Review By Dean Bielanowski  Triton Website - http://www.triton.com.au


Triton 82mm Planer
(TP720)
 Review

By Dean Bielanowski
 

At time of writing, I am busily engaged in some renovations of my own home. In particular, replacing some water damaged walls and framing from a non-waterproofed shower that leaked! In addition, I have enclosed an open staircase with a new plaster wall and door frame, ready for a new door to go in any day now. Some of these tasks are ideal for the tool type we are reviewing today, the 82mm power planer.

Triton have recently released their handheld power planer, and I have been using it for my renovation work and in the workshop. Let's see what it offers and how it performed for me...

The Triton 82mm Planer
Firstly, you will instantly recognize that familiar Triton color if you have seen or used Triton tools before. The Triton orange covers most of the body and handles of the planer. All orange components (as seen in the tool photos) are made from hardened plastic, which is fine as these incorporate the main body of the tool and the handles - pretty common material for most tool handles these days. All components affecting accuracy are metal construction for strength and durability. The bases of the planer are cast aluminum and are virtually flat according to my straight edge, which they should be of course! The design of the planer itself is somewhat unremarkable in the sense that it follows the traditional design and shape of most common handheld power planers, however, there are some subtle differences. The first being the front auxiliary handle, which instead of just having the depth adjustment knob as a grip handle, as on many planer designs, there is actually a separate auxiliary handle to provide a better grip on the tool, which also aids in controlling it better (in my opinion). The carry-style front handle design provides the user with a comfortable barrel-type hold on the tool. In fact, it is perhaps the most comfortable planer I have used to date. A rubber overmold on the front handle provides both additional comfort and grip too. The main handle is traditional in design with a carry-style barrel shape with your main power controls on the underside. It too features the rubber overmold on the top side of the handle for user convenience, and added safety. Power controls feature a standard push button trigger plus a trigger release switch to prevent accidental start-up. These are standard fare.

The dust collection port is a dual direction port, meaning that it can deflect chips either to the left or right side of the tool, depending on which direction the user has selected via the deflection selector knob located under the front auxiliary handle. This can be handy at times, particularly if you are working in confined spaces. You can easily move the dust extraction to the side of the planer where more room for debris ejection can be provided, or where the debris can be deflected away from the user. However, of course, you really want to catch as much of the chips and dust as possible before it escapes into the immediate environment, particularly if you are working indoors. To do this, you need to attach either a vacuum extraction hose (and unit) - not supplied - or a dust collection bag, which is supplied. Dust and debris ejection from the unit is actually very good, but it is reduced markedly, as you would expect, when the dust bag starts filling up. This is fine, and emptying the bag quickly remedies that problem, however, when planing more than 1mm at a time, a lot of shavings are created which fills up the collection bag quite rapidly. This is not any different from any other planer I have seen, and certainly not a fault of the tool, but if you want consistently effective dust and shaving collection from the planer without frequent bag emptying, consider hook up to a vacuum extraction system with a large capacity collection container when working indoors.

The planer is called an 82mm planer because that is the maximum width cut capacity it offers in a single pass. So if you have an 82mm wide or smaller board, door, or whatever else, you can make a planing pass and remove material across the entire surface in one stroke. Planing depth can bet set from 0mm up to a maximum of 2mm per pass. Planing depth is adjusted via the depth adjustment knob located on the front of the tool. When this knob is turned, the height of the front base of the tool is changed. It is lifted up to provide the depth offset to make a depth planing pass in relation to the rear base, which is fixed at the same height as the cutter blade tips. So, only the front section of the base before the blades moves when depth adjustment is changed. This is the standard method of depth control used on most power planers. The adjustment knob will adjust the depth by 0.2mm per indexed turn. Interestingly, the depth adjustment knob shows the adjustment increments in both metric and imperial measures. This is handy if you regularly work with both systems, or at least it will make the tool more attractive and suitable for a wider audience. Now, the depth settings are really only a guide. Don't take them as gospel, because with most handheld power planers, the settings are rarely very accurate. This is the same on the Triton model. On the "0" setting, the front and rear base sections should, in theory, be aligned with each other. This is not the case on the unit I have. The front base is too "low". So just take the settings as marked as a rough guide, and if you require precision planing, choose an alternative measuring method to ensure accuracy. Thankfully though, both front and rear bases do appear to be parallel to each other, and each base is, for all intensive purposes, as flat as they need to be for this type of tool.

In terms of power, the Triton planer features a 720W motor. This is more than enough for most planing tasks. Sure, you can bog it down somewhat attempting a full 2mm depth cut in dense hardwood when planing at the maximum 82mm in one pass, but trying to cut that deep in hardwood with maximum width is not really advisable to begin with anyway, even if your planer had twice the power. In fact, I never take more than 1mm per pass in hardwood on my 3HP thicknesser! Plus, planning deep in a single pass, particularly in hardwood, doesn't produce a very clean finish. Smaller, successive passes of 0.5mm or less in hardwood saves the tool, saves the blades and gives you a better finish. I was testing 2mm passes in softwood at about 40mm width and it did the job, despite being showered in plenty of shavings and debris! So take smaller depth cuts per pass, and a few more of them to guarantee good results, and you wont be straining the motor either. A belt drive system transfers the motor power to the cutterhead.

