-MattK-

Hammer A3 (-26 -31 -41) Combo Machine Review

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Great video/review MattK!! Thanks for taking the time that thing is a beast I thought my 31 was big :) Hammer has made some nice improvements.

As a fallow hammer owner (A3-31) I would say you are spot on with what my experience has been. 

Couple notes:

I have a 10 year old version so there are a couple differences that pop out right away:

1) Damn that thing is quiet compared to mine! I have the 3 tersa knifes but still even just running it is waaaaay quieter than mine. Nice improvement!

2) The way the tables flip back is waaay nicer. Mine angle back and you have to totally remove the fence to do it which is no big deal but still kind of a pain. Again nice improvement!

3) The fence. I'm not a fan of the aluminum fence either but I have to say I think Hammer went backwards here. Although not a cast iron fence even mine seems more stable than the new version. My guess is that in making it so you could tilt it back caused other issues. Mine only attaches at the front edge of the table similar to how your extension attaches and rather than the metal piece you talked about I have a string of 2" plastic pieces that covers the blade (pic.)

DSCN0276.JPG

 

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Matt, great job with the video and the very thorough review.  If you aren't using the blade guard, couldn't you slide it completely out?  Again good job and the shirt was also spot on for Mel!

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Awesome video and great review. The whole cost thing is major draw back but a 16" jointer is expensive that benefit right there could make the cost worth it. I personally am keeping this in the back of my mind now if i ever get in a position to afford one. I'm gonna say it, you did a better job then the Felder rep video. You don't have the awesome Austrian accent but i feel you covered the machine better.

I went looking online and saw that they have the A3-41A and the A3-41 Do you know what the difference is between them?

 

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

I went looking online and saw that they have the A3-41A and the A3-41 Do you know what the difference is between them?

The one with the "A" is only a jointer.

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6 hours ago, Immortan D said:

Will watch the video later, no speakers here at the office.

Better without the sound.  Probably better without the guy speaking in it, too!  Shame the video couldn't just be glamour shots of the machine ;-)

 

5 hours ago, pkinneb said:

Mine only attaches at the front edge of the table similar to how your extension attaches and rather than the metal piece you talked about I have a string of 2" plastic pieces that covers the blade (pic.)

DSCN0276.JPG

 

I like that blade cover a lot, that's really clever - unfortunately there's another clamping bolt that holds the fence in place on mine - so it's held on the infeed rail and at the mid-point.  That means that blade guard has a channel down the middle of it for that bolt and nut.

 

5 hours ago, Woodenskye said:

Matt, great job with the video and the very thorough review.  If you aren't using the blade guard, couldn't you slide it completely out?  Again good job and the shirt was also spot on for Mel!

Yeah, that's a good point - you could slide the blade guard out.  But I like it there to protect the cutter heads when the machine's not in use.  Like any horizontal surface in a shop, things find their way onto the jointer tables! 

EDIT: oh wait, you mean slide it out of the way when using the machine?  Yeah, that's an even better point.

And thanks for noticing the shirt, Bryan!  @Llama TOTALLY ignored my wardrobe choice!   I'm going to voice my displeasure by showing the shirt again and not "liking" Mel's response above.  That'll show him!  (just kidding Mel, you're still the best!)

46795293.jpg

 

3 hours ago, Chestnut said:

The whole cost thing is major draw back but a 16" jointer is expensive that benefit right there could make the cost worth it.

Yeah, a PM 16" jointer is $8700.  Of course it's a 7.5HP motor (the Hammer is "only" 4HP), but it requires 3 phase power.

Even a Grizzly 16" jointer, the value brand purchase is +/- $6500 depending on the model.

and you've still gotta buy a planer.

 

3 hours ago, Chestnut said:

You don't have the awesome Austrian accent

I wish I coulda gotten a "get to the choppa" in there but I let everyone down.

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I was in a hurry when I watched it at work. I was on the way out, but had to see it in action.

Sorry :(

Can I haz forgivness? 

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Great review Matt, thanks for doing this. Yeah it was a little long, which would be annoying if it was a normal thing, but it was pretty fun to hear someone "new" talking and see new shop scenery for a little while :) so I didn't really mind the length.

Are there any add-ons or upgrades available that would give a sturdier fence, or a different style cutter-guard?  I agree with you about the advantages of having both machines taking up the same 'freeways' of space, and the turnover time does seem minimal.  Good to see it all in real-time to confirm it though.

+1 for the shirt.

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I laughed audibly and hard when i saw the shirt. Seriously don't go egotistical on us but you can stop tearing down the vid it was well short and well put together. If you didn't spend a lot of time on it it appears that you did. Or are you just begging for compliments?:o

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3 minutes ago, JosephThomas said:

Are there any add-ons or upgrades available that would give a sturdier fence, or a different style cutter-guard?  

Good question - I haven't seen anything, but I'll definitely keep my eyes open.

