Rough sanding raw wood
60, 80, 100
Cornet or aluminum oxide
Smooth sanding raw wood
120, 150. 180, 220, 240. 280
Stearated aluminum oxide
320. 400 320, 400. 600. 1,200
Stearated aluminum oxide Silicon carbide (wet-or-dry)
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Small-shop planing. A benchtop planer can surface boards up to 12 in. wide and 6 in. thick producing stock that's uniformly thick and ready for final sanding or scraping.
Most woodworking starts with boards of uniform thickness. For hundreds of years, woodworkers had no choice but to produce these boards with a hand plane—flattening one side of a board, scribing a line along its edge, then planing the other side. Quiet, romantic work? Sure. But sweaty and slow? You bet.
Today» power planers can make fast work of accurately thick-ncssing stock. Stationary thickness planers have been around for a long time. But these heavyweights take up lots of floor space, and they can cost from $800 to well over $3,000. It s no wonder that benchtop planers drew plenty of interest when they were first introduced about 10 years ago. These planers are light enough to lift onto your workbench when you need them, and small enough to stow when the job's done. And all but one of the planers in this review are priced under $500.
The big question is: How good are these low-cost, lightweight planers? To find the answer, we tested 13 machines, including new models from AMT, Delta, Jet, Star, Sunhill and Tradesman. All of these planers will handle boards up to 12 in. wide and 6 in. thick; and they'll mill stock down to about VB in. thick.
In our tests, we evaluated accuracy and quality of cut on different woods. We gauged ease of operation, portability and dust-collection efficiency. We also assessed ease of knife adjustment and replacement. -
We discovered that all of the planers can produce satisfacto- \ ry surfaces. But some give better results than others. And spc- \ cific features make some models easier to use. Read on to find £ out how these machines work, what features are most impor- \ tant and which machines rated highest in our tests.
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Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.