Saw a lot of stuff on Google about Planer vs Sander, but that's not the
I was considering a 20" planer, but now thinking a smaller portable type
planer to dimension stock, then a wide sander for after gluing might be a
better deal. I don't have the space in my shop for a large planer and a
If the lumber has been dimensioned well on a small planer, then glued to
make wider panels, is there any compelling use for the wider planer at this
point over making the final passes on a sander? Seems the Performax sander
could do 32" at this point versus being limited to 20" by what most consider
to be a pretty large planer.
IOW - what do you use your wider planer for besides cleaning up glued
I've heard that your planer should be at least twice the width of your
jointer. Any compelling reason I'm missing other than some sort of
efficiency in gluing up wide panels? The jointer is 8".
I'm looking at building a few dressers, desks and bookshelves in my
foreseeable future. Maybe some kitchen cabinets if I ever find the time.
You're right. If the stock has been dimensioned right and glued up
wider FLAT panels, you won't need a wide planer. The wide sander's
if the glue up got misaligned a little. Be aware that the 16-32's
do 16 widths. You turn the piece around and get the other half on the
second pass - IF the drum and the feed table/belt are parallel. If
not you get a high spot in the middle or worse, a low valley in the
Weathered wood that I want to use for a kids' project which has or
might have dirt and sand on it. Raise hell with planer knives.
Thin stock that, without a support sled, would be dangerous to run
through a planer
Wild grained wood that'd tear out in the planer. I've got some oak
that's hard as hell with grain running in every direction.
Wide drum sander is also handy if you're doing frame and panels.
It's so easy to get the frame a smidge above or below the panel
top. Drum sander solves that problem. Some people do the face
frame of ply cabinets first and then cut the ply to fit, using
the face frame to hold ply parts in position. Minor variations
in face frame stock thickness get sanded to a single plane in
a pass or two.
Never could understand that one. 4, 6 and 8 inch jointers are
readily available but try finding an 8 or 16 inch planer. The
combination machines make more sense - the same cutter head
is used for the jointer and the planer. As a bonus they usually
have a chuck on the end of the cutter head for a horizontal
You wanting to do solid wood furniture, face framed ply cabinets
or some combination of the two?
Hi. Thanks for your time. I think you were mentioning what the wide sander
is good for. I'm wondering what people would use the full width of a 20" or
so planer for.
Seems a good question. I'm thinking most of my solid wood panels would be
drawer fronts and doors - sometimes panel type construction. I think I
would prefer plywood type construction for the rest, in general.
Given that most of my work would be, it seems, 18" or less on solid wood
panels, does it seem I should be looking at a 22-44 kind of sander? IOW, is
the 16-32 too tedious or inaccurate in general for work over 16" ??
Or - should I go with the 20" planer in my case (<18" work, in general) and
my work time would be better spent with an orbital sander after planing?
A 16-32 would, with two passes, do adequately. Drum sanders are
easier to adjust. As long as it's not digging a "V" down the overlap
area you're fine - slight high spot in the middle will probably not
The planer is great for getting stock thinner and the top surface
paralleling the bottom surface - but is lousy for leveling a glued
up face frame or paneled cabinet door because with those your playing
with the grain and acrossed the grain. Planes eat up "acrossed the
Finding 20 inch wide boards is tough so thicknessing stock that size
is not likely. If you were to run glued up panels to level the
surface that became misaligned during glue up you'd probably dull
of nick your planer knives. Glue is usually a lot harder than wood.
Drum sanders don't mind a little glue.
The two machines have completely different functions - the planer
mainly reduces thickness quicker - 1/16th to 1/8 inches per pass.
The drum sander is more for finer leveling in very small increments
1/64th or so in a pass.
As for using an orbital sander in place of the drum sander - it's
real easy to lose sharp edges, straight edges and square corners
with a 5 or 6 inch ROS. A drum sander won't do that - if the drum
is metal and the paper strips are wound on and clipped at both
ends that is. The velcro to hold the sandpaper strips on the drum
type of drum sander can mess up edges and corners.
The other thing most of us have to deal with is floor space.
A 20 inch planer and a wider drum sander may not both fit in
your shop. A 12 and 16 might.
Sure - BUT (there's always a "but") - there are two reason for post
up panel surfacing
1. to remove slight alignment problems (exagerated (sp?) for purposes
illustrating a point)
| |--------------| |
2. cupping of glued up parts
/ +------+ \ / +------------+ \
/ / \ +--------+ / \ \
+-+ +----------+ +-+
In both cases, you're planer knives are going to encounter dried glue.
The dried glue CAN dull or knick your planer knives.
Note also that if you milled are your stock to thickness before any
gluing, then thin the panel but not the stock for the rails and stiles
the panel face will be low relative to the rails and stiles faces.
Once the rails and stiles have been glued, with the panel floating
between them, you CAN'T run the glued up door through the planer
You CAN run them through the drum sander.
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