Yes, Evan. I agree the journey for me is usually the fun part. Got several old electronic projects that I am having quite a lot fun with. Been out of that for a while.
As for the planer, some slop in the chain is normal. might want to increase the infeed pressure just a bit(like 1/8 of a turn at a time) Too much will put undue strain on the motor and those motors really don't need much undue strain!
Best of luck with the machine.
I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.