Well I have looked over the reviews of 12" planers. They all were dated
around 2002 reviews.
I wonder it opinions have changed. It looked like Makita, DeWalt, and
Rigid were in the top.
I am about to buy one, just looking for latest thoughts on 12" planers.
And marketing gurus are always looking to one-up the competition.
Thus we have progressed from 12" to 12.5" to 13".
And with cheap labor/offshore production, expect to see it rise even
more - to a point. The design limitations of uni-motors, aluminum
cutter-heads and such will restrict this width eventually. We're
probably very close... It will be exceeded on a few models, they will
be disasters, and the market will then back off and settle on some
reasonable industry standard for lunchbox portable planers.
Sears has the Craftsman 15" planer/moulder, steel head, belt driven,
that uses a universal motor. I've had one for a bit, and it works well
in light cuts (but none of these universal motor planers will take
anything approaching a heavy cut). It also hogs out some sizeable
molding patterns without any trouble, except for getting the alignment
correct. I would say, though, that 18" is not likely with a universal
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