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The Felder machine arrived from the factory with close tolerances in every way. Tune-up was easy, with each bolt and setscrew offering positive adjustment. The machine is built solidly and should stay aligned for years.
Felder offers more combinations of features and capacities than any other manufacturer: up to 10-hp motors (three-phase), digital readouts, a wide range of saw strokes and crosscut capacities, two types of scoring systems, variable speed and more. Felder also makes the Hammer line of combination machines, offered at a lower price.
The Felder sports refinement in its design. It was clear that every detail—from shipping to woodworking—had been considered carefully. Just a few highlights: All of the height dials and scales on the machine can be reset to zero at any point. The Felder sliding table locks in two positions: one for ripping, and the other for shaping. The saw’s internal dust hose has a flange that can be adjusted to hug a 10-in. blade as closely as a 12-in. one. The router and shaper spindles can be changed out quickly. This is the only machine of the bunch we tested with the shaper fence assembly pegged into holes in the table, so the assembly can be removed to use the saw and then returned to the previous setting. This machine’s base (and that of the Hammer) has gaps built in to accept a pallet jack for mobility.
Performance was a delight. All of the functions delivered clean, precise, almost dustless cuts, and none of the motors even threatened to bog down. The mortising unit was the best among these machines, with ergonomic clamping handles and a screw-driven hold-down (as opposed to a cam). It also was the easiest unit to attach and detach from the main machine, and its stops were the easiest to set and use.
However, the Felder doesn’t accept a dado head, so dadoing must be done using the router spindle and the sliding table, which takes longer. Also, the router spindle turns only at 15,000 rpm, which is too slow for small bits. However, if you opt for the variable-speed shaper, the router spindle will run at 19,000 rpm.
The 45-in.-long jointer/rip fence is a slight drawback. It had more flex than the Knapp rip fence, and when it was mounted on the jointer it came up too short on the outfeed side for my liking.
Additional Notes: Bells and whistles. Many thoughtful features, like magnified scales and accurate dials that read in 0.001-in. increments, make the Felder a pleasure to use. Price includes optional mortiser, single-phase power and router spindle.
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