12 inches of jointing and planing in a small space.

hammer

I’m in my second year of owning the Hammer A3 31 by Felder and I don’t regret a moment of it. When I started woodworking I bought a 6″ Craftsman professional jointer. Now, that was a great jointer.

Never had any problem with the table alignment. Buying new blades were as easy as driving to the local Sears and let me tell you, it was a workhorse.

As my woodworking became more complex and my projects required parts that were wider than 6 inches it was time to upgrade. At this point, I had taught myself to mill up wider lumber by hand, or at least flatten one side, but I wanted something more.

rikon-greenI did a little bit of research and out of the blue Rikon introduced a 12” jointer planner combination machine. To top it off, it was half the price of anything else on the market. I was sold!

In the back of my head my great-grandmother was talking to me, “ you only cry once when you buy the best.”

Should have listened to her.

Six months into owning my new green machine, I noticed that the tables were no longer co-planner. What had happened? The beds are bolted onto the frame with three bolts on each side of the frame. Six bolts in total per bed. After doing a little bit of reading I found out I wasn’t the only one with this problem and it wasn’t just limited to the Rikon. The Jet and other combination machines had the same problem.

I was definitely crying.

Fast forward a number of years and I was done. I was tired of loosening bolts and with a mallet and with a long straight edge and some feeler gauges bringing the table’s co-planner again. To craigslist the green machine would go. Don’t worry. I spent time with its new proud owner telling him all about how to re-align the tables.

The Hammer is an amazing machine. Its optional digital hand wheel for the planner bed height is incredible. With a dial caliper and a few minutes you can setup the hand wheel so that you are consistently mill your boards, day in and day out to a thousandth-of-an-inch.

I optioned for the straight blades instead of the helical cutter head. With a light cut and new blades I haven’t run into any issues. Blade changes are as easy as pie. The indexed – yes indexed – blades go in with no effort as well. In ten minutes or less you are back to work and both sides of the blade have a cutting edge.

Jointer to planner change over time is great. A few minutes at best. Just bring the planner bed down to 6 inches and you are ready to go into jointing mode.

Buy the Hammer and you will only cry once.