Scheppach Plana 3.1C planer/thicknesser
Reviewed by Raf Nathan
This machine, to my eye, mirrors the design of many high-end European planer/thicknessers. The operating modes, placement of handles and switch gear reminded me instantly of, say, the Hammer brand. However this machine comes from a Chinese factory and that is not a bad thing.
Pitched to the part-time woodworker market it will get you planing and thicknessing for half the price of European machines with similar specs. The trade-off is less refinement in some components and a lower resale value, but not lower performance.
The main tables are 250mm wide x 1050mm long and are made from machined cast iron. Maximum thicknessing depth is 180mm, enough for most workshop jobs. Set-up is straightforward and operation is easy.
The cutterguard is a bit light duty although it worked well and while the fence is on a par with other similarly priced machines it could be more rigid. In the past, on machines like this I have attached a wood sub-fence to the supplied aluminium fence for improved performance.
Change-over from planing to thicknesser mode, a key point with a combination machine, is pretty fast. Lower the thicknesser table to the 130mm mark and lift both tables as one, a nice touch. There are a few levers and fiddly tabs to move to effect this which does reflect the lower price, but not the useability. The feed rollers on the thicknesser are rubber-coated which Scheppach claim eliminate feed marks on planed wood. I noted no such marks on my test planing.
With 3hp there is plenty of power and the feed speed of 8 metres/ minute combined with a high motor speed gave a clean consistent cut finish. The three HSS cutters were not quite sharp enough ex-factory and from personal experience it would be best to buy better aftermarket cutters to avoid being a slave to sharpening them. TCT cutters would be a good option as these are readily available.
Dust connection was pretty standard and effective with a 100mm port. Overall, at a hefty 210kg weight, this is a solid machine that performed well with sufficient power. Worked within its limits, this machine should last forever.
Review machine supplied by Hare and Forbes: www.machineryhouse.com.au