I was, as well as on the possibility that the pressure on the infeed roller
was too heavy. If I hadn't seen it a thousand times with kids, I wouldn't
have mentioned the newbie misapprehension that lumber needs to be anything
but the same thickness as what's going to be glued to it.
The lunch boxes don't feed thick stock worth a crap when one side's slick
and the other rough.
Have used floor models comercially for
many years. Also had an opportunity to
use the table top model (Ryobi?). A
portable will cost 1/2 to 2/3 of a good
Parks, Powermatic, or Delta. The cast
iron unit will appreciate in value if you
buy the best condition used machine you
can find. The benchtop models will
frustrate you constantly and will in very
short order self distruct.
At the end you will have bought at the very least two bench top units with a
value of zero. My guess is that after
several decades the cast iron unit will at
least ahve doubled in value.
To answer your question:
Under your circumstances I would recomend a bench top planer. It will
do a good job for you and with your limited use, the unit will last
for years. Only if I was buying 150 bd ft or more at a time and
wanted to surface that much material at a time would I consider a
larger floor model. Good luck and happy woodworking!
Mike from American Sycamore
A good floor model will do much better than a benchtop. That being
said, the problem with low-to-mid range floor models is while they do
give you better width, fine cuts and speed, they typicially have worse
snip problems than a bench top.
Some might disagree but here is why. The low end floor models do not
have an easy and accurate adjustment of the bed rollers. Having these
set appropriately is what avoids snipe. The Grizzly's for instance,
have an ecentric canm on each end of the bed rollers with a set screw
that jambs right int the cam. You have to get your tools out and it's
hard to access, yadfa yada. These cams easily mawl then you can't
adjust them. Higher end ($6k type)planers have bed roller micro
settings available at the front of the machine with a scale, hand
The bench tops just have a flat bed, so if you have good outfeed
support you can obtain virtual zero snipe.
I'd buy the DeWalt top of the line bench top. You'll be very happy.
I have a bench top model (delta) which has been a great tool.
Probably one of hte best I have. Having said that, I'm going to
replace it with something bigger. The main reason is the motor. I
want something that will stand up to hardwoods better than the
portable while being quieter at the same time. I'm glad I bought the
bench top thought. I'll keep using it until I replace some other the
other tools that I have that are really lacking. If the money isn't
so important though, I'd get a floor standing 15" model with a closed
base and a proper motor.
Having had floor model planers in the 13 and 20 inch size and an old Delta
portable planer I have some thoughts. The floor models are a pain to adjust,
at least the older ones. Every little detail has to be just right. It took
two months to figure out the proper adjustments for an old Delta 13 inch
floor model. The blades take a couple of hours minimum to install. The first
sharpening saw this tool down for three days before I made all of the
adjustments accurately. They do stay accurate for some time. This floor
model weighs around 500 pounds and could handle a 4x12 hardwood board
without effort. The portable Delta could also do this with lots of support
and a light cut. It just doesn't make sense to buy a machine that would be
very difficult to move when you change your shop around. These machines are
frequently 3 phase also.
My old Delta portable is so easy to change blades that I once did it in 10
As for resale, people that work at home are a bigger potential market than
the pro shops. I sold my Planer for $300 after using it for a couple of
years. I paid $500 for the floor model Delta and I don't think I could get
that now. The smaller machines are so good now that I see many pro's using
I am going to buy one soon. I am leaning towards the Dewalt 735. It is heavy
enough not to move, has two speeds, quick change blades and plenty of power.
I am also considering the Delta two speed.
The Dewalt can be had for $475 delivered. I see them sell used on ebay for
$400. So they are economical to own.
Besides, it's yellow!!
Wow. It's thirty minutes start to finish on my 13" Rockwell/Invicta, the
granddaddy of the modern 4-poster. Pretty much the same with the 15" Grizz
up at school. Never could find a shortcut worth taking.
Add thirty if I'm going to resharpen the blades in the head versus replace
them with the sharpened spares.
Let's put it this way: My DeWalt DW735 benchtop planer produces, in
"finishing" mode, surfaces that need hardly any scraping or sanding to be
glass-smooth. It's difficult for me to imagine that *any* planer, benchtop or
free-standing, could produce a surface that is significantly better than what
I'm already getting from the DeWalt.
It's entirely possible that larger, more powerful planers could produce an
equivalent, or better, surface *faster* than the DW735 does. But if your
intended use is "a low volume hobby" then that wouldn't seem to be much of an
issue for you.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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