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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
Posts: 51
Location: Fishers, IN
Just saw a Woodmaster planer/molder/sander combination machine for the first time, didn't know they existed. Apparently they've been around a while and have a good reputation. I have a benchtop planer but it bogs down if you look at it sideways so I miss having a real one, and of course would love to have a thickness sander, so this caught my eye as a potential solution and space-saver. The changeover from planer to sander is fairly fast, like 5-10 minutes, but then I started wondering if I would always be wanting to plane when the sanding drum is on or vise-versa, so was curious if anyone uses anything like this or could comment? Thanks!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:45 pm
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I think you pretty much nailed the issue. Every time you want to sand something, it will be set up as a planer and vice versa. I've had a few combo machines over the years and that's been my experience. Basically painful! Of course, if cost or room is the issue, you may have no choice. Good luck!--Bob


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
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Location: Hegins, Pa
one thing I can tell you is I had something similar and it was ok but it didn't do any job great just ok
buy the best you can afford. Cheap tools are a cost , you get them hate them get new ones. Till your done you end up with what you wanted but bought the junk first.
my 2 cents
I had a drum sander it was a pain to change the sand paper. I was sanding about 8 hrs a week and lost 2 hr to changing paper. Then I hired a local cabinet shop to do it. Once I realized I was spending over $300 a week to sand wood I bought an 18 in belt sander. yes it wasn't cheap but what a tool . I can change paper in about 20 seconds and it does so much more than just sand the sides

I hated to spend the money but it makes me money in time savings

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:39 pm 
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I've not seen a planer/sander combination machine, but I have my doubts. Every other combination machine I've seen, whatever it's a combination of, has two basic problems:

1. They are a compromise in functionality. None of them work as well as dedicated machines. Even if by chance one function is equivalent, the others won't be....and probably have been compromised to make that one function particularly good.

2. The switchover process gets to be annoying pretty fast.

Sometimes, due to lack of space and/or money, a combination machine is the best you can do, and it will almost certainly be better than no machine at all. If there is any way to get separate machines though, do it. A year after you buy them you'll forget how much they cost, as you'll enjoy them. If you buy a combination machine, a year later you will quite likely vaguely hate it and be wishing you had spent the extra bucks, or wishing you had bought one good machine then and waited to save up enough to get another separate machine in a couple of years.

If they are good quality, you'll have them for the rest of your life. If the cost delta between combination vs individual is an additional $1,000 (or whatever), amortized over a period of, say, 30 years that comes out to about 9 cents a day.

Not everyone thinks like me. I'm a "buy quality once and have it forever" guy. A friend of mine delights in getting bargains. He ends up buying new cheap stuff every few years. He doesn't mind the annoyance if it means he saved 50 bucks. More power to him. That is what makes him happy.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
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Location: Fishers, IN
Nodding my head on both points. I watched a video of guy (who loves the machine) showing how easy and fast it is to change over, and its tedious enough that I'd get tired of it pretty fast. And I have learned over the years, reluctantly, that you get what you pay for with tools. I'm drawn to "deals" and they can be fun and get you by, but agree that if you're getting serious you don't want your tools holding you up. Good advice - thanks

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm
Posts: 261
Maybe some planning ahead could take some of the sting out of the changeover time, which I figure is an evil curse. Idea being, using it as a sander, sand a whole bunch of stuff (planning ahead and knowing what needs to be done are wonderful things), and when it will be used as a planer, have a whole bunch of planing stacked up and do it all at one time.

(I found that changeover on routers was my cross to bear. Hated, hated, hated breaking down a router to change the bit and do whatever else was needed for the task ahead. Finally acquired a bunch of routers, one's living in a router table, another's dedicated to the rosette circle cutter, a third holds a straight bit with a bearing to trim back and top overhangs, a fourth lives in my binding channel cutter, and a fifth is the handheld router that we customarily associate with doing those things that the other four don't do. Saves me a whole bunch of time and routers don't take up much space. And used routers are readily available and if shopped for with some care, they're cheap enough to do what I did.)

Maybe OP could be able to change focus to used equipment and if space is available, find a way to buy two dedicated machines, used.

I still don't have a jointer and a thickness sander. Road trip to friendly luthier when a stack of work is accumulated that needs the machines I don't have.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 2034
Having a small shop and budget to match, I'm going through "tool wars" right now. This is what I've painfully learned:

1. Buy decent tools, not just cheap tools. I've had to replace every single cheap tool in my shop. My husband bought most years ago. I realized I was fighting the chop saw, because the blade had wobble. I fought the tablesaw, because the blade had wobble and the fence was never straight. I got rid of everything, looked at impartial ratings, and bought brand names like Dewalt, Rigid, Grizzly, etc.

2. Combination tools have their place, but at a compromise. It won't plane or sand as well as its dedicated sister tool.

3. If you're going to build enough that you're looking to outfit a shop, go online and look at reviews and ratings for specific tools. Buy the best that you can afford. You can find great deals. For instance, the Dewalt tablesaw that I bought was either #1 or 2 on every list I read. Dewalt came out with a new model of it and I was able to get the original model at a much reduced price. The difference was that the new model's table extended 48" instead of 42", which didn't concern me. I build guitars, not dining tables.

4. I own both a planer and drum sander. Unless you're going to do a lot of resawing, where you need to reduce a 1/2" thick piece of wood down to less than 1/4", you won't be planing much. Plus planing highly figured woods can lead to tear out, even if you're barely planing them. My planer doesn't get much use at all.

My drum sander gets hours of use at a time. It is a drum sander, so learning to change the paper was a battle. Now, it takes me about 5 minutes to change paper.

I bought the Rigid planer because it was less than 1/2 the price of a small drum sander. At some point, I will invest in a 16/32" drum sander. But even my wee 10" drum sander has been a Godsend.

My shop is in my basement. My tool room is in 1/4 of my basement, so space is at a premium with having a planer, drum sander, tablesaw, joiner, and bandsaw in there. Even with my limited space, I would stick with my dedicated tools.

Just my 2 cents.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
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Re: the relative amount of use tools get.

My experience is similar to Dianne's: I seldom feel the need for a planer, and I don't own one, but I use my homemade thickness sander a LOT, far more than I ever anticipated. I'd say if you can afford just one thing, get a thickness sander.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:19 am 
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Re: the relative amount of use tools get.

My experience is similar to Dianne's: I seldom feel the need for a planer, and I don't own one, but I use my homemade thickness sander a LOT, far more than I ever anticipated. I'd say if you can afford just one thing, get a thickness sander.

And a good bandsaw. I don't have one, and I feel its absence.

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Don't believe everything you know.
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
When things are bad, try not to make them any worse, because it is quite likely they are bad enough already. - French Foreign Legion


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:51 am
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Location: Fishers, IN
Well, now I need to hear about the homemade thickness sander! M-G - is this your design? Would love more details.

And agree on the band-saw. I have an ancient Walker-Turner that is not a bad machine but would really like to update - that's one where I will spend the money at some point

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"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference." - van de Snepscheut


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