The Accurate planer is a really nice tool and well worth the $ in my opinion. Will the staters last 70+ years? Nobody knows, but Skils have been proven. As for cost -a new Accurate planer is $1250 plus tax which comes to $1350. That is $400 more than a complete PeteC Restored Skil.
i wish that the Accurate planer parts were interchangeable with the Skil...I think only the dust chute is. As the saying goes- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Go shape with an accurate... report back.
reasons no one uses em. It ain't the price tag.
mr. "young" shaper, Dunning and Kruger come to mind...
raise your price to keep the cheapos up at night.
Uhhhmmm-weighing in here. I'm a tool junkie yard sale and junk shop addict. And a working stiff.
Looked at the Accurate planer on their site, it would appear to be a near copy of the Skil but machined from the get-go rather than using machined castings. .
Pros- likely to be stronger/wear less than cast. Better grade of aluminum than the original. Accuracy of build better.. Things like the motor assembly, switch, pulleys, belt and bearings and such are hopefully relatively common off-the-shelf stuff used in other tools ( somebody else's routers?) so you don't have to search so hard for bits and pieces.
Hopefully. I'm not seeing a manual or parts diagram.
Cons: Other things like the cutters themseves and a few parts are probably unique to this thing. If I bought one, I would buy some of the unique stuff as spare parts. Which would bring up the already high price. Given a good CAD/CAM shop and a fair sized order you could bring these out fairly cheap, but these people already make hilarously expensive bespoke fishing reels for rich guys who sport fish, I don't see them ever doing enough production to bring the price down, after they amortise the time and effort that went into doing the measuring and programming. .If they ever do. Diminishing market.
Buddy of mine has a small factory, does CAD/CAM work on things like gun parts in production runs - it's cool stuff. But his niche is doing a few hundred of something, these are done one at a time.
Probably great for the rich hobbyist, who wil mostly keep it on a well-lit shelf and have the butler polish it now and then. Like some of the hand-fitted bronze tools sold to rich hobby woodworkers. Working stiffs will have older,overhauled Skils, PeteC's contact info and a few more as backups/spare parts.
Still like my 653, but I mostly plane oak and pine.
Hi Doc, The main problem that Accurate faced with their planer is what guts to put in it. Obviously it would be a huge design task to do your own motor, drive system, etc. so they simply cannibalized a currently available planer. Unfortunately, the selection wasn't a good choice hence the noise and the motor reversed from the Skil. A top brand like Bosch or Makita would have been better. Another problem is the aluminum billet machined housings vs. the Skil diecast/post-machined parts (lengthy explanation, stay with me). Because planers run at 16K rpm, the bearings can get hot enough to melt the grease right past the seals. For continuous duty, bearings 2X the size of the Skil's are necessary. But for planing doors the duty cycle is about 10 sec or less so a smaller bearing can be used. However, Skil engineering probably figured that somebody would put it upside down in a vise to make a joiner (they later made an attachment for this) or otherwise and have a longer duty cycle. So.... In every bearing seat Skil cast in a 1/4" thick steel ring; both to dissipate heat and provide a harder press-fit. If you just bored a hole in aluminum for the bearing, the fit would be gone in about 8 minutes due to the heat expansion rates between the steel bearing and aluminum hole. Once that happens, the bearing is loose in the seat and grinds the housing oval. All 4 bearings in the Accurate are just bored into the aluminum. Not rocket science or counting quantum particles, but not intern-level engineering decisions either.
My goal isn't to bad mouth Accurate here, but just to point out what I've seen when people have asked me to try and repair them. I think the lesson here is that you can't have a good design without linking engineering and manufacturing. Accurate is a highly respected supplier of aerospace machined parts (to customer spec's, i.e. process, not design), and on their fishing reels well they don't clock at 16K rpm like a planer. The Rockwell 653 is a good example of what it takes to make something like a Skil but that was back in the day, unfortunately those principals are irrelevant now.
Well, it's before sunrise here on Cape Cod, and the pre-dawn peace and quiet was broken by a spray of coffee and a bellow of laughter. Which scared the hell out of the goddamnedcats. I love it, You're preaching to the choir and I can see that you've taken your time rebuilding the Skils to analyze and think about them with a well trained eye and mind.
