Know Your Limit
Wednesday 04 May 2011
Is the unlimited rebate planer from the Global Machinery Company really access all areas? Derek Jones pushes his luck to find out
1.Extraction can be selected to work from both sides of the machine
In my book a tool claiming to be unlimited in any respect deserves a look to see if the claim holds up.
A quick glance at the spec in the manual suggests that GMC have done their homework. The 750watt motor should power its way through most materials without flinching as long as the user adjusts the cut accordingly. With increments of 0.2mm to choose from via the twist knob adjuster there is certainly scope to set the tool up to work in your favour. I'll be honest, although I do own a similar machine it's not something I have used in relation to cabinet-work. On site however it's a very different story and I rarely leave home without it. It's a bit of a 'you never know' kind of tool for me but one I'm glad to have onboard when duty calls.
Short of a door to resize I had to dig around for some substantial lengths of timber to reduce and came up with a piece of agba (Leguminosae). A tropical hardwood ideally suited to internal and external joinery, popular with shop fitters and boat builders, it was hard to imagine a more suitable test piece. Although the grain is fine the pattern is interlocked and it's often difficult to achieve a perfect finish without paying attention. There was little resistance from the 3BVSIPCF and even on the maximum depth of cut setting (3mm) across the 75mm wide board it ploughed on through. There was a little slowing down of the motor but nothing to indicate that it was not happy to continue, the three-knife block making all the difference. As far as finish is concerned there was the inevitable wavy pattern left behind which is a trademark of every power planer I have used. Reducing the cut down to the minimum setting of 0.2mm for the final pass meant that with some power sanding or hand planing a good finish could be achieved.
With regards to the unlimited rebating function there is little doubt that the 3BVSIPCF can indeed be used in this way providing the protection cover plate is removed from the side of the machine. There is a pressed steel fence for setting the width of a rebate which screws directly into the body of the machine. It's not the most robust of fitments so exercise a little caution and don't lean into the work until the cut is well established.
The sole of the machine has an extendable front section that provides extra stability at the beginning of a pass. It also has the effect of converting what we might call a No.4 into a No.5 or No.6 with the associated benefits. Tucked away in the base of the machine is what GMC call the 'parking' device, a sprung tab that flips out to prevent the knives from coming into contact with a work surface when not in use. You also have the option of locking it back into the base should you need to. Blade changes are simple. The manual recommends that the block (or drum as they call it) be removed to do so. Strictly speaking it's not essential but it's made easy by having access to the retaining screw. It's also a perfect opportunity to clear build-up of dust and chippings from the casing. On the subject of waste this machine comes with a chip collector and extraction port that can be positioned either side of the machine to suit.
Shown in the manual and available as an accessory is a sanding drum. The idea is that you remove the knife block and replace it with an appropriate sanding drum thus converting the machine to a sander. It's important that the speed is reduced to avoid overheating and, if the agba is anything to go by, make sure you are hooked up to some sort of extraction.
For less than £100 this machine is great value and with the addition of the sanding drum could be a very useful tool to have. I am not convinced the fence is of much use other than to act as a rough guide but then that may well be all you need from it. From my experience it is unlikely you will need to remove as much as 3mm across a 82mm wide board but it is reassuring to know that you could and with the 3BVSIPCF you most certainly can.
Simple and safe blade change
Fence not firm
Input power: 750 W
Variable speed: Yes
No load speed: 500-15000rpm
Depth of cut: 0-3mm
Rebate capacity: Unlimited mm
Planing width: 82mm
Blades: 3 x standard reversible TCT slither
Bevelling grooves: 1
Chip extraction: Left or right
Parking stand: Yes - automatic
Tool weight: 2.7Kg
3Bp3blade Planer blades (3 Pack)3BprUm Sanding drum
3Bpss Pack of replacement sanding sleeves
Price: £96 inc VAT