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Thread: review: Wixey Digital Planer Thickness Gauge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Georgia
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    243

    review: Wixey Digital Planer Thickness Gauge

    I purchased the Wixey Digital Planer Thickness Gauge from Hartville Tool:
    http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/12148

    I installed it on my Delta 22-580 today. Installation was pretty simple and took about an hour or so. For this particular planer it required that I cut a small rectangle from the end panel of the planer. According to the instructions, for most planers, it doesn't require any modification.

    Since the device mounts to the end cover panel of the planer, the instructions suggest that the cover panel should be fully immobilized with the use of epoxy. I chose to skip that step figuring I would deal with it later if it turned out to be a problem. What I have found is that if I purposesly move the end panel as much as I can, it only affects the reading by +/- .001", so I'm choosing not to worry about it.

    So far, I love this accessory! Calibration is extremely fast and simple. I've run about 10 boards through it now, and I'm finding the readout to be dead-on accurate. Reading the thickness with a rule that measures in 64ths of an inch, I can not find any deviation.

    I can already tell this is going to be one of those "how did I live without it" accessories. I can now reliably take off the amount I intend to with each pass, and make the final pass exactly where I intend to. Historically, I have found it somewhat difficult to hit the last pass dead on without overshooting slightly, but that shouldn't be a problem any longer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Deep South
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    3,846
    Here is another vote for the Wixey digital readout. It has performed exactly as I hoped it would.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    North Central Wisconsin
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    152
    I purchased one last year for an older (c 1990) Delta lunchbox planer that had seen better days, and it ended up costing me money ... in a good way!

    I could actually see the gauge change dimensions as the board went through the planer at even the slightest passes. This planer didn't have a head lockout function, and it had obviously worn enough over the years that there was just too much 'slop' in the workings to hold a constant setting, even with new knives and a lot of setup attention.

    I took the opportunity to upgrade to a new Steel City 15" floor unit with the Wixey as standard equipment (the cost I mentioned earlier) .. big difference in accuracy.

    I find that for the way I work it is great having that precise repeatability. I usually am winging it when I make something of an original design and rarely mill up all the parts at one time. I won't always make the parts exactly 1/4", 1/2" etc .. rather I will joint and then plane until the parts are clean and straight even if they end up at some 'odd' dimension.

    That's where the Wixey shines for me. I can always get another part at exactly the same thickness anytime I want by simply using a caliper on an existing part, then planing until the Wixey hits that exact thickness. The old trial and error method I used with the Delta was always frustrating, and rarely accurate.

    If you machine as you go, the Wixey will be a very welcome addition to your shop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    556
    Steven,
    I assume that you used the double stick tape that came with the gauge to attach it to your planer. Have you had any problems with the gauge falling off? Mine came off a week after I installed it and I was thinking of somehow crewing it to the panel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Berkovsky View Post
    Steven,
    I assume that you used the double stick tape that came with the gauge to attach it to your planer. Have you had any problems with the gauge falling off? Mine came off a week after I installed it and I was thinking of somehow crewing it to the panel.
    Sorry, I should have mentioned this in the review. I didn't like the idea of depending on the tape. I used it to get it positioned, but then I used two screws. The frame of the Wixey already has two holes drilled in it for screws. I just grabbed two of my shortest wood screws (5/8" I think) and let them self-tap through the planer's plastic panel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    38
    Steve ... I've also got the Wixley and now, could not live without it. My experience is similar to yours. I mounted mine with pop rivets because of problems with the tape. This is a great product.

    Barry in WV

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Sun Peaks, BC Canada
    Posts
    66
    If I am reading you correctly Steven, this guage will act as a depth stop on on my older planer that did not come with one. Is that correct?

    Thanks, Basil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
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    19,709
    Mine has relied on the double stick tape for some time. I did clean the surfaces with lighter fluid prior to sticking the tape, Temps in the shop from 40* - 110* with no problems so far. We have pretty low humidity here which could be a factor.
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Georgia
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    Steven, thanks for the review. I had seen that in the hartville catalog but was not sure if it would peform as described but am glad to hear that it does.
    Ben

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil Rathbone View Post
    If I am reading you correctly Steven, this guage will act as a depth stop on on my older planer that did not come with one. Is that correct?

    Thanks, Basil
    Not Steven, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. All kidding aside, I have one. It is not a depth stop, but a depth gauge. There are no index stops involved. It simply and accuratly tells you how far it is between the bed and the knives.

    I love mine BTW. The only time I had to adjust it is when I changed the battery (although I did check it every time for the first few weeks until I trusted it; never a problem). Bear in mind that mine is on a mobile flip top base and get moved and swung upside down regularly.
    I am familiar with modern idioms but they are outside the vocabulary of what I want to say.

    - George Dyson (composer)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    2,647
    I've been using mine for about 6-months and it has done wonders for my surfacing accuracy/repeatability.

    Not to steal the thread but I also have the Delta 22-580 and showed how I attached it on another forum - wn. Just do a search "Wixey Planer Gauge on Delta 22-580" .

    I too attached it to the plastic w/ screws and one caution before attaching the gage is to make sure you can still close the in-feed table. Overall a bit of a pain to apply but well worth it.

    I'm so impressed I'm looking at a place to attach one to my Performax 16/32.


    Mike

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