I will, and have, bought some cheap tools on ebay, and I have particularly liked two planers I got. They’re identical but for color, made in china, and I have used them for a few dozen boards over the last year and a half or so.
Last week the drive belt on one of them disintegrated. I got out the other one, finished that board, and kept on using it, but this weekend, just when I’m all set to crank out a nice 9’8" triple stringer, the belt on the second one goes to bits.
I called a few places, and ended up going to Slim’s Power Tools (I’m in Honolulu, is that news?). I always knew the two planers looked a lot like Makitas, but imagine my surprise when the Makita belt (12 bucks each) fit exactly. Double the surprise when I saw a “real” Makita planer on the rack and compared the offshore one I had with me… they were identical down to the casting marks. Mine didn’t have the Makita decal on the belt housing, but that was the only difference.
So, guys, unless you like the Harbor Freight planer (and I don’t know what they have) go to ebay and search for “electric plane” and look at the prices… something like 15 bucks. Well, you could pay about $125 at Slim’s for the guarantee, but if I was me…
My guess is that Makita has their planers made in China, and the actual maker is either back-dooring these or has an agreement with Makita, or bought the tooling. I like this planer a lot, and knowing that it’s “actually” what it looks like is very reassuring in terms of parts and service.
There was a nice similarly sized Bosch planer on the rack, with left and right chip eject, but heavier,and the platen was thin so you couldn’t bevel it much, if at all. I didn’t see the price… and I don’t care.