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Thread: Minimax FS 41c vs Hammer A3-41

  1. #1

    Minimax FS 41c vs Hammer A3-41

    Hey guys so I'm about to pull the trigger on this and just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts. The Minimax is actually about $500 less or so and seems like the better machine from what I've read. The rep from Felder says otherwise of course, but just curious what you guys think. BTW doing spiral heads on both.

  2. #2
    Josh, I obviously work for one of the companies you are considering but also, have sold and actually used both machines (which many sales reps or even customers can't say), so feel like I can at least give you some non-biased information to help your decision making. First, both machines are very high quality and will probably last you forever. I would not say one is "better" than the other. Different in design, yes, but not better. It would be like saying a Toyota is better than a Honda. Sure, we could pick apart the design differences between this or that machine but the bottom line is that either machine will do what you want. This being said, here are some reasons I seem to sell a lot of A3's:

    -Felder offers a whole ecosystem of useful accessories for the A3, such as a dial indicator for the thickness planing or portable extension tables for the infeed and outfeed sides. Nearly every A3 customer of mine ends up getting these and they all tell me it makes the machine immensely more useful. Yes, someone could certainly add those to another brand of machine but you are then into drilling/tapping/fabrication.
    -Felder sells directly. The reason for this is customer support. Any customer of mine has my cell phone number. You can call me any time with an issue and either I will handle it or see that it gets handled by Service. I imagine it is the same for any of our other reps.
    -Felder's Service hotline will get answered by a LIVE HUMAN BEING at all times during business hours. "Voice Mail Hell" is not a thing with us. We have an entire US team whose only job is to support Standard/Classical machinery. I feel this alone is worth something beyond selling price.
    -The A3 is the best-selling machine in our entire lineup. We have it down to a science and customers can trust the product.

    Again, both excellent machines. Best of luck in your search.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Josh, I obviously work for one of the companies you are considering but also, have sold and actually used both machines (which many sales reps or even customers can't say), so feel like I can at least give you some non-biased information to help your decision making. First, both machines are very high quality and will probably last you forever. I would not say one is "better" than the other. Different in design, yes, but not better. It would be like saying a Toyota is better than a Honda. Sure, we could pick apart the design differences between this or that machine but the bottom line is that either machine will do what you want. This being said, here are some reasons I seem to sell a lot of A3's:

    -Felder offers a whole ecosystem of useful accessories for the A3, such as a dial indicator for the thickness planing or portable extension tables for the infeed and outfeed sides. Nearly every A3 customer of mine ends up getting these and they all tell me it makes the machine immensely more useful. Yes, someone could certainly add those to another brand of machine but you are then into drilling/tapping/fabrication.
    -Felder sells directly. The reason for this is customer support. Any customer of mine has my cell phone number. You can call me any time with an issue and either I will handle it or see that it gets handled by Service. I imagine it is the same for any of our other reps.
    -Felder's Service hotline will get answered by a LIVE HUMAN BEING at all times during business hours. "Voice Mail Hell" is not a thing with us. We have an entire US team whose only job is to support Standard/Classical machinery. I feel this alone is worth something beyond selling price.
    -The A3 is the best-selling machine in our entire lineup. We have it down to a science and customers can trust the product.

    Again, both excellent machines. Best of luck in your search.

    Erik
    Hey Erik thanks for the feedback. I definitely like the ecosystem elements of the A3. I just have to decide I guess if it's worth the extra money, it's actually coming out to about an extra $800 at this point for what I can tell is a very comparable machine. This is already a HUGE splurge for me, so that extra 10%-15% may sway me. But I'll see what kind of comments come in and hopefully I can make a decision by the end of the week. Thanks again for the honest response!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    Hey guys so I'm about to pull the trigger on this and just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts. The Minimax is actually about $500 less or so and seems like the better machine from what I've read. The rep from Felder says otherwise of course, but just curious what you guys think. BTW doing spiral heads on both.
    I have SCM and Felder in my shop, I personally prefer SCM, or Minimax.