 

3 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I laughed audibly and hard when i saw the shirt. Seriously don't go egotistical on us but you can stop tearing down the vid it was well short and well put together. If you didn't spend a lot of time on it it appears that you did. Or are you just begging for compliments?:o

Not begging for compliments, honest!  It was a bit nerve wracking to make the video and I reshot each thing probably a minimum of 5 times because I couldn't remember what I wanted to say.  I know enough about Premiere to be dangerous, so the editing was a bit easier.  It's just not that nice looking at yourself on a computer screen for that long!

 

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Excellent review Matt ! Better than any info that is out there on this machine. The machine looks amazing!

My buddy just bought the 16" Felder jointer I can't wait to go and try it out.

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

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19 hours ago, pkinneb said:

Mine only attaches at the front edge of the table similar to how your extension attaches and rather than the metal piece you talked about I have a string of 2" plastic pieces that covers the blade (pic.)

DSCN0276.JPG

 

Apologies if this is too random but, here is a pork chop variation that I snapped a pic of at Sam Maloof's place.

TDW-2010-Maloofs 019.jpg

I don't know that it is original equipment and just old or if it is a shop made contraption.  It does solve the problem of the guard getting in your way as the material is passed through.

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http://us.feldershop.com/en-US/en-US/en-US/en-US/Planing/Accessories/Safety-accessories/EURO-comfort-Planer-guard-bridge.html

You mentioned hating the blade guard i figured this was something to look at.

Just trying to consider everything. @-MattK-Do you see yourself jointing past 8" often?** Do you think that the extension tables increase or decrease the jointer accuracy? The reason i ask is because the bed length on a PM 8" parallelogram is 83" the hammer is 70" but with the extension the hammer has the potential to be longer.

For the price it'd be easy to compare the 16" helical hammer (~$7500) to an 8" helical with a 20" helical planer (~$7200).

** I realize it may be different for me but I'm curious for you.

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I submitted a request to be contacted by Felder/Hammer to get a real life price comparison on a few different configurations.

The used Felder market is appealing too! 

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

http://us.feldershop.com/en-US/en-US/en-US/en-US/Planing/Accessories/Safety-accessories/EURO-comfort-Planer-guard-bridge.html

You mentioned hating the blade guard i figured this was something to look at.

Just trying to consider everything. @-MattK-Do you see yourself jointing past 8" often?** Do you think that the extension tables increase or decrease the jointer accuracy? The reason i ask is because the bed length on a PM 8" parallelogram is 83" the hammer is 70" but with the extension the hammer has the potential to be longer.

For the price it'd be easy to compare the 16" helical hammer (~$7500) to an 8" helical with a 20" helical planer (~$7200).

** I realize it may be different for me but I'm curious for you.

Chestnut thought I would chime in on this one as well. I have been using more and more ruff lumber so I quite frequently joint over 8". I do not have the extensions and other then my bench build I have never felt a need to have a longer table. In that instance i used a roller stand. 

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

http://us.feldershop.com/en-US/en-US/en-US/en-US/Planing/Accessories/Safety-accessories/EURO-comfort-Planer-guard-bridge.html

You mentioned hating the blade guard i figured this was something to look at.

Just trying to consider everything. @-MattK-Do you see yourself jointing past 8" often?** Do you think that the extension tables increase or decrease the jointer accuracy? The reason i ask is because the bed length on a PM 8" parallelogram is 83" the hammer is 70" but with the extension the hammer has the potential to be longer.

For the price it'd be easy to compare the 16" helical hammer (~$7500) to an 8" helical with a 20" helical planer (~$7200).

** I realize it may be different for me but I'm curious for you.

 

Thanks for the link on the blade guard - that's a good find!  I'll check if that's something that'll work with my machine

I do joint wood wider than 8" - and see myself doing it pretty frequently now that I have the capacity.  There's a surprising amount of Cletus wood around here that I'm a sucker for - and a lot of it is pretty wide.   Some of the air dried walnut that I'm working with right now is 14" wide.  To be fair, many times the projects I'm working on don't require that width - I could cut it down with the tracksaw and joint narrower pieces, I'm sure.

You can tweak the extension table to get it pretty darn co-planer with the infeed table (with a nice long straight edge - I got the LV/Veritas one), but when I slide it front and back, I think I lose that calibration... so most of the time I leave it with a bit of sag in it so it supports me wrestling the piece up onto the jointer but doesn't tilt the far end of the board up above the plane of the infeed table.

 

 

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Very nice review, although needing a Felder tech for 5 hours would have me hesitate on a purchase like that.  Only competition I can think of is the Baileigh JP-1686.  Not sure how the fence compares, but the price is OK at $5,795.00.

Finding old iron can be a lot cheaper, but requires a lot more time.  I got a Jet 20" planer (not really old iron I guess) for $600 and an L-Power 16" jointer (really old, like 80 years or so) for $2300.  If I ever go spiral head on both of them, that'l be a couple grand more.  That really starts adding up and honestly makes the combo units tempting.

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7 hours ago, ben_r_ said:

Wonderful review! I have been saving for an A3-31 and hoping to get one next year some time.

Worth saving for ...The quality I have experienced on this machine is second to none, 12 years and going strong. I have never had to adjust anything and that includes initial set up took it off the crate, added the mobile base wheels, attached digital handle, and plugged it in. Other then the fence not a single gripe and its not that bad :) 

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