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Thread: Review of Hammer K3 Winner

  1. #1

    Review of Hammer K3 Winner

    hammer 1.jpghammer2.jpg

    I noticed no one had posted a review about this saw so it’s time! Anyone who is interested in getting a SS ICS should consider this saw first. For a short time I had a Laguna Platinum series and was not pleased at all. Numerous problems, wobble in the arbor, not good. Sold it, saved my pennies and after a long process, decided on the Hammer. What a great decision! I have had it about 4 months and I smile every time I walk past it in the garage. Those Austrians have it going on. Set up took about 2-3 hours and it came with about double the number of nuts and bolts it needed. Another plus, no cosmoline! They use a special paper so there was nothing to clean up after it was assembled. Speaking of assembly, as typical the European manufacturers, their instructions were awful. I ended up bringing my laptop outside and followed along the Youtube assembly video they put together. They didn’t make the model I wanted, a 48” slider with a 31” rip capacity. When the saw arrived in the U.S., they cut it down for me but you can’t tell it. They did that good a job. There is a long list of features:

    1. The slider. With the 48” length, you can cut a 48” piece of plywood quite easily with one person. The slider allows you to hold the workpiece down securely while the slider pushes the workpiece through blade. Your hands never get within a foot of the blade. Let’s say you want to rip a 8” wide piece of hardwood. I will crosscut it first to slightly longer length than needed and then secure it to the slider. Don’t even need the fence at this point. Just run it down past the blade and you have a perfectly edged board. Move the fence over to where you want it and make pass after pass using the slider. It’s not just for sheet goods! The slider can be locked down if necessary so the saw can be used as a conventional cab saw. The slider is about 10” wide so there is plenty of support. For added support, my unit came with a supplemental support table as you can see. It’s the angled piece bolted on the side of the slider. It provides plenty of support even on 3/4” plywood. It’s so strong I can sit on one end (203#’s) and it doesn’t flex. It’s a beautiful thing!

    2. The crosscut fence. It’s about 3’ long and has a positive stop at 90 deg. It’s dead nuts on. The edge is only a few millimeters away from the blade so the workpiece is fully supported right up to the edge of the blade. The measuring tape is easily moved if you change blades from a normal to a think kerf. It also has a built in flip stop. Very solid piece of engineering.

    3. The fence. It’s very cool. In the normal position, it’s 5” high and can be easily adjusted so it floats just above the top of the cast iron table. I added the micro adjust which makes it very easy to get an exact measurement. In addition, I added the Wixey digital table saw scale. It allows measurement down to .005”. I simply get it close, then use the micro adjust to get it perfect. The fence can also be rotated 90 deg to get it .75” high for use with ripping very small pieces, i.e. .25” strips. They won’t get trapped and shot backwards. The fence also adjusts fore and aft with the twist of a lever so you can use it as a stop. You have to be careful to have the end of the fence no further down past the middle of the blade to eliminate kickback. Once it’s locked down, it is rock solid. No movement of any kind. You can use it with and without the slider depending on what you want to accomplish.

    4. Power. It comes standard with a 4HP single phase motor. It’s a bit loud with the 12” blade but very quiet with the 10” They use a proprietary arbor bore, 30mm with two 5mm pins hold it place. I wanted a thin kerf blade so I ordered one from Forrest and it works great. It stops very quickly, especially with the 10” blade. Maybe 2-3 seconds. I opted not to get the scoring blade but I can add it at any time. I understand it’s really good if you do sheet goods but frankly I didn’t see any noticeable tear out on the BB I was cutting recently. I can only imagine what it would look like with the scoring unit. They include a narrow wood throat plate and I use it for a ZCTP. It can also be used for a dado unit. With 4HP on tap, 8/4 hardwood is no match. No burning, no bogging down. Especially when used with the slider, the edges are jointer good.

    5. Dust collection. Much better than my Laguna. It captures most of the dust. I use a dust deputy attached to a Festool CT26 and haven’t had any issues.

    6. Fit and finish. Typical Teutonic quality. Everything fits the way it should and is very heavy duty. There are also loads of accessories available through Hammer but you had better hold on to your wallet! You only thought Festool was expensive. I wanted to get this cool glue cup and with shipping it’s $40! Yikes!! Not doing that any time soon.

    7. Mobility. I added their mobility kit which is a set of wheels on one end and a steel plate on the other. A wheeled bar, ordered separately, is positioned under the bar and pushed down which raises up the machine so it can be moved. From that position, it’s pretty easy to move around a 700# machine. I was surprised at that. I can also use the bar for the A3-31 I have ordered.

