Monday 1 December 2008
Peter Brett finds out if this budget planer thicknesser does the job
The trouble with planer thicknessers is they are expensive and space consuming. For the garage woodworker, a benchtop model at under Â£200 would therefore seem like a godsend - provided it can deliver the goods.
On testI used it to prepare oak picture frames which had to match an existing mitre-cornered profile. After dimensioning my metre-long pieces roughly on a circular saw, I positioned the fence and dust extraction and set to. It took a couple of hours and a lot of concentration, but I got the results I wanted and the frames met the wifely standard.
Ear protection is necessary for prolonged use as the brush motor produces a loud whine. The quality of the finish was good provided I took care to make fine finishing cuts. In thicknessing mode the scale set by a rotating handle on top of the machine proved sufficiently accurate up to the final skim-cut finish.
Chip extraction was good, despite my slightly makeshift arrangement using the end of a plastic bottle as an adaptor. In thicknessing mode some chips escape, but they are easy to vacuum up. Safety switching is via a slider microswitch in the dust extraction hood and the cutterblock guarding is robust and simple to position. The adjustable fence assembly is adequate.