proper tool, planer or jointer?

I've got a steady supply of hardwood flooring that I'd like to be able to use for something besides, well... flooring. I'm trying to find out which tool would be more suitable for cutting the backs of the boards down flat. The wood I'll be using will be between 2.25" & 5.25" (predominately 2.25") wide by .75" thick with various lengths - red oak mostly but also white oak, maple & pine . If anybody has an opinion I'd be grateful, and opinions on models would be appreciated as well (space & price are big concerns I'm afraid).
Tia
Adam
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Well, a jointer establishes a flat face, and a planer uses one flat face to establish a second flat face, parallel to the first.
Be sure you get enough machine to handle the volume you expect. Factor in the cost of resharpening/replacing the planer knives. A Google search on planers here on the Wreck will yield the groups' opinions, offered freely and frequently.
Is this material you are expecting prefinished? Removing that finish is really hard on knives, and abrasives. It's meant to last for years under heavy foot traffic. Not all free wood is free, in other words.
Patriarch
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On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 00:42:40 GMT, Adam

smallish pieces are good for smallish projects. boxes come to mind. I think I'd be shopping for a thickness sander or the parts to build one.
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On Fri, 17 Sep 2004 00:42:40 GMT, Adam

A "suitcase" thickness planer. Look for model recommendations, because there are big variations in quality. You might want a chip collector too.
You're feeding it stock that's already pretty flat, so passing it through twice will clean up both surfaces and get it to thickness. You don't need a jointer or surface planer here - you can manage most stock without, unless it's twisted.
Expect heavy knife wear - flooring is hard on them and contains lots of trodden-in grit (and nails !). If you're doing a big batch, run it through first on your "old" blades, then stop and put a new set of blades on.
--
Smert' spamionam

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I'm confused. Could you post a link to an example of a '"suitcase" thickness planer,' and an example of a "surface planer?" Thanks.
As far as I know, all you can plane are surfaces, and that will always change the thickness, normal to the surface planed. Therefore all planers will thickness-plane surfaces.
I can't imagine one folding up like a suitcase.
I'm lost.
-Mike
wrote:

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On 17 Sep 2004 10:46:34 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Mike Reed) wrote:

This is a regular trans-Atlantic terminology problem.
Surface planers have a flat table with a cutter in it. They make one surface flat. Turn the wood over and they'll make the other side flat too, but it could quite easily end up wedge-shaped. Their adjustment is for cut depth, and you don't often change this.
Add a fence to a suface planer and you have a jointer.
Thickness planers have a cutter mounted _above_ a flat table. They make things a uniform thickness and remove wedging. If you feed them something that's already approximately flat (relative to the size of their table) then they'll make a flat surface on the other side to match. Their adjustment is for final thickness, and you adjust this on every pass.
In the USA, thickness planers are usually just called "planers".
Cheap thicknessers are called "suitcase" or "lunchbox" thicknessers. They're a plastic casing, with an internal framework of varying quality. The tables are thin metal sheet extensions that fold down from the case. So long as your thicknesser has a "head lock", it ought to do reasonable quality work. The cutters are mounted on a movable head that moves up and down over a fixed table. Motors have brushes (aka "universal" motors) and are noisy.
More substantial thicknessers are cast iron and ride on four steel posts, hence the name "four post thicknesser". Some "four posts" only have two posts. The cutter head is fixed and driven by belts from a large induction motor, so it's much quieter. The table moves instead.
Really big thicknessers go back to moving the cutter head. A _really_ big thicknesser may even have four or five independent heads. It can surface and thickness all four sides in one pass, and then put a shaped moulding onto it.
--
Smert' spamionam

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If you really need to flatten the wood, that's the job of a jointer. A planer does not flatten wood. However, after you have one side flat, the planer is used to get the other side to match at an even thickness. One tool does not do the job of the other. You might choose to have some fun with some hand planes instead.
Bob
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kiln dried. It's all leftover from work - I do wood flooring installation, sanding and finishing (refinishing as well). I wouldn't mind going the hand plane route as Bob suggested but the prospect of tediously getting all the grooves in the bottom of each strip flat doesn't appeal to me. I hope I don't sound lazy but I work a minimum six day week, usually seven so cutting down some of the time consuming parts would be a big bonus.
Once again thank you to all who responded :) Adam
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I don't know if this was mentioned but how about putting the boards through the bandsaw with a re-saw blade first? Then just tough them up with the planer.
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