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Thread: In search of a benchtop wood planer

  1. #1

    In search of a benchtop wood planer

    I recently purchased a Grizzly G0940 13" benchtop planer with a helical cutting head. This has turned out to be a frustrating experience. I am in the process of returning my third planer for a full refund. All the planers were damaged in shipment from Grizzly's Missouri warehouse to my home in State College, Pa. via UPS. Each had exterior damage, varying from cracked/dented cast aluminum base plates, bent side panel, bent clips on the underside of the top lid of the planer, and infeed/outfeed rollers and cutting heads that were knocked out of alignment. Grizzly sent replacement planers and would have sent me a 4th, but I decided to ask for a refund. Grizzly's tech staff was patient and helpful, but the shipping departmentwould not provide adequate shipping cartions/material to absorb the abuse of shipping, refusing to double box a planer or to use a more sturdy shipping container.
    I am know beginning my search of another benchtop planer. My primary reason for the Grizzly purchase was the integrated helical cutting head. The price point was also reasonable considering the $500-$800 cost of fitting a helical cutting head into a planer with traditional cutting blades, such as the DeWalt models.

    These are my questions:
    *In what condition should I expect a planer to be in out of the box? The Grizzly model cost $895.00.
    *Out of the box, how much mechanical adjustment should be anticipated regarding the alignment of the rollers and cutting head?
    *Is any one aware of another brand with a true helical cutting head besides Oliver (sp) or Baily (sp)? Jet and Rikon has model with spheral cutting heads. I have read that the helical cutting head provides a smooth cut and is easier to maintain/replace cutting insert.

    In reading customer reviews, there are numerous reports of defects/damage in shipment or motor problems (the new Jet model).
    My garage workshop doesn't have the space for a floor model besides the cost of a floor model being 2-3x the cost of a benchtop model. I know there is the probable advantage of a better made product with more accurate factory set alignment, but I cann't justify the $2000-$3000 cost!
    I'm beginning the lean toward the new Rikon model with the spheral cutting head.
    I'm also still considering requesting a 4th planer from Grizzly since I haven't received a return shipping label yet. The closest store to make a direct purchase is a Woodcraft Store in Harrisburg, Pa.. Woodcraft also can ship floor standing models in a shorter length semi that can turn around in a cul-de-sac where I live. I can purchase a Shop Fox to pick up from Home Depot that is a 13" model with a spheral cutting head.

    Does anyone have any advice or guidance in response to this posting regarding expectation for mechanical adjustments out of the box and tool company branch that has integrated helical cutting heads?
    Your comment will be greatly appreciated.
    Mark Mrsa

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Camillus, NY
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    344
    Depending on resolution with Grizzly, if you move on Dewalt DW735 , from a big box can't be beat for a hobby shop. It is the greatest labor saving device I own....sanding with 150 grit after planing. It is not a spiral head machine, but have never shared the fascination all share for spiral heads and carbide cutters. If you are planing hundreds of board feet at a time, maybe. But for my use, it can't be beat. IMHO.
    Jerry

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    North Prairie, WI
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    I second Jerry's vote for the DW735. I have had mine for a number of years and love it. The knives are easy to flip and change and it does a very nice job. My only complaint is how loud it is. It's kind of annoying (even with hearing protection on) when the planer and DC are both running in my basement shop.

    Scott

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Brader View Post
    I second Jerry's vote for the DW735. I have had mine for a number of years and love it. The knives are easy to flip and change and it does a very nice job. My only complaint is how loud it is. It's kind of annoying (even with hearing protection on) when the planer and DC are both running in my basement shop.

    Scott
    +1. I mean +another.
    Granted this one is loud. BUT all "lunchbox" planers are loud. This one especially so. I have one, and I really like it. It's got 3 blades instead of 2, so it has to be at least 50% louder.
    A friend of mine has one too, and doesn't have a dust collector. He runs a hose to the yard and uses it for a mulch spreader.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
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    27,816
    Mark, I have one of the original Ridgid 13" planers. It works well. Cutech now sells what appears to be the same planer with a spiral cutterhead. It's model number is Cutech 40200H. Another Creeker has the same planer as I and upgraded his with a Cutech 13" spiral cutterhead and rollers. He reported it was much quieter and produced a smoother finish after the upgrade. Cutech makes this in a one and two speed models.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 12-08-2021 at 7:27 PM.
    Ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    598
    I will chime in also. Another vote for the DW735. It simply cannot be beat for a hobby grade planer. The knives are easy and quick to change.

