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Mark Rhodes Furniture & Kitchen Maker & Woodwork Courses - Norfolk

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>Hammer A3 41 review.

>Hammer A3-41 Review

Sorry for the rather long gap between postings, what with one thing and another, time has been very tight lately. But I have my whole house to furnish soon, starting with my kitchen. Anyway here is a short review of my new A3-41 planer thicknesser,
 Ordered this machine in July, it was delivered this week, a long wait for sure, but a week earlier than stated and it was explained to me at the time there would be this wait.  Mainly because they have just changed the design a bit and new machinery for making these was being installed in Austria. But was it worth the wait?
I’m making my own kitchen at the moment, and I’ve wasted no time putting this machine through it paces. It delivers smooth, flat, and square timber. The fence is robust, and doesn’t have a massive centre bar, so can be pushed right back flat to the wall. Both tables flip at the same time, and the change over from planer to thicknesser is very fast, with two decent solid handles that quick release both beds, and the assisted tables can be lifted very easily. I have the wheel kit on mine, and would say this is an essential add on if your tight for space(as I am). I also opted for the digital readout on the thicknesser, and would say this is also an essential add on also. On my older P/T the extraction wasn’t that efficient, so using the fitted hood on the A3-41 was a revelation, the extractor hood itself is very efficient at picking up all but a few of the chips, and after machining for most of the day there was perhaps a handful of chips around the machine.
Now the bad bits, this machine has been keenly priced to be in-line with its competitors, so there have been a few corners cut on things like adjusting knobs. These feel cheap, nasty. and plasticky.  I don’t feel they have much longevity or a place on a machine in this class. The thicknesser bed is a little rough, and the timber grips to this instead of going through smoothly.  So I have been using a wood glide thats sprayed onto the bed, this does seem to be getting better the more I use the machine, and I guess the bed is wearing in.  The manual was all in German, but they are sending me an English version this coming week (it came the next day).
The bad bits being said, I wish I had got my hands on one sooner, the smooth finish alone has made sanding a much quicker job now, and I’m very happy with this machine. I would however, probably of paid a few pounds more to get metal adjustment knobs instead of the few(not all) plastic ones its supplied with. Hope this helps.


I have since used this planer a lot and have tested the full width with oak, I have taken 2mm off in one hit, and the machine handled it without missing a beat.

Thanks for looking.

6 Responses on “>Hammer A3 41 review.

  1. Jeff says:

    >Thats pretty cool. I am a sucker for a gigantic cast iron bed on any tool. Someday, I'll upgrade my current planer. I am jealous. 🙂

  2. Mark Rhodes says:

    >As well you should, this is a great machine. Definitely take a look at the hammer when you upgrade Jeff I like it.

  3. Tim says:

    Hi Mark
    Looks like a good bit of kit..
    Thinking of getting the A3 31. I assume this is just a smaller version of yours? Did you choose the 41 over the 31 solely for the bigger beds?
    The 41 has a much longer bed but unfortunately is a grand more!
    Are you still happy with the 41? I just want something that’s accurate and stays accurate.

  4. Mark says:

    Hi Tim, Yes the 41 is the bigger version. I chose it for the wider beds, and would buy it again no problem. You can extend the length of the beds with add ons from hammer, so if you don’t need the width, you can at least get longer tables. It is a very accurate machine, and would say that the digital gauge is good, as is the mobile base.

  5. Tim says:

    Hi Mark
    Thanks for your reply.
    Can’t really justify the 41 but the extra bed length without extensions would be nice.
    I think we’ll probably go for the 31. At present i’ve got a 10″ jet which while adequate seems of late to need constant fettling to achieve satisfactory results.. Hoping the Hammer will just do the job with consistent accuracy.
    I really like your work and you’re blog is a great read.
    Many thanks

  6. Peter Gee says:

    Just for future reference, Hammer is the ‘budget’ end of the Felder machine range, which is not often mentioned in the English (or US) woodworking press/distribution networks. The Hammer bandsaw is actually an ACM made machine, as is the Startrite 401, for example, or the USA Laguna machines sold as the “Italian” range. Very confusing, eh. The Chinese made machines pretty much fill the tool catalogues of everyone in the UK, although the trend seems to be to suggest they are English made, or made to English designs at the least.

    Anyway, I just wanted to advise you to look at Felder next time you want a top-flight machine, although they are, of course, more expensive that the “budget” Hammer range. The finish is noticeably better.

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