Author Topic: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!  (Read 1043 times)

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Offline JonathanJung

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20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« on: February 16, 2020, 11:10 PM »
Looking to get a 20-24" planer. It will need to have or get a helical head as it will see semi-regular full width planing of slabs and resin of various species and grain. I really don't want to have to upgrade down the road, but my budget doesn't allow for a $10k machine.

I've considered getting an older Powermatic / Oliver and upgrading the head to a Byrd, but that could result in $4-5k invested into a 50 yr old machine.

Initially I'll be using a rotary phase converter / VFD to power it off 208v.

I'd get even wider if I could.

Questions:

Would a 5hp 220v 20" with a helical head handle dense material planing at full width? Such as the Grizzly G1033x

Will I be able to run a 3ph off of 208v with a RPC or VFD?

Should I save for a new 24" or consider fixing up an oldie?

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Offline JBag09

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 11:34 PM »
Check out Woodmaster planers/moulders. I got an 18” a couple years ago with a helical head and love it. If you take a look and have an interest in them let me know and I can give you some of the details. They were a great company to work with as far as adding this or that and not needing certain items.  Comes in around 5k for the 25” with helical.


https://www.woodmastertools.com/category/planermolders/model-725-planer-molder/


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Offline JonathanJung

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 11:43 PM »
Check out Woodmaster planers/moulders. I got an 18” a couple years ago with a helical head and love it. If you take a look and have an interest in them let me know and I can give you some of the details. They were a great company to work with as far as adding this or that and not needing certain items.  Comes in around 5k for the 25” with helical.


https://www.woodmastertools.com/category/planermolders/model-725-planer-molder/


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Just looked at them for the first time. Seems intriguing. I like the variable speed - important for resin work. However, the picture of the cutterhead bearing block doesn't look very heavy made. It's 700lbs for a 24" planer, isn't that on the light side? The 24" G5851Z is 1100+ lbs!

Offline Alanbach

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 11:45 PM »
I can’t help on the electrical issues. I can tell you that I bought a Grizzly G1033 in 2002 and it is still going strong. It has been a super reliable workhorse. Mine is not helical and I have not converted it because I just haven’t needed to. I buy top quality knives and have them sharpened by a shop that knows what they are doing.

Offline JBag09

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2020, 12:01 AM »

Just looked at them for the first time. Seems intriguing. I like the variable speed - important for resin work. However, the picture of the cutterhead bearing block doesn't look very heavy made. It's 700lbs for a 24" planer, isn't that on the light side? The 24" G5851Z is 1100+ lbs!
[/quote]
 
 The bearing blocks are cast, the rest of the machine is steel. So ya it’s certainly not as heavy as some other machines which probably is why the cost is less. Not saying that makes it better or worse. Mine does vibrate a lot, if it was cast which would make it heavier it would also absorb more of that.



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Offline WarnerConstCo.

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2020, 12:21 AM »
Buy a Powermatic 224 that's belt drive, switch to single phase motor if needed an install a helix head, there is a Chinese company making a cheap head right now.

I do have a perfect powermatic candidate for this in my shop.

I would take an old Oliver, buss, PM, or anything euro even with a tersa head (my preferred head over an insert) 

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Offline JD2720

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2020, 08:15 AM »
I have a Powermatic model 180 18" with a Tersa type head. Mine is a Terminus brand head. The 180 is a smaller version of the PM 224. The 180 does have the variable speed feed that the 224 has.

I also have a Woodmaster 18" planer/molder. I use the Woodmaster only for making molding. I did use it as a planer to try it out. It snips bad at both ends. This is because the feed rolls do not have enough down pressure. It is a great molding machine.

The old Powermatics are great machines. They do take up a lot of floor space because of how the motor is mounted.  I solved that problem with placement of other machines. Do not let the age of the machine concern you. Many parts are still available.     
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 08:19 AM by JD2720 »

Offline JonathanJung

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2020, 07:04 PM »
Thank you everyone for your advice. This was some months ago, after going to another's shop and using their 24" Rockwell with helical head, I realized that a machine like that is what I really want long term, but can't afford short term. So I got a Grizzly 15" with helical head to get me by. It's a great machine, but needs modifications. The rollers should be rubber and I have a removable secondary table to help with snipe (sometimes get snipe still, how annoying).

« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 07:10 PM by JonathanJung »

Offline David

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2020, 08:35 PM »
I have the 230v 5hp Powermatic 209HH and couldn't be happier. Helical head. Rock solid. Quite reasonable investment.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline derekcohen

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2020, 10:50 AM »
Jonathan, why do you need a 24" machine?

Regards from Perth

Derek



Offline Oldwood

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Re: 20" or 24" planer - options are killing me!
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2020, 11:28 AM »
"So I got a Grizzly 15" with helical head to get me by."

I had a couple of 20" planers of the same style as your Grizzly. They work well if set up properly. The bed rollers should be set about .004" above the bed surface. Waxing the bed helps a lot, I used Waxlit that Lee Valley sells but I am sure there are many products that will work as well. I only used the removable bed for planing thin pieces like 3mm wood banding. I shimmed the bottom over the rollers so it sat flat on the bed.

The in-feed and out-feed rollers need to be carefully set the proper distance below the cutter arc. With my planer there was instructions on how to use a wood block to do this. There is an adjustment for the pressure roller springs and they need to be set evenly side to side or the boards will not feed in a straight line. Too much spring tension will leave marks and too little it will not feed well. I think the metal feed rollers are the better choice and last almost forever. If set properly they will not mark hardwoods and only slightly mark softwoods.

I have heard that the feed rollers are set in bearings now but mine were in bushings. If it has bushing you need to insure you blow out the oil holes and lube them or you will be replacing them in short order.

I installed a Byrd head in my planer and would do that again in a heartbeat. The Byrd heads have the cutters set  in the head on an angle so they cut in a shear cut. I have no experience with the other insert heads so can not say how they compare. 

I had a 24" Wadkin planer with a jointing and grinding attachment and and it left a better surface than the Byrd head but the Byrd was slightly better at planing reverse grain without tear-out.

Good luck with your planer.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Confucius