    For Hammer gear, I found this when I googled Hammer A3-41 Youtube....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5-cjNa_yJU&t=684s

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    Hey guys so I'm about to pull the trigger on this and just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts. The Minimax is actually about $500 less or so and seems like the better machine from what I've read. The rep from Felder says otherwise of course, but just curious what you guys think. BTW doing spiral heads on both.
    Josh,

    I spent the day today testing the CU 410E from minimax which has the 78" bed for the 16" J/P (tersa blades tho). It was phenomenal and I expect to do the same as you are. I'll buy the FS 41c as a standalone machine and will be ordering a slider or slider/shaper as well. The machine was intuitive to use, extremely fast change overs, excellent dust collection, I couldn't find any complaint for it. The joinery machine specialist for minimax, Sam Blasco, has a bunch of youtube videos up of him working with the machines and is extremely responsive to e-mails while also being very friendly. I also really like buying machines from someone who is a woodworker himself. I believe he was a full time cabinet builder before he became affiliated with minimax, double check that tho. If you'd like to e-mail him I'd be happy to pass on his info.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    3,345
    I can't speak to a comparison, as I have only used a relative of one of the contenders (FS41 ES). I'm pretty sure they are both wonderful, but I really love the FS41. Mine (bought used) came with an amazingly accurate DRO (accuracy seems to be about 0.1 mm), and has the motorized lift which makes changeovers really quick. The tables seem to be about the size of an aircraft carrier, I've been jointing 8-10 foot boards and not feeling any need for longer outfeed tables.

    Mine came with the porkchop guard, which I hate. Looking to replace it with either the euro style or the jointed one that folds as it moves rather than poking you in the belly.

  7. #7
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    Both are great machines. I happen to be in the SCM/Minimax ecosystem so my comfort level is high and I also really like the Tersa knife system I have. But you can't go wrong with either. Honestly, aside from the price difference you mention, lead time to delivery would be a factor for me in the final decision.
    --

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

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    Hey Erik thanks for the feedback. I definitely like the ecosystem elements of the A3. I just have to decide I guess if it's worth the extra money, it's actually coming out to about an extra $800 at this point for what I can tell is a very comparable machine. This is already a HUGE splurge for me, so that extra 10%-15% may sway me. But I'll see what kind of comments come in and hopefully I can make a decision by the end of the week. Thanks again for the honest response!
    No problem, Josh. This is none of my business but I would get with your Felder rep and make sure he/she is offering you their best deal. Mentioning this because, in my experience, the pricing tends to be pretty comparable. The amount you mentioned seems almost like the difference between a 12" machine and a 16" machine. Assuming we are talking Silent Power vs. Xylent and not Silent Power versus Tersa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Lee View Post
    I have SCM and Felder in my shop, I personally prefer SCM, or Minimax.

    For Hammer gear, I found this when I googled Hammer A3-41 Youtube....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5-cjNa_yJU&t=684s
    I've run across that video but all I can say is that, in my experience, that is very atypical. I've sold as many A3's as anyone and cannot think of a single customer who has been disappointed. To the contrary, they all seem to love their machines. I worry a lot more about freight damage than a customer being dissatisfied with their machine. Also, not to throw Felder-Canada under the bus (LOL) but it seems like possibly their service/support infrastructure is different than here in the US. I believe that guy in the video is located in Canada?

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
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    25
    Josh,
    I have a Minimax FS30c and a Hammer K3 Winner (saw). My thought process on purchasing the respective machines is as follows:

    I first started looking at Jointer/planer combos about a year ago. I strongly considered the Jet JJp-12 as it was on sale last October and the discounted price was very attractive. I did lengthy research on the web and came to the conclusion that I would not be as happy with the Jet as I would with a Hammer or Minimax. Primarily it had to do with the tables going out of coplanar on the Jet and difficult readjustment. So then it was a decision between Hammer and MM. I chose the MM for a couple of reasons. I had decided that I wanted the straight blades (one was partly a cost thing and second, my research indicated that many folks were very happy with the resulting surface, noise was not a factor for me). MM has the Tersa head and all of my research showed it is a great straight-blade system. The MM was originally supposed to take three months to be delivered while a Hammer with straight blades was going to take 8-9 months. It turns out that the MM actually took 6 months to be delivered.

    I ordered the MM through a retailer. I had a good experience with them and used them again for another purchase. Overall, the buying experience was fine and delivery went well. The pork chop guard broke within a week or two (the spring was hyper extended) but it was not good to begin with. I took that as an opportunity to get the euro guard. I contacted Parts Pronto (SCM parts) and ordered the euro guard set (it is a two piece setup). It arrived in less than 2 weeks and it is a major performance upgrade.

    I have been more than happy with the machine. Mine has the mechanical digital indicator on the wheel used for raising the plainer bed and it is a great feature to have and I’d recommend it.

