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The Knapp is an industrial machine, built to withstand a lifetime of abuse in European cabinet shops. The planer-jointer can be unbolted and used as a separate machine, a nice touch. Also, the Knapp has the most cast iron in its massive arbor and spindle assemblies. It takes up to a 14-in. blade (the others accommodate 12 in.), and a tilting shaper spindle is standard (an option on other machines). It has separate fences dedicated to ripping and jointing. The Knapp router spindle is the only one that turns at the ideal speed for routing: 23,000 rpm. It also accommodates a full dado head, giving you two options for dadoing.
Its switches were heavy-duty and conveniently mounted, and the ripping and jointing fences were the most rigid. The height adjustments of the saw, shaper and planer bed were the smoothest and most solid of any machine tested. Although it didn’t need much tuning, this machine was the most easily tuned up and adjusted for flat and square. Also, all of the dust-collection ports are on the same side of the machine—the back.
The wide sliding table was by far the most massive and smooth. It was deadly accurate throughout its stroke, with positive fence stops built in at common angles. The round bearings run against round bars for point-to-point contact designed to resist fouling by dust.
I preferred the Knapp’s standard crosscut extension table over any of the others. It requires no outrigger to support it. It is lightweight aluminum but dead-flat and rigid enough to support large panels.
The only design flaw I encountered was that the cam-driven hold-down on the sliding table pushed the stock forward when it was engaged. While these hold-downs are not necessary for most operations, they increase the accuracy of miter and joinery cuts on the saw, and tenoning on the shaper.
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