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Thread: A few issues and questions about the Hammer A3-41

  1. #1

    A few issues and questions about the Hammer A3-41

    I've had my Hammer A3-41 for a few years. I rarely use it because a bulk of my projects lately have been ply based.

    I've always had an issue with the planer function where boards would slip to the side as they went through. I finally resolved this after watching a recent calibration video on YouTube. The outfeed roller was high on one side by about .010-.015. Quite a lot. Easy fix but surprised it left the factory like this.

    The other issue that I cant figure out is snipe. Most of the reviews and youtubers using this say the machine doesn't cause snipe. Well mine does, and almost on every board regardless of size. I do tighten the planer bed lever but that doesn't seem to help. Any idea how to solve this? I am guessing this has to do with the rollers also, or maybe the planer bed lever is not doing its job.

    Finally, has anyone improved or upgraded the jointer fence? It is flimsy, doesn't hold square, and has to recalibrated every time I move it. For a $7k machine, this fence is junk. I noticed that if I dont press down the right side fence rail guide when I tight it down, the fence will move. The linear bearing has too much slop. THe mechanism behind the fence that controls the tilt angle is also very flimsy. Would one of the Felder fences work on this machine with some new attach points drilled? I am thinking of making my own modification using 80/20 extrusion and linear bearings. Curious if anyone else has tackled this. The SCM fences also look much more robust.
    Last edited by Joshua Bass; 11-08-2021 at 11:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    890
    I've had my A3-31 for over 5 years now and have similar observations.

    I rarely see the boards slipping to the side when planing, but I certainly get snipe. I believe it's caused by the rollers, but nothing I've tried has fixed the problem. Typically the snipe is very minimal; less than I got with the DeWalt 734 I had previously, but still noticeable. I've also had problems with boards getting stuck on their way through the planer, but that "Supergleit" stuff that Felder sells fixes that right up.

    As for the jointer fence, I agree that it's pretty flimsy and doesn't hold its calibration. I removed that blade guard in the back behind the fence, so I don't have that second knob back there to help keep the fence from flexing. I'm pretty sure it flexed even with that knob / guard being there though. I've seen someone recommend using one of those switchable magnetic blocks behind the far end of the fence in order to keep it from flexing. As for the calibration, I swear that thing goes off 90 degrees every time you push on it. And I agree the tilt mechanism is basically just adequate. But I've had a sliding table saw for just over 3 years now, so I use that for putting straight edges on material instead of using the jointer. If I have to use the jointer for edge jointing then I just take the time to make sure the fence is set to 90 before starting the work.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
    Posts
    677
    A3-31 here the planer function has been dead on with the exception boards started sticking and I couldn't figure out why. I was about to take it apart and re-calibrate but someone said lube the bed. I did and problem solved. I get zero snipe out of mine, I dont have extensions and havent done anything to achieve this.

    The fence is crap. Mine is adjustable 45 to about 89 degrees. I cant even get a full 90 unless i pull hard on it then I can get it to stay for a couple passes I think an aftermarket fence may be in order. I have a 6' piece of 30/60 I may play with someday I dont think ill ever need to use anything but 90 degree

  4. #4
    Maybe folks are already doing this but waxing the planer table religiously is a "must". For whatever reason, combined jointer/planers (all brands, all levels) are EXTREMELY sensitive to friction between the workpiece and the cast iron table.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    Maybe folks are already doing this but waxing the planer table religiously is a "must". For whatever reason, combined jointer/planers (all brands, all levels) are EXTREMELY sensitive to friction between the workpiece and the cast iron table.

    Erik
    Are there any other ways to deal with the snipe? I waxed the bed multiple times prior to my last run through and it did not help.

  6. #6
    I donít have any answers, but just wanted to say that Iíd be bummed and a bit peeved if I paid ~ $7k for a machine and the fence is trash and wonít hold an accurate setting. Surely everyone who uses the machine would notice that the fence doesnít hold its setting and be screaming for an upgraded solution or?
    Still waters run deep.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    I donít have any answers, but just wanted to say that Iíd be bummed and a bit peeved if I paid ~ $7k for a machine and the fence is trash and wonít hold an accurate setting. Surely everyone who uses the machine would notice that the fence doesnít hold its setting and be screaming for an upgraded solution or?
    There are more videos popping up where people are fighting with Felder over various issues like this and eventually being able to return the unit (required to pay shipping which isnt cheap). Others are just dealing with the nuisance in different ways such as putting a magswitch behind the fence.

