Purchasing a 15" Planer: Overhead mounted or under mounted motor?


Hi,
I am looking at purchasing a 15" or 16" planer. I see that delta has the DC-380 15" planer and Jet has the JWP-16OS: 16" planer. Both of these planers have overhead motors so the feed table is stationary. It seems that both manufactures are no longer offering under mounted systems in the 15" range (at least on their web sites). I looked at the 20" models and they all have under mounted motors where the feed table moves.
Here are a couple of questions :
- I had seen a couple of posts related to the JWP-16OS. Does anyone have any more feedback on this planer (This is the one I am leaning toward; should I be looking at something else)? - Does anyone know why these two companies discontinued under mounted motors in this size range of planer? - Is the overhead mounted motor system a bad choice? - Does anyone know of any recent reviews on this size of planer (I have been searching on the Internet but have found nothing so far)?
Any feedback would be appreciated.
Thanks, Mike
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I bought my 15 from Leneave Machinery in Charlotte, NC...nice people. They have both and discouraged me from the overmount because of the difficulty of changing knives. This is probably the right answer, since the boards are grabbed firmly by the rollers as soon as they go in. When they come out, I'm usually holding them. The stationary table looks great and if I did large quantities and could let the table catch the output I'd revisit the question. For sure, the knife change with the undermount is a non event. The only thing to take off is the dust chute plate on top and then the knives are in your face. Wilson

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I had that same question when I was looking. I did much research and found that most of the planers are distributed through the WMH tool group. Jet, Grizzley, ShopCraft, Jet, Delta, Powermatic and many others. If you do a search on line for the tool manuals you will find the pictures the same with different part numbers. I found this out by finding a shopcraft while looking at the Grizzley planers. I called and talked to someone and he said they were all under the same tool group. Then I talked to a ShopCraft person and found a little more. I would not be surprised that even some of the General tools are from the same distributor. I ended up with a Shopcraft with moveable table 15" with roller cabinet for $729. One of the local stores was having a tool sale with reps there and they had a 10% of sale on all tools.
There is a model with spiral cutter head which is more money. I believe this is also available as a replaceable upgrade on some models. I have also heard they are from the same factory and with different casting metal or material. I fnd that hard to believe that there would be that much difference in cost for the material. Bill T
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BT98 wrote:

The "General" line is made in Canada. The "General International" tools are imported.
Chris
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BT98 wrote:

Correction on my message. I said ShopCraft and should have been ShopFox. I did purchase the Shop Fox15". On the manual it has distributed by WMH tool group.

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I went through this in January when purchasing my second planer. I bought the Delta with stationary table for the single reason that I would be lifting my infeed and out feed rollers much more often than changing blades if I went with the under mount motor. The blades may be a bit more trouble to change on the over head motor but not as much trouble as readjusting infeed and out feed rollers if you choose to use them. A nice selling point is that the Delta comes with fold down infeed and out feed roller extensions that add about 4' to total length of the planer but really do not take up much more than an additional 6" when not in use. I'd buy it again.
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I've had the Jet JWP-160s about 5 months and have had no problems. I was suspicious of the original blade quality since they seemed to dull quickly. It must have been dirty lumber. The 2nd set of blades are still in it and they have been through quite a bit of cherry, oak, and walnut. Blade changing was pretty easy in spite of the motor partially blocking overhead access. The extra inch (16) is great on a nice piece of cherry. Assembley was straight forward, but it is a heavy sucker! The outboard rollers were a pain to adjust. Takes 2 men to put it on the base. I had to get an 1100 CFM dust sucker to keep up with the chip volume. That was an unexpected expense, but I'm glad I got it. I highly recommend the JWP-160S.
Jim in the Bluegrass

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