Well, dang, it wasn't that difficult, really. But then, it was just a
piece of scrap I thought I'd try it out on - no "pressure."
A little background. Over the past several months I went through the
internal debate of which to save for and acquire 1st : "power jointer
v. power planer/thicknesser." Got feedback here, with
opinions/reasonings on both sides of course, but I ended up purchasing
a power planer/thicknesser (15" General Int'l).
My thinking was, edge jointing can be done various ways - router, TS,
jointer plane; the 1st two I already owned, the 3rd I acquired when
Steve Knight had his 50%-off sale recently (ash w/ walnut D handle).
So, edge jointing I had "covered."
As far as face jointing prior to sticking the wood in the planer, well,
I came back here for more discussion. Some people sweat the flatness
of the reference face more than others, when it comes to deciding
whether a board is "ready" to be fed into the planer/thicknesser. Some
would only wager a board that is purely cupped can be successfully (or
safely) thicknessed as-is - success including ending up w/ the two
faces co-planar. Others point to various sled/shim arrangements that
will hold nearly any twisted/bowed board steady and allow one to
essentially turn your thicknesser into a jointer.
Still another approach for the evil twisted board (besides kindling),
is to use a handplane to knock down the high spots on one side and get
it "good enough" to use as the reference face for the thicknesser.
And so, I decided to have a go at it this way. It wasn't much - a 3/4"
poplar board (originally an S3 from the BORG) 20" by 4", but when you
pressed down on one corner, the opposite shot up 3/16" - a quite
With a bench hook on my TS top, a shim for the poplar, and the Knight
jointer plane, I had at it. Focussed my energies at the two
"quadrants" of one of the faces; no marking guage, just several swipes
and then I'd flip it over to test it on the TS top. A few rounds of
that got me pretty darn close; had a bit of convexity to this face, so
swiped the middle section a few times, and then one more set of full
length passes, and it was "rock free!" Definitely a face suitable to
lay on the bed of the thicknesser.
Now, after face jointing, but before thicknessing, the minimal
thickness of the board is sitting at 5/8". ... if you think about the
3/16" of original rocking, half that is 3/32" (the teeter-totter is
balanced) - I took off just a 32nd more than needed on my 1st try
(given the twist was symmetrical, blah, blah, blah). Hmph. Not bad.
I should be able to end up w/ a 9/16" board after thicknessing.
So, if you're still wrestling w/ the "jointer v. planer" debate
yourself, here's some feedback on one way it can be done. Even by The
New Guy :)