    As I was waiting for the jointer planer to be delivered, I seriously started looking at new table saws. I first looked at American style cabinet saws, but then decided to make the leap to a euro slider. I quickly narrowed it down to MM and Hammer. This time I went with Hammer. The choice came down to a few factors: the size of the machine; the fact that Hammer sells through their sales reps; and the availability of accessories. The Hammer was customizable so that I could go with the size that fits my setup best. I went with the 48 (slider length) x 31(rip capacity) as it fits my space much better. Any wider on the rip capacity and it would not be a good fit at all, it is still over 60” wide with the crosscut fence on the slider. I liked that I could buy through a Felder sales rep and this allowed the customization. Finally, the ease of ordering and getting accessories in the future was a factor. I don’t really need any accessories for the jointer planer, but knew I would want add-ons for the saw and SCM does not appear as user friendly on that front. Finally, I may be wrong in my opinion, but the saw seems like a more complicated machine with more potential for future issues, and I like knowing that it should be fairly easy to contact Felder to get service. Based on my experience, and as Erik mentioned, they answer the phone and respond to emails. I cannot say that MM won’t do the same, but my one experience in contacting them directly to order the euro guard left me a little uncertain whether I would actually get the part or not. As noted above, I did get the part without issue so my initial concern may be misplaced.

    Overall, I am happy with both purchases. I have had the MM since April and have had the saw for a month. Hammer pretty much nailed it on their estimate for when the machine would get to the port. It took a while after that to get to my house due to the port and trucking backups.

    Build quality wise, they both seem well built. I have no data to support my opinion, but the MM appears slightly more robust or stout. I have not used calipers to check the thickness of the steel on the bodies/bases, they may be the same. I feel like the cast iron table surface on the MM has a nicer finish than the Hammer saw has. Both of these were upgrades from bench top or Jobsite machines, so I am not able to compare the cast iron surfaces to other manufacturers.

    Bottom line is that I have been happy with both machines and think both companies make very nice machines. I like Felder’s sales model in that I worked with their sales rep, who was always responsive and followed up when it was scheduled for delivery and reached out again after delivery. The Felder US headquarters in Delaware was also responsive and easy to work with. The sales rep was able to reduce the price, even after I had placed my order and paid my deposit when I noticed that there had been a price reduction on the website e-shop. With all that said, I would probably still go with the MM jointer planer again based on my experience with the machine (and the tersa head), but I realize it may be a roll of the dice when it comes to customer support. Please note: my skepticism on the SCM customer support is based off of a very limited experience of ordering an accessory and just a review of forum postings saying that the service is very hit or miss. Time will tell what my experiences will be.
    Last edited by Ian Guy; 10-26-2021 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Typo

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Lee View Post
    I have SCM and Felder in my shop, I personally prefer SCM, or Minimax.

    For Hammer gear, I found this when I googled Hammer A3-41 Youtube....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5-cjNa_yJU&t=684s
    Hey Albert, yea I saw this video, but the more disturbing part is actually the comments section. There are many other people that had the same issues that eventually just gave up and sold their machines, etc. I can't find any real examples of this type of problem on SCM machines.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Guy View Post
    Josh,
    I have a Minimax FS30c and a Hammer K3 Winner (saw). My thought process on purchasing the respective machines is as follows:

    I first started looking at Jointer/planer combos about a year ago. I strongly considered the Jet JJp-12 as it was on sale last October and the discounted price was very attractive. I did lengthy research on the web and came to the conclusion that I would not be as happy with the Jet as I would with a Hammer or Minimax. Primarily it had to do with the tables going out of coplanar on the Jet and difficult readjustment. So then it was a decision between Hammer and MM. I chose the MM for a couple of reasons. I had decided that I wanted the straight blades (one was partly a cost thing and second, my research indicated that many folks were very happy with the resulting surface, noise was not a factor for me). MM has the Tersa head and all of my research showed it is a great straight-blade system. The MM was originally supposed to take three months to be delivered while a Hammer with straight blades was going to take 8-9 months. It turns out that the MM actually took 6 months to be delivered.

    I ordered the MM through a retailer. I had a good experience with them and used them again for another purchase. Overall, the buying experience was fine and delivery went well. The pork chop guard broke within a week or two (the spring was hyper extended) but it was not good to begin with. I took that as an opportunity to get the euro guard. I contacted Parts Pronto (SCM parts) and ordered the euro guard set (it is a two piece setup). It arrived in less than 2 weeks and it is a major performance upgrade.

    I have been more than happy with the machine. Mine has the mechanical digital indicator on the wheel used for raising the plainer bed and it is a great feature to have and Iíd recommend it.

