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The Craftsman 21743 has a couple of practical features you won’t find on any other portable thickness planer: a built-in dust collector and a carriage that raises up or down with the flip of a lever.
The planer includes a canvas hood designed to accept either a 30-gal. trash can or bag. The built-in high-volume vacuum removed chips effectively and neatly deposited them in the can.
Raising or lowering the carriage on the Craftsman 21743 is a one-finger operation. Push the control lever up, and the carriage moves up push the lever down, and the carriage lowers. As you might expect, those features make the 21743 among the largest and heaviest of the portable planers on the market, a drawback if you move the planer a lot. Also, the Craftsman was noisier than most, especially when it was idling.
My measurements showed the planer to be out of parallel by 0.0100 in., the most of any planers that were tested previously. On the plus side, though, the owner’s manual clearly explains how to adjust the carriage for parallelism, so you should be able to adjust it to zero. Test cuts showed a planed surface that was very good, although it wasn’t quite as smooth as the surface produced by the other portable planers. Still, the result was better than what I’ve seen from many of the big stationary planers on the market.
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