Im amazed at myself for even asking this question... it seems each time
I buy a tool that 'this is the final piece before I can really do great
things'. But I'm always missing one more.
So I have to ask. I have a good tablesaw, a good router and router
table, a good 6" jointer, and a crappy little drill press, along with a
wide variety of other misc tools. I have found that not having a power
planer is a handicap, such that I have to buy S4S ($$$) or not do any
good woodworking, and heck, even S4S isnt consistently thick. So, what
tricks are there with the tools I have to make consistently thick
boards? Should I make some wild jig for the TS?
I'm sure someone more experienced than I may give you better answers, but a
planer, either hand or powered, seems to be one of the fairly basic tools
needed for fine woodworking. I've survived well without a jointer. Sure,
it world be nice to have but I've gotten by five years now as I can buy wood
jointed "included" in the price. . Planer is used often though. Others say
to reverse the sequence, but that works for me.
With the assortment of tools you have, the planer may certainly be the
"final tool" in the series. Except for a bandsaw. Maybe a lathe. Mortise
machine is nice to have too. You do have a dust collector don't you? That
is a must with a planer.
Doesn't seem to be for David Eisan. Well, he does have one, but I don't
think it serves as a catalyst for the ownership of a planer, after all, his
dust collector was sitting there in the background with a huge pile of
shavings from the planer,not connected to said dust collector, in that
picture he last posted. ;-)
One can use a planer without a dust collector, but there are certain side
effects of doing so.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
Mark & Juanita (in email@example.com) said:
|| You do have a dust collector don't you? That
|| is a must with a planer.
| Doesn't seem to be for David Eisan. Well, he does have one, but
| I don't think it serves as a catalyst for the ownership of a
| planer, after all, his dust collector was sitting there in the
| background with a huge pile of shavings from the planer,not
| connected to said dust collector, in that picture he last posted.
| One can use a planer without a dust collector, but there are
| certain side effects of doing so.
I might as well take a bit of the heat off David - my DC is connected
only to a router. I keep a snow shovel in my shop for dealing with
shavings from jointer and planer. :-)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
The reason for my comment was that I planed two boards. Next week I had a
Getting back to the original question of need, I wanted to be able to
control the thickness to what I wanted. I made a doll sized table with a
drawer for my granddaughter. Using 3/4" wood for the drawer sides looked
too clunky. So I HAD to get a planer.
Edwin Pawlowski (in zoM6f.1338$ firstname.lastname@example.org)
||| One can use a planer without a dust collector, but there are
||| certain side effects of doing so.
|| I might as well take a bit of the heat off David - my DC is
|| connected only to a router. I keep a snow shovel in my shop for
|| dealing with shavings from jointer and planer. :-)
| The reason for my comment was that I planed two boards. Next week
| I had a DC.
| Getting back to the original question of need, I wanted to be able
| to control the thickness to what I wanted. I made a doll sized
| table with a drawer for my granddaughter. Using 3/4" wood for the
| drawer sides looked too clunky. So I HAD to get a planer.
Of course! In fact, you could probably make a good case for a good
10HP dual-belt sander for the next one...
DeSoto, Iowa USA
A planer's job is to make one side parallel to the other at a specific
thickness. The alternative is to buy your wood presized. You seem to
have a fair amount invested in tools for your hobby. Do it one more
time and get the planer. A tablesaw is not going to thickness a twelve
inch piece of wood.
For me woodworking is not just a outlet for making things. It allows me to
design things. I seldom make things that I can buy. By that, I mean I can
often make *exactly* what I want.
For me, a planer was must important because it enabled me to develop designs
that incorporate different thicknesses. At least for me, owning a jointer is
more to do with interjected quality (accuracy) into the process than does
owning a planer.
