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If your business regularly purchases wood that is rough or uneven, then a good planer thicknesser is an important piece of kit.
It will make the wood even without having to spend hours sanding it down or hand planing it.
A machine that is both a planer and a thicknesser is so handy when space is at a premium, as it generally is in small workshops. And buying a machine that has both functions in one provides better value for money than buying each separately.
However it’s an expensive piece of kit, usually costing above £300, so you want to ensure you get a good one.
Coming up we have product reviews of some really good planer thicknessers, and following that we have a buying guide for you which walks you through the different matters you might like to think about before making your purchase.
And that’s not all, we also have a brief section where we attempt to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Planer Thicknesser – Comparison Table
Best Planer Thicknesser – Reviews
Best Planer Thicknesser – Buyer’s Guide
When working with wood it’s important to achieve even thickness on both sides of your wood, and when you have the right equipment for that it makes your woodworking considerably easier and more productive.
Here’s a quick outline of the different things to think about when making your purchase.
Ideally you want to get a machine that maximizes full use of your power supply. So if your workshop has a 240 volt power supply (which it probably does) then you should choose a machine that can match it.
The higher the voltage, the higher the speed of the machine.
The size of wood that the machine can take is likely to be the deciding factor in what machine you go for in the end. You need to know what width of wood you’re going to be working with. In our Top 5 products, we’ve attempted to cover a variety of sizes of timber to be used.
Thicknessers can come in a variety of different widths, starting from as low as 260mm, going up to 620mm. Most machines will have working depths of 100, 230 or 300mm. In terms of inches, you’re looking at working depths of 10, 12, 16,18 and 24 inches.
The larger the surfacing table the better, especially if you expect longer pieces of wood to be used. Having a longer surfacing table can also make it easier to accurately mount machine boards leaving them straight and true.
The surface table material should be made of either cast iron to damp out vibration, or cast aluminum, as it’s both light and strong.
Combination planer thicknessers are best suited for lower capacity production, since you cannot use them as a planer and as a thicknesser at the same time.
If you have higher production capacity demands, then an independent thicknesser might be a better buy for you. To increase your production capacity further still, you might then like to think about buying feed rollers to use with your thicknesser.
If possible, try to go for a planer thicknesser with a fence that tilts, as this will enable you to easily bevel the edges of the wood. If this feature is important to you, we can recommend our Number 1 product, the Charnwood W588 8” x 5” Bench Top Planer Thicknesser, our Number 2 product, the Draper 09543 230-Volt 1,500-Watt Bench-Mounted Planer Thicknesser, and our Number 4 product, the Lumberjack PT1000 254mm Planer Thicknesser.
When it comes to other features we strongly recommend that you consider safety features to be the most important. When you have powerful motor operating dual rotating blades, safety is paramount.
Planer thicknessers often have an array of other additional useful features. This can include features that help to feed the timber better, make the machine faster, or make the thicknessing more accurate. Noise reduction slots are another additional feature, these help with the air flow to improve extraction and therefore help the machine to run more quietly.
Another such feature is that of a programmable rise and fall with LED readouts. These features can enable you to quickly position timber of different sizes, and it does away with having to do things manually, using a pointer and rule.
As a general rule the more additional features that a planer thicknesser has the more money it tends to cost. You can either set your budget and then see what features you can get for that price or you can ascertain what features you really want or need, and see what’s the lowest price you have to pay for those features.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a planer and a thicknesser?
A planer is a machine that will make your timber straighter, and most planers you operate by hand. A thicknesser on the other hand is a machine that you pass your timber through to get your much coveted even surface.
Do I need a planer and a thicknesser?
Thicknessers are better when you are using long pieces of wood several meters long, but for creating small woodwork pieces a planer may suffice. A planer thicknesser does both jobs using just one machine.