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Thread: Help me spend my money

  1. #1

    Help me spend my money

    Scholars of Sawmill Creek - I am hoping to get some opinions on "what would you do" from those more knowledgeable than I:

    Background: Been a hobby woodworker on a budget for 20 years. Have a well-equipped shop, but with limitations (ex: 6 in Jet Jointer, 13 inch lunchbox planer, 14" PM bandsaw, 10" Jet Tablesaw, a few RAS, etc). I have been venturing more toward the neanderthal end of the pool for a while, but still enjoy power tools. My biggest limitation in what I try to do has always been the jointer. I've made it work, but I have been planning for 15 years to upgrade once I got my first real job. Which I have recently done (yes, took 15 years). So, #1 item on my to-get list is a big jointer. I finally have the space (30x80), power (but no three phase, and naive about conversion), funds. So help me spend my money. Budget ~ 12k. With projections to have a decent yearly budget moving forward. But I want a jointer first

    Options:
    1. Felder 741 + bells/whistles (spiral head, power drive height adjustment). Pros - obvious. Cons - somewhat shorter table, not completely sold on combo machine etc etc. Despite (barely) being within budget, it is a big chunk of $. Oh, and a 40+ week waitlist.
    2. Grizzly: I can pickup a 16" jointer with spiral head for 7k (this), and a 20" planer with spiral head (something like this) and be under budget and add more capability. Pros: Separates, more capability, probably? sooner delivery. Cons: Perhaps less quality, but this ain't a production shop. Takes more floor space, but not really an issue.
    3. Something like a Hammer A3-41, and take the savings and buy something like this.
    4. Something else???

    I would appreciate any and all thoughts. Curious to what you say. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    On Canada
    Posts
    102
    Jake One of my recent purchases was a Hammer A3-31 and could not be any Happier. It does have the Spiral Head and mobility kit. The finish of the wood coming from it are the Best .. 100 % Flat from the jointer and from the planer with no snipe. My recent buy was the Hammer K3 winner Comfort with the 79" travel slider and 31" fence. I would get the A3-41 and the Band saw in your link for sure .. Keep us posted on what you are going with

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    203
    Jake,
    I completely agree with Robyn's comments. I have the A3-41 and a close friend has the 741. I've used his and I've used mine. No doubt there are differences that add up to the price difference, but bang for the buck, especially considering that I'm a hobbyist, I went with the A3 and am very happy I did. I made a $15 solution for raising and lowering the table - the biggest feature difference between the two. Surface finish is exceptional with the spiral head.
    I bought a SCM 20" S500P bandsaw with the difference.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    90
    I have an A3-41 (w/ silent power spiral head) and am very happy with it. Great quality finish. The digital dial height gauge is very accurate and repeatable.

  5. #5
    OP, I won’t tell you what to buy but since you mentioned Felder combos, I would look at the Hammer C3’s. A little more than half the price of a CF7-41 and tons of machine for the dollar.

    Also, if you’re in the US, waiting time for a CF is more like 20 weeks, possibly less on a C3. Good luck in your search.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,203
    Save a ton of money and buy used.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    734

  8. #8
    As a hobbyist, the OP certainly lists a lot of industrial machines. If that's what the OP wants, hey, go for it, but if there are budgetary constraints, there are great machines which will serve the hobbyist well for many years that cost far less.

    I think the A3-41 is an embarrassment of luxury for a hobbyist. And OP can use his current lunchbox planer in some of those scenarios when changing the A3 between jointer and planer would mean that settings are lost. And then to have money for a great bandsaw? Heck yes, I'd rather have a great bandsaw and the A3 than the 741, because I'm not running a professional mill, where I'm surfacing lumber 8 hours a day. IDK about paying for a Felder bandsaw, I think I'd rather spend the money elsewhere. Again, you can get a great Hammer bandsaw (or Powermatic, or Laguna, or etc) bandsaw because you're not going to run that bandsaw 8 hours a day just to make payroll.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    807
    With your list of "possibles" I'd seriously consider a Hammer A3-41 with the Silent Power Head. I have the smaller A3-31 with the head and it is a wonderful machine. Or, if you anticipate wanting a slider TS now, or in the future, consider one of the Combo machines that will give you the saw, jointer and planer all in one package.

  10. #10
    Personally, given the money and space, I would rather get a 12” standalone jointer and 20” planer. I think the powermatic with helical heads are also in that price range.

    Bruce

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    2,901
    I agree with Mat look for a used jointer. I see the larger ones in my area sit on Craigslist.
    If you were to shop for used invest in a short precision straight edge. Bring it with you to check out beds and fence.
    Its nice to know if your getting a flat fence with flat tables before you haul it home.
    I myself have a large jointer and spend more then a year looking.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 03-28-2021 at 10:59 PM.
    Aj

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    4,187
    I have a Felder 741 in my shop, and it is a nice machine, The beds are plenty long enough, they look shorter than they are because of the perspective of the width of the machine. I think it is probably in the top 1% of J/P on the market, which is why I bought it.


    BUT.....

    I would recommend you look a different way, get a slider saw first. The ability to straight line rip off the carriage far outweighs the benefit that a bigger jointer gives, not to mention all the other reasons to have a slider. I rarely use my Felder J/P.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    6,203
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    I agree with Mat look for a used jointer. I see the larger ones in my area sit on Craigslist.
    If you were to shop for used invest in a short precision straight edge. Bring it with you to check out beds and fence.
    Its nice to know if your getting a flat fence with flat tables before you haul it home.
    I myself have a large jointer and spend more then a year looking.

    Good Luck
    Totally agree - so many beautiful old machines out there. Could get a 16”-24” jointer and a 20”+ planer for a $1k-$2k each.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 03-28-2021 at 11:06 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Center Valley, PA USA
    Posts
    120
    Hi Jake. I just went through this decision process for my own shop.

    I ended getting a Hammer A3-41A 16" jointer (with Silent Power Head) and the Powermatic 20" planer (with Bryd Head). Both are excellent and will leave some money to spare for other toys.
    ===========

    James Cheever
    Ga Tech NROTC - 1978
    Run Silent, Run Deep
    Commander, USN (Retired)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    56,722
    I'm a J/P combo fan. Efficient space utilization, wide face jointing and generally very high quality machines from the normal suspects. Changeover takes like a minute...and the length doesn't come into play for most work. None of us should be trying to flatten a whole 8' board unless it's for a very rare project where the board will stay that long, anyway. Now if someone is frequently making long components, then they will certainly be better served by a longer, dedicated jointer.

    I'm not overly familiar with the details of the Hammer and Felder machines since I'm in the SCM/Minimax clamp, but both series are very good tools. Were I starting from a blank slate, no question that I'd be considering the 410mm/16" versions from Hammer/Felder. They are awesome tools. Given the supply constraints/wait times, it likely wouldn't be a bad idea to see where the comparable SCM/Minimax 410mm/16" combos sit for price and availability, too, if you have a desired timeline.
    --

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

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