    Final thoughts. I never thought I would spend $4000 ($2990 plus a few accessories + shipping) on a machine I had never seen in person but I’m glad I did. It’s powerful, very well engineered, very safe and a joy to use. It took 3 months to get it but it’s worth the wait. I’m glad I got it over the SS. Oh! The folks at Felder in DE called me several times to make sure everything was as expected. They gave me great support on the setup and when I discovered a small part was missing, they got it to me right away. There has also been some discussion on another board on whether or not Hammer is made in Austria. I had the good fortune to speak with the president of FelderUSA today,
    Ruan du Toit, a very nice South African running an American division of an Austrian company. Go figure! I was assured in no uncertain terms that anything that is Felder, Hammer or Format 4 are made at their factory in Austria. The do outsource a few non-critical parts and it is possible they may come from Asia via other parts suppliers, however, the overwhelming majority, including all the critical parts, are made in Austria. They understand the U.S. market is different in many respects from the Euro market. For example, in Europe, they have many distribution centers and almost all their machines are delivered by the company along with a technician to install and set them up. The end user doesn't have to do any of the setup like we do here. Because of this, in Europe, they haven't paid that much attention to the documentation that comes with the machines. They haven't needed to. However, with the majority of the machines being sold in U.S. being set up by the end user, they understand they need to update their documentation to make them more user friendly. Their recent set up videos are a reflection of this new model. They are also committed to service after the sale and if a phone conversation with a tech doesn't fix the problem, they will make sure someone is available to come out and fix the machine. I wouldn't imagine this happens very often since their quality is so good. I have an A3-31 Jointer/Planer with the spiral head on order and I learned it hit their warehouse today. I did tell him the American market is not accustomed to having to wait up to 3 months to get a machine and they need to figure something out about that. They are still figuring out the American market and he made it sound like they are committed to expand their marketing and distribution capabilities in the U. S. All in all, I am very pleased with their machines and their service. If you are in the market for a quality European woodworking machine, they should worth checking into. BTW, for purposes of disclosure, I wrote this review without any kind of payment or price breaks from Felder of any kind. Oh wait! I did get an oversized t-shirt if that counts! It's simply my experience that I wanted to share with fellow woodworkers.
    Last edited by howard s hanger; 08-10-2012 at 10:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    San Jose, CA
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    174
    I've had my eye on a K3 for a while.

    I just noticed something. If you stand to the left of the blade as you slide material through the saw, it seems odd that the power switch is to the right of the blade. I was thinking it was to the left of the blade in case you need to shut it down quickly. Then again, if on the left, maybe it would be covered by the work piece. ???

  3. #3
    There is another shut off button on the left side of the machine. In the second picture, you can see it towards the rear of the machine. It becomes reachable once the table has been extended past the blade. I do wish they had a start button somewhere over there too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Howard, great write up of a beautiful machine. Thanks for posting, and congrats!
    Please help support the Creek.

    When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

    - Steven Wright

  5. #5
    Howard - nice review. This is a saw that I'm considering. Curious - you got a 48" x 31" model. Did you have to order the 48" x 48" and they just took off the extra table extension and shorten the rails for the rip fence? Or did you get the 31 x 31 and add a 48" slider? What was the cost of the this configuation machine w/o the accessories? That might be a configuration I might want to consider.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations Howard,

    Really nice saw, I'm sure you're very happy with it.

    You seem to be a bit of a Longhorn fan. Good for you.

    PHM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    'over here' - Ireland
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    I've been running my K3 perform (the 8ft slider version) for the past few months, and have to say that my feelings are very similar. The saw is basically Felder's budget model, but they have done a very good job of making sure that the functional parts are very well made.

    I'd not run a proper slider before, and can confirm that even at this early stage it's shown itself to have all sorts of subtle safety, convenience and other advantages. Even simple stuff, like the fact that the inner edge is a very convenient reference for setting up fences and cuts from...

    I'd have to say that mine was not well set up as received (i'm not a US customer and think you guys may get some extra pre-delivery TLC), but it was a great pleasure to find as i worked though the various adjustments that it dialed in very accurately. Well inside the specified limits. it's held the settings so far.

    ian

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Grand Forks, ND
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    2,155
    Congrats Howard, I think you have gotten the feeling you are " one of the family", Felder does a great job at this. They are a
    great company, with great products. Enjoy you new machine, you will really like the A3-31 also.
    A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ Area
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    2,339
    Love my Felder sliding saw/shaper too. If you haven't checked our the Felder Owners forum, there are a lot of owners there with helpful info.

    Here is a review of a tour I was lucky enough to take of the Felder factory in Austria last December.

    I travel frequently overseas and I get to Germany at least once or twice a year.
    My schedule this time left me with an open day after landing from the US at 7am
    so I asked Carl Knapp at Felder USA if he could set me up with a factory tour.
    I received an email the next day from Carina with Felder in Austria confirming
    my tour.

    I arrived at the Felder headquarters at about 11 am and I was greeted with a
    welcome sign announcing a VIP tour for Joe Jensen

    Arthur Lux was my host he was amazingly gracious. He is a sales managers who is
    responsible for setting up local offices and he was the CEO of Felder USA for 2
    years. He spent 3 hours with me, about 1.5hrs on a private factory tour (no
    pictures allowed), then he took me to a really nice lunch at a local restaurant
    and we ended up at the Felder flagship store.

