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Thread: Minimax FS 41c vs Hammer A3-41

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    25
    Josh, I am very happy with the Minimax jointer planer and as I mentioned, I’d likely buy it again. The tersa head is great so far and gives great surface results.

    I tried to do as much research as I could before buying, but there just didn’t seem to be as much information about MM machines as with Hammer/Felder, so I kind of felt like I was taking a chance. As Jim mentioned, it may be due to the fact that there are more Hammer and Felder machines out there in the hobbyist world then MM, so more people are posting about them on forums like this. I recall that most of the MM complaints seemed to be delivery damage and/or customer service support.

    So far, I have no regrets and think it is a great machine and see no reason to doubt the quality or craftsmanship. As you and others have noted, shipping and delivery with any machine may be the wild card these days, but that has nothing to do with the build quality. I think most of the Hammer complaints are due to shipping damage as well, I don’t perceive that there is a quality control issue in which they are shipping out defective or subpar machines. On that note, I was more impressed with the crating for the Hammer—it had a cage made out of 2x4s all around it. The MM had an sturdy cardboard cover over the machine. Best of luck in your buying decision.
    Last edited by Ian Guy; 10-26-2021 at 3:45 PM.

  2. #17
    You guys are giving me a ton to think about! Haha
    Now Felder is offering the machine for a few hundred less than the Minimax. This is probably the toughest tool decision I've had to make as there doesn't seem to be a clear winner overall. I'm going to make a decision by tomorrow and I'm sure I'll be happy either way. If anyone has more input that's useful that would be great, but so far I think you guys have answered all of my major questions.

  3. #18
    If either of the machines you are considering has a motorized planer table lift option, get it. Cranking the table manually when changing functions is a pain, especially when milling that one mis-cut or forgotten piece.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    3,345
    1) I'm pretty sure you can't make a bad choice among these models. It's a good dilemma to be in.
    2) I've got a segmented head, which beats my old straight knife machine hands down. I've never had the chance to use a Tersa machine, so I don't know what I'm missing.
    3) What Kevin said about the motorized table lift.

  5. #20
    I dont find it a pain to raise a table on a quality machine in fact it reminds me that is a quality machine. They dont all feel the same, my progress stroke sander was like Shaolin Training number 84. Yes grasshopper when you can wind the table down and back up in 4 hours then you can leave the Monestary.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    515
    just to make life a little more interesting if you dont mind some more reading...

    https://www.woodworkforums.com/f154/...n-wheel-243521

    my problem with SCM machine is that the user manual are translated badly and might as well be in Italian and let me guess what they are trying to say...

  7. #22
    Albert not sure I can the photos photos and no time. The only improvement id make on my SCM is to make handles out of wood. I did this on the mortise machine and it makes it much nicer to use, more so when the shop is cold. Simple thing huge difference when using.

    P1600709Aghghghgh.jpg
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 10-26-2021 at 7:32 PM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
    Posts
    2,314
    No experience with SCM products but I love my A3-41 machine. The surface finish is so nice that I considered selling my double-drum sander. The sander was a purchase to smooth out the ripples from my old 12" jointer-planer machine, but I keep it around to smooth cutting boards.
    No problems at all with the Hammer. You will not be disappointed.

  9. #24
    Well after a ton of deliberation and a major discount I went with the Hammer A3-41. It ended up being about $500 less and I think both machines have their positives and negatives. Hopefully when it gets here in March it'll be flat! Thanks again for everyone's help

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,992
    Youíll it Josh, and you would have loved the other machine just as much, both are great choices.

    Yes it will be flat, enough. Itís not a surface grinder, itís a woodworking machine.

    Enjoy, please keep us postedÖ..Regards Rod.

  11. #26

    Extras

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    Well after a ton of deliberation and a major discount I went with the Hammer A3-41. It ended up being about $500 less and I think both machines have their positives and negatives. Hopefully when it gets here in March it'll be flat! Thanks again for everyone's help
    Josh,

    Just a note. I'm happy with my A3-41. I purchased a dial indicator, an extra jointer guard & covers, extension table supports and the 13" extruded aluminum tables. You might do the same. I mounted one of the outfeed support tables on the planer and the other on the infeed of the jointer. I've been doing a new workbench and the 8' 8/4 beech was pretty heavy and the table helped a lot on the infeed side. I made a wooden wheel with dowels for raising and lowering my planer bed with a cordless drill. The jointer guard & covers were about $30. I cut the extra aluminum 16" guard with my bandsaw down to a 9" and a 7", and then put the extra covers on the ends. Now I have 3 guard covers, so that I don't use the same knives all the time on the jointer and have to step around the end of the euroguard (which I much prefer over my porkchop one of the past!).