    As I was waiting for the jointer planer to be delivered, I seriously started looking at new table saws. I first looked at American style cabinet saws, but then decided to make the leap to a euro slider. I quickly narrowed it down to MM and Hammer. This time I went with Hammer. The choice came down to a few factors: the size of the machine; the fact that Hammer sells through their sales reps; and the availability of accessories. The Hammer was customizable so that I could go with the size that fits my setup best. I went with the 48 (slider length) x 31(rip capacity) as it fits my space much better. Any wider on the rip capacity and it would not be a good fit at all, it is still over 60Ē wide with the crosscut fence on the slider. I liked that I could buy through a Felder sales rep and this allowed the customization. Finally, the ease of ordering and getting accessories in the future was a factor. I donít really need any accessories for the jointer planer, but knew I would want add-ons for the saw and SCM does not appear as user friendly on that front. Finally, I may be wrong in my opinion, but the saw seems like a more complicated machine with more potential for future issues, and I like knowing that it should be fairly easy to contact Felder to get service. Based on my experience, and as Erik mentioned, they answer the phone and respond to emails. I cannot say that MM wonít do the same, but my one experience in contacting them directly to order the euro guard left me a little uncertain whether I would actually get the part or not. As noted above, I did get the part without issue so my initial concern may be misplaced.

    Overall, I am happy with both purchases. I have had the MM since April and have had the saw for a month. Hammer pretty much nailed it on their estimate for when the machine would get to the port. It took a while after that to get to my house due to the port and trucking backups.

    Build quality wise, they both seem well built. I have no data to support my opinion, but the MM appears slightly more robust or stout. I have not used calipers to check the thickness of the steel on the bodies/bases, they may be the same. I feel like the cast iron table surface on the MM has a nicer finish than the Hammer saw has. Both of these were upgrades from bench top or Jobsite machines, so I am not able to compare the cast iron surfaces to other manufacturers.

    Bottom line is that I have been happy with both machines and think both companies make very nice machines. I like Felderís sales model in that I worked with their sales rep, who was always responsive and followed up when it was scheduled for delivery and reached out again after delivery. The Felder US headquarters in Delaware was also responsive and easy to work with. The sales rep was able to reduce the price, even after I had placed my order and paid my deposit when I noticed that there had been a price reduction on the website e-shop. With all that said, I would probably still go with the MM jointer planer again based on my experience with the machine (and the tersa head), but I realize it may be a roll of the dice when it comes to customer support. Please note: my skepticism on the SCM customer support is based off of a very limited experience of ordering an accessory and just a review of forum postings saying that the service is very hit or miss. Time will tell what my experiences will be.
    Hey Ian thanks for all the info. I'm really torn right now for sure. But I just keep reading lots of bad experiences with the Hammer, whether it's on Youtube or other forums. I can't seem to find any bad experiences with the Minimax other than making sure it's not damaged when it arrives and being willing to make the freight guys wait while I inspect it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    63,535
    Keep mind that it's a "normal" thing for folks who have issues to complain loudly on the Internet when they have issues but are less prone to do so when they are enjoying the product. Vehicle forums are a really good example of that. I could be wrong, but I suspect that Hammer/Felder sells more machines of this type than some other manufacturers so that can skew things a bit at first glance relative to "reviews" and problem descriptions.

    The shipping problem is real no matter what the brand is, too. Erik has mentioned this more than once, particularly relative to less experienced LTL drivers out there at this point. A lot of the gurus retired when things ground to a slow pace at the height of the pandemic. (if you know anyone who is or wants to be a truck driver, there is a "yuge" need right now...like 60-80K drivers are needed to get things back to "normal") So yea...be sure to carefully check things over.
    --

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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NE Connecticut
    Posts
    675
    Josh,

    I have a Minimax fs41c and am very happy with it. I have the Tersa head, which I love, and I added a Wixey DRO to the planer bed. I have had the machine for four or five years and have had no issues with it whatsoever. Dust collection is very good, even with my mediocre system.

    My purchase experience was excellent and Sam Blasco checked in on me by phone and email a couple of times during and after the process.

    Assuming nothing has changed in the design or manufacturing, I would definitely recommend this machine.


  14. #14
    Seems like thereís more people buying the Hammer A series. Maybe because Felder is more aggressive about selling and minimax isnít really focused on pushing the machines. Mimimax is a 1 man show and Sam Blasco covers the entire U.S market by himself as it seems. I enjoy watching his YouTube videos.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    2,162
    I have no experience with either of the jointer/planers you are looking at. I do however have some perspective on Felder vs .Minimax machines. I own a Felder K700s sliding TS and a Felder edgebander. I also currently own a Minimax sliding table shaper. Used to have a Minimax Sc2 sliding saw. I find both brands to be excellent machines and think most people would be very happy with either. To me the difference I see is that Minimax are more all business (slightly more utilitarian-stout) . Felder seem slightly more refined while still being constructed very well. I would go either way if I had to do it all over again. Service was not a consideration for me up front as my machines were all purchased used. It may be one longer term if I ever require parts. One more thing ,do not overlook just how good Tersa heads are. I would hands down take Tersa all day long over a segmented head. Nicer finish, knife changes in minutes that set themselves precisely. What is not to like ?

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