Benchtop Planer 21743 - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Benchtop Planer 21743

Craftsman - Benchtop Planer 21743

The Craftsman 13-in. planer features a built-in dust collector and a carriage that raises up or down with the flip of a lever.

$440 (As of 2/1/2003)

(4 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor's Review:

by Lon Schleining

review date: February 1, 2003

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.

Editor Test Results:

Parallel Test Out: 0.0100 in.
Average snipe 0.0010 in.
Time to change knives 23 minutes
Knives can be sharpened No
Noise Rating 100 dB (no load)

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Craftsman
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-697-3277
Extra set of knives included No
Price for Set of Knives $50
Reversible Knives yes
Built-in Dust Collection Hood included
Speed 8,000 rpm (no load)
Amps 15
Maximum Thickness 6 in.
Maximum Width 13 in.

The current replacement blades for this planer do not fit the planer -- the original blades have 6 mounting holes -- the replacement blades only have 3 -- they do not fit the original planer -- I have contacted numerous people at craftsman and Sears without any resolution other than buying another planer -- If I do have to buy another one it will not be a craftsman, Some of the people I spoke with at Sears were very rude and non caring. Rating would be below a 1

This planer performed very well the first three times I used it, on the fourth time, the drive sprocket shattered. Sears told me that it was 13 months since I had purchased it and I had not bought the "extended warranty", sorry. The replacement sprocket was a different unit than the original, looked forged where the original looked cast. The unit has performed OK since then until I started planing oak. Taking the absolute minimum cut with new blades and a waxed bed, the motor began to smell burned and would not reach the full RPM's. I ended up finishing the job with an older Dewalt 733. I was very disappointed in the Craftsman and the Sears response.

Cedar,Oak,Heart pine,Walnut,Mahogany,Cumaru,Teak,Ipe'P.T.lumber,dimensioning new stock to old standards,the list goes on and on!I've had this machine for about three years now & it has never failed me yet! I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone! p.s. N.A.S.A. called & said they would be right over to fix the 0.0100 in issue!

This is a very good planer. The lever sure beats having to crank it up or down, if you need to do a lot of adjusting. Nice getting from sears is that there are generally stores close by where one can purchase blades quickly. The dust collection is good, removing all the chips and most of the dust. Only qualm is the infeed table is not parrallel to the bed of the planer, and because the pivot point on one side is lower than the other side, this cannot be corrected. This was on both planers I have received. As it is on the infeed and not a large distance out of alignment, it is alright.

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