Planer Choices for Planing Rough-Sawn Lumber
From contributor B:
I plane roughsawn lumber on a 12" Bellsaw planer (5hp). Woodmaster, Belsaw and Powermatic are similar. I would want at least 5hp in a planer. I seldom mill anything more than 12".
From contributor C:
I've planed about 10,000 bf of red and white oak rough cut on a Woodmizer. I started with the Jet 15 inch. I upgraded to the Powermatic 209 (20 inch) because I had to plane a large quantity of 2 inch by 14 - 16' oak boards (size mattered). I'm not a professional wood worker - I don't have 3 phase power and don't plane all day every day - but for my needs, both machines handled rough cut lumber very well. The cost was about $1200 for the 15 inch, $1800 for the 20 inch brand new.
From the original questioner:
Has anyone converted their planer to the Shelix true helical heads from Byrd Tool in Kentucky?
From contributor D:
I use an SCMI S52 I bought used (near mint) from Carpenters Machinery in York PA about 12 - 13 years ago. It is 3 phase, and is probably the most dependable machine I own. You could check them out, call or email, they treated me well.
From contributor E:
I have a 20", spiral cutterhead, 7.5 hp Grizzly Z series planer and it does a great job. My advice to you would be to get a heavy machine, irrespective of brand, at least 5 HP (and 7 or more is better), and go with a spiral cutterhead. 3 phase is no big deal as long as you use a converter (if you don't already have 3 phase power). Equally as important - if you plane a lot of rough cut lumber you will need a serious chip collection system as well (such as direct vent into a large hopper or dump truck/trailer.) A lot of rough cut lumber is dried outdoors, where it can pick up a lot of dust and debris. Be sure to blow the boards off with air before planing them, or you'll be changing a lot of knives and inserts. Also keep in mind that you'll want to run your cupped boards through a jointer first and then plane them on the opposite side to final dimension.
From contributor F:
One more feature that no one has mentioned is adjustable bed rollers. My Powermatic 180 has them and I find on rough lumber they make a big difference. You can adjust them from practically zero clearance to .04" above the table to reduce friction from the rough lumber surface.
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