I recently purchased the Bosch 12v planer from Lowe’s after I left my Makita 18v planer at home and didn’t feel like driving ~150 miles round trip to retrieve it. I had to plane down two solid doors after installing some new floors. I had a hand planer and while I think I could’ve gotten a nice clean flat and straight bottom- why do by hand what you can with power tools (didn’t Plato say that?)
Sure I could’ve purchased a corded planer….corded power tools are so 2010. . Lowes had what I thought was an enticing offer (thru ~August) to enter into the lineup, get a 2ah battery and charger for free with the purchase of qualifying tool. I was also intrigued by the overall dimensions. I have planed doors with the 3-1/4” width of the Makita XPK01 before and it takes all of your concentration to keep it centered is a balancing act while remembering to finish “through the edge”, transferring the weight to the back of the tool, or risk a rounded edge from falling off the door. The Bosch cutting width is listed at 2.2” and weighs about half the weight (I didn’t put them on a scale).
I’m not going to advocate this is a tool for everyone. It’s niche. (1) the cutting depth is .04” with a max setting of .08”; (2) I didn’t run out of battery, but the run time listed (33’ per amp hour - which I thought was a really honest way of approaching this) - by Bosch isn’t extensive; (3) the cutting width is 2.2” (4) lacks variable speed; (5) the blade depth marking is lacking and; (6) there is one cutting blade (Bosch says its reversible for longer life).
What this tool did offer and why I am keeping it is (1) the tool offers excellent performance when used within and understanding the design limitations; (2) the size and weight are terrific for planing doors or even the side of a 2x material; (3) sorry Tim Taylor, sometime less power is better suited to the application; (4) I didn’t find that making 4 passes to get the depth was a hinderance or detraction versus the XPK01 which maxes out at 5/64” depth (in fact the max depth on a single pass is greater on the Bosch (.07” v .08”); (5) the overall length permits this to fit into my Dewalt rolling tool box ( I’ll discuss this in more detail in another post as I’m working on a new approach to my tool setup), allows me to have this tool with me at all times and; (6) does what it is advertised to do.
Some other features I didn’t use but found on the tool is the ability to change the direction which the shavings are sent. The Makita XPK02 has a similar feature. The tool also coms with a dust bag and a vacuum attachment (Makita pay attention, I’m tired of sourcing $1 accessories/parts for 1500% markups when you can provide them in the box and make $5 off of me). I also appreciated the onboard storage and inclusion of an additional reversible cutting blade and the Allen wrench for blade changes.
One aspect I’m not sold on is how blades are changed. I never read instruction manuals until I run into problems and have thrown them away and have to scour the internet… sorry I digress. For whatever reason I took a look at the manual and the procedure to change the blade requires sliding it out of the drum with a piece of wood. The diagram, overall the user manual the way it is written and labeled, isn’t particularly helpful. And now that I’ve tossed it I have come to realize that Bosch doesn’t have the manual online on the product page (Bosch, simple stuff here- put the manual and parts diagrams right on the product page and not separate searches).
For anyone interested in learning more or seeing it in action, Kyle over at RR Buildings has a good video that I watched in Lowes as I was checking out of the store.