A long time ago, I said I would post a blog entry showing how I plane really big pieces using my router planer. Well, here goes.
I started out with some really big cottonwood rounds (that’s my son in the first photo):
I cut them into 5” to 6” thick slabs and had to figure out a way to plane them down to 3” to 4” thick to use as table tops for TV stands and coffee tables. That’s when I came up with the Big Boy Router Planer below:
I just happened to have two 4”x4” metal tubes that are each 14 1/2’ long to use as my runners. I clamped them to my mobile table, and then had to figure out how I was going to raise and lower them to accommodate the router sled. It didn’t take me too long to realize raising and lowering these two runners wasn’t going to be practical (too heavy and cumbersome). So, I decided I would “raise” the piece 3/4” every time I used up the 3/4” depth of cut of my router by putting a 3/4” MDF shelf under the piece to raise it up to the needed height (max number of shelves I ever had to use was three, and the weight of the cottonwood slab kept it in place without clamping – even during routing).
That’s about it. This system works great. I can plane a slab up to 14’ long by 40” wide (I could do wider if I were to make a longer router sled – just don’t see the need to go that route just yet. Besides, I’m getting too old to keep stretching that far over the table anyway).
Thanks for looking.