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Thread: Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review

    About two months ago, I got a Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer in the shop (Model # R4331). Previous to this one, I had picked up a restored 12 inch planer by the band name of Total Shop (Never heard of it before).

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-a8042e41-2924-46bd-bce5-1b866cb6bd61_300.jpg

    The Total Shop unit wasn't the most reliable thing. The last time that I tried to use it, it chewed up the wood. It actually fed the wood through and it looked like the machine was eating it. When it did work, it produced quite a bit of snipe. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of confidence with this tool and because of that, it sat on a shelf in my shop collecting dust.

    Prior to acquiring the Total Shop unit, I had my eyes on the Ridgid model that came out before the R4331. I never pulled the trigger to get one because most of the wood that I had bought came from Home Depot and the other large box stores. So everything was already dimentioned, planed and square. This seemed to work out for me, but I was paying quite a bit for my lumber.

    Recently, I started working with some of the exotic woods and in order to make them affordable, I've been buying wood that is rough cut one the edges and in either 4/4 or 8/4 thickness. Besides saving money on my wood, I can now control the thicknesses of my stock. A little resawing and then it is off to the thickness planer.

    My biggest concern when I first started using the Ridgid thickness planer was whether or not I was going to have to deal with a lot of snipe. I hate the idea of having to start off with a longer piece of wood because I need to cut off the snipe caused by a thickness planer.

    My concerns were laid rest almost immediately. The Ridgid unit has a locking mechanism that locks the cutting head into place once you have it set. The minimizes the amount of movement in the cutting head that causes snipe. This lock works extremely well and is very easy to operate. I think that it is my favorite feature on this unit.

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-1a.jpg

    I think my second favorite feature on this unit is the thing that they call Ind-I-Cut. This is basically a little gauge that you can use to get a good idea how much material you are going to remove when it is fed into the cutting head. Just put the front edge of your wood under the gauge and you can dial the cutting head down. The gauge will move to indicate how much is going to be removed.

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-2.jpg Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-img_4896.jpg

    The dial that moves the cutting head up and down is located on the top of the unit. This is a change from the previous model where it was located on the side. The dial works very well and there is even a notation around the dial that indicates you will cut off 1/64th of an inch with 1/4 turn. This is very useful to know.

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-3.jpg

    If you are planing wood and you need them to all come out at the same thickness, you can always use the Repeat a Cut feature. There is a knob on the side of the unit that does just what the name implies. If you want all of your pieces to come out at 1/2" thick, just set the dial for 1/2" and start planning. Once the cutter head reaches 1/2" thickness, it won't go down any farther. There is an actual physical stop on the inside of the unit that prevents the cutter head from going any deeper than your desired thickness. This is better than guessing if your are close enough to your target thickness.

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-4.jpg

    This unit ejects its waste out of the port on the back of the unit and it works quite well. Even better yet, if it is hooked up to a dust collection unit, there is very little cleanup necessary when you are through using it. For some reason, when I was researching this unit on some other sites, the only complaint that I saw come up was the location of the dust port. I fail to see the flaw in this feature since it worked incredibly well for me.

    Ridgid 13 Inch Thickness Planer Model R4331 review-r4331_1_final-1000x1000-1-.jpg

    The construction of this unit is very good and I have a feeling that unit is going to last a very long time. It has quickly become that one tool that I love to use.

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  3. Top | #2
    Premium Member MichaelR's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've came up in the world compared to what you were use to with the old planer. I never had a thickness planner before until I got my Delta 12" Thickness planer. It too has the lowering/raising adjustment on the top and the gauge showing how much you are removing basically in the same location as yours does. I like the idea of having the repeat a cut setting, mine doesn't have it so I have to measure the boards to ensure i have the same thickness each time. Mine also has the cutting head lock so I do not see any snipe.
    "May your life be filled with quality shop time and an unending amount of lumber" Author J Miller

    You can follow my work at Underground Woodworking - https://www.facebook.com/UndergroundWoodworking

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    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Good review John. I had the model before this one and used it while I was building my home. It worked well.

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    What is the best way to clean the rollers and feed trays so the boards go in smoothly? do you use a special type of cleaner and wax?

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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    I do wax the feed trays with Johnsons paste wax, but I have not done anything with the rollers.

    Here is a good reference video for thickness planer tune ups. There is no reference to the rollers though.
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    Premium Member MichaelR's Avatar
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    You want the rollers to be rough, they need to grip the wood to pull/push it through. I also use wax on the tables. I can't really say that I can tell the difference with or without the wax, but I never hurts and doesn't take long to wax them.
    "May your life be filled with quality shop time and an unending amount of lumber" Author J Miller

    You can follow my work at Underground Woodworking - https://www.facebook.com/UndergroundWoodworking

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    Premium Member WayneT's Avatar
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    Hey John we need a update on this planer.
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    Administrator tugnut1's Avatar
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    I think you are right. I was thinking the same thing. I will work on that.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
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    Question for you on this plane, actually I have the R4330 which is close enough. And maybe I should have posted this elsewhere. But my planer (after about a year of non-use) is now having an issue where when I lower it, normally by an 1/8th to 1/4 turn, and start running a board through, it will start raising up and can physically see the handle to raise/lower turning. At first I thought I was trying to take too much off with the 1/4 turn, but even at an 1/8th it was doing the same thing. I tried with it off and unplugged to pull it upwards and it did not give way at all. So I can't figure out why. If I hold the handle in place I can send boards through without issue, and thinking about changing blades (which I watched your video on), but thought I'd see if anyone else came across this issue or have any thoughts on what is going wrong.

    Again, sorry if this belongs elsewhere.

  11. Top | #10
    Premium Member WayneT's Avatar
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    I'm the owner of a new R4431 Ridged Planer. It was sitting here when I got home from S.C. Yea!
    LarryS and cdnvet like this.
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