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16"/20" 4 post import planers6/21
I'm looking at the 16 & 20" 4- post import planers that Powermatic, jet, laguna, etc brand and market. I'm wondering if anybody can tell me what the bed height is from the floor when the planer is set to surface at 1." Anybody's general experience with these machines would be appreciated as well.
4 post is what is needed. Take a look at the Ex-Factory link I posted. This gives you a good range of prices and what is out there. Planers are relatively simple, but I personally would stay way from the Chinese stuff.
There is a PanHans (German) 24" on the IRS Site that adverts here on Woodweb. That could be a real bargain (probably 12k new) when compared to 5K to 6k for import.
Not what you asked for, but I would never buy new Chinese if I could get good used Italian, German or Old American.
I have had Powermatic (old), Delta small and Delta large, and EMA, and Scmi, and Sicar. The Sicar was the best, but the 18" Powermatic I use now is the best ever. It was made in 1962 and has all new bearings and a digital readout, and steel 4 knife head. Solid as a brick, and excellent quality from 6" to 1/8". 5 hp and it can plane hard Maple all day, 1/8" passes and not overload.
Most planers are short. The one I mentioned is on a 6" base. I'm 6'-2" and have to stoop when it is over 4" or more. I think it is normal - every one I have used has been on blocks or something to raise it up.
No experience with them. But whatever price you are looking at today, add 25% for next month. I don't know the volume you run, but I'm with David. Don't buy Chinese. I sold off my 24" Yates American that ran like new. Sold it at "cousin price" to a great up and coming studio furniture artist for $1,200. Same price I paid in 1992.
I agree with David also. I bought a 24” SCM with a spiral carbide insert head used for 5k a while back it’s a champ. I would avoid the Chinese stuff.
For some reason Powermatic, and other importers from Asia, make the dust collection hoods on their planers horizontal. The chips come off the cutterhead, bounce off the top of the hood, hit the bottom of the hood, then find their way to a 4" dust port. The chips end up circling with the cutterhead, causing chip dents in the wood.
These planers are easily identified by the two rollers on top of the planer. The idea is that lumber would be rolled across the top of the planer. Apparently, this is more important than dust collection and decent finish on the wood. "Carts" were invented to move wood around a shop. The only reason I can think of that planer manufacturers would do this is to make the planers shorter, for easier shipping.
Look for a planer with a dust collection hood that is angled upward from the cutterhead, to catch the spray of chips without having the chips pinball around in a crazy hood.
If your in the midwest, there is a 24" Buss on Chicago craigslist right now for $1500.00.
Harold's remark reminded me of the planer my first boss bought. Brand new shiny Italian SCMI 36" monster. It had a nicely painted hinged lid like a jewelry box. Super easy to change the knives. It had a single 5" duct out the back like a cheap import planer. It would clog in seconds. This a machine that could take 1/2" off a 10" wide board like it was nothing.
After a month of unclogging it, he cut a hole in the top and fabricated a plenum. Worked as advertised after that. Kinda ruined the new car look & feel.
Unfortunately, it had replaced a bombproof Powermatic 24" built in the 1960's
Harold, have you used one of the imports with the rollers on the top? I was kind of wondering about that, too. Seemed odd.
I have a nice 12" Powermatic built in the 70s, I guess? When it was Houdville-Powermatic. Awesome machine, and right now I really don't need anything wider, but the issue is the height of the bed. I'm only 5'5", and have developed some neck and upper back problems because many machines, especially older ones, have much higher beds, and I'm using raw arm strength rather than being able to get a little above the work and use my upper body strength. I just replaced an 8" Powermatic jointer that had a 36" ht bed with a machine that is at 31.5." It has helped quite a lot, so I'm looking to do the same with a planer.
When other people with the same planer see my hood, they comment on how terrible the dust collection is with that flat hood.
In general, the dust stream off a cutter is best collected by having it shoot directly into a dust collection hood. Every time the dust stream hits a wall, it will cause the dust particles to lose energy and fall. This should happen in the cyclone, not in the planer hood.
I would not buy a planer with a hood designed around top rollers again.
It would be interesting to hear what a machinery manufacturer has to say about the need for those rollers, vs. the need for dust collection.
I'm guessing the rollers idea came out of the marketing department, Harold. Thanks for your comments, that clears things up for me.