Thickness Planer (group buy?)


I’m looking for use of a thickness planer next weekend; I was planning on renting one from the VTL, but my membership there has lapsed.

I love the VTL, but the $45 membership fee on top of the daily tool rental and the general availability of almost every other tool at VHS makes going to VTL a bit less desirable. For a one day rental I’m looking at $55 which is a bit steep, might as well look into commercial rentals. (Note, I don’t think VTL is a bad deal, but since VHS has 99% of the tools I would be renting anyway, I don’t think I’d get much use out of another year’s worth of membership).

So my options, as I see it are:

  1. Pay $55 to VTL for one day’s rental of a thickness planer. (Good cause- VTL, high price, low personal value)
  2. Beg here for someone to lend me a thickness planer next week. (low price, but hassle for someone else)
  3. See if people want to go in for a group buy. (Good cause- VHS, potentially medium price, high personal value)

The cheapest thickness planer I can find is the one below. Mathias from I believe uses this one and rates it as quite a good value (especially if you are willing to level it yourself if you get one of the poorly leveled ones).

I’d be open putting in ~$40 for a group buy, and I’d be open to suggestions on a different/better plane.

I know we aren’t primarily a wood shop, but this is certainly the sort of tool that you wouldn’t normally have access to.

Any takers?


Don’t buy a Canadian Tire thickness planer. Even at the sale price it is a piece of crap. You’re better off looking for a second hand Dewalt, Delta or Rigid. Every MasterCrap tool I’ve ever bought has been a waste of money and has had to be replaced within the year. Learn from my mistackes. :slight_smile:


IF you know what you are doing, you can always go to the Roundhouse Community Center, take the safety assessment test ( I think it’s $36, available once per month by appointment ) and then you can use their wood shop for $14/3 hours on Wednesdays or Sundays.

Details on this page:


Would probably rather shoot for a better quality planer than the Mastercraft but I think this is a good idea overall - I’d back this and we can prob kick in with the EPC budget a bit too. We’ve thrown the idea around a bit before. Dust collection is something to consider but we’ll take care of that as a whole shop initiative.

As for a more immediate solution, if you only have a few pieces to dimension, it might be just as simple to use a handplane. I’ve gone through a bunch of the budget options; and are my recommendations. We do have a #4 plane at the space now too which @Gibbtall has tuned up all nice.

The by hand process is time consuming but no machine can produce the quality of finish; or if you’re doing a panel You can do it all with just the #4.


Yes quality hand finishing can be supperior to a machine planned finish.
But I personally I never got enough practice hand finishing to match the
consistancy of a machine planned finish.


I think its a tool that the shop would benefit from, not everyone needs a board to perfectly flat for some projects a near enough is good enough or at least starting with a thickness planer and then using hand tools from there to speed things up would be a good idea.

I would probably get a lot of use out of it and I know other people would too. We could always check the interest and see if VHS is willing to help fund it and start a tilt campaign provided we find one that we can agree will suit our needs.

Thanks, Luke


Keep in mind these things are LOUD, especially the cheap ones. You can hear them for blocks. We had a lot of trouble at the Roundhouse when I was there because the noise would interrupt other of users of the centre.

I strongly suggest getting a spiral cutter (either as a retrofit kit or installed). They’re quieter and much easier to sharpen/replace.

FWIW I will be selling my dw735 soon. I’ve had it for about 6 years and only used it once. I bought it used in the US. I think it needs new blades or at least the blades to be flipped to use the other side. I want at least $300 for it. Someone should check it out carefully first (@Stevemopolis perhaps?) , like I said I haven’t used it much.


Yes, they are VERY loud. You will also require a dust collection system with adequate suction (no, not a shop vac) or you will have wood chips blown everywhere before the dust chute clogs up and starts blowing the chips back into the cutters.

Actually, spiral cutters are not able to be sharpened and are an order of magnitude more expensive to replace. Once you’ve used all 4 sides of the cutters they cannot be honed/sharpened without slightly reducing their dimensions which makes it impossible to re-install and align properly. Trying to do so results in deep ridges in the wood surface. Replacing the cutters will run you $175 or more. They are marginally quieter, however.

I’ve run into this problem with one of the spiral cutter planers where I teach. The planer was leaving tracks on the wood. When I opened it up to see if the knives were nicked I discovered the spiral cutters with obvious signs of being honed. I spent hours on that machine trying to get all of the cutters aligned before giving up. After that experience, I’ll stick with conventional knives on my planer and jointer.

The DeWalt DW735 is a pretty good planer and I personally believe a used DeWalt would be a much better choice for VHS than a new Mastercraft planer.


Late reply and I haven’t read all the chat, but I won’t be able to donate much to this tool, after I’m done my table I won’t need this sort of thing. I’m always up for more tools but just isn’t in my budget, lemme know when it’s close though.


@Stevemopolis I use the four sided cutters in a few machines, I lap them all the time to keep the edges honed sharp. The key is to use a diamond stone and to count the drags for each side. If you do this the inserts stay the same relative size and there are no issues. Key is to count the drags across the stone for each side and that can be tedious. I have yet to buy replacement cutters and its been a few years now and counting.