A little story;
I trained as a mechanical engineer, on my way to a grad degree in ship design, Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering, though I never got there. And early on in MechEng school was a survey/intro course in Manufacturing Engineering.The idea being that a bright young spark of an engineer should be conversant with manufacturing processes so that when he or she drew something up it would be something that could be built at all, and ideally easily and cheaply and quickly. As I was in my late 20s at the time, having worked out in the world, I was all for that idea.
The guy teachng the course was a recognised expert in metal casting, particularly iron. He dearly loved it too, you could tell. He was often out of town, consulting with outfits like GM about engine blocks. One on-paper project was how to cast a sand-cast hollow-cast cast-iron steam radiator segment, as you'll see in older buidings, more or less square in section (which has it's own quirks in the casting and mold making process) . After it was done and threaded for piping you would bolt a bunch of them together, maybe on-site, as they would be heavy damn things,
Technically, a difficult thing to cast, I would imagine in practice the discard rate of failed castings would be pretty high.
I liked that course. And in this case I had fun with the assignment.
After giving them the school solution, a tricky little mold, I redesigned it for each segment to be made of two identical pieces, not hollow, that would mate using a cheap gasket, require no hollow castings, have no sharp angles. I think I may have been looking at a clam when the idea struck me. In addition, it was redesigned so you wouldn't get condensate pooling at the bottom as the original design would to make rust or blow the things apart if for some reason the steam went off in a cold winter like we get here and the condensate froze. I think I wrote Do not design for ideal conditions. You won't get them.
The TA grad students asked if they could copy my paper. Probably thought I was a ringer the professor had slipped in to test them and make their lives difficult. And I wanted to draw boats and ships, or I would have thought very hard about switching to manufacturing. It was that much fun.
I think the lesson here is that you can't have a good design without linking engineering and manufacturing.
I think the lesson here is that you can't have a good design without linking engineering and manufacturing.
I would add that the end user should be part of the process too. .Webb Institute of Naval Architecture trains their students in engineering, except that their first summer they send you to work in a shipyard. so maybe you don't design what can't be built or will cost the moon if you do build it. The next two summers they send you to sea, so you don't tend to design something that's useless or will fail in use.
A few things-
I find it really disappointing that these guys would go to all the trouble of designing and machining this thing out of nice aluminum and then throw in what are for all I can tell the guts from a $59.95 Harbor Freight import planer that's pretty much disposable. Especially when they are charging $1200 for it. As you say, and I agree, it's not feasible to build your own power unit from scratch, but jeez, Use something better.
As well, how hard would it be to set it up with removable/replaceable steel or maybe even better cast iron (handles heat better) inserts machined to hold oversized but still standard off the shelf sized bearings? That would be and remain solid and soak up heat, etc. etc. I mean, they are after all playing in a CAD/CAM machine shop you and I would give our eye teeth for, it's kinda trivial as well as fairly cheap.
And for $1200. I think you've got a right to expect something that's near perfect in use, that will last long enough to justify the cost. Back to the drawing board, boys.
Now, the Skils were built to a price, admittedly, My old man bought one and he was awfully tight with a buck. But they were built in an era when a working man simply would not accept something as cheezoid as the Accurate. You could get cheap plastic planers from Sears and you expected them to fail, as did plastic Rockwell drills of the era, but if you bought something that cost two week's pay and it was that bad, well, the tool sales guy would need the services of a proctologist to remove the thing once the angry buyer was through.
And if you wanted, then, to spend a bit more, well, you had every reason to expect a big, heavy, industrial sonofabirch like the 653 that could and does plane heavy oak until my arms get tired. Or mow foam, if you were Phil Becker.
I keep reading that people are getting tired of buying junk, that they're more willing to spend the money to buy good stuff that will last and work better while it does. That would be nice, but I'd expect to see it happen first with a high-priced niche item like the Accurate.
Unfortunately. not so much.
In regards to your last paragraph doc. It seems to me in my financial dealings with the general public that they are only willing to pay for a quality product when they can beat you down to "Dollar Store" prices. What ever happened to "I'm willing to pay what I know it is worth." ??
That which can be assorted without evidence was read in an illegal magazine.
Ummm, you pose an interesting question.