The cutterhead houses two 82mm, reversible TCT plane blades. These rotate at 17,000 RPM (no load), so there are potentially up to 32,000 blade passes on your material per minute. At this rate, a clean, smooth finish is attainable on the planed surface. Maintain sharp blades and you will have no problems at all. And of course, when the blades dull, simply reverse them to expose a new sharp edge again! The blades themselves appear to be very generic in design, so sourcing replacements shouldn't be a problem, even if Triton-branded blades are not available. There should be no problem with matching other branded 82mm TCT blades if you cannot source Triton ones, so you won't be left out in the cold at any stage in the future with dull blades and no replacements to be found on the planet! Blades are secured via three clamping screws/nuts which hold each blade in position. A wrench to tighten/release these screws is stored onboard the planer, just behind the belt drive cover. You wont lose it at least when it can be stored directly on the tool.

The Triton planer not only planes flat surfaces, but it can also create rebates up to 8mm deep. To ensure consistent depth accuracy, a depth stop guide is included which is adjustable to a maximum depth of 8mm. Additionally, a parallel guide fence (included) can be added to the planer to ensure a parallel rebate to an edge. These two fence/stop additions allow the user to create rebates with the power planer with good accuracy. Certainly as accurate as they need to be for carpentry or even cabinetry purposes (with a little practice).

The front base features a V-groove designed to cut chamfers on the edge of boards. The corner of a board or length of material sits in the groove with the planer tilted to a 45 degree angle. It quickly removes a sharp corner with ease. This is useful to either protect edges from chipping, or to remove a sharp edge for comfort or safety reasons, depending on the project in question.

In Use
Before using the Triton planer (or any other planer for that matter) on the material to be planed, check first that there are no hidden screws, nails, staples or the like embedded in the material. If the planer happens to hit one of these, not only will it likely damage or ruin the planer blades, but parts of a blade could be projected in any direction and the planer could kick out causing a safety hazard. So check for foreign objects in the material before you power up the planer.

While the Triton planer is fairly similar in function and features to most planers on the market, I did notice that vibration on the Triton planer seemed much less than other similar spec'd planers I have used. This planer runs extremely smooth, and if it wasn't for the sound the planer makes as it revs up (which will require hearing protection) you might not even know it is turned on! Well, you would know of course, but the point is that the planer produces VERY little vibration, which helps add to the level of control the user can have over the tool in use. Plus the low vibration helps deliver excellent and smooth planing results.


Planing a door edge to fit in door frame

As mentioned above, the Triton features a 2-blade rotating cutterhead. Some planers now feature triple blades. So does only having two blades affect the final finish on material planed? Well my personal experience with power planers, and with the Triton planer reviewed here has told me that it is not really a factor in final finish quality, assuming you have sharp blades fitted. I successfully planed through softwoods, hardwoods, and even MDF on a hollow core door bottom edge (I had to extend the length of the door with an additional piece) with the planer and it produced a excellent, smooth and flat finish with no blade marks that I could easily see. In regards to snipe, particularly when finishing a cut, I had no problems with the Triton, although this issue basically comes down to technique. Even the best planer can dig in at the end of a cut unless the user takes diligent care to relocate the pressure on the tool to the backward base as the cut is finished. This can be tricky, and I often create a bit of snipe when not taking enough care regarding technique.

Perhaps the best feature of this tool is the front handle. Many handheld planers don't even have a front handle, and you have to hold onto the depth adjustment knob to get a 2 handed grip. The Triton's front handle provides a comfortable and large grip zone for horizontal, vertical and chamfering planing tasks. The tool is really a pleasure to use comfort-wise.

Blade changes are quite simple using the included wrench. The biggest issue is getting them set to the correct height, which should be level with the rear base surface. The included user manual explains the process if you need help. I use a special magnetic jig for setting my planer and jointer knives which works well for me, but after changing blades, check they are set correctly by running the planer over some scrap material. Both blades should be set to equal height so one blade is not doing all the work, cutting deeper than the other. This might also show up as a rough finish, or a finish with fine ridges if the planer is run over the material too rapidly.


Surface planing at full 82mm width.

Overall I am pretty impressed with the Triton planer. It doesn't really have any revolutionary/evolutionary features as found on some other Triton tools, but it does get the job done, and it runs really smooth... Perhaps the only thing missing is a drop-down foot at the rear of the planer that holds the base off the ground/table when the planer is set down. This is a feature on one of my Ryobi power planers and I really like it. But then again, that Ryobi planer doesn't have a front handle either, so give a little, take a little...

But for the asking price - AUD$99 (retail) - the Triton 82mm planer offers excellent value for money and performance! I'd certainly rate it up against a Makita or a Bosch power planer in terms of performance, accuracy and final cutting results.
 

Available to Order through these Companies...
Click graphic to go to their direct product page for this item

Australia
BUNNINGSHOME HARDWARETHRIFTY LINK
 


For more information, or to find dealers worldwide of Triton products, visit www.triton.com.au

Triton TP720 Photos
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The TP720 82mm Planer


Depth setting knob with measurements in both metric
and imperial.


Dust chute direction control switch.


Rebate depth guide.


Trigger and trigger release switch.


On-board blade wrench.


The dust chute.


Cast aluminum front and rear bases, with V-groove notch on front base for chamfering tasks.


Cutterhead and blade.

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