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Insert-tooth technolology is beocming all the rage with planers planers and jointers. The small, precisely placed cutters produce a more uniform flat surface than long knives, which tend to leave undulations behind. As a bonus, the cutters can be changed quickly and easily.
A fresh edge. The planer features two-sided insert cutters made from high-speed steel.
General International has joined the fray with a new 13-in. benchtop planer that features a stagger-tooth spiral head with 26 two-sided high-speed-steel cutters. The cutterhead planes with less noise and lower power demand, which means it can take slightly heavier cuts than its straight-knived counterparts.
I put the planer through its paces for about a week, planing hardwoods, softwoods, and figured woods. Overall cut quality is good. But there’s a lot more to like about this tool. First, the cutterhead moves exactly 1/16-in. with one full turn of the depth-adjustment crank handle. That allows you to dial in the depth of cut with precision, say, when planing a shelf to fit a dado.
The machine also features a turret-style thickness stop for standard thicknesses of 1/8-in., 1/4-in., 1/2-in., and 3/4-in. A gauge on the front quickly shows how much material you are about to plane off, so you can avoid making too heavy a cut.
A dual-sized dust-collection hookup (2-1/2-in. and 4-in.) matches easily to either a shop vacuum or dedicated dust-collection system, a very convenient feature. Power is rated at 2 hp and can be run on a 120-volt circuit. Handles on the sides make lifting the 59-lb. planer easy.
Overall, this is a solid performer.
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