my planer claims to surface down to 1/8" but what I've experienced is the
wood lifting up into the knives and shattering...a wee bit scary. I've
thought about taping it to another piece of heavy stock and sending it
through the jointer would be better. I'm thinking once you get past the
critical leading edge, the pressure on the tables would keep it from flexing
and getting caught up in the knives. However you can back away from the
planer as it goes through...not the jointer. What do you think?
maybe BUT the tape may compress a little, also if you get the tape
caught up in the knives you may have a mess to clean. the resulting
toothpicks can be sharp and they may be moving faster than you can
back away! be carefull. let us know how it works. ps. if we dont here
from you in a while where can we send the sympathy cards? :-]>
Skeez, You may have hit on something with your reply!!!!! The toothpicks you
were talking about would be flying...........but how about a toothpick
driven into a small hole in the wood and attaching the thin strip to a
thicker board or mdf. The toothpick would not hurt the planer blades and if
driven pointed side down, would hold the thin stock firmly. The holes
drilled for the toothpicks could be filled just as screw or nail holes would
be. I have about 300' of 1/8" to 1/4" poplar that was resawed off of a
recent window sash project. Been trying to dream up a clever way to plane
these. You may have provided the inspiration. Can't get to it soon but will
provide feedback on my efforts when the the time comes. Lyndell
I wouldn't worry about compression. I've taped aluminum blocks to milling
machine tables to surface them. Will get it within a .0001 or so every time.
Use the paper or Mylar based tape, not the cloth carpet tape.
Interestingly enough, I just tried this with some walnut friday. It was
about 3' x 5" wide 1/8" thick. I double stuck it with 2 strips of tape,
the length of the board, to a 1" thick piece of oak and tried to take as
small a bite as I could with the plane.
It cracked a piece right as it fed in and then went smoothly from there.
The next pass, it cracked a bit more and then went ok. The first 2-3" were
ruined and the rest was great. I guess if you can spare that much, it will
You didn't specify the width of the stock you're working with. Not
if the following method will work for wider stock but it works for
thin stock for line inlaying. Basically you lift up on the stock as you
start the infeed then lift up on the stock as it comes out on the
side. What you're doing is pressing the start/end of the part as it
approaches, engages then exits the cutting knives. Michael Fortune does
fine line inlaying and for really thin stuff he's made a sled for that
purpose. Have a look. Might solve your problem.
What I've done is to carpet tape the thin stuff on bed made of a
12X48" piece of 3/4" MDO plywood. MDF or Melamine would also work. I
rip and tape two thin 48" strips (a little thicker than the wood to be
planed) of scrap wood along the edges of the ply. The strips get
planed along with your stuff. This prevents the bed from angling and
the keeps pieces in the same plane as the planer blades.
The only problem is in getting super accurate results if they need to
be a certain exact thickness. The carpet tape has a little "give" in
Note the new email address.
Please adjust your krillfiles (tmAD) accordingly
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
T'aint a problem for fairly short pieces, Mel. For surface planing, you
make yourself a pushblock from perfectly flat thick ply or MDF, perhaps 2"
longer than your workpiece and slightly wider. Mount a couple of handles on
it fore and aft, so that it feels like a handplane.
On the rear underside, glue a cleat across the very back of the block - no
pins or screws if you value your blades. Obviously this cleat needs to be
fractionally thinner than your stock. This is the bit which will actually
bear on the end of the workpiece and push it through, so it needs good sharp
square edges. Cut a piece of fairly coarse (80 grit or so) abrasive paper
to fit the rest of the underside and glue it in place - this stops the
workpiece sliding about.
Make sure that the rear end of your stock is sharp and square, so that it
will positively engage on the cleat. Set your jointer to take light cuts
and have at it - the action needed is exactly like hand-planing. The
handles keep your hands away from the blades, and the ply body completely
covers the workpiece, so that, if you do get a catch, it won't be flying
round the workshop.
For thicknessing, you'd make the pushblock exactly the same, except without
the handles, and you'd use it upside down through your thicknesser.
Build a carriage to sit in your planer. Use melamine. Build it the width of
your planer, and appoximately 4" longer than the bed. Screw 2x2 stock on
the bottom of the melamine at each end, to prevent the melamine from
slipping into the planer.
Adjust the height of your planer to slap the carriage in. It's nice to use
a known thickness of melamine (eg: an inch) so you can still use your height
gage for rough dimensioning (then use your calipers) calculating in
thickness of you carriage.
I use this carriage quite often for creating stock for bent laminations. I
use the carriage for anything under 1/2" to keep my stock from flexing even
a couple of thou. Foolproof and reliable.
A bed as per above works fine if your tolerances needn't be too fine.
In doing some bent lam work i use laminations well under 1/10" and
need them to be consistent across the width to within 1/1000 or so. To
do this make a sled(I use poplar) a feww inches longer and a bit wider
than your slats. Joint a face flat and then run it through the planer
jointed face down. You now have a sled whose top face is precisely
parallel to planer blades. Put your piece on the sled and run it
through. Be sure to mark the sled so that you know what direction
you ran it through, which side is up, and what part of the planer you
ran it through - left, right , middle - if sled is much narrower than
planer knives. This way you will be sure to repeat operation if
interrupted and come back a bit later. Also helps if your pieces are
a bit longer than needed so you can cut off any snipe should there be
The carriage is as accurate as you want it too be. Within a thou if your
blades are set to the carriage. If working with tolerances of a thou or
under across the width of stock has to be repeatable, obviously setting
knives at the time of planing would be in order, not chancing running a
board through your planer in the exact location, as to "play" uneven planer
One would assume that the material was jointed first, then planed. If
"playing offset planer knives" you'll have created a parallogram.
I admit, this is not all that noticable if working with veneers, but when we
get into tolerances of a thou and under, hand tools is the next suggestion.
I don't believe adding an auxiliary table e.g., melamine covered
board, can guarantee great accuracy across its face
Many of us are working with 13" variety portable planers where the
knives are not adjustable. In addition, I don't believe the
parallelism of knives to feed table is guaranteed within a thou or so.
>If working with tolerances of a thou or
The carrier board should just be run close to same position each time.
I assumed that one face had been jointed.
Actually, I use this procedure for laminations where I may have to
laminate 20 or 30 slats of 1/16 each. If each is off parallel by say
2 thou then over 30 pieces the opposing faces are out of paralle by
60/1000 or roughly 1/16" !!
I stand corrected, non adjustable planer knives are more of a challenge.
I'm fortunate enough to have 16" wide to play with. If need be, I can dial
my knives to a thou across the 16" in less than 5 min (on the table, or a
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