Do you need a planer ... nonsense, but it does enable more nuanced
Make furniture, not boards. You don't really think the folks in hand-power
days spent time making 13/16 boards do you? Lots of joinery techniques
allow for boards of inconsistent thickness. Just make sure they meet on the
Hand planes and scrapers will take care of the minor misfits. Try to stay
with either surfaced or sanded lumber, and not mix the two in the same
Of course, I bought a planer 25 years ago because I didn't care to double
the price of my lumber by having it KD and S2S. #1 common cherry was
$220/MBF, but KD and planing would have added another $200. After the first
couple of years, I began haunting the school board to do the same for their
shop, to take the load from mine.
Just to elaborate a bit, mark all the outside faces as your reference
face. Always use this face as your reference, never the opposite
face. For example on the table saw the reference face would always go
against the fence. Now if the backside of the joint needs to fit
against another surface you'll have a problem, but usually you can get
away with this.
Just to supplement good advice, there is a good case for making inside
surfaces of dovetailed carcases the reference face (face side).
On frames, the reference edge (face edge) should be on the inside of the
Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK
email : Username is amgron
I was in the same boat (except I didn't have a "good" TS or even a
jointer). I finally found a project that required a planer (Jeff's
project rule: every new project that the wife requires gets a new
tool). I struggled even more to justify the $499 for the Dewalts and
the other big guys. I had settled on the Ridgid but it was out of
stock. I figured, Hell, I'll buy the Ryobi and bring it back in 3 days
after I get "some" use out of it ("I'll show them"). Turned out to be
a great little planer.
I must admit that on 16 foot long 2x6 boards (T&G stuff) it struggled
some with the pushing them through some, although with a little
assistance it did fine. There was no problem with the cutters, just
the power feed. I find that clearing the sawdust off of the roller
helps. I also used it to plane some very stained 4x8s for my shop
table ( www.astutesolutions.net/images/workbench.jpg ). Here again it
struggled forcing those big hunks of wood through (10'x4"x8").
I'd like to build a parallel set of 2x8's on their sides with rollers
that would hold the planer and receive the cut wood that I can set it
up at a 20 degree angle such that gravity would help the large stock.
For small pieces, it handles it great.
Anyway, sorry to get too far off the original question. I find that
now that I have a planer, I work on a lot of other projects that I
wouldn't have thought of doing before. Not necessarily furniture
related, but wood projects around the house.
Some people are tool collectors, others are sawdust makers.
I consider myself to be among the latter. Some of my
projects, mot of which did not use a planner, can be seen at:
I have a total tool cost of about $600. The Mesquite box was
made from a log cut on a bench saw and planed with a Skill
electric plane ($29 about 15 years ago). The cherry blanket
chest was from S0S boards that were given to me by a neighbor
who cut them on his band saw mill. I seldom measure anything
but cut to fit. It usually doesn't matter if the boards are 11/16
or 7/8 or whatever so long as the are strong enough and look
Recently I bought a used Delta planner for $100, a major purchase
for me. I find it very useful for making thin boards of different
thickness. It was very useful for making the doll house and the
furniture for it. I can continue to make wood working projects
without it. You have to decide if you are a sawdust maker or a
The arguments in favor of a power planer are prefectly valid but
there are reasons to use handplanes. Handplanes take up less
room, and some of us like the feel of using them. I feel closer
to the wood, more like a woodworker and less like a machine
technician. And I can use the exercise (it can give you a
real workout). I don't think cost is a factor: the cost of
a set of good handplanes is equal to that of a power planer.
There are lots of special uses where handplanes are perfect and
a power planer won't work, e.g. planing an assembled drawer to
final size, both horizontally and vertically, to make a perfect
If you go the handplane route:
1) Study up on handplanes and how to use them.
2) Get the right kind of planes (there are many functional types)
for the work you will be doing.
3) Get more than one. Don't try to do everything with one type
4) Have the ability to keep the blades razor sharp.
I have a table saw, 14 in. band saw, 6 in. jointer, and two
high-quality handplanes. This combo has worked well for my
recent projects using mostly oak.
Maybe one day I'll get tired of the handplaning and get a power
planer. But I'll never regret learning how to use my handplanes
and they'll last much longer than I will
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