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Thread: Yorkcraft planer review

  1. #1
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    Yorkcraft planer review

    So, several weeks ago, I took delivery on a Yorkcraft, 15Ē planer. Not a whole lot you can write about a planer, but Iíll give it a shot. I believe Wilke Machinery is the only vendor carrying the Yorkcraft line and for this, Iím actually quite happy. Wilkeís Customer Service is fabulous! The order went smoothly, they already had me on record, so I didnít even have to specify liftgate delivery. I ordered while they still had a bit of a special going on shipping, so I saved a few bucks there, plus my sales dude noted that Iím a repeat customer and threw in a fresh set of knives, to boot! The unit reached my neck of the woods *within* a week from placing the order! R&L Carriers once again took care of the delivery and, as is their NOP, service was exceptional! I was further very fortunate in having fellow Creeker and good friend, Frank Chaffee give me a helping hand with receiving and setting up the machine.
    With a little brainpower and a lot of grunting, we got the unit off the back of my trailer and into the garage. Pulled the carton off to find the whole unit very well secured to a pallet. Not a scratch on the thing anywhere! Once we got it off the pallet, we installed the mobility kit (included and integral to the base) and were able to easily roll it into the shop. The footprint of the unit is hardly much bigger than what I had with the Dewalt on a stand. The rest of the assembly was pretty typical, including the traditional removal of Cosmoline. A spray bottle with ďSimple GreenĒ and plenty of rags quickly took care of that chore. Oh, and except for one allen head driver, all the necessary tools are included!) If any part of the assembly, which I would like to see improvement on is the dust chute. Rather awkward and you need to remove one of the material rollers on top of the machine to accomplish this.

    I had pre-purchased a ďTwist-LockĒ plug and receptacle, though itís not necessary, as the unit comes complete with a typical 3-pronged 220V plug on it. No other wiring was required! Anxious to try it out, I just plugged into my nearby DJ20 outlet, though I did eventually switch that out for the ďTwist-LockĒ. First impressions? Compared to lunch box planers Iíve had, this bad boy is quiet! Yes, I still wear hearing protection when running it, but itís almost borderline of where you could get away without it! So, the first cuts: On some Maple I had laying around, smooth, quick and NO snipe. At all! Dust collection appeared to be quite good but, we noticed that there were quite a few chips getting pressed back into the board! Searching through the manual, there was no hint as to why this would happen or how to resolve it. So, the following Monday, I gave Wilke a call and was put in touch with one of their main Tech dudes. If I had a video phone, I could just see him rolling his eyes as he let out a deep sigh. He told me that, for who knows why, the factory elected to put this strip of foam on the underside of the cover over the cutterhead. What happens is, as the chips start flying around, they get caught behind the strip and then just fall back down through onto the board and get pressed into the board by the outfeed roller. He said to open it up and tear that puppy outtaí there, which is exactly what I did. Problem solved! Not as much as a single stray chip since!

    Fast forward to today: After using it some, Iím kickiní myself in the pants for having waited this long to get one! I have a hunch that folks with similar planers have similar results, but I have to believe the Yorkie gives you the most bang for the buck. Integral mobility, cast iron in/out feed tables, very heavy and stable, with power to spare. Iíve not tweaked a single adjustment on it, though I may go ahead and check into tuning it up just a tad. Across an 8Ē board, I get a variance of right about 1/1000<SUP>th</SUP> from one side to the other. Probably acceptable, but Iím still going to try and squeek that last .001 or so out of it! Iím not one to try and hog off a lot of material per pass, so I canít tell you if/how it will take 1/8Ē off. I usually run off between 1/32<SUP>nd</SUP> and 1/16<SUP>th</SUP>Ē, tops. The slow speed on it actually does appear to have some influence on the final quality, as well. Finish cuts at the slow speed on some Birdseye Maple produced very, very little tear-out. I didnít wet down the board, though I did have room to skew it a bit, so I imagine that helped a bit.

    In the final analysis, hatís off to Wilke Machinery, R&L Carriers and, of course, to my buddy Frank! Job well done by all. Would I do it again? Yeah, but I wouldnít wait as long to do so! Thanks for letting me ramble on and for taking a peek! Comments/questions welcome. <O</O
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    Last edited by John Miliunas; 08-07-2005 at 12:55 PM.
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  2. #2
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    Thanks for writing this review. Yorkcraft equipment is quite attractive in design and value. It's really helpful to read about your experience with it. When I'm able to justify (and fit into my garage) an 8" jointer, the Yorkcraft looks pretty good. And, perhaps someday I could get a planer like yours - wow, what a great tool! I'm sure you'll get great use out of it!

