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Extending Surface Planer Width Capacity

Total Topics: 15
Total Posts: 57
I bought a 13 in. Delta surface planer primarily for my use in my banjo block rim making business for surfacing the layers of block rings prior to glueing into a stack for turning. It worked just fine for rings for a 12 in. banjo rim which are almost 13 in. in the rough. But, I recently started making a new type of rim with a built in wood flange in stead of bracket hook shoes. The 13 in. capacity of the Delta was OK for 1n 11 in. rim, but not for a 12 in. rim where I needed an almost 14 in. ring for the flange section.
I considered buying a new wider planer, but found that when you make the jump over 13 in. the price also jumps into the many thousands of dollars range. Drum sanders are also pretty expensive, so I made one the uses my lathe for a power source. Works, but it's a major PITA getting it set up. And talk about the saw dust!

Here's the part for guitar builders. I looked closely at my planer. The mouth is almost 14 wide, but the capacity is limited to 13 in. by the width of the cutter head and two small fences - one on each side. I removed the fences - three screws each. It now easily accepts 14 in. wide stock. The catch is that anything over 13 in. wide doesn't get planed. It leaves a little shoulder as shown in the first photo. No problem. I just turn the ring 90 degrees and run it through at the same setting. And I get the shoulder scraped off as shown in the second photo.
For a long hunk of 14 wide stock, this shoulder could be removed with a hand plane.

I don't know what I'll do if I have to make a 14 or 15 in. rim for a cello banjo.

May 18, 09 | 7:30 am
Rich Clark

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 2
Seems as if they are two joined pieces to start with... so why not get the wood ready to thickness prior to gluing them up?

Jul 04, 10 | 9:32 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Dan,
We had one of the Deltas -- nice machine! Sold it a while back, so no doubt it's was an older model than you have. Anyway if my memory serves me it was possible to offset the blades a little so they went past the ends of the spindle a bit -- offset one blade in one direction and the other blade in the other direction. In effect increasing the overall spindle/drum cutting length (width) for sure check clearance and don't over do it. Disclaimer, I have never done this but for some reason I did investigate the possibility.

Rick -- usually precision work working calls for thicknessing and "truing" after the plates/parts/pieces are glued together treating the object as a complete unit.

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jul 04, 10 | 11:34 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have heard the same thing that Ken has, though I haven't done it my self. My planer leaves a lot to be desired, and I would rather leave it as is.

I did, however, build my thickness sander to accept 18" stock,and it works quite well. It takes some practice feeding properly, and usually takes more than one pass to get it good and clean, but I have taken 1/4" maple down to .060" just for kicks. It buckled too easily after that.

Easy machine to build, did 90% in a weekend, futzed with the rest for another couple days, spent about $120 for the motor, belts, bearings, some plywood, and duct sheetmetal. Iw ould go with a larger motor next time, it does bog if you feed to quickly, but otherwise, no complaints. Fun project too, if you are interested in doing a lot of guitars over the years.

Jul 06, 10 | 2:48 pm

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