The Model #351233831 Craftsman 12-1/2 inch steel construction planer/molder handles lumber up to 5 inches thick and 12 1/2 inches wide. By switching out the knives, it can plane or mold, creating smooth finish lumber or finely curved pieces that match up with floor and ceiling moldings for that finished look in your home. It also creates decorative items such as furniture pieces and picture frames.
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This is a lower-end contractor quality planer/molder best suited for home and light commercial use. Manufactured in the 1990s, this is an older piece of equipment and some of the parts are no longer available from Sears. It came with only a one-year factory warranty or 90 days, if the equipment was used commercially. Sears Craftsman hand and power tools, however, have a well-deserved reputation of quality, and the equipment can last years with the proper maintenance. This steel construction unit features anti-kickback pawls and comes with a chip deflector. An optional dust collector chip chute, Model 8582.00, is also available.
The planer/molder is supplied with a 2 ½ horsepower, 120 volts, 15 amp, single-phase AC universal motor that performs at 4500 RPM. It runs on standard household current. The motor is enclosed to protect it from wood chips and sawdust. To compare, horsepower for planers runs from 1 ½ HP in the less expensive models to a whopping 15 HP for models running more than $10,000. This particular model is no longer available new. A “used very little” one was advertised on Craigslist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September, 2010, for $275. In comparison, the low-end Craftsman 12 amp, 12 ½ inch bench planer, Model 21758, without molding capability, was advertised by Sears in November, 2010, for $239.99. The much larger Craftsman Professional 3 HP 15 inch planer/molder, Model 21745 retailed during the same time period for $799.99.
The assembly includes adjustable rubber rollers for feeding wood into one end and out the other. Rough-cut lumber should be at least ½ inch thick and be up to 5 inches thick and 12 ½ inches wide. The planer/molder uses a single 12 ½ inch planning knife when planning or three separate ¼ inch steel pattern knives when molding. Different patterns of knives can be used, for example crown and bed knives or tongue and groove knives, but three must be used at a time.
The gearbox has two speeds, a fast 26 foot per minute for fast planing and 13 foot per minute for planning or molding. The unit comes set for the slower rate. To increase the speed to 26 feet per minute, you must change the gears with the 26 FPM set provided.
This model of the planer/molder is portable and must be mounted to a stable work surface before using. An optional accessory, the Sears Multi-Purpose Stand Model 22250, can be used with this unit. Built-in handles and four lifting bars are provided with the unit for ease in portability, but it is top-heavy and caution is in order when moving the machinery.