Evaluating Lipping Planers

Woodworkers discuss the good and bad points of various lipping planers. February 28, 2006

I want to buy a lipping planer for curved wood edged laminate tops. Any advice as to what unit is best? I have looked at the Virutex and the Hoffman, which have significantly different prices. I have always bought the best if it was worth it. Does anyone have any opinions on these or any others?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
Art Betterly makes a router that does what youíre looking for, for a bit cheaper than a lipping planer. They call it a flush trimmer, model #181 Bosch router or model #185 Porter Cable router.

From contributor B:
Buy the Hoffman and don't look back. It is well worth it!

From contributor C:
I don't have a Hoffman but I do have their portable doweling machine and it is very well made. Lamello also makes a lipping planer that I have heard good things about.

From contributor D:
I have a Hoffman and it is very nice. The router cutter goes across the wood the wrong way and in my opinion will leave cut marks like a saw blade. The Hoffman is a knife like a planer without cut marks. It is a nicely made tool and worth the money.

From contributor E:
I have a Virutex and it has always done a great job. I haven't used it for much curved work.

From contributor F:
I've used a Virutex for several years with no problems. If there's any question about tear out, just drag the machine backwards, climb cutting.

From contributor G:
Look at the Lamello Cantex. I have been very pleased with mine.

From contributor H:
I've used both the Hoffman and the Virutex. I actually prefer the Virutex and would buy that over the Hoffman. The base is wider, and it's harder to tip when the cord gets caught. After practice, either would work well.

From contributor I:
I have the Virutex, but the Hoffman is also pretty nice. The advantage of the Hoffman over the Virutex is how the shoe is adjusted. With the Hoffman the height is adjusted with a knob that has click stops, whereas the Virutex uses a screw thread wheel with a locking wheel. This comes in handy when you have a lip with a lot of overhang or something prone to tear out. Itís easy to adjust the Hoffman Ė move it up a couple of clicks to take a rough pass off and then go back to the original setting. With the Virutex, once you have the perfect setting, youíre not going to want to mess with it. I get around this with the Virutex by putting a piece of thin laminate on top of the work piece, which leaved about .030Ē after a first pass.

One other design flaw with the Virutex is that the cord comes out of the right side of the handle. When you get done lipping a piece, if you let the tool hang by your side while itís coasting to a stop the blades will make short work of the cord.

From contributor J:
I've owned both. The Virutex was more forgiving, but was pretty sloppily built, and less consistent. There are a few tweaks that'll improve the stock machine by removing some of the play that's inherent in the design. Virutex support staff had a condescending attitude that I didn't appreciate. The Hoffman is built beautifully, but having the cutterhead hanging out takes some getting used to. The outboard handle is a necessity to keep the machine cutting flat. The click-adjustment is great - .1mm/click (.004") is fine. They are a great company with great customer support.