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.