Hello. I am a newbie woodworker and have been lurking around this group for
awhile. I am currently building my first workbench out of SYP and I want to
prepare the stock properly. I have read that I must first flatten one face
on a jointer, run it through the planer, joint one edge back on the jointer,
and then rip the stock on the TS. Problem is I don't own a jointer and I
don't know how to flatten a face of a board without one. I have neither the
tools nor the time to hand plane each board, but I do have a Ryobi Ap1300
planer. I have heard about sleds and other methods that can be used to
flatten a board with a planer. Does anyone know some simple and repeatable
methods to flatten a board only using a planer? I would also appreciate any
comments from those of you who own this Ryboi planer, as I have not made up
my mind to keep it yet.
I havn't tried to face joint a rough board with a sled and a planer, but I
know it can be done.
One suggestion would be to have the mill where you buy your stock to flatten
one face and joint one edge. You could then do the rest. Or, if you don't
buy from a mill, maybe you can find someone who lives near you to help.
Also, some high schools with woodworking shops will rent out time on their
equipment. Maybe you could rent a couple hours with their jointer.
If you have a router table you can joint with that.
Set the outfeed side of your fence level with the straight bit, and the
infeed side about a 1/16 of an inch inside the cutter. depending how off the
wood is, one pass usually does it.
As was mentioned, you can do it by attaching it to a sled and running it
through the planer. The sled is just a flat board that serves as a surface
for the planer to register against. You would attach the SYP to the top of
the sled and pass it through. I'm not sure the standard method of attaching
the board to the sled. Once you had one flat surface, you would ditch the
sled and run the other side through. My guess is that doing this several
times will make you pine (pun intended) for a jointer. You next problem is
getting a straight edge. You can use a similar technique on a table saw by
first attaching the board to another board with a straight edge and using
that against the fence to rip a straight edge.
Make a sled from 3/4" sheet stock (melamine is good), as long as your
longest board, plus two inches or so, and as wide as your planer's
capacity. At one end, fasten a thin stop. Use countersunk flat head
screws and attach the stop to the face of the sled, not into the edge.
Make the stop an inch wide or so, and as long as the width of the sled.
It should be slightly thinner than the thinnest finished dimension of the
stock you will be flattening -- you don't want the planer knives to ever
hit a screw.
Place the warped board on the sled, butted against the fence. Use shims
every 4-8" to fill all gaps between the board and the sled. Use masking
or packing tape to hold the shims to the sled. Make sure the shims do not
extend past the edges of the sled. Feed the sled with the board on it
into the planer, fence first. Take light (1/64"-1/32") cuts.
When one side of the board is flat, take it off the sled and plane the
You can't really joint a board effectively on the planer. While it is
theoretically possible for boards narrower than the the vertical capacity
of the planer, there are other ways to get fairly good results.
Again, you need a sled made of sheet stock. This one is a ripping sled
for the table saw. There are plenty of workable designs, but the elements
are the same: (1) a flat bed that has a straight edge which rides on the
table saw's fence, and (2) a means of clamping a crooked board to the bed
so that the board's crooked edge overhangs the bed toward the blade.
Toggle clamps work very well, and can be had for a few dollars apiece
from Harbor Freight. The sled is more versatile if a means to adjust the
lateral position of the clamps is included.
First of all, this is a workbench top. You may wish to rip the
material down into narrow strips, joint it back together, and then
flatten the top afterwards. This will give you a more stable top
against warpage than using wide boards.
My own bench is 2" thick oak, made from a couple of 12" wide boards.
However I ripped them into 3" and 4" strips and re-assembled.
How to prepare stock with a thickness planer alone is a common issue.
Like many people, I have both, but my jointer is only narrow. It's
very easy to simply prepare stock with the thicknesser alone - the
difficulty is that it won't work on some boards. If your stock is
untwisted, then just thickness it, then turn it over. A thicknesser
will happily deal with cupped or wedged boards. For minor twist (or
large cupping) then some hand plane work (electric planes are good
here) will reduce the thicknesser time.
Bowed boards are tricky. You can thickness them and end up with a flat
board, but you need long tables, good technique (don't let the boards
droop) and don't try to take a huge cut in one go. As for bad
cupping, any excess cut will tend to "iron" the board flat with sheer
pressure - but it springs back straight afterwards.
A good test is to put a steel rule across your machined surfaces and
check them for flatness after you cut them.
NB - do this on the _outfeed_ side of the machine ! Thicknessers
don't appreciate an infeed board with the ruler (or pencils) left on
If you have a jointer to joint the edges, then fine. If you don't,
then just rip on the TS (you might need to hand-prepare the opposing
edge enough to act as a guide), reverse the board and use the ripped
edge as the guide to rip the other. A well adjusted TS should give you
an edge adequate for glue-up, with just a little handplane cleanup for
smoothing. The edge should already be square, which is often the
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Thanks for the advice gents. These are all good ideas. I am a Marine and do
have access to a woodworking shop at a nearby base, however the hours are
screwy and they are only open certain days, so it has been a PITA to find
time to go over there and use their equipment. I also don't want to have to
travel back and forth every time I need to plane or joint lumber. I ripped
down the stock for the top and legs from 2x8 lumber into 3 1/2 x 62" pieces
and it has been sitting there for a couple weeks because I haven't been able
to get over to the base shop. The sled idea sounds good, but shimming each
board sounds tedious. What about devising a method to clamp the boards to
the sled without letting the clamps interfere with the cutter head? Perhaps
some shallow clamps on the edges of the boards? Hopefully I will be able to
afford a jointer soon.
It can be, if he boards are really warped and you have a lot of them.
OTOH, it goes pretty fast once you get started.
Maybe, but I think probably not. The pressure on the board from the
planer's rollers is substantial. That's why the planer won't flatten a
board; the rollers squish the board flat and it springs back when it
comes out. You need some sure way to prevent the board from deforming
while it is being surfaced.
As a fellow new woodworker, I'm in a similar delima, but I am
resisting the need to purchase either a planer or a jointer at the
I use a handplane resonably tuned to flatten out the rough cut edge.
Then I handplane the face of the board till it feels pretty smooth.
Maybe a bit off still, but doesn't rock any more on the table saw top.
Then I check my squareness, if I'm way off I will plane it a couple
more trips. Then I run the board with the planed side on the table
and the planed edge against my fence of the tablesaw. I have a
woodworker II and the cuts are as nice as the plane in the purple
heart I am working on this week.
That pretty much takes care of one face and one edge. Then I run that
edge against the fence and cut the rough side of the edge. At this
point I can usually get a pretty tough to see glue line.
I'm no speed demon, but getting quicker at it.
Pat, you need a straight 4x4 as long or longer than your stock.You can
plane the 4x4 straight if you need to, it won't bend from the feed
Counter bore a hole at least 3/4" deep at either end and screw the
stock to the 4x4. The stock is placed with the cup up, if the stock
does not flatten to the 4x4 then discard it, it is too cupped to begin
with. Run the 4x4 carrier with the stock thru the planer taking light
cuts. You will wind up with one side flat. After planing all the
boards on the carrier, you can turn them over and plane the rest
without the carrier. You can plane the edge also by running the 2x
material edge wise. If there is a bow on the edge, saw the bow out on
a table saw using a straight edge,then run thru planer.
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