Picking up my new planer tomarrow- need any last-minute reviews you've got


Hello all,
I've been looking a round for the last couple of weeks for a portable thickness planer, and I've got my choices narrowed down to the DeWalt and the Pro Tech models. The DeWalt is about a hundred dollars more, but it really does not feel like it is higher quality than the signifigantly cheaper knock off. The others all seemed a little iffy, so I'm not too concerned about them- What I'm really wondering is if anyone has bought or used one of the Pro Tech planers, and what your experience with it was. I don't want to be stuck with a $270 POS, but it really seemed to be manufactured to a pretty high standard. I'm just wondering if there is something that you can't see when it's one the shelf that makes it a worse deal than it seems, like plastic gears for the drive system or a motor that burns out in six weeks.
Anyhow, thanks for any input you guys have got on this. I'll check the list again tomarrow before I head out to pick it up. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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A couple years ago I bought a reconditioned Dewalt 733 planer from Harbor Freight. When it arrived I didn't take it out of the box for almost 6 months. When I tried to use it the mechanism for raising and lowering for thickness was broken. I took it to a Dewalt repair shop where they said it was covered under warranty. They worked on it but could not get it working properly. They sent me a brand new one in replacement and it has worked just fine. I can't say enough positive about this situation. sdh.
Prometheus wrote:

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BUY THE DEWALT! period! Mike
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I bought the dewalt 735, the finish out of the planer is awesome.
Alan
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<snip>
I can't say enough good about the Ridgid TP1300 from HD. 2 1/2 years, and it's still going strong. I've got the blade changing process down to 4 minutes, but then, I'm a little clumsy.
When I broke it in February, doing something stupid, the replacement sprocket was $3.20 for the part, and $8 or so for the 2 day shipping. The design and construction are well done, and the documentation is available on line.
Patriarch
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On Fri, 15 Apr 2005 09:44:39 -0500, Patriarch

Unfortunately, I live right in the epicenter of the Menard's epidemic, and John Menard keeps all the other hardware chains out by threatening to move local jobs out. So as a result, the closest HD is over an hour and a half drive from here (and they're not good enough for that kind of haul!) That means no Ridgid dealers around here.
Anyhow, I just wanted to follow up this thread and give a short blurb for the archives- after looking at all the options again, I did decide to go with the Pro Tech "contractor grade" 12.5" planer. It came fully assembled in the box, and included a fairly good steel stand (approximately 1/8" thick angle iron connected with carriage bolts) All the parts were included, and it was very well packaged. The instructions for the stand could have been better, but the pieces could only be assembled one way, so that did not matter much.
Once on the stand, the unit is solid as a rock, without any noticable vibration or swaying. The whole assembly is 91.83lbs, which makes it fairly easy to move if you're trying to move it, but not light enough to slide around when working.
The fit and finish of all the parts is absolutely superb. I could find no light spots in the finish, and no burrs or rough edges on any part of the unit. There was about 2" of snipe at either end on the first piece I ran through, but I got that eliminated in about 15 minutes by carefully adjusting the stops for the fold-down infeed and outfeed tables. The depth indicator was right on out of the box, and is attached by two screws (I mention this because I've had nothing but problems with indicators attached with only one) Blade changes are done with a gauge and magnetic blade holder, both of which are stored in a molded plastic tray on the unit itself. The unit has two reversible blades installed.
The unit has plenty of power- the box advertises 15 amps, and 15 amps are what it seems to pull (I had it on a 15a circut with a florescent light, and it dimmed the light when I turned it on- it is now on it's own circut, just to make sure it doesn't trip the breaker) It easily chewed 1/8" off a 6" wide piece of hard maple without any noticiable difficulty, and no mill marks to speak of. I ran about 12 bf of maple, beech and butternut through the unit for testing, and they all planed very nicely. The only problem I encountered was the snipe mentioned above, which is now corrected, and some tear-out on a thin strip of tiger maple. The tear-out on the tiger maple was eliminated by taking off stock 1/64" at a time and changing the orientation of the plank. The butternut was rough-cut stock, and the planer cleaned it up beautifully, with only a minimal amount of hand-planing on one side to take some of the really signifigant roughness off. The beech was slightly cupped, but the planer handled it like a champ, and the resulting plank was nice and flat again.
All in all, it's an awful lot of machine for $280, and I'm very happy with it. If it dies in six months, or starts falling apart on me or something, I'll make sure to let the list know, but I just don't see it happening- the materials and engineering seem to be very high quality. I can't say anything about their other products, but the planer is certainly worth a look if you're in the market for one.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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