Vac or planer ?

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Vac or planer ?

Post by Defy » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:50 am

Looking for a little help on a decision about which tool to buy first. Currently narrowed it down to either a new vacuum or a new planer. Looking at the Festool CT mini , Dewalt planer or the Makita planer. All of them are in the 500 to $600 range once you include accessories bags etc. I am leaning more towards the vac as that is something I would use more but the planer would allow me to buy sawmill scraps.

Not looking to buy the monster planers as I have limited space and will need to be able to fold and put away.

Another option would be to go cheap and buy the $300 rigid planer and the Fein 300 one vacuum. I already have the cyclone so capacity is not an issue.


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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by WillAdams » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:59 am

Why not just use a hand plane?
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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by edwardrford » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:47 am

I'm not a professional woodworker by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm sure there are LOTS more people on the forum more qualified to answer this question, but here is my 2 cents:

I have a delta planer, the 12" portable variety. The model is new within the last 5 or so years. It's a lot like the others I see at the hardware store, the dewalt and the rigid specifically, and with the exception of color, looks to be about the same machine. I like the way it works. All in all, it works as advertised and if I had to buy another planer, I would probably look for the same. I bought it off craigslist for about $150, and it came with an extra set of knives. I've had it for about two years and I've used it quite a bit.

With that said, I bought a used 6" delta jointer from craigslist for the same price about a year ago, and seem to use the planer more now that I have a jointer to go with it. I'm not sure if this is accurate for everyone, but for me it seems like you need both to really take full advantage of either.

For a vacuum, I have a bunch of shopvacs, actual name brand and others like rigid and vacmaster and a few generics. But, the one I find myself using the most is a little dust collector that I bought from harbor freight. I bought it on sale for right around $99. The thing I like most about it is the noise. It's really quiet. With a 4" hose there's plenty of suction to pull out the chips from my planer, and with an adapter I use a lot of shopvac sized accessories, especially the wide mouth nozzle for vacuuming my floor. I dont have a dust deputy, but have thought about adding one several times but haven't bought or built one just yet.

Not exactly an answer to your question, just some semi-related side commentary.

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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by LTEPM » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:49 am

Your scraps will need to be at least 12" long to go thru a planer. Option for shorter pieces is a hand plane (#4) or a drum sander. Just buy a decent plane, not the $20-30 ones you find in the box stores. The Rigid planer gets good reviews. The DeWalt 733 or 734 are good also if you can find used.

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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by Woodworker » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:40 pm

To square up stock, greater than 12", you joint one face then plane the other side. Hand planes are a lot of work on big stock but on small stock can be quite efficient. If you have larger stock, you can build a sled that will help "joint" one side of the stock in a planner. I'm not much of a festool fan but for my money, a shop vac, sound deadening enclosure and a dust deputy would be a better investment.

Now with all that said, if you have small pieces of stock that are not coplaner why not use your SO to plane them. Attach the flattest fast down and mill the top flat, turn over and mill the other side, if needed.
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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by Gadgetman! » Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:06 pm

A CnC mill produces a lot of very fine dust which tends to stay in the air longer, and therefore not only travels longer and covers more of the available surfaces in your workshop(you included... ), but it's probably not all that good to breathe the stuff all the time, either. (Imagine wood-coloured booger... bleargh... )
And when you start milling other materials... Yeah... you want to be able to catch as much as possible of the dust.
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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by Hans » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:15 pm

edwardrford wrote:Not exactly an answer to your question, just some semi-related side commentary.
I'd call that an answer. You got a planer, a jointer, and a vacuum all for less than OP's budget. It's a good suggestion!
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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by TomDChi » Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:20 pm

Probably not super-helpful, but I have an older Festool vac, and it's great. I got it along with their track saw and jigsaw about 10 years ago on closeout as they were updating their lines (definitely the vac and track saw). In part, I love the vac because it integrates with the saws, but I definitely use it on its own, particularly with other tools that have dust collection (orbital sander, etc) I also have a Rigid brand shop vac for larger stuff.

I've been on the brink of getting the DeWalt planer for about as long. I've got a small Delta planer that I got used several years ago, and I can definitely see how I'd be using it a lot more with a planer to pair with it. All in all, I'd probably go with the planer before the jointer (though, I have a table saw, so I can "joint" short edges square once I have a smooth, flat face to work off of.) I don't have a planer to try this with, but you can make a sled and use a planer as a jointer:

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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by Jimf » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:15 pm

I purchased my Dewalt 12" planer over 10 years ago. No problem with it at all. The newer dewalts are a lot nicer.

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Re: Vac or planer ?

Post by Woodworker » Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:43 pm

The effects of sawdust are comparable to coal dust as they are both cumulative, once in the lungs, they tend to stay in the lungs. The finer the dust, the more the risk.

A dust shoe and any vacuum is a step in the right direction. Running an air cleaner for an hour or two after finishing for the day is a help. A tight fitting respiratory type dust mask is the best but is not comfortable to wear all the time.

I have a large dust collector and use it with all my major tools, a reasonable face mask that I always wear when cutting MDF or some exotic woods and my air cleaner has a timer and I set it each time I leave the shop for the day if I have been generating dust. You really can't be too careful in this area.

My larger SO2 will have a dust shoe and some form of table dust collection also. It is like a miter saw in that it is hard to catch all the debris going in 10 directions. Dust collection, in my opinion, is more important than a planner.
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