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Thicknessing with planer
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Post
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 310
Bill, I saw a picture of you thicknessing with a planer. I can't find the picture, but you looked like you were having fun. I ruin stuff when I thickness with my planer. Do you have some tricks, techniques?

May 28, 09 | 5:37 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Normally final thicknessing is not done with a planer --- figured woods will tend to have tear and chip out. Your first passes will reveal which direction to feed for the smoothest results. That said --- a wide sander is the tool of choice and is what is used in all the factories large or small. Also, at one time we had a very powerful Delta planer and the minimum thickness was 1/4" and our 13" states .375 minumum. We did shatter some thin pine --- pretty exciting!

Ken

Kenneth Mihael Guitars est. 1978

May 29, 09 | 4:04 am
Mike R.

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 97
I have also found that when you plane a piece of wood that thin, it heats up the wood and causes it to warp or cup. You are much better off with a thickness or drum sander. The wood should be re-sawed and then sanded to the final thickness. That is the standard in the industry. I am searching for a thickness sander as we speak. It is a necessary expense which I am willing to make. It will pay off in the end.

May 29, 09 | 4:08 am
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
Until I figure out finishing, I will never use figured, expensive wood. I thought that would be after 10 guitars; that didn't work out. Now I'm thinking maybe after 20. What are the chances of straight grained wood living through the planer?

May 29, 09 | 7:01 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Cupping is an issue too -- especially for 1/2 wide tops and back halves. Running a glued up top or back through a planer "in my opinion" is asking for trouble. The machines are not designed for very thin wood and there is always a risk, its in all their manuals. For sure you want to run a thin pieces through on top of a flat backer board.

Ken

May 29, 09 | 7:16 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
My wood came out perfect. It was a friend's Delta tabletop planer. I have no tricks -- that was the first time I ever used one.

May 29, 09 | 7:33 am
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
The times I let others plane my wood It turned out bad. Too much chipping. Up to now I do it by hand. Not the most efficient way, but it works for me.

May 29, 09 | 8:14 am
Steve C.

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 4
Safe practice for planing thin wood involves use of a sled made of a flat sheet of perhaps baltic birch plywood or MDF. For reliability, I would use a couple pieces of double-stick tape to attach it. Take thin cuts and be sure that the planer blades are sharp. The sander is preferable, but if a planer is what you have, a little discretion can yield good results. I emphasize light cuts, especially in figured wood, with close attention to grain direction in the workpiece.

May 29, 09 | 12:49 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Great suggestion on using the double stick tape! I have even seen a little hot melt glue used as well.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 29, 09 | 12:56 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Good idea, steve....I had decent results planing the mango (before I finished building my sander) but there is some chip out. The other issue is sniping, when you are planing a large peice of wood to thickness and then cutting your plates out of it, you can trim the snipe off. When you are only working with your side and back, it causes a problem. I have tried to adjust mine out, but it is always there to an extent.

May 29, 09 | 4:14 pm
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
You can sort of beat the snipe with a tray in the bottom of the planer.

May 29, 09 | 5:37 pm
Steve C.

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 4
Regarding chipout, grain direction, and thus feeding direction are critical with some woods. I suggest that you evaluate grain direction and feed the wood so that you are cutting "uphill" into the prevailing wood grain. This is not so critical where the wood is truly quartersawn, but chances are you will be more successful from one direction than the other. When you get a clean cut on what will be the outside surface of the piece, turn it over and put the top side down, taking the remaining excess stock from the other side. Remember to feed from the opposite end. I'm a rookie luthier, but have a lot of experience making my own veneer for furniture projects. Good luck!

Steve

May 29, 09 | 5:41 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I agree that a planner is not the tool to use. Sometimes you are better being lucky than good. It gets pretty scary when a thin board explodes. it is a safety hazard. A planner will have a recommendation to how thin it is designed.
The tear out is an issue . Sanding is still the best method .

May 31, 09 | 3:09 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Guess I was lucky! If I'd read this before using my friend's planer, I wouldn't have done it. I think I'll not use the planer again!

May 31, 09 | 5:08 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have had good luck with stragiht grained, un-figured woods. Have planed tops and backs and sides down to .095 without a problem. Figured woods......absolutely not! Just for grins, I tried some zebrawood last night. That crap is HARD! Took 2 installs of paper on my sander and hardly sanded 1/32" off, so I tried a light pass on the planer. It seriously went off like a gernade! I half expected it to, so I had safety gear on, but still....picking splinters out of your chest and neck isn't much fun. So, tomorrow back to more sandpaper.

Jun 03, 09 | 10:32 pm



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