Planer v Thicknesser (UK)

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Hope those in the US can translate the terminology. Question: If you could only have one of these machines which one would you choose?
Regards Alan
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I thought a thicknesser was a sandpaper based tool that took off 1/32" or so at a time while a planer was more for turning rough or too thick stock into a finished board, 1/8" at a time using rotating knives. The former did finished work while the latter's output needed sanding to finish it. It looks like they both mean a planer though, at least in the UK. Good question, sorry I couldn't help.
Jim
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If I have the terminology right, what you call a planer we call a jointer, and what we call a planer you call a thicknesser. Sometimes we call it a thickness planer.
If I don't have that right, ignore the rest of this post. :-)
Being from the US, I'm going to use US terminology to avoid confusing myself. I hope I don't confuse you in the process.
If you Google this newsgroup on "jointer planer" you'll find a lot of discussions about this.
IMO the bottom line is that the two machines work very well in tandem, but neither one is especially useful by itself. A jointer makes faces and edges straight and flat, but it cannot make opposite faces parallel. A thickness planer OTOH exists for making opposite faces parallel, but it can't make them straight and flat without the construction and use of additional equipment (Google on "planer sled" for more info), and it can't make edges straight at all. So it's better to have both. Look for used equipment if your budget doesn't permit you to buy new copies of both; you can probably get a used jointer and planer for less than you'd pay for a new jointer. If shop space is the constraint, instead of budget, get mobile bases for both of them, so you can roll them out of the way when not needed. But find a way to get both.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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If you buy your timber thicknessed, the planer (jointer) will clean up sawblade artifact and make the edge square to the face. You can also thickness boards narrower than the blade width with some care.
If you buy your timber rough, or work in many thicknesses, you need both.
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Alan Penn wrote:

Alan,
I buy my wood planed to thickness, so my first purchase will be a jointer. With some advanced planning, I can buy all of the stock for a given project, even if it requires many thicknesses.
Curt Blood, Amateur Furniture Builder
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To properly surface stock, it must be both jointed *and* planed - in that order. You're setting yourself up for problems if you buy lumber already thicknessed, then joint it, but don't have it thickness-planed again *after* jointing.
Here's the reason: thickness-planed = opposite faces parallel (board is the same thickness everywhere). Jointed = one face made straight and flat. Result: opposite face is no longer parallel to the jointed face, and the board needs to be thickness-planed again if you want it to be the same thickness everywhere.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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If the two surfaces are planed and parallel to each other, making an edge perpendicular to one face also makes it perpendicular to the other...
Simply jointing the edge will <not> change the relationshiop of the to faces to each other...if one corner angle is less than 90, the other face/corner angle will be the complementary angle.
Ergo, if one buys surfaced material of the desired thickness, one can more easily do w/o the planer (thicknesser) than the jointer.
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Duane Bozarth

Only in geometry - this is woodworking.
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wrote:

Funny and true. :-)
Hidden in all of that is the false assumption that the presurfaced stock is actuallly flat and straight when you buy it. It's probably pretty flat when they mill it, but it probably has plenty opportunity to "move" after milling. By definition, you de not get to acclimate your stock before milling, because it's milled in someone else's shop.
-Steve
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Stephen M wrote: ...

But that's a different operation (resurfacing)...if the two surfaces are parallel, they'll remain so within the differential expansion of one portion of the same board wrt to another which is going to be quite small...
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It's true that once made parallel, they will remain parallel. But if the stock was milled in someone else's shop, once it acclimates to the temperature and humidity conditions in *your* shop, it may no longer be straight and flat.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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wrote:

RH difference is it. Temperature pretty much a non-player. But why are you preaching heresy? We _all_ know that kiln-dried wood remains the same forever....
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No. I was really referring to edge jointing
I was trying to dispell the myth that is you bring home S2S stock and then joint one edge that you end up with straight and square stock. It will probably be pretty good most of the time, but occaisionally not so great, depending upon the stock, the time between initial milling and subsequent milling and the change in relative humidity.

True, but not what I was talking about.
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Stephen M wrote: ...

OK, then I misunderstood the point you were trying to make...sorry.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Not in Arizona. Given the radical changes in humidity between here and where that stock was originally thicknessed, it has a nasty tendency to bow, warp, cup, etc.
You can work around this, but you need to choose your wood carefully if you don't have a planer.
--RC
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Rick Cook wrote:

I still say the two surfaces will be (essentially) parallel to each other... :)
They may not still lie in a flat plane, but that's a different issue as I've noted before. In that circumstance certainly one would have to resurface and all that--I never claimed otherwise.
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Sorry, but rethink the quartersawn board.
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/ch03.pdf Fig. 3-3 for a view.
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You don't have to be in Arizona for that to be a problem. Right here in central Indiana, for instance - where we have a pretty considerable difference in humidity between winter and summer. If I buy wood in the summer, and bring it from a non-climate-controlled lumber warehouse to my air-conditioned home, I want to let it sit at least a week before I try to mill it.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Andy Dingley wrote:

<If> the two surfaces are initially parallel, having gone through aproperly set thickness planer, working on the edges doesn't change that.
If there's twist and one resurfaces one surface, then it's true one will have destroyed the symmetry, but that's a different operation.
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Exactly. And that's why face jointing must precede planing.

Yep. That's the operation that should be done *first*.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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