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Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:53 pm
I'm toying with the idea of getting a saw / spindle combi and just wondered what the general opinion Felder was?
I used to have a Altendorf but I am working from a much smaller place now and don't have room for another.
Don't expect the Felder to be in the same league but how good / bad are they?
Read that the customer service is pretty dire
Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:28 pm
Hi Dave, I think 'dire' is a bit harsh.
I have owned them for 14 years and I can say the company has always been more than helpful to me. Though I have needed to give them a push a few times, they have never abdicated responsibility and seem willing to put in any amount of effort to resolve a problem. Without repeating what I have already said previously, I have thought that some of the engineers have lacked the experience to recognize some problems, possibly because of the relatively low sales volumes here compared with Austria and/or possibly due to staff turn-over, who knows. Also, the company and the range of machinery they produce have grown massively in the relatively short time I have been dealing with them and this must have presented new difficulties. I have heard that service has improved more recently. Funnily enough, I spoke to an engineer today about a minor problem my (now six year old and well out of warranty) machine has developed. He was clearly very knowledgeable and spent quite a bit of time helping me sort it out. No complaints there at all.
Another thing that doesn't help is the relative lack of information the factory is willing to share regarding setting the machines up. In any case, there are a few really helpful owners who have rectified this and provided supplementary manuals, etc. and the owners' forum is good too.
I do know that a lot of the bad-mouthing comes from people who don't own them and particularly from dealers with axes to grind.
My opinion of them in short - if you are looking for separates, the choice is wide. If you want a combination machine, they are the best without doubt.
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:07 pm
Thanks for that.
If I had the room I would be looking for separates and I have a good idea what I would buy
What I have in mind is a saw / spindle combined and I already have a planer / thicknesser
Do you think the Felder is worth the premium over say a Minimax or a Hammer even?
Looked into the prices on the Felder and I have to say I didn't think the prices were bad if the quality is all it is made out to be
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:24 pm
My only experience has been with a Felder combi and has generally been positive
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:21 pm
Minimax aren't bad at all. But I think Felder win out with much better convenience and change over times as well as a very long list of customizable options. With others, you get a more or less standard machine but Felder are pretty well custom made to whatever spec you want (or can afford). Combis were their bread and butter for decades and it shows. Hammer are good machines but seem a bit light duty when you compare the two side by side. I suppose it depends on how much work you expect it to do. For me, it only works because I can change over almost anything in less than a minute, even swapping the router/moulder spindles for example. The longest change over on mine is from saw to spindle because the saw blade has to be manually wound down and the spindle raised manually, apart from changing the fences and guards. I wish I had the power rise and fall on both which enables you to raise one and lower the other simultaneously with the push of two buttons. Even then, subjectively it seem to take longer than it actually does. I mean, what if it takes two minutes, or three minutes? It isn't that bad. If you can afford the bells and whistles go for it. At a minimum, you need the positioning spindle fence (which goes back where you left it) and height and angle gauges IMO.
I agree, the prices aren't bad when you compare with others. I suppose it helps that you are buying direct rather than through a third party. When Sanlin, the original UK distributor, gave way to Felder's own dealership, the prices were reduced considerably I remember.
Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:40 pm
I'm on my second Felder combi, started with a BF5 1986 vintage and upgraded approx 2 yrs ago to a CF 731. Both were second hand purchases and have not let me down.
I wanted to buy new for the second purchase however Felder had stopped doing the 12" planer version in the 7 series. For new it either had to be a five series or a hammer however I wanted the spindle/router change facility which was not available on the five series or the Hammer
Considering both my purchases have been second hand Felder have been excellent. For both machines they were good enough to send me exploded diagrams and parts lists of both machines and manuals in PDF form. The extension tables really expand the use of their machines and as mentioned the ability to change the spindle from 30mm to router really expands the use of the machine.
The x-roll table glides smoothly (as I suppose other makes do) and the outrigger table makes sheet material conversion a breeze. I also like the foldaway bracket for the powerfeed.
I personally would not opt for the electronic whistles and bangs i.e. digital thicknesser and spindle height as I consider that if this goes wrong when out of guarantee then its an expensive fix (just my personal view), that being said setting the thickness height with the dial in the centre of the wheel is accurate to a tenth of a millimetre.
Finally the tilt on the spindle is also extremely handy.
If you need a spindle permanently setup for rebating etc then you will need separates but for occasional use and when tight on space you cannot fault a Felder
Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:54 pm
Thanks for the input
Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:45 pm
Hi Dave, I've had a Felder combi for the last 13 years and its been 100% reliable and very accurate.