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John's Tool Crib
byJohn Cupp

Ryobi HPL50K Hand Planer Kit Review

I used every piece of hard wood I could find and I used this planer as long as I could each day of testing before I could stand it no longer and had to put my tools down. Number one, it s still running and very well I might add. It is not the most powerful 3 ¼” planer made at five amps but is cuts small depth cuts very well. In fact the maximum depth of cut is just 5/64”, not ery deep by other planers standards but much less work than a hand plane. I have a very expensive Japanese hand plane and when I get it perfectly sharp it will cut a 3” wide ribbon of wood without breaking as long as the piece I am planning. It takes a lot of concentration and a blade so sharp you can split hairs with it but it also take a lot of work to use. This Ryobi plane takes off more wood than that hand plane and it does it without any worrying. The Ryobi plane is about $300.00 less in cost than my expensive hand plane also. The Ryobi plane is not a professional tool and it was not designed to be one but it does work well for what it is. Sure the depth of cut is small but it cuts much faster than a dull hand plane and most people today do not have the skill to sharpen planes the way they need to be sharpened.

Well I did sharpen the rotary blades on the Ryobi plane before using it and the blades could be considered dull from the factory, That is my biggest complaint. The exhaust shoot all the chips come from can be made to come from either side. I suggest that you connect a shop vacuum to this as it helps it not to clog with debris from planning. I always hook up the vacuum when I am planning dangerous wood to breathe. In fact a lot of wood can be unhealthy to breath the saw dust from. Respiratory problems are not always from smoking even though I am a non smoker. After forty years in a saw mill cutting Cedar a lot of worker develop different types of lung diseases. So try to be safe when using tools like this planer that can put out fine saw dust.

Remember to sharpen or have the blades sharpened if they feel dull when you get them. Another thing I always use is a metal detector. Just I case the piece of wood you have has a nail or something inside the wood. Remember if someone nails a sign to a tree, thirty years later the sign has fallen off but the nail is inside the lumber of the tree now. A sharp piece of metal could break a blade and it could spit out of the 16,000 rpm arbor and go right through your hand or chest. Thinking about that does not make wood working fun but now metal detectors that are hand held cost a little less than $20.00 for good ones.

In all my testing I found that the Ryobi planer was simple to use had many great features and above all is less expensive than most good hand planes. It is a nice hand planer even if t is only 3 ¼” wide. After tackling hard maple, walnut, oak, mountain mahogany, Russian Olive and Cedar I say it is exceptionally priced for what it does. But be warned if you try to set the depth of cut to a quarter inch it will probably explode into many pieces but some people do not RTFB ( read the frigging book) first. If you need to remove lots of wood with as little trouble as possible and you have a tight budget go ahead and get the Ryobi. It is not a Makita, Bosch or DeWalt planer that can make a ¼” cut but it does a fine job anyway and I have abused the one I have and it still runs fine.

Even though our grand fathers built boats with hand planes and they built them quicker than most of us can I still would rather use my Ryobi Power plane. It won’t let you get into trouble because you don’t take huge amounts out with each pass. The Ryobi HPL50K is a great tool with a fantastic warranty and a very low price tag. I have used this one for a long time now and it still has a warranty in effect. In the long run it may not last as long as a DeWalt hand planer but it only costs about one third the price. So I can buy three Ryobi’s to one DeWalt planer and that sounds pretty good now that I know my Ryobi is a great planer even though it costs much less. That just means I have more money to buy lumber for a bigger boat.

I can’t here you dear, the shop-Vac and the planner are running, good excuses from my tool crib to you.