranty and that includes parts that naturally wear out. Don't get too caught up on the multiple speeds on the bench top models. Sure the slow speed makes a nice smooth cut but that is simply short lived as the blade will probably develop a nick or two with in a few hours of usage. That is true with the stationary planers also. The two speeds on the larger planers are useful because slow is a good speed and faster is, well faster. The 2 speeds on the bench tops are a good speed and slower. Remember, it is a thicknesser not a finish surfacer. If you are going to do a "lot" of rough to final dimension planing you may want to seriously consider a stationary planer. A bench top does a good job on common thickness boards, 3" is probably pushing it weight wise if you are thinking 3x8x72.
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On Mar 15, 1:15 pm, -...@-.com wrote:

I bought a Ryobi planer from HD about four years ago or so. I also have a Ridgid table saw, the 3650, and a Ridgid jointer from the Borg. They have all served me well. I bought the Ryobi after some woodworking mag gave it a good review and rated it a "Best Buy" or "Good Value" or something like that. It's the only planer I've ever used so I don't have anything to measure it against but it does a good job as far as I know. I do get some snipe the last inch or two on a board. I've just learned to leave my stock longer than what I need for the final dimension and trim off the part with the snipe. HD even carries the replacement knives for the Ryobi which are fairly reasonably priced, especially since you can flip the knives around once. I guess if I had a complaint about my Ridgid jointer it would be that the three HD's within 30 minutes of me don't stock replacement knives. I end up buying them at Sears or on Amazon. I've run 4/4 through 8/4 oak, maple and walnut, through the Ryobi with no trouble at all. What I've learned is that you need to take several passes removing a small amount of wood at a time. If you get greedy and try to plane off too much on a single pass you run the risk of tearout which depending on the species and the grain can get quite ugly. Better to run it through, unlock the cutterhead, turn the crank a 1/2 turn or so and lock it down again for another pass, repeating the procedure until you get down to the desired thickness. As far as order of operations with rough lumber, AFAIK, you want to face joint one face, then edge joint with the smooth face against the fence then plane with the jointed face down to the bed and finally rip the rough edge using the jointed edge against the table saw fence. This gives you four square stock and Bob's your uncle. Oh yeah and make sure that there isn't any metal, even an 18 gauge brad, in the stock you are milling. It will take a divot out of your planer blade. Ask me how I know. Well, the first day with the planer and wanting to set it up and play I grabbed a piece of scrap stock and sent it through. Doh! The metal on metal sound put a damper on the celebration. I got a quick lesson on how to flip the blades around on the first day. Have fun.
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-@-.com wrote:

If you're not married to getting it at Home Depot, you may want to look at the Dewalt DW734[1]. I've had this one for over a year now and it does a good job. The knives (3 of them) on it are supposedly "disposable", but I've heard that some people are able to either hone or sharpen them. The knives are double sided, and to date I've only had to flip mine around--that's using the planer perhaps two or three times a week. I bought an extra set and they run about $45. If you're doing hobby type stuff and you're careful about what you put through it, the knives should last you awhile.
When I was originally looking for a planer, I also looked around at Home Depot, but they only carry the Dewalt DW735[2], which is considerably more expensive. If there's a Lowes in your area, they carry the DW734 or you could buy it from some place online like Amazon.
[1]: http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/tool_detail.asp?productIDY34 [2]: http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/tool_detail.asp?productIDY35
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