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Fred Wilson

Scrollsaw Tips and Tricks - 2/8/2014 - Planing very thin boards on your planer

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Planing very thin boards on your planer


I realize that this tip can be used in many other areas, but since I'm a scroller, got put it here.  Other folks can use it as well.


I have a Delta planer which does an excellent job of smoothly planing boards for my scrolling work. It only has one restriction for me in that the minimum thickness it planes to is around 1/4" but when you approach this height I find the adjustment knob for setting the height is really straining to achieve this setting. 


I remember when I was recutting some wood offcuts on my bandsaw and found myself left with a stack of waste ranging from 1/4" to 3/8" thickness. Normally I would throw these away unless the wood is particularly special but today I had one of those rare neuron flashes which I thought I'd try to see if it would work.


My idea was to try to plane these pieces to either 1/4" thickness or 3/16" for use in some of my projects.


This is probably not a new solution for those in the know but it was for me and it worked perfectly!


I took a length of 3/4" thick perfectly flat MDF. To this I stuck two lengths of double sided adhesive tape. On the top of the tape I stuck a length of 80 grit cloth backed sanding belt. 


I next placed a wood offcut to be sanded on top of the belt and measured the overall thickness of the MDF, belt & wood assembly using a vernier gauge. I then set the Dewalt thickness to 1/32" less than this height. I then carefully fed the assembly into the planer checking first that the grain of the offcut was running in the correct direction for planning


After the assembly exited from the planer I turned the board around, again checking the grain direction, reduced the thickness of the planer fractionally (probably around 1/64") and fed the assembly through the planer again. After a couple more very light adjustment passes I ended up with a perfect double side planed offcut of 3/16" thickness.


The secret to achieving this result was firstly to use new 80 grit paper or similar to produce enough friction between it and the wood to stop the wood from skidding as it passed through the planer, and secondly, to measure accurately the thickness of the assembly and then adjust the planer to remove a bare minimum of wood on each pass so as not to overstress the friction on the wood.


I'm not familiar with the mechanism of other planers but I would imagine that any planer which has a top friction feed roller to bear down onto the wood will produce the same effect. What I do know for sure is that this works splendidly with my Delta.


Hope this tip helps a few folks






Fred
aka Pop's Shop
www.pops-shop.com
'Soooooo many patterns - sooooo little time'
Scroll Saw Forum Host
'Stop complaining about the storm and learn to dance in the rain.'

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+1, Fred. I don't measure, though. I used the thickness gauge. Stick the piece in 3" and crank it down and the gauge pointer tells you the depth of cut.  Maybe your Delta is not so equipped, though. 


Other helpers are open end wrenches of the proper sizes for checking thicknesses. I keep the wrench size I'm aiming for on a magnet stuck to the planer stand leg.


1/4 turn equals a smidge. :-) 




Gene
'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Did something similar with my Dewalt planer.


My difference was that the "new table" is stationary, with a block that hooks the end of the infeed extension table. The "new table" is covered with a 1/8" piece of plexiglass- affixed with contact cement- and waxed on top to reduce friction.


A word of caution when planning very thin material- no knots, defects, or wild grain- these can cause the piece to shatter in the planer and make a real mess or worse- damage the planer.




Lew Kauffman-
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Gene - "Other helpers are open end wrenches of the proper sizes for checking thicknesses. I keep the wrench size I'm aiming for on a magnet stuck to the planer stand leg."  --  Hadn't thought of that one - I'll give it a try.



Lew - Plexiglass, eh?  Another great idea.  =-=  "A word of caution when planning very thin material- no knots, defects, or wild grain- these can cause the piece to shatter in the planer and make a real mess or worse- damage the planer."  --  Thank you for this word of advise.




Fred
aka Pop's Shop
www.pops-shop.com
'Soooooo many patterns - sooooo little time'
Scroll Saw Forum Host
'Stop complaining about the storm and learn to dance in the rain.'

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