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,471
    Hi all,

    Reviving this thread as I'm currently on the cusp of ordering a J/P after many years of looking. As with so much in this world right now, things have changed a bit. Both machines are on sale right now, but the comparable Hammers are considerably lower in price than Minimaxs. In fact, the A3-41 (w/spiral) with is less than the FS-30 Cx, i.e., the Hammer 16" is less than than the Minimax 12":

    A3-31 (w/spiral): $4,607
    A3-41 (w/spiral): $6,185
    FS-30 Cx (w/spiral): $6,495
    FS-41Cx (w/spiral): $8,095
    FS-30 C (w/tersa):$5,995

    Additionally, shipping looks to be a bit more from SCM and third party SCM dealers. While I'd lean toward a Minimax machine, the price difference right now makes it a bit of a no-brainer to order a Hammer.

    What I'd really like to find is a reasonable deal on a used machine, but that's turning into a bit of unicorn hunt...

    Thoughts, comments welcome.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Location
    Northern Colorado
    Posts
    348
    I recently went through exactly what you did. In the end I went the non-combo route for personal reasons/preferences that I will not debate here. Having said that, I looked long and hard at that many of the machines you listed. I'm a serious hobbyist woodworker/CNC and from that position I felt both would be perfect for my long term needs in terms of doing what they're supposed to do. Switching between tool functions I feel SCM is the better and having the tersa blade as an option is a huge plus, for me. If cost is a factor Hammer seems like the way to go. I also had a better experience getting response to inquiries for Hammer products as a hobbyist, but that could have just been my bad luck.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    9,018
    Assuming that (1) build construction is the same for each manufacturer (and I believe it is), and (2) switching between jointer and thickness-planer is a non-issue (since whatever it is, one gets used to it), then the important features in my experience are:

    (1) ease of accurate set up, such as having a digital gauge - that is a game changer. Bed extensions are important for some (Iíve not found this so for myself). The digital gauge makes it possible to return later and machine another board to the exact same -and predetermined - thickness.

    (2) ease and longevity of the cutting edge, rather than the absolute surface quality remaining - one could debate carbide inserts vs tersa blade, but this is irrelevant when you will either finish hand plane or sand the surfaces. I have had my A3-31 for about 8 or 9 years now, and it has strong hobby use with abrasive Australian hardwoods. In all this time I am now on the third turning of the cutters. So, around 15 years before changing them out?

    (3) Noise is a major concern for me. I do not want my family or my neighbours to be inconvenienced in any way. The Silent Head and carbide cutters are indeed silent.

    (4) Ultimately, reliability and technical support will be the decider. What can you expect? In my city - and, indeed as I understand Australia-wide - there is more available backup for Felder. The Felder service in Perth is nothing short of amazing! I had two recent adventures, one was the replacement of a broken part (connector) on the A3-31, and the other was purchasing a short rip fence (as a bump stop) for the K3. Correspondence was unbelievable - answering emails on a Sunday night! Both arrived at my doorstep within two days by courier, which is unheard of in Oz.

    It is difficult to write this without is sounding like glowing recommendations for Hammer. That is not my intention. It is rather to draw attention to why my praise is such, and that this will affect choices.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,471
    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Michael, I've thought long and hard about separates, but space is and will be a concern for at least the next 4-5 years. And I also use 8"+ boards quite frequently and thus a J/P will add value with the wider jointer.

    Derek, I'll absolutely be adding the digital wheel on the Hammer or a DRO with any other set up. Noise is also an issue with me, so leaning toward spiral for that reason, but a used Tersa machine would also do the trick (i'm upgrading from a jet engine disguised as a lunchbox planer).

    I wish I could make a decision based on service/dealer location, but I'm a bit in the hinterlands, so the idea of paying for a service call is essentially a non-starter. This is one of the reasons a used machine is attractive-warranty for these machines will not likely do much for me beyond parts replacement.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

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