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  1. #1
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Hafco Helical Head Thicknesser - Not impressed

    I recently purchased one of these to replace a benchtop Ryobi thicknesser which worked quite well. My rationale for replacement was that I suspected that there would be good demand for the Ryobi on eBay (subsequently proven to be correct) and the Hafco was on special with a $100 discount off normal price. Of course the other (main) reason was that I had read many times that helical head thicknessers were so superior to the two straight blade version both in terms of reduced noise and increased quality of cut.

    So I've had it for a little while now and I'd have to say it hasn't lived up to the hype. Sure there may be reduced noise but I've always worn hearing protection anyway so I don't really notice that. As for the quality of cut? I haven't used it on enough different woods to say categorically whether it's better or worse than the Ryobi. But I don't see a marked quality improvement. There is a particular species of hardwood flooring that I've been using for furniture construction that is mainly straight grained but has some gnarly bits too. The Hafco gets just as much tearout as the Ryobi (and in fact a sharp hand plane). I also get snipe if I don't follow a piece of timber through with a sacrificial piece, despite having an additional outfeed table. Dust collection is not as good as the Ryobi as the chips are coarser and lots are left deposited around the infeed and outfeed tables of the thicknesser.

    I could probably live with all this but the one aspect of its use I really don't like is the way the feed rollers sometimes don't seem to properly engage with the timber. I can feed a piece of stock through, then follow it with another piece of the same dimensions and it will stop half way through. I push it from the infeed side but as soon as I stop pushing it stops. When it eventually comes out it will have rubber "burns" at random places along its length (which seems to suggest that the rollers are turning as they should). Then I feed another piece through and it's fine. This seems to happen more on the LHS of the machine than the right. It seems like the first infeed roller isn't parallel with the bed of the thicknesser. The other thing that happens is sometimes a piece of timber will skew when being fed through, once again as if one side of the roller is exerting more pressure than the other.

    I've looked in the manual (and at the machine) and there doesn't seem to be an obvious way to 'balance' the infeed roller at the front.

    I'm probably making this sound worse than it is. It's a 'minor' problem which I could easily live with if this was a machine I'd picked up s/h on eBay. But with a brand new machine I expect it to work perfectly out of the box (at least for the warranty period).

    Am I being unrealistic?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Caroline Springs, VIC
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    Default

    iirc, the hafco has rubber rollers both on the infeed and outfeed. If the timber is stalling part way through, you MUST throw your bodyweight behind the board and shove it through without delay, because the other option ends in rubber rollers being chewed up making the problem worse and worse eventually unusable. If you know the machine stalls, just keep pressure on the board 100% of the time as best you can. A bit of candlewax on the bed of the thicknesser works a treat. On any thicknesser I have used, at the slightest sign of stalling I stop the machine and squiggle a line with a candle and she's good as gold again for another 100meters or so.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Thanks Kuffy. I'll give that a try.

  5. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    Thornton NSW
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    Default

    I assume this is the W815, the T13-S with a segmented cutter head? It's not a true helical cutter and can't be expected to perform like one. The feed roller problem, talk to Hare Forbes about it. It may be you're trying to remove too much material, or there could be a fault with the machine.

  6. #5
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    Default

    Yes it's the T13-S. WRT the feed roller problem I'm definitely not trying to remove too much material, perhaps the opposite. Perhaps a visit to H & F is in order...

  7. #6
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    Feb 2016
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    Canberra
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    Default

    I have the Carbatec. They are good machines, but need setup. Ive a detailed post on the forum about how to measure the tables flat then tilt the infeed one up juuuusssst a hair. Zero snipe.

    As for cut, the standard HSS blades are "OK", but these from forumite Steve @ SJE are Carbide!!! https://sje-tools.com/carbide-insert...814586777.html

    A MILLION times better. ONE. MILLION.

    Also, the bed of the thing needs to be clean and Ive found a little paste wax occasionally is good.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Little River
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    75
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    Default

    I agree with Kuffy mine also stalls but as soon as I lubricate the bed, I use Silverglide, the machine feeds fine.

    Another issue is that as the cutters start to get blunt this increases the problem.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Sydney Upper North Shore
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    Default

    +1 for silverglide.

  10. #9
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    Apr 2007
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    Sydney
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by woodPixel View Post
    I have the Carbatec. They are good machines, but need setup. Ive a detailed post on the forum about how to measure the tables flat then tilt the infeed one up juuuusssst a hair. Zero snipe.
    Link please??

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for the tips. There have been a number of recommendations for Silbergleit (auto-correct wants to change this to Spielberg . This is a product I've wanted to try for a long time but I always feel a bit of buyer resistance kicking in when I see it on the shelf at our local supplier for $38 for 250ml. However I've found some online (still waiting for a reply) 1000ml for $66 plus postage. So I reckon it'll come in at about half the price of the local supplier, which I find much more palatable. But I doubt I'll need that much.

    Is anyone interested in sharing a tin? I'm happy to divide it up and either hand deliver it if you live in Brisbane or post it at your cost. A 250ml portion would work out at about $19.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Canberra
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    Default a cure to your snipe ills....

    Is my thicknesser a dud or am I the problem? leads to this thread which discusses it: Curing snipe on the Carbatec CT-330X Portable thicknesser and my commentary here: Curing snipe on the Carbatec CT-330X Portable thicknesser

    I used the search at the top (which is as good as useless!!!)... "ct330x snipe".

    Follow my instructions, exactly, and your snipe will be cured. I have done exactly this with 6 others here in Canberra over the last 3 years and cured 100% of them.

  13. #12
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    Default

    Many thanks Woodpixel. Your blood's worth bottling!

  14. #13
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    Feb 2016
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    Canberra
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tccp123 View Post
    Many thanks Woodpixel. Your blood's worth bottling!
    My workshop is covered in it!

  15. #14
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    Default

    Well I've just gone down to the garage to have a go at this and I've made some observations... First of all the bed isn't flat, it's convex with the 'hump' approximately below the cutter head. Secondly the ends of the infeed and outfeed tables, where they meet the machine, are not level with the bed. They are slightly below it with no way of adjusting that misalignment. So it seems to me that if I'm going to make the infeed and outfeed tables 'slightly' higher than the level of the bed then it has to be the extremities of the tables (because that's the only part that can be adjusted) and I'm making that slightly higher than what? The beginning of the bed or the bit in the middle where the cutter head is?

    Here's an exaggerated view of what I see:

    Exagerated view.JPG

  16. #15
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    Default

    Here's a better example:

    Bed.JPG

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