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Today’s thickness planers vary in price from less than $300 to nearly $500. In an effort to learn whether the price differences reflect the quality and features of the machines, I put nine of them through a hands-on test. To begin with, it’s important that the infeed and outfeed tables be flush with the bed, and I found that all of these machines made it easy to adjust the tables up and down. In addition, I tested how accurately and smoothly the planers cut (all produced amazingly smooth cuts). I also measured the noise level of the machines, checked to see how easy it was to change knives, and gauged the effectiveness of the dust collection.
The Central Machinery planer had the most snipe and made the most noise. The manual had lots of poorly translated text, and it was a chore to adjust the tables and bed rollers. On the other hand, it’s lightweight and compact, and the carriage parallelism was excellent. The machine is inexpensive and the company offers free shipping.
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