Small Painter's Cabinet #2: Planing The Fixed Shelves

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Blog entry by Stephen Fields posted 06-06-2008 03:34 AM 1215 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial Post Part 2 of Small Painter's Cabinet series Part 3: Starting on the Sides »

Each cabinet has three fixed shelves. Since I am building five of these cabinets I will need a total of 15 shelves. Sadly I only had stock wide enough for three of the shelves. The rest of the shelves had to be created by edge joining smaller width stock. Here is a picture of the stock after it was edge glued:

Planing Fixed Shelves

Due to the twist, cups, etc., some of the differences between the bards were quite substantial. Here is one of the worst cases:

Planing Fixed Shelves

Luckily since all of the stock needs to be planed down to 1/2” this discrepancy is not that big of a deal. Although the amount of planing required was ridiculous.

As you can see below I added three biscuits to each glue up. This board was unique in that it had two high spots and two low spots. Each at the opposite end. It is hard to tell but I wrote an “H” on the high spots and and an “L” at the low spot:

Planing Fixed Shelves

Of the 12 boards that were edge joined, eight of them ended up wider than my planers capability of 13”. These needed to be ripped down to a smaller width. The fixed shelf needs to be 7 7/16” wide so I ripped them down to 8. Using this board as an example:

Planing Fixed Shelves

I ripped the white wood off the edges to maintain a consistent look across the board. Honestly, these cabinets will be painted so this was unnecessary, but I am thinking that in future projects this step would be important. Here is a picture after the ripping:

Planing Fixed Shelves

Here is a picture of the 12 boards all planed down to 1/2>

Planing Fixed Shelves

Now for the questions. I used a Dewalt DW735 planer and a Delta 50-760 dust collector. I emptied the bag on the dust collector before this process began. I set the height of the planer to 13/16” and proceeded to plane these 15 boards down to 1/2”. After each pass, I moved the planer 1/64” (one quarter turn). As you can probably calculate, this required 300 passes through the planer. It took me almost two and a half hours to plane this wood. I also completely filled the bag of the dust collector with this job. There has to be a better way!

Here are my thoughts to the initial questions that may come up.

Could I have taken thicker cuts? Probably, but it sure sounds like the machines bog down if I do. I am probably babying the machines, but I would hate to break something. Also it seems that when I do take heavier passes, I get chip out in the middle of the wood. It looks like I have grain going in different directions within the same piece of wood? I have yet to understand this but put it on the “back-burner” for now.

Could I have used a different tool? I do own a Laguna 16HD band saw,. I suppose I could have resawn 1/4” off of the shelves and then planed it down from there. I have never resawn wood that was 8” or greater in width before so I would have to practice, and likely tune up the band saw for this cut.

Is there another way that I am not think about?

-- "Measure Twice, Cut Once" --- If only I could remember this!

1 comment so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3242 days

#1 posted 06-06-2008 04:20 AM

Normally when running wood through my planer I generally take 1/32 off with each pass. I have not had any problem doing this. When I am within about a 1/16 of the final thickness I reduce the speed of my planer and set the depth to 1/64. Your planer should be able to handle 1/32 at a time. This would reduce the number of passes and save you time.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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