My Craftsman 13” planer is a real beast to move around in the shop. It’s very heavy, and really bulky. As such, it’s just always either in the way when I don’t need it, or really hard to get to when I do, having collected many items from other projects on and around it since its previous use. After setting up to use it, I’m often too tired to. I’ve even changed some projects to avoid planing altogether, just because I don’t want to move a few dozen things, then wrestle the giant box out into a clearing, move things now in the way of planing back into the void left by the planer, and then go through it all again at the end so I can say, have enough space to use my saw table again. That’s no way to run a shop.
I’m very nearly out of room in my 1-car garage with all the other tools, tables, and junk collected in piles, so I’m going about the only route left to me. I’m making a tiny rolling base, as tall as possible while still enabling the whole thing to roll under my work table, out of the way, finally. It will have a drawer underneath it to hold replacement blades, and I’ve decided I should just put the replacement blades for everything that needs them in my entire shop in that same drawer. No more thinking “Where are the replacement blades for my jointer/box cutter/hacksaw/etc?” They’ll all be in there, and that’s great, because I have a lot of packs of spare blades pouring out of every nook and cranny. I recently bought a pack of 5 hacksaw blades, only to find I had the same exact, unopened pack from last year in the shop already. I just couldn’t find them. Again, no way to run a shop.
Here’s the planer on a piece of leftover baltic birch cut exactly to size. There’s about 1/8” of clearance on each side, and the integrated handles on the sides of the cast aluminum base stick over a bit so I can still get my fingers in there easily if I need to. I used a combination of lengths of jointed boards, squares, and tape on the floor to figure out the dimensions around the curvy base.
The mounting holes are really well hidden under solid parts that can’t be moved. You can’t fit a bolt down most of them, meaning you have to come up through the bottom when mounting. You certainly can’t fit any kind of marking pencil or awl down them to transfer the positions, so I just dripped a drop of engineer’s blue down the holes. It was even hard to get the thin brush in to some of them. It’s poorly designed in this aspect. It probably tells you the positions and dimensions of the mounting holes in the manual, but I didn’t look :)
The drops spread out through the wood via capillary action, but it was pretty easy to figure out where they had hit, and take centerpoint measurements off of those lines. They were the same each side, so I could extrapolate for the drop that apparently never fell on the one clear corner. Later, I drilled the holes with a 3/8” brad point bit, and testing things out, everything lined up rather ideally.
The sides of the box are to be 3/4” poplar, scraps from some storage cabinet shelving leftovers. I’m using only scrap on this project, and with little to no scrap left over from said scrap. I seem to have pieces almost exactly the size necessary in most cases! Hooray for the dwindling scrap pile. It has grown large.
This is officially my first face frame, made of pieces ripped from more of the poplar leftovers. I’m such a novice. I never framed anything before to make it prettier, or to act as a proper stopper for drawer fronts. It’s probably because I’m lazy. I joined it with pocket screws:
Of course, with barely larger than 3/4” stiles, I got some splits from the screws, so here I’m gluing one of the bad ones back together under the extreme pressure of a Bessey K-Body.
Pocket hole screws all around, w/ Titebond III glue. The Kreg K3 Master System makes it very easy.
General assembly complete. Unfortunately, nothing came out very flush, and all in the worst way, with the large faces sticking out past the thin edges. Lots of random-orbital sanding is in my future. I rushed it, and didn’t set up clamps very well to hold things very securely as I drove the screws. I usually get much better, more flush joints than this.
It is pretty comically small under the planer, but it’s really sturdy, and doesn’t feel in any way top-heavy. It should all work out well, and as planned. More soon.
Next up, sanding it all flush, adding supports underneath, and casters on those, then it’ll be time to make a utility drawer to fill that gaping hole.
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator