19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2004
When I began shopping for a planer, price, unfortunately, was a big deciding factor in my selection. No need to worry, though- this 'lil guy is just the ticket for those of us on a woodworking budget!
Setup out of the box was a snap with just a couple of pieces to install.
Following the advice from the manual, I checked a couple of things - the feed and output tables needed only minor adjustment, and the knives were spot-on... a handy gauge for checking the blade alignment is included with the machine, as well as a double-ended wrench that fits the table adjusters and knife set.
As a trial run, I tried planing various pieces of rough-cut hard and soft wood I had lying about, and they all came out quite well. The calibrations for the thickness setting are dead-on, and after my test run, I happily ran about 96 lineal feet of 4"-6"wide rough-cut mahogany with not one problem.
The key to success with this machine is making several small passes, not trying to shear the boards down in big bites.
After taking my time, I was left with a half dozen 8' boards 3/4" thick and planed perfectly both sides. The feed rollers had a minor amount of trouble with the rough cut lumber, but after one pass, it ran through without a hitch, and only occasional assistance was required to keep things moving along.
While perhaps not a machine for a contractor on a tight schedual, this little planer should suit the average home woodworker/hobbiest just fine.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2004
I hate buying foreign, but nearly all were foreign made. Even the ones costing 3 times this. We use it on jamb extensions, mullions, spines and what have you. Amazingly there is no start and end snipe...no wasted stock, this very good. Also no "big bites" keeps everything running smoothly. One half to one turn of the crank is approx. 1/32 to 1/16. The latter is a pretty good hunk across the board. Small boards bigger bites, large boards...baby bites. Very little sanding is needed. When we are finished with a house, there is good pile of shavings in the garage. It keeps three men happy. I like the portability. It's about 65lbs Every day I crank the head down on a piece of cardboard and put it in my trailer. There it rides till the next time. I have never experienced a discrepency because there is no head lock. I have never known the head to vibrate down, or up for that matter. I use a router and splines instead of a biscuit cutter, and biscuits. When I drive the spline in the slot, it is not sloppy on one end because the head moved. It is only as accurate as I am. Its a simple machine that does a superb job for the price, and that is all that I ask
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I was looking cheap, just to clean up some rough-hewn boards. The bottom-end Lowes had was the TP-305 (12.5" vs TP-300 12.0", otherwise EXACTLY the same) for $199, so I got that.
Into and Basics
First off, the TP-305 is single speed. Fine for my purposes. As someone else said, if you're doing "fine woodworking", you'll sand with high-grit before calling it done.
Everything is metal, and the handle on top doubles as a foam covered transfer roller. It's very solid and stable, you know, for a "portable".
The belt drive is about 3/4", versus about 2" for the Hitachi and DeWalt. Conversely, the belt on the Delta is fiber reinforced black rubber, like a fan belt, rather than being clear, plain rubber.
There is supposedly a chain-drive for gear reduction, but I haven't dismantled it yet to lubricate them.
Second, it was a snap to prepare. I pulled it out of the box. It's maybe 75 or 80 pounds. OK if you lift right, or 2-person lift otherwise. It included the planer assembly, a dust chute with 2 fasteners, a hex wrench which fits in a slot on top, a magnetic blade tool, and a crank handle with hex-head fastener.
I put it on top of a table. No LRF support, and there was a little flashing on the bottom, so don't unpack this onto a nice table. Something like this should be bolted down. The deck holes are 1/4", one on each corner. I used some washers and deck screws and that was more than enough to keep it stable.
You NEED earplugs. Yes, it is "quiet" compared to some shop planers/jointers, it's still loud. Earmuffs should be OK, but I opted for spongy/expanding 33db earplugs. No problem there, but I was definitely deaf to the world.
Also, goggles are a must. These two things are silly and simple, but just in case you didn't know. This might not be so important if they ever get immunology and organ cloning down, but since you're limited to one set of eyes right now, best protect them from flying debris.
If you want to reach, adjust, oil, or perform ANY maintenance, unplug your machine. "I thought I was safe but something fell and flipped the switch" wouldn't quite cut it with your friends.
ALWAYS operate with the dust chute in place. The motor blows air into it and it sends the chips out the back. Without it, A) You'll be covered in vertically launched curls, and more importantly B) The top of the cutter head will be exposed, which is very not safe.
Keep distractions and horseplay away from this machine. This is not a toy, it's an 8000 RPM spinning blade of doom. No playing. Period. OK? JUNIOR!?!?! Are you LISTENING TO ME! NO PLAYING. Ok. Good. Serious machine.
SNIPER, NO SNIPING!
As a portable planer goes, the fold-out tables are fairly small. I tried using Skill brand roller stands on each side to help hold the workpiece, but this planer loves to snipe on ingress.
Tilt your board down into the planer about 5 degrees, and don't cut deep and you'll limit it. Even so, every board has a 2-3" spot that's maybe 1/32" thinner than the rest of the length.
Egress snipe is alleviated by lifting ever so slightly on the workpiece for the final stretch. If you don't get it, you'll hear the motor change speed as it chews into the end. It's really just the design of the rollers. I think you'd probably get snipe even if you made your own full-length table flush with the input.
With 12" boards, snipe was not very noticeable, whereas with 4" boards, it was always very noticeable.
The blades that came with it do well, but it's only 2 blades. It goes through them fairly quickly. Newer wood is fine. I made several passes on both sides of rough hewn cedar. All was well. I sent through some 12" rough cedar with 25 year crusty paint, and it wasn't really happy with that.
It's 2mm per turn and on 12" stock with fresh blades you can do that. When you get to 1/3 turn and it still drops the RPMs significantly, you're past the life of the blades.
I got to this point after removing 3/16ths from each side of 40 feet of 4" wide cedar, and about 1/8th from each side of a 6' long 12" piece of paint encrusted cedar. It seems that the wider board heats the blades more, especially the old, rubbery paint, and once they heat up, the edge fades MUCH more rapidly.
Signs your planer blades are dull
The machine emits dust and not curls.
The machine leaves roller rubber on the workpiece.
The wood peels along the grain in very thin strip.
The motor slows down, but there is no output.
The rollers stop feeding.
The workpiece becomes polished, even glassy.
The workpiece is noticeably warm to the touch.
Running the workpiece through a second time at the same setting till slows the motor.
I'm thinking I'll see if I can design the same at [...] out of something harder under heat, but you know, since I don't REALLY have the skill for that, I picked up a couple sets of spare blades when I got the planer. The spares were $26/set and made of "High Speed Steel". I don't know the specific grade, but truly, they went south REALLY quickly on the wider, painted boards.
Blade Swap procedures
The swap is fairly easy, though they are initially installed with an impact wrench. Breaking the screws the first time gave off sparks on three. Freaky. Anyway, you access the six screws by:
A) Unplug the machine. Yes, UNPLUG IT. Switches have been known to fail in this universe. Don't risk it.
B) remove the two thumbscrews on the top.
C) Remove the dust chute
D) Turn the head with "the tool" such that you an access one side of the head. Adjust the machine height, or rotate the head such that the tool clears the handle/rollerbar.
E) Loosten the screws such that the black plate ALMOST comes loose. Test one screw for proper sizing. I think this is about a 16th of an inch.
F) Use the little split magnet tool to scoop under the blade, lift up off of the retaining pins, and pull out.
WARNING The blade may be hot if it's recently been used, especially if it's really dull.
G) spin the blade.
WARNING The sharp side of the blade is SHARP! I know this seems like an idiot thing to say, but if you aren't careful, I will mock you for your bloodletting experience. Yes, I'm secretly watching you.
H) Slid in, align such that it drops down properly (ie, the retaining pins are in the holes).
I) Tighten the screws, starting with the ends and working your way in. In generaly, thumb-tighten all of them, then torque them down afterward to make sure alignment is good.
J) Repeat for the other side of the head. (ie. always swap/replace BOTH blades at the same time).
