Hammer - A3 31 Jointer/Planer Combo Machine
Hammer's jointer planer features cartridge knife inserts that are easy to change, a Euro-style cutterhead guard and a 50 in. long jointer bed
Hammer 12-in. Jointer-Planer (with Segmented Cutterhead) review from FWW #235 (October 2013)
by Asa Christiana
Hammer is the small-shop, value-oriented wing of the Felder Group, intended to bring Austrian engineering to a broader audience. Hammer’s latest offering is the A3 series of jointer/ planers, which packs state-of-the-art convenience and industrial milling capacity into a small footprint.
I recently tried the 12-in.-wide A3 31, equipped with the optional “Silent Power” segmented ($800 extra) cutterhead with carbide teeth. It’s a fantastic upgrade. This is a true helical head, with the teeth sharpened on a curve for a shearing cut. It’s quiet, and its shearing action left negligible tearout on the most ornery woods: quartersawn white oak, figured maple, and super-hard jatoba with interlocked grain. This cutterhead is also designed for better chip ejection, which might be the reason this machine has the best dust collection I’ve seen on a jointer or planer.
It takes roughly one minute to convert the Hammer from jointing to planing or back again, time mostly spent cranking the planer bed out of the way so the dust hood can rotate. That’s not bad.
The machine is a delight to use in either mode. The tables and bed have specially machined surfaces for very smooth sliding action, and the 4-hp motor teams up with the segmented head to power easily through cuts up to 1⁄8 in. And unlike some planer-jointer combos, this one has a very heavy extruded aluminum fence, machined dead-flat and straight. I was particularly impressed by the feed system on the planer: No matter the board or the depth of cut, the machine grabbed it and fed it smoothly out the other end, with no help from me.
Photos: FWW Staff
A3 31 Jointer-Planer Combo Machine review from FWW #190 (April 2007)
by Roland Johnson
I looked at the four jointer/planer combinations that are moderately priced and readily available. All four combo machines delivered excellent results in my tests. Using maple, white oak, and cherry, I face-jointed and edge-jointed long, wide boards without difficulty, and planed boards with no snipe. These combo machines don’t sacrifice performance, and they don’t command a steep premium.
This Hammer model uses a 12-in.-wide cutter head, with a 50 in. long jointer bed. It is very nearly the equal of the MiniMax USA. It’s a well-engineered, well-made machine that’s a pleasure to use. Its $3,582 list price makes it worth serious consideration. One useful feature on the Hammer is the gravity-actuated stops that prevent the jointer tables from dropping. I also like the height of the jointer tables. At 33-5/8 in., they’re 2 in. lower than the MiniMax and 1-3/8 in. lower than the Rojek. For me, the reduced height made it easier to work around the Euro-style cutterhead guard.
Cartridge knife inserts-the only type available for the Hammer-are nearly as easy to change as Tersa knives. You loosen a set of locking screws, remove the cartridge, reverse or replace the disposable knife, reinstall it in the cutterhead, and tighten the lockscrews-with no adjustments needed.
On the negative side, the Hammer has a shorter jointer table than two of the others. Changeover takes a little more than a minute and entails 75 turns of the crank to move the planer bed.
Photo: David Heim