25" jointer...Well sort of.

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Project by markplusone posted 03-07-2012 02:07 AM 15788 views 12 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
25" jointer...Well sort of.
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Well I got this contract for some tables and had a rather large problem. The customer had mostly wide board stuff that was not stored well. It was all cupped and or twisted. They of course didnt want to cut the boards at all and the walnut slab tables are all one piece anyway. Now I have leveled more than a couple boards with only my hand planer and a beltsander but with over 40 boards to work, that aint happenin’. So I had to devise a way to face joint large face boards. I have a 15” planer so that would be no help. Everyone knows here that you face joint to create one flat common surface as a base operation for everything else. A jointer does this by referencing the same face that its cutting. So, knowing what I had (not much) I decided to do essentially the same thing, but inverted. I set about to make a sled that my hand planer would attatch to and a set of rails to ride on and a way of holding the board in a fixed relationship to the rails and thus the planer. First step was the sled. I took off the baseplate of my makita. Using this for a standard, I planed down a piece of ply to the exact thickness of this plate. (mistake one as I found out later) Next, I marked off the frame that I wanted to use. It is two lengths of 1”x2” aluminum square tube and 4 lengths of 1”x1” aluminum angle. After marking out the frame I measured and marked the middle of the plywood across the short axis. Then, centering up the handplaner up on this line, I marked out the outline with a pencil. That being done, I took the baseplate back off, lined it up with my outline on the sled and drilled my mounting holes and countersunk them to recieve the screws for the planer. After drilling the corners of the material I wanted to cut out, I took my upcut bit in my router and ran around it to pop it out. Then I mounted the planer to the sled and found a critical error in thinking. If th infeed is the same height of the outfeed, the planer will not bit. DDDUUUUHHHH! Ok so the planer came back off and I mortised out the outline of the outfeed side on top by an 1/8” then reattached the planer. that worked better. Now taking the planer back off I attached the rails using self tapping screws. Worked pretty well and didnt take too long. Next was the table supports for the boards themselves. This was relatively easy. They are blind nuts with 3” bolts and a hex nut on the shaft to lock a specific height. Easy enough. There are 16 in my table top now. These started out as carriage bolts but those take forever to screw in and out so I changed to hex heads so I can us my impact to put them in and out quickly. The black substance you see is liquid electrical tape. Works good as a no slip coating for the heads. Finally the rails. Just so happens, I had some plastic cutting board material laying around. So I ripped two 3” strips and made sure they were straight. Then I used a 9’ 2×4 laid wide face down and screwed to my table as the support and screwed the plastic to that vertically using a string line to straighten as I went. After both rails were set I used two winding sticks to straighten the table itself. I tested it with a junk piece of walnut and lo and behold, IT WORKS. The board was flat but did have a rough texture. 5 min. with a 80 belt sander and it was good. So, after a day and a half of thinking, rigging, making and swearing; I now have the ability to face joint 25” wide boards quickly and accurately. Project cost was 57$ for aluminum, 5$ for screws, 10$ for bolts and nuts, 15$ for blind nuts, 7$ for liquid tape so all in all less than a big bill for the ability to do this contract easily. Next up is a another larger sled to increase my capacity to 40” for the large slabs Ill be getting soon. Heres the pics on the build.

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

17 comments so far

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2530 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 02:26 AM

Great idea. About the same thing as the router planing jig, but with hand planer instead. Looks like it worked quite well

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View degoose's profile


7245 posts in 3555 days

#2 posted 03-07-2012 03:53 AM

Now I know why I have a TWC

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#3 posted 03-07-2012 04:38 AM

Pretty darn ingenuous,well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View PatrickOOOMazing's profile


20 posts in 3475 days

#4 posted 03-07-2012 05:10 AM

is there any chance we can get a video of this in action?

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3389 days

#5 posted 03-07-2012 09:23 AM

Well done, looks like it works well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View markplusone's profile


81 posts in 3155 days

#6 posted 03-07-2012 12:17 PM

Ill try to get a video on here in the next day or two. Ive learned there is a bit of technique in this but its not hard to do. I basically use the rails as my guide for the level i want to cut. Set the board up and take after it with the handplaner. I built the router jig for this a while ago but it was for wood only as wide as my planer and up to 5’ long. Cutting an inch at a time though was very time consuming and you had to reset the depth often. This way, you have your height set once and the planer does the rest.

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

View Claymation's profile


165 posts in 3016 days

#7 posted 03-07-2012 02:20 PM

Hi, Mark. Do you know Nick Offerman. His leveling sled was recently featured in FineWoodworking:

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

View markplusone's profile


81 posts in 3155 days

#8 posted 03-07-2012 03:06 PM

Claymation, I have never read or heard of Nick Offerman, but thanks for the link. Thats a nice jig for oversized pieces. Being end grain and the size of the piece involved, I agree that a router is the best bet for that. My jig only works for flattening face grain but it does so at 3.25” at a time. Here is a link to the demo video I promised.