As an example, let's take a car maker: Mercedes Benz. In the '50s, '60s and '70s, they built machines of high quality, though not for the general public, rather they were built for people who viewed one of their cars as a long term item ( I won't say 'investment' ) to be used, maintained and repaired for a long time by somebody who knew the difference between one of theirs and, say, the Chevys or the Fiats of the day.
It may be apocryphal, but it was said that the 280SL, a relatively small convertible, had on it 20 kilos of paint straight from the factory. Built to hold up. The engines may not have been the most powerful but they were reliable and when Benz built the car they built a wild amount of spares for it, likely there's still some for the 280SL in the warehouses fifty years on. And, while a Rolls Royce might have been built to theoretically go 'forever' for a very serious price, the Benzes were built to be rebuilt forever by a good mechanic who would need those spares, things like cylinder sleeves and extra heavy bearings where others used a simple cast block and cruder bushings. Me, I had a '74 240D, diesel given to me, that when I finally gave it away had 350,000 miles on it. The rings and valve job it needed were beyond my budget. And it was on to the next freebie.
By comparison, a Chevy of that era, if it made it to 35,000, you were due to replace it, 70,000 and it would be literally remarkable and on its second or third engine and transmission.
What happened? Mercedes decided they wanted to compete with General Motors. Gradually, or not so gradually, they cheaped out to get the price down. Mercedes also went from a byword for reliability that was worth paying extra for to just another car, albeit an expensive and I would say overpriced one with few high end trappings like leather upholstery. Even the best ones they made at the top of the range suffered from this quality erosion.
Part of it , in US market, was the vanishing of their customer base, the better paid working professions and craftsmen who knew quaity because they produced quality themselves. Rather, it became either the rich, buying at Neiman Marcus or the rest of us, hitting the dollar store for something we knew we'd throw away fairly quick.A culture of greed, where you aspired to wealth by any means or resigned yourself to being ground down..
The rich will pay well, very well indeed for their toys, their trophies, as an ostentatious display rather than an intelligent appreciation of quality to use. The reputation is something that comes from rich idiots bragging to other rich idiots. If you want that market you have to crack that niche. And even then they will do their best to grind you down . that is in the main how they got rich after all. And they are fickle. there is always somebody who will make something that's no better but they suck up better, flatter the egos of the rich a little more, however transparently.
As I said, you need to crack that niche to get the price. And once there, the kneepads will get a lot of use.Don't get me started on why a guy who was trained to work on wooden commercial fishing boats got out of it and won't work on rich people's yachts.
That's a long and angry story.
Shaping with an Accurate? Wear really good ear protection. And not likely that the case will hold up to bearings in the long run.
The most I've ever paid tor a Skil 100 is $40 and the least is $10. I've come across 3 in about 18 years of keeping my eyes out for them. Two came from an auction house in NJ that runs huge auctions monthly and the $10 one was stumbled upon at a yard sale in Brooksville Florida which is basically the middle of nowhere. Actually paid more for my Turbo Chute than I paid for the planer I use it on. Kind of like the vintage boards I've picked up along the way, its about the search. I'd never pay top dollar for a vintage board someone else scored. I'd rather be the guy who scored. Otherwise I'd be content with the modified Hitachi.
Gonna turn 71 later on this year. Shaped my first surfcraft in '68. I have a few Skil's and a couple of the old mod Hitachi's. A bunch of years ago I bought 2 regular un-modifed P20 Hitachi's as I consider them the best low cost alternative for learners mowing foam. They are waiting on the next gen along with instructions on how to do the mods. They are grandkids of somebody I know. I've used every planer mentioned on Sways as well as a few that have not. Can't do the Accurate even with ear protection. I have a grit barrel rigged Clark Hitachi for skining blanks. I have a 676 with the new multi-cutter drum. If I'm doing modern foam, I skin with Hitachi and finish with the Skil. Terry Martin was the king of Skils and if you want to be the best, watch the best. A craftman is only as good as their tools. My grandpas told me that. If you really want to shape and make it a career, you need to have good tools. Let the tools do the work, let your mind see the form. When I am done, there are a couple of people that will get what I see they need. After that, my son can deal with the crap. Just my 2c... PS: And this is not even EPS related! Hi Herb!