Check your belt shroud, a burgundy curve of plastic on the top right of the machine. Mine had too much flashing in the channels and didn't seat properly. I didn't notice until it had been carved/sanded away severely.
The deck plate is polished steel. You can see the cutter head and rollers clearly in it. It's really cool, and might come in handy should something jam or clog. REMEMBER NOT TO TOUCH THE HEAD WITH YOUR FINGERS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE CUT.
Yes, I used first and second person in a review.
Despite the warning that this is not a toy, etc., it's VERY fun, or at least satisfying, to see what a machine like this can do.
This is cheap. Snipe will happen. Rollers, an assistant, or a full-sized and aligned table are greatly helpful. Blades dull quickly on older wood with old rubbery paint.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2005
The motor is tough, and won't quit even if you wish it would put itself out of it's own misery.
I gave it 3 stars only because of the price and ease of finding replacement blades, which is better than my experience with DeWalt and Hitachi's returned planers.
Downers are that an 8mm wrench(supplied) is dangerously loose on the 7.5mm blade bolts when you change blades, and frequent slips on the head bolts will slice you up like Freddy Kruger!
But who doesn't like a little blood and gore now and then?
Buy a Craftsman 7mm open-end wrench and grind 0.5mm off one inside edge for blade changes, then tie a dollar to the cheap Delta 8mm wrench (supplied) and heave it into the woods. That way you can say that you actually threw something away !
The old hexagonal-head bolts are still the best clamp-down system for blades, and Delta should not change that. They should simply supply a 7.5mm wrench, or upgrade the bolts to 8 mm for safety's sake.
Wear leather gloves when changing these blades, or you WILL be sorry one day !
After a little dulling of blades, the depth handle moves freely and won't stay put. Keeps you real busy.
Delta blades for this thing don't last very long at all on hardwoods (or heart-woods), but the up-side is that you can buy carbide for this machine before you will buy carbide blades for ANY other 12' to 13" planer in the mainstream market! (Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, Etc.)But of course, the carbide costs about as much as the planer ($200)! LOL !
To date, you cannot buy the replacement drive belt,though advertised, through Amazon. I have had to reconfirm my April order for 3 of them about 6 times now, at pain of cancellation, so I guess we are supposed to throw the machine away when it spins some notches off the rubber belt.
So with mixed emotions I can say,
Thanks Again, Taiwan USA !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2007
By now, this unit probably considered defunct but, what the heck, at my age so am I. I've had this little powerhouse for 2.5 years now and I'm still using the same set of knive and they have never been rotated. Now, granted, I'm not a tradesman or heavy user but as a weekend furniture builder I have few complaints.
I use primarily hardwood such as cherry, walnut, hickory and some soft maple and the motor of this unit never breaks stride. Oh sure, they all change pitch once the knives meet the board but it doesn't sound like it's progressively losing speed. Of course, you are going to get a better cut and a smaller snipe with shallow cuts so when you get within 3/16" of your final dimension I would recommend cutterhead height adjustments of 1/4 turn or less along with a firm lift on the board on the outfeed side of the operation. The rollers do seem to have an issue grabbing some rough cut lumber and some of the framing pines that feel slick to the touch but I rarely have to push to assist feeing the machine.
The quality of the finished cut will, of coarse, be largely determined by the condition of your knives so I'm not so sure the normal, high quality finish is a factor of the machine's aptitude so much as that they have chosen a good combination of general purpose head speed and an optimum feed rate along with those sharp knives.
I have seen several other reviews mention that the cutterhead moves due to the lack of a lock on the head adjustment crank but my machine has not produced this fault, thank goodness. If I was buying on a limited budget I wouldn't hesitate buying a used unit given that it passed a pre-purchase inspection and rigorous test, looking for feed issues, dull knives, a motor which changes pitch more than normal (If you don't know what that is consider taking a buddy along and rmember that terribly dull knive can produce this.) and a head which won't stay at your chosen point. This little machine is money well spent.