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Portable planers

saltysteele said:
Hi all,

I am new to woodworking, and new to this forum. I've recently acquired several new tools, including a combo base router, table saw, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I am looking at getting a planer. My father-in-law has the Ridgid TP1300, and I was fooling around with it last night. I really liked it's features, including the position of the raise/lower wheel, lock, the position of the thickness scale on the front of the machine, and the style of the depth of cut indicator. I also checked out the Dewalts, Delta and Hitachi at Lowes, and the Craftsman at Sears, but didn't like the placement of the features, nor the quality of the scales. I planed down a small piece of wood to .5" X .5", then measured, and it was right on.

Anyone have any input on this planer? I haven't been able to find much written about it, I'm assuming because Home Depot is the only one that has it.

Welcome Salty. Today there are loads of portable planers out there and except for a few minor details, could all have been made by the same company. I have a knockoff brand called "trademaster" 12 1/2" and a King. They are identical down to a few minute details. Both cost me $300 cad. Both have served me well. Don't worry too much about the thickness guages because you'll have to adjust them as soon as you sharpen the blabes. Planers rule of thumb: the more horsepower the more knives. The more knives the more cuts per inch. The more cuts the smoother the board.( and of course the faster the feed) With small portable planers of this type it's the speed and feed you have to worry about. Take the time to take small bites and don't push your machine and you'll sharpen the knives less frequently and have a smoother finished product. If you will be getting into serious planing look for a model that will offer more knives like "general international","king" industrial, or the best from my perspective "leadermac" but for Leadermac your looking at serious money for serious planing. I usually get about 3000 bf to each sharpening of the blades and 4 sharpenings to a set with softer woods like spruce, pine, or poplar (aspen). Tamarack every 200 bf. No getting away from it. But the beauty of the grain makes it worth it. Good luck. Rick
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