    I really like the built-in mobility - great for people like me that need to "unfold" the shop after moving LOML's sports sedan out on the driveway. I like the big motor and magnetic switch. Also, the big heavy adjustment wheel. Does it appear to be powder coated? If looks like it will not be rusting for a long while.

    I love to hear about good customer service like you experienced.

    Congratulations on the wonderful new tool and your good experience with Wilke Machinery!

    Thanks again.

    -Andy

  3. #3
    Hey John, good looking piece of machinery you picked up!! Enjoy it and good to hear a good CS story!

    Corey

  4. #4
    John, great review. I'm stuck in the world of lunchboxes with my limited space, but who says we can't dream a bit

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys! Andrew, I don't believe it's powder coated. Does not appear to be thick enough for that and the finish is a bit flatter than most powdercoats. I do, however, think they did a pretty good job with squirting the paint on, though. Personally, I usually "expect" to get some nicks and scratches on this type of equipment anyway. I typically wax all my polished surfaces anyway and, if I notice a nick or scratch, I'll hit it with a little wax, as well. My shop is pretty temp/humidity controlled, so I'm not in big fear of rust anyway.

    Jason, unless you're hefting your lunchbox planer in and out of use (stashing it under a bench or something like that), one of these guys really takes up little more space than a 13" lunchbox job on a stand. The floor footprint on this guy is 23x23" and total "air space" from stem to stern is right about 45" (tip of infeed to tip of outfeed). Something worth considering if you plan on planing a LOT of rough stock! For me, that was the driving force. My DW735 did a fine job, but I was afraid that, with some sizeable projects on the horizon, I would've used that unit to the point of abuse.
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  6. #6
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    John,

    Congrats on the new planer. About the noise level, is it quieter than a lunch box type when cutting? I can understand it would be quieter than one just running due to the universal motors in lunchboxes. I'm moving my shop where quietness may matter and that's why I'm asking this. Enjoy that new machine. Alan in Md.
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Tolchinsky
    John,

    Congrats on the new planer. About the noise level, is it quieter than a lunch box type when cutting? Alan in Md.
    Alan, absolutely! MUCH quieter! If I can save up enough pennies ( a LOT of them! ), a Shelix will go on it and reduce the noise level even more. Mind you, like I said, I do NOT take heavy cuts, which will onto itself be less noisy, but then I didn't take heavy cuts with the Dewalt or Ryobi before it, so this is a direct "apples to apples" comparison.
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

    Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.
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  8. #8
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    Congrats on the new planer John! I'm sure it will serve you well. I'm glad you didn't hurt yourself unloading and setting it up given your recent surgery.

  9. #9
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    Nice...gonna give the fine folks at Byrd a call, John??
    Wood: a fickle medium....

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  10. #10
    Nice review. I have the 20" version and I'm just as pleased. Unlike you, I tend to hog off the full 1/8" until the last pass and it handles 20" of hard maple and hackleberry (related to elm) without any trouble.

    I'm not sure if that will translate to the 15" model. Mine does have a larger motor but it also wider knives to turn.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Miliunas
    Alan, absolutely! MUCH quieter! If I can save up enough pennies ( a LOT of them! ), a Shelix will go on it and reduce the noise level even more. Mind you, like I said, I do NOT take heavy cuts, which will onto itself be less noisy, but then I didn't take heavy cuts with the Dewalt or Ryobi before it, so this is a direct "apples to apples" comparison.
    Thanks for the info. John. BTW the tables look massive on that thing like they belong on a table saw. Very heavy duty looking tool!
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  12. #12
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    Very nice overview, John. Congrats on the new planer!!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Congrats on the new machine John. A couple of guys over at the "mosh" pit (WN) have the same unit. They like it as well....there was some discussion about changing out the gear oil, but I can't tell you any specifics. I'll snoop around and see if I can find the thread.
    Last edited by scott spencer; 08-07-2005 at 12:34 PM.
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  14. #14
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    John,

    Nice, that's one of my "high on the list" upgrades. That particular planer is top consideration right now. I just have to save some more pennies because I wan't the byrd head too .

    Jay
    Jay St. Peter

  15. #15
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    Congrats John! Thanks for the review!
    Ken

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