Planers

Argos have 5 planers in their new catalogue (p285) - in price order: Challenge 650W 15,000 rpm 2mm cut Challenge Xtreme 900W 15,000 rpm 3mm cut 18mm rebate B&D 900W 17,000 rpm 3mm cut 15mm rebate Bosch 500W 1,800 rpm 1.5mm cut 0-8mm rebate WORX 900W 12,000 rpm 3mm cut 24mm rebate
With such a range (500-900W and 1,800-17,000rpm) that doesn't follow price, or what I'd guess was quality, I'd appreciate comments on the range. I'm looking for one that won't cost much as use will be low - but need one that will actually work properly and safely. And whilst a list in Argos is handy that doesn't mean that's where I'll buy it.
Comments?
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John Cartmell john@ followed by finnybank.com 0845 006 8822
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Challenge: I bought a Challenge and a Challenge Extreme jigsaw as a distress purchase and both of them went back in short order, the Challenge because the blade and the sole plate couldn't be set at 90 degrees and the Extreme because it burned out within minutes. Some cheap brands are surprisingly good but my experience of Challenge is that they're pretty ropey. But the planers may come form an entirely different manufacturer.
Black and Decker: I've used several B&D tools and, apart from some of their older drills, I've found them badly designed, underpowered and easy to overload. I think there are cheap brands that work better and are better value than B&D.
Bosch: I bought one of these several years ago and it's the one Bosch tool I've been happy with in so far as it works and it's done so for a long time. (I've had drills and screwdrivers fail just outside the guarantee period - and it's only then that you discover that, at six months, Bosch screwdrivers have (or had) the shortest guarantee period of any manufacturer.) But when I bought the planer, it didn't come with a dust bag (an expensive extra) and the dust port was a parallelogram shape (why?) which required an expensive optional adaptor to connect it a dust extractor. If these things haven't changed, add the cost of the extras into your decision.
Worx: I know a couple of people who've used Worx tools (not the planer) professionally and they rate them very highly.
Ferm, Wickes black DIY range: I've used both of these and neither of them were good. The sole plates weren't true. If you Google the group archives, you'll see this is a problem with some of the cheaper planers. It's hard to end up with a smooth result when the base of the plane is wonky. That said, I've seen other Ferm/Wickes DIY tools that have been good.
The other thing to check is whether the machine comes with TCT blades or steel blades. Steel blades are cheaper but blunt more quickly, so if you end up replacing them with a pair of TCT blades (you can find the price at Screwfix), you'll end up adding x.xx to the price.

tools.
If you look elsewhere, check the sole plates and the blades.
You'll be better served by a decent planer with a smaller depth of cut than a dodgy planer with a 3mm cut. And I think the Bosch figure of 1800 rpm is probably a mistake.
Hope this helps.
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mikengac wrote:

Hm. Haven't seen a planer without TC blades....
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Hardly breaking the bank. https://www.machinemart.co.uk/product.asp?p 0330082&r!12&g5
-- Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2006 16:20:20 +0000 (GMT), John Cartmell

Depends what you want to plane. For hardwood you need something beefy, for MDF you must have dust extraxion and a hover attachment. I have found the ability of the plane to clear the chips from the blade to be most important. The bigger the chip you remove, the harder it is to clear. Also you may like to plane out a rebate, which has demands on the design. A long flat bed on the plane will make getting something straight much easier. Where does the cable come out, if you run the cable over you are in for a bang. Finally, and most important, it is comfortable in your hand, is the switch in the right place. You try working accuratyly with a tool that hurts when you use it.
Rick
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Rick wrote: You try

Put some Vasaline on it.
-- Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite
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John Cartmell wrote:

I've used the Ferm one, and have no complaints at all, does a fine job. Other than that the shavings bag is much too small, but thats pretty minor.
It'll be 18,000 rather than 1800 rpm. Steel (non tct) blades are just about useless on an electric planer. The one big q is how easy or hard is it to set the blade alignment when you replace them.
NT
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Thanks for those received to now.

That makes more sense.

So any experience on that question?
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John Cartmell john@ followed by finnybank.com 0845 006 8822
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I have also been using the Bosch for about Three and a half years now at least once a fortnight on average, it's a very good value tool as far as cheap planers go.
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Which Bosch? Looking through Screwfix shows 4 more Bosch planers priced 55 to 180 GBP in addition to the Argos one at 50?
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John Cartmell john@ followed by finnybank.com 0845 006 8822
Qercus magazine FAX +44 (0)8700-519-527 www.finnybank.com
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