    I understand them wanting to make Hammer their budget line, but IMO they cut costs in all the wrong places on this device.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Bass View Post
    Are there any other ways to deal with the snipe? I waxed the bed multiple times prior to my last run through and it did not help.
    What general length workpieces are we talking about? In my experience, it's really easy to snipe short pieces (pressure from the outfeed roller overcomes weight of the board and kicks the leading edge up on the way out out of the pressure assembly) and really easy to snip long pieces (weight of the board kicks the tail of the board up, on the way out), but the "in-between" lengths don't seem affected. At least for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    I donít have any answers, but just wanted to say that Iíd be bummed and a bit peeved if I paid ~ $7k for a machine and the fence is trash and wonít hold an accurate setting. Surely everyone who uses the machine would notice that the fence doesnít hold its setting and be screaming for an upgraded solution or?
    Here's my 2-cents on combined jointer/planer fences, having sold about eleventy-thousand (both Austrian and Italian) over the years: None of their fences are truly awesome. If someone is expecting a fence like the cast iron jointers of the old days, they'll be disappointed. But that's not the European design and possibly, many folks aren't mindful of that during their purchasing experience. The fences on these machines are always a compromise, and must be by design. Too short, too complex, flex too much, awkward to adjust, etc. So, not surprising when someone tells me they need to shim this, tweak that, etc. All this being said, I don't personally have owners who consider these points to be deal breakers. Maybe because I'm pretty up-front about what to expect from your machine but I feel like my customers understand all this, going in, so it's a non-issue. There are so many other reasons beyond the fence, to own a combined jointer/planer in a home shop, IMO.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
    Posts
    677
    The fence isnt something I noticed as an issue until after my first day of milling. It seems like the right side is more solid but as you move to the left it gets flimsier. I think if you could put an extrusion on the outfeed side and extend the fence to the end you can have 2 solid points.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by George Yetka View Post
    The fence isnt something I noticed as an issue until after my first day of milling. It seems like the right side is more solid but as you move to the left it gets flimsier. I think if you could put an extrusion on the outfeed side and extend the fence to the end you can have 2 solid points.
    In my Italian days, we would use the magnetic base from a dial indicator to back the fence up. Low-tech but very effective.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    New Hampster, USA
    Posts
    53
    Isn't snipe typically caused by the pressure bar being too high?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes Anderson View Post
    Isn't snipe typically caused by the pressure bar being too high?
    Possibly. The calibration manual they sent me says that, but it also says if the bar is too lose snipe can also happen. I guess I will loosen it first to see what happens.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    10,817
    Iím on my second A3, first is 13 years old and running fine in another shop.

    Second is 10 years old in my shop.

    Yes, lubricate the cast iron surfaces, previously I used wax, now I use Silber Gleit from Felder, works better. Boards fishtailing through the planer are almost always bed lubrication issues, rarely feed roller.

    I have zero snipe with either machine and no fence issues.

    Make sure the fence mounting rail is the correct distance below the indeed table.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Holmes Anderson View Post
    Isn't snipe typically caused by the pressure bar being too high?

    There is no pressure bar in a Hammer JP, not even on the AD941 which is what I have. it is one of the weaknesses of a JP few if any have an actual pressure bar, that said I have zero snip except occasionally on a very thin piece a pressure bar would help with that, also the AD941 fence is pretty solid for a jp it will deflect some but that would be due to bad technique, everyone thinks that these fences are to flexy bet it's really just poor technique on a euro style machinne

  15. #15
    I'm not following the fence issue. As Rod said, make sure the mounting rail is the correct distance (I believe 17mm?) down from the table surface. You really need to mount it carefully - plane a spacer block to thickness and clamp it all in place before tightening down the bolts.

    But it sounds like some folks are concerned with the fence deflecting at the far (away from the mounting rail) end (such that the fence is no longer perpendicular to the long axis of the cutterhead)? Why is that a concern? The fence only needs to be square to the table, not the cutterhead.

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