    My jointer is helical and I love it, but I cannot imagine going to straight knives and having to align them after a sharpening. The 735 knives do not need aligning, just drop them in and tighten up. The 735 also gives as good or better finish cut than the helical jointer.

  7. #7
    I bought a Cuetech (now Wahuda) planer and jointer a couple of years ago. Both have heilical heads, and both were shipped directly to me. There was no damage to either unit and no damage to the boxes, which were heavy cardboard with lots of foam surrounding the tools. I doubt that the planer is as good as the Dewalt, but both tools cost me less than $700 shipped. They will get me by until I have the space and money for something like a Hammer or Felder combo unit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    59,345
    The expectation for a new in box machine that arrives on your doorstep should be exactly that..."new in box" and pretty much pristine. There should be no damage, even if a box has a ding. If it arrives any other way...it's a problem and would not be acceptable to me. And that's for any vendor.
    --

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Another vote for the DeWalt DW735, I've had one for years and love it. You can also get high quality HSS and carbide blades for it that provide an extremely smooth finish and last longer than the OEM blades.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    North Dana, Masachusetts
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    325
    I use a DeWalt 735 with straight knives as a finish planer. I have been taking about 1/32" off after running the wood through a 20" planer. The finish is great. Dust collection is good, too. It's the only planer I have seen with built in dust collection. It has a little blower inside that shoots the dust into my dust collection system.

    The time spent running the wood through that planer on slow translates directly into much less sanding. The DeWalt never sees rough lumber, sanded wood, or wood that has been on the floor.

    As far as quantity, I run the planer for hours on end when I am milling wood.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    579
    I have a DW735 also, and I upgraded from a DW734. And while it is loud as heck, it's a great machine. But another machine to look at is the Laguna PX12. If it was out when I got my 735 I might have gone for it. I saw one a few weeks ago at the woodcraft store in Downington, PA. I know it's about a 3 hour drive each way, but might be worth just going if you want to put your hands on it before buying. Call first of course to make sure it's still there.
    Distraction could lead to dismemberment!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The expectation for a new in box machine that arrives on your doorstep should be exactly that..."new in box" and pretty much pristine. There should be no damage, even if a box has a ding. If it arrives any other way...it's a problem and would not be acceptable to me. And that's for any vendor.

    I agree, you pay for a new machine that's what you should get.
    I still have my Delta 22-580, out of the box it just worked, period. The only adjustment other than changing blades is I adjusted the infeed and outfeed tables when I first set it up.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Ottawa, On, Canada
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    73
    Another vote for Dewalt 735. My tiny workshop is only 9x12, so noise generated by this machine is accelerated, but the results are amazing

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
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    1,124
    I found a dewalt 734 on local craigslist while saving up for a 735. Completely satisfied. There are helical heads out there for the 735, but I don’t need one.

  15. #15
    I agree with your packing comments, Grizzly should do better, but I also think lunchbox planners have gotten pretty heavy for one UPS driver to manage and that is the source of the damage - when combined with relatively poor packaging. Home delivery may require better packaging.

    I have had good luck with ordering tools for delivery to my Home Depot where I pick them up. It is not a real fast process but I think this sort of shipping has a better chance of delivering a product in good shape.

    If I was to replace my old Ryobi AP-10, I would probably buy a Wen with a spiral cutter head. Unless Home Depot has it available, I would also have the risky shipment process to deal with. Amazon would be my next choice, they seem to understand home delivery very well. I think the Wen is the least expensive option and I've had good luck with other tools from them. It seems to have an odd size square cutter, however, that is only available in steel (no carbide option). Since you have four surfaces to go through that doesn't seem prohibitive for my occasional use.

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