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Thread: opinions on Virutex lipping planer?

  1. #1
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    opinions on Virutex lipping planer?

    i have a large job coming up where i have to do a lot of accurate trimming of 3/4" stock against UV plywood, and i'm looking for an easy approach. does anyone have anything to say about the Virutex lipper?

    thanks.

  2. #2
    No direct experience with the Virutex. I have seen the Hoffman (no longer available) in use and it did a very nice job. My impression of Virutex power tools based on my 35 y/o biscuit joiner and my son's power compass plane is that they produce solid mid-range tools comparable to Bosh or Makita. It appears the Lamello Cantek is no longer available, or I would suggest looking at that. I don't know of any dedicated alternatives besides the Betterley setup and shop-made copies. I think lipping planers excel for large assemblies and mitered edgebands.

    I have had very good results trimming banding climb cutting on a shaper, but that doesn't work with miters. Router setups can work well too. They all require some sanding for perfectly flush results so you have to decide how to deal with finishing the edgeband on prefinished material, whether allowing some slight nonflush condition and masking, or scuffing the panel surface and finishing over the joint.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 05-26-2024 at 11:31 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    No direct experience with the Virutex. I have seen the Hoffman (no longer available) in use and it did a very nice job. My impression of Virutex power tools based on my 35 y/o biscuit joiner and my son's power compass plane is that they produce solid mid-range tools comparable to Bosh or Makita. It appears the Lamello Cantek is no longer available, or I would suggest looking at that. I don't know of any dedicated alternatives besides the Betterley setup and shop-made copies. I think lipping planers excel for large assemblies and mitered edgebands.

    I have had very good results trimming banding climb cutting on a shaper, but that doesn't work with miters. Router setups can work well too. They all require some sanding for perfectly flush results so you have to decide how to deal with finishing the edgeband on prefinished material, whether allowing some slight nonflush condition and masking, or scuffing the panel surface and finishing over the joint.

    kevin - thanks for this, it's all consistent with my experience. i wanted a lamello, and even talked to my rep who confirmed they are unavailable. i do have the festool MFK, and i have the fast cap "little lipper" on a trim router with a bottom-bearing spiral cutter... the festool would require modification (and a new base) to use a longer spiral bit, and the fastcap is ok, but somewhat unreliable and difficult to control. for this job, i will be flush trimming a lot of 20mm RSWO on UV2 plywood, and it has to be right. if i could buy a hoffman or a lamello, it would be a done deal.

    anyway, maybe someone owns a virutex and can speak to the good/bad... it may or may not be a good answer.

    thanks again,

    --- dz

  4. #4
    I use a shopmade equivalent of the MFK for trimming 1/4" banding when I don't want to set up the shaper, but the whole idea of having the motor hanging off the panel is wrong even with a wide reference plate and anything bigger than a laminate trimmer more so. With a handheld unit you really want the weight over the panel which is what a lipping planer gives you. The Betterly type setup is stable but the surface you get from a vertical spindle typically requires more cleanup than a horizontal cutter. I did find this video showing the Virutex and Hoffman units in use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgK4PPlHmwg Good luck with getting feedback on the Virutex. Too bad it's the only available option now, I guess the market is limited. I suspect it will do the job for you and will be interested to hear what you settle on.

  5. #5
    Dave,

    I have the virutex. It is a solid and heavily built for a portable tool. Not as refined as lamello products but I have found it accurate and predictable in use. I can recommend it. I used it extensively on this white oak kitchen.
    IMG_0412.jpgIMG_0388.jpg
    Michael
    Last edited by Michael Todrin; 05-27-2024 at 9:19 AM. Reason: Photo

  6. #6
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    David, let us know if you pull the trigger on the Virutex. I’m bummed Lamello cut theirs from production. I’ve seen used ones come up here and there, but I’m wary of going that route since it seems replacement blades would become problematic down the road.

  7. #7
    Here's a two year old thread on flush trimming. Joe Calhoon posted several times with pics of his Virutex and a shaper setup with comments on each method. https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....-Trimming-Jigs

  8. #8
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    that's all very good info, thanks. i thought about the shaper... i have the same cutter head that joe uses, and theoretically i should be able to set up to make accurate cuts. the problem i always run into when i try to do this on the shaper is if the material isn't perfectly straight and flat, the cut either doesn't follow the subtle changes in the plywood, or gouges it. yeah, the power feeder should shove the material flat into the fence, but in practice, i could never seem to get a reliable clean cut.

    joe - not sure if you're listening, but can you post a shot of your setup on your Martin shaper, if you have one handy? maybe i'll play with it and see how it goes, it certainly would be much faster....

    -- dz

  9. #9
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    I like Joe’s setup there! I’ve got some flush trimming to do next week and I’ll give that a go on my shaper. I’ve been using a dedicated trim router setup for a long time that I’ve never been happy with.

  10. #10
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    Dave,
    I will get a picture soon. I have my shapers set for a project I am working on the next couple days. I have the Virutex trimmer. It’s a little fussy but works. Not as well balanced as the old Hofmann trimmer. When I had a crew only my top hand could run it without ruining work.
    the Shaper setup might work for miters with a backup board behind the workpiece.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by David Zaret View Post
    i have the same cutter head that joe uses, and theoretically i should be able to set up to make accurate cuts. the problem i always run into when i try to do this on the shaper is if the material isn't perfectly straight and flat, the cut either doesn't follow the subtle changes in the plywood, or gouges it. yeah, the power feeder should shove the material flat into the fence, but in practice, i could never seem to get a reliable clean cut.
    Flat, straight-edged panels are going to be an issue no matter what method is used for trimming. Veneer core ply is rarely as flat as you want to get a really clean consistent result with minimal handwork. "Classic Core" type panels with a calibrated core and mdf crossband are better in that regard. If you are using an accurate panel saw straightness should not be a problem.

    I have had the best results with a shaper as the powerfeed forces the panel flat and the fence eliminates the possibility of cutting beyond the banding width. I haven't actually used the lipping planers but non-flat panels are always going to result in some unevenness- you have to set the cutter height so it never cuts below the veneer face. Hand-held trimmers with shorter bases will follow the panel surface more closely but then you have more possibility of operator error. You could taper the ends of the auxiliary shaper table so the flat reference surface is only as long as the powerfeed wheels. Joe's photos in the SMC thread I referenced are pretty clear and basically the same as my setup.

    Seems to me miters would be impossible on the shaper setup unless done sequentially- glue a mitered section on, trim it, then add the next piece and so on. Otherwise the second piece would foul the auxiliary table, wouldn't it?
    DSCN0415.jpgDSCN0416.jpg
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 05-27-2024 at 11:04 AM.

  12. #12
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    Keven, you are right about trimming with all the pieces attached. That’s even tricky with the lipping planer.

  13. #13
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    joe, the flat setup with the multi use is brilliant. i’ll try that. i assumed the piece was vertical up against the fence…
    Last edited by David Zaret; 05-27-2024 at 5:08 PM.

  14. #14
    Hoffman used to sell the Adler. It did corners better than the Vitruex. I used a custom made one that had figured out stuff better. All the edges attached was not an issue, you might make a pass or two more. Fine adjustment done with Scotch tape. One thing I didnt like on commercial designs is the left hand is on the left side. The handle for the left hand is better on the right side, that way you will never tilt. Big shops are ahead of us all. Custom tool guys that work there making stuff better
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 05-27-2024 at 2:29 PM.

  15. #15
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    I have the Virutex and use it for exactly the work you're describing. A bit fussy to get dialed in but it does the job well. I use the fence whenever I can to prevent scalping.

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