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

View grandpasworkshop's profile


344 posts in 3979 days

#9 posted 03-07-2012 03:54 PM

I built a sled for hand held router and use a straight bit .Works great for as little I use it.

-- Grandpaj

View Claymation's profile


165 posts in 3016 days

#10 posted 03-07-2012 04:23 PM

looks like it works pretty good! Offerman’s router jig was built for the same purpose of leveling slabs. I think he modified it slightly to true up his stumps. See the link below for a better shot of it’s original purpose. Yours has the advantage of having a pretty fast cut. When you use the router sled, you set the work and rails once, and then use the adjustments on the router to drop the bit to make subsequent passes. And your, right: wouldn’t want to try yours on end grain. I may have to employ both techniques on my next slab table. Thanks for the idea.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

View markplusone's profile


81 posts in 3155 days

#11 posted 03-07-2012 05:42 PM

Does his router slide back and forth in that carriage? That would work pretty well and not be hell on the bit. Wheels are turning again….

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

View Adam D's profile

Adam D

103 posts in 2474 days

#12 posted 03-07-2012 06:07 PM

Really clever! I couldn’t follow until I saw the video. That being said, I have a few questions.

1. You mentioned that you “string-lined” the cutting board rails to make sure they were straight—what did you cut them with after that? I envisioned just using a tablesaw/jointer, but then why did you need the string line?

2. The finished board would only be as flat (untwisted) as the table your rails are on, and you mentioned you used winding sticks, and then showed a stirring stick under the leg, but how does a stirring stick under the leg flatten the table? It seems to me it would just raise the corner of an equally twisted table, unless you had the rest of the legs bolted down or something?

3. The top of the board’s flat now, but I don’t quite get how the opposing face could ever be parallel (equal thickness everywhere) unless the bolts are all the exact same height from the top of the rails. You didn’t seem concerned about that with your bolt adjustments. Did you have a plan for the other side?

I think if it were me, I’d fix the board and adjust the RAILS instead. I’d mortise out a square hole to snugly hold a nut in the cutting board and drill up through the middle and then adjust the height by spinning a bolt (or a piece of threaded rod) from below the table. You wouldn’t have to keep moving the board that way.

That wood’s gorgeous! I try to wait ‘til the finishing to see the grain pop out—it’s sort of like saving dessert for last ;-)

-- Adam, Rochester NY

View Claymation's profile


165 posts in 3016 days

#13 posted 03-07-2012 06:09 PM

yeah, the router slides. there’s a channel in the bottom of the carriage for the bit. When I saw yours, my first thought was: he should just build a carriage with rails on the sides so he could push the plane through it, slide the carriage over (3 1/4”) and repeat. Then I wondered if you would be able to lower the blade low enough to clear the carriage rails and reach the work piece…

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

View markplusone's profile


81 posts in 3155 days

#14 posted 03-07-2012 08:08 PM

Ok to address adams questions. The first one is easy. I couldnt vouche for the accuracy of the cut on the cutting board material so I only bothered to parralell the sides on the tablesaw and ripped it in half giving me my two 3.25” rails. This material is very flimsy and flexes all over the place even on edge. Thats why I didnt bother with the jointer either. Then, after attaching said rail to the 2×4 at both ends with a screw, I pulled a fishing line across the top to give a straight line to reference. This takes out any error in the table top along the long axis. Next question, how do you level a table top with a stir stick under one foot without lifting one of the others. Answer…this table is freakin heavy! It weighs about 400-500 pounds with rails and runners mortiesed into the legs and secured by a single carriage bolt through the 6×6 treated leg (actually one leg is an old railroad tie). So there is enough weight and flex to lift up a corner a little while keeping all other legs firmly on the ground. As for your final question, a straight edge and an adjustable square will provide the ability to cut to a final thickness. I also have access to a 42” widebelt sander so if it gets to be too much, ill take it there. I designed this jig to work with all the wood I have and will get up to 25”. By taking out as many variables as possible, things work better. This set up requires setting up a board once, (as long as you get it right the first time) and planing to a flat mostly finished surface. The wood I have is pretty irregular so I had to have something where Im not adjusting constanly the depth of cut or the board. And having experience with the router jig, this one is WAY easier to control in my opinion.

-- Dont carry that which you dont hold with.

View PCM's profile


135 posts in 3245 days

#15 posted 03-08-2012 01:13 AM

Excellent video. Thanks for sharing.

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