ON TEST AH80 Surface Planer Ian Wilkie

ON TEST AH80 Surface Planer Ian Wilkie
Proxxon AH80 Surface Planer
with Ian Wilkie
This new planer is an addition to the Proxxon range of
small-scale precision machines and it is designed to
plane timber up to 80mm wide.
Ian Wilkie is an independent reviewer and journalist; many of Ian’s articles
are published in The Woodworker magazine.
“This machine is solid, well built and accurate and at 5.2 kilos
it is light enough to pick up and put away. “
The body is constructed from machined alloy with a nylon
reinforced polyamide casing and measures (length) 410mm x
(width) 290mm and (height) 200mm. The in-feed and out-feed
tables are made from cast aluminium with a fine ground finish
on the top surfaces and measure 80mm wide x 190mm long. The
2 x 82mm long double-sided HSS blades are fitted to a precision
balanced drum which is mounted in quality ball races at each end.
Replacement blades cost £16 a pair.
The 200W motor is connected to the drum by a tooth-belt and
gives a speed rotation of 6000rpm. The NVR on/off switch ensures
that, if there is a break in the power supply, the on button has to be
pressed to start up the motor again. The planer can be connected
to an extractor hose via its 35mm extractor port.
The maximum depth of cut is 0.8mm and a clear calibrated
indicator shows the setting from 0 to 0.8mm. The 400mm long
side fence has a height of 55mm and can be tilted 45 degrees. The
substantial blade guard is supported on a spring loaded arm.
This is a machine that must be treated with great respect and
the guard should always be covering the unused part of the
blade on the left hand side of the wood being planed.
A push-stick is essential to guide the wood along the table and
a large, strong plastic one is provided with a place to store it on
the side of the casing. In addition, I made a push-pad with coarse
abrasive glued on the underside for added grip. The body has
four drilled holes so that the machine can either be secured to
the bench or screwed on a piece of thick MDF which in turn is
clamped to the bench.
Front of AH80 Planer showing NVR switch
Page 1
ON TEST with Ian Wilkie
Proxxon AH80 Surface Planer
April 2013
Using the thicknesser
Check that the wood you are going to plane has no hidden nails or screws
because this will write the blades off immediately. Before commencing to
plane the wood, set the cutting depth to 0.4mm. This is done by turning a knob
under the in-feed table and looking at the depth gauge on the side of the table
which is clear and easy to see. The knob is quite stiff and stays in position so a
locking device is not needed. Set the fence 90 degrees to the table using the
calibrated setting device and tightening the large knob to set the position. The
fence can be set at 90 degrees or up to 45 degrees left or right. Set the blade
guard so that it covers the exposed blade on the left hand side which is not
covered by the wood.
Equip yourself with ear defenders, eye protection and a mask. Planers
are noisy machines and this one is no exception. Link the machine up to an
extractor. During the test the dust/shaving extraction was very good. A dust/
chip extractor designed for woodworkers is far preferable to a domestic vacuum
cleaner which quickly clogs up. Start the machine and push the wood along the
in-feed table using the push stick. The blades will start to cut. The planed wood
moves on to the out-feed table which is 4mm above the in-feed table. The key
is to keep the wood flat on the table and not allow it to rock around, but the
hands must be kept well-away from the blades. Repeat the passes as necessary.
A nicely planed piece of timber is a joy to behold and to run your fingers over, but
beware - the edges can be sharp!
The HSS blades are double-sided and can be reversed. They are changed through
the slot and the screws removed using the hex key provided and this proved to be
an easy task. I now magnetise my hex keys for this sort of operation to reduce the
risk of dropping the screws and losing them on the workshop floor amongst the
shavings. I tested the Wiha magnetiser/de-magnetiser in 2010 and it has proved to
be very useful (£5.58 from Axminster). All blades are hazardous even if they are
blunt and at long last I have invested in a pair of Kevlar gloves to protect my
hands. I now use them when changing bandsaw blades and thicknesser blades
and wish I had bought them a long time ago; they are tough and inexpensive.
A Proxxon product is always going to cost you more and there are probably
cheaper planers around. What you are paying for is good design, and quality
engineering and build. Most full sized machines are heavy, take up room in the
workshop and are not easily moved, so if you only undertake small scale work
it is useful to have something more tailored to your requirements. This machine
is solid, well built and accurate and at 5.2 kilos it is light enough to pick up and
put away. This latest addition to the Proxxon range of precision machines is
ideal to use with the Proxxon FET saw and the thicknesser which you may
be lucky enough to already have. With this combination you should be able
to produce a wide range of accurately dimensioned soft and hardwood for
small woodworking and woodturning projects.
Page 2
ON TEST with Ian Wilkie
Proxxon AH80 Surface Planer
Micro adjustment on fence
Changing blades could not be easier
“A nicely planed piece of timber
is a joy to behold and to run
your fingers over, but beware
– the edges can be sharp!”
Push stick and Ian’s homemade push pad
Back of AH80 Planer
showing dust
extraction port
with Ian Wilkie
April 2013
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