Planner/thicknesser advice please

Hi folks, I am hoping to buy my first planner/thicknesser and am somewhat new to this so would appreciate any help. I am also in UK so model numbers etc may not always translate to US. There is a tool show in Exeter this weekend and I hope to be able to compare the models available. I am looking at something like the Electra Beckum 260M. My spec is a machine that is movable around the shop and house, weighs less than 100Kg (say 200lbs) and will plane boards up to 10" wide. Price is obviously of some consideration and I was thinking around 700. None of these are set in stone, I want to get a machine that will suit my requirements the best. I hope that I understand the terminology. The sort of machine I am thinking of will power feed the stock under the cutter for reducing the thickness and over the cutter along a fence planning the edge square and flat. Questions: What are good and bad point of design. eg rubber feed rollers or steel? Are there any models or manufacturers that are best avoided and why? Thanks in advance for your help. I really appreciate it.
John
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[...]

I have used a similar Metabo machine (20 years old) to very satisfying results. You will want to have a dust collector (i have used the Electra Beckum one) because of the amazing amount of chips that planing and thicknessing creates. A shop vac does not work, it thin hose will be immediately chocked with the inrush of chips.
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wrote:

Do you get the Axminster magazine ? They have a new "white range" P/T that's going to be at the show. Seems worth a look - nice big heavy tables that fold up, rather than lifting off (much quicker for conversion). Jointer fence looks flimsy though. Same price (tenner cheaper) than the 260M

There are plenty to choose from.
The problem with combined machines in this range is that you're limited to 10" width. If you spend the same money on two machines, you can get a more robust 6" jointer and a 12" thicknesser. This is what I have (CT150 & CT330), and I'm an advocate of the "You can prepare timber on a budget my using a thicknesser alone" (please search for the argument in the past, rather than re-fighting it again)

You get a power feed on the thicknesser, but not the surfacer.

Snipe is the issue to worry about on a thicknesser. This is now a fixed problem on portable thicknessers (movable head). For combined P/T's (movable table), it depends on the table length,
Feed just works. There aren't many still around that have problems here.
Surface quality is variable. I get better results from my two knife thicknesser than from my three knife jointer, yet their speeds are the same. I don't know why. The jointer definitely cuts deeper "divots" which have a nasty habit of only showing up after finishing. Make sure you dampen the surface and allow it to swell back a little before sanding (If you don't hand plane).
If you're thicknessing, you also need a chip collector. It doesn't need to get everything and keep the workshop pristine, you just need to stop chips recirculating and getting pressed into the fresh surface by the rollers.
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In the US you can get a planer that fits your needs for less than $300. By comparison, that is much cheaper than what you are willing to spend for a planer that will handle 10" wide boards. Actually most any planer here will do that. If you will be using a planer a few hours daily, I would suggest a more heavy duty and less portable floor model planer. If you are going to only use the planer a few hours a week, a portable less that 100lbs will probably work fine for you.
If you go with a smaller "portable" model, I would not buy into the 2 speed models that deliver a smoother cut. The single fast speed on portable planers will cut smooth enough as you should not rely on that planed surface to be your final surface. Planers are designed to cut your wood to a specific thickness and not to produce the final surface. That is what sand paper and scrapers are for. If you go with the much faster cutting larger floor models, the two speed cutting rate is better suited as the fast cut leaves a pretty rough surface and the slower cut is used on the final pass to smooth out the scallop marks left by the fast speed pass. Again, this surface should be followed up with a scraper or sand paper for the final surface.
Most any planer will develop small knacks in the knives in a relative short time. These will show up as slightly high ridges in the planed surface. These are easily removed with a scraper and or sand paper.

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On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 16:24:30 GMT, "Leon"

Only by US terminology though. In the UK, that would be a "thicknesser" and costs maybe $600 for a really good one http://www.axminster.co.uk/default.asp?part=CT330
The OP means a European-style combination machine. http://www.axminster.co.uk/default.asp?part=AW106PT -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Thanks for the tips. I had not considered buying 2 machines. Tomorrow should be interesting.
John

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