Oliver Machinery, a name recognized as a manufacturer of vintage woodworking machinery, has returned to the marketplace. Oliver, while no longer manufacturing in the states, has strong ties with their factory and is producing machines in smaller quantities. This allow them to quickly respond to customer feedback with design changes hitting production models quickly. While still producing large, industrial-quality machines, Oliver is responding to consumer demand or a home-line of tools.
The Oliver 10044 planer shown here is Oliver’s version of a lunch-box style planer. The 10044 is a 121/2“– wide planer featuring a Bryd Shelix cutting head powered by a 2HP (15 amp) 110 (115)v motor. One of my first observations about this planer (planing 8“ wide white oak) was that it left an unbelievable finish. My second observation was that the motor may be slightly undersized for the planer, as I was able to trip it taking a heavy, wide cut. That is, I believe, due to the helical cutting head drawing a bit more power than a traditional two or three knife cutter head. It’s not that big of a deal, and I just have to make myself take lighter passes (staying under 1/8“ per pass, which is good practice anyways).
Some features I appreciate on the 10044 are its 4-post design and locking head—a press of the locking lever locks the posts at your determined position. A built-in depth stop allows positive stops at four commonly used thicknesses. The dust collection port also has a blower to assist in chip extraction, which is much appreciated, especially with the helical head. If you’re looking for a thickness planer for your shop or looking to upgrade to a helical head, in my opinion the Oliver should be at the top of your list. — Logan Wittmer