    I'm even more sold on Felder products now. I was amazed at the level of
    automation and technology they employ in manufacturing. All the sheet steel
    parts are cut on giant CNC laser systems, and the parts are all cut with
    positive alignment notches. Workers assemble the parts on alignment fixtures
    and tack weld them. Once finished they go to robotic welders. At one booth they
    had a base for a Format4 saw and they said it would take about 1.5hrs for the
    robot to completely weld it. They had 4 of those large robotic welding booths.
    He said they used to have 3 workers welding in each booth and the output was
    less then with the robots.

    The parts with precision surfaces or attach points are all machined on CNC
    machines as well. Take the saw tops, they take the raw cast part, bolt it to the
    fixture with the same mounting torque they will use on the final assembly, and
    they they do 100% of the machining on that part without re-jigging or
    re-fixturint it. That CNC machine had a tool changer belt that must have had
    100 differnt tools.

    They have a new custom machining center for large long tools that can do 30
    meters with extreme precision, I think he said it weights 70 tons. They put the
    base for a large CNC in the machine, jig it once, and every bit of machining is
    done without rejigging it. Amazing.

    Felder also does all their own powder coating, to control quality. Aurthur said
    they also apply the powder coat heavier on areas that will see heavy use.

    The overall size of the factory surprised me as well as the number of machines
    in process, and also on the loading dock. Aurthur said that they don't build
    machines for spec or inventory as there are too many options, and he said that
    all machines in WIP or in the warehouse are sold already. Must be hundreds of
    machines. Just on the CNC loading dock they had like 10 CNCs all bundled up
    waiting for trucks.

    Felder has a new bandsaw, must be 9 or 10ft tall. The wheels are 93cm in
    diameter, 12HP motor, and the blade is like 3" wide. Designed for resawing,
    amazing. They also have an air craft carrier jointer, I hadn't seen one of
    those before. They make most machines. The do resell a few machines from
    others, but on most of them, they just buy major components and do the
    electronics and assembly inhouse. For example, on the monster jointer, they buy
    the cast iron parts, and they fabricate the balance inhouse. They wouldn't let
    me in the prototype lab or the design offices , too secret, GRRR

    They have about 600 people here in Austria, and another 400 worldwide. He said
    the biggest problem is local sales and support. Distributors and reps are hard
    to control, and it's hard to hire and retain the best people in small offices.
    He said that most shops in north America have a few machines from every
    manufacturer. They buy one machine and when there is a problem, they get pissed
    and the next machine is another brand. He says Felder's focus is to make sure
    that when there is an issue they use it to build loyalty. He cited a research
    study in the US that showed if a customer had a problem with a product and the
    supplier made it right in a timely fashion, they were more loyal than customers
    who never had a product issue to start with. I was also surprised that guys
    like me, serious hobbiests, are the biggest part of their customer base. That
    is changing with their own line of CNCs and edge banders, alone with wide belt
    sanders and larger industrial machines.

    The attention to detail, robotics and CNC, and the labor force are amazing.
    Unemployment in Austria is under 3% during the recession!

    It would be interesting to see Martin's factory. It's hard to imagine how it
    could be done more precisely or better than what Felder is doing. I am lusting
    after a big Euro 24" planer and the Felder Format 4 looks to be a strong
    contender with the Martin.

    Lastly, we talked about CNC and smaller commercial shops, and Arthur is
    convinced that CNC is the future for commercial shops. Felder dove into CNC in a
    big way as all the CNC equipemnt had to be dramatically larger in scale to
    handle the CNC size machine.

    Overall, it was a really fun experience and well worth a day of time on a
    business trip.

    Thanks to Felder, Carl, and Arthur...joe

  10. #10
    I did order a 48 x 48 and they cut off the round bar and the aluminum measuring tape bar and didn't include the extra table. For some reason, they just don't make a 48 x 31 but they did it for me once it hit the U. S. I'm really glad I did that. One other safety thing I forgot to mention. There is a sliding access cover to get to the blade so you can change it. To move the cover, you have push a lever down to allow a small bar to clear a slot in the cover that would keep it from moving. The level also activates a switch so when the cover is open, the electrical connection is broken so you can't accidentally start the saw when the cover is open. I found out the hard way that the lever that controls the switch must be in the middle position or the saw is dead. I had to call Carl (Felder rep)when I thought the saw was having a problem and he had me check that and sure enough, that was the problem. I don't remember ever seeing this in the documentation.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McGaha View Post
    Congratulations Howard,

    Really nice saw, I'm sure you're very happy with it.

    You seem to be a bit of a Longhorn fan. Good for you.

    PHM
    I am at that! How could you tell?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by howard s hanger View Post
    I am at that! How could you tell?
    Howard,

    The golfclub bag in picture 2.

    I'm an LSU Tiger fan. Wish we would play you guys each year at football. I think it would make a good rivalry. Good luck with the upcoming season.

    PHM

  13. #13
    good catch! We desperately need one of our two young quarterbacks to step up this year or it could be ugly. Pity poor A & M. They walked into a buzz saw aka the SEC!

  14. #14
    great review and info

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,543
    I opted for the B3 Winner with the outrigger, in 49" sliding table length.

    To me, it only makes sense to add the tilting spindle shaper since you've already paid for the sliding table.

    It's been fantastic, I would add the scoring saw, no point being without it for panel work.............Rod.

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