how to plane thin boards

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Forum topic by elginrunner posted 05-29-2011 06:36 AM 9597 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2594 days

05-29-2011 06:36 AM

My wife needs some 1/8’ thick boards for a project. We’ve bought some 1/2” aspen at lowes. Can I safely plane down to 1/8” with my Delta 12” planer? (Delta TP305)

16 replies so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#1 posted 05-29-2011 06:37 AM

Have a bandsaw?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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13754 posts in 4121 days

#2 posted 05-29-2011 06:52 AM

Not to mention the waste from planing a 1/2” board to 1/8”. I would use a bandsaw to resaw the boards to a little over 1/8th, (if you have a bandsaw). Also, I would prefer to use a handplane for a board that thin. How much stock do you need?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 05-29-2011 06:53 AM

It’s pretty tricky to plane that thin on a lunchbox planer. A William
and Hussey will do it though; slower feed and the rollers are closer
to the cutterhead.

You can try the tape method, or glue the wood to construction paper
and glue in on the other side to a carrier board. What a hassle.

Aspen is pretty easy to work. With limited tools I would plane it
down to 1/4” with the electric machine (or better, resaw the boards –
at 1/8” she can’t be working on too large a scale, can she?) and
then hand plane to thickness. It goes pretty quick on softwoods.

Another slightly bizarre approach is to cut kerfs in the board with
a table saw and split out the waste pieces with a chisel, then
hand plane to smooth.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#4 posted 05-29-2011 06:55 AM

If you just need a little bit, you could get some from woodcraft.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View wb8nbs's profile


164 posts in 2716 days

#5 posted 05-29-2011 04:06 PM

The hobby stores like Hobby Lobby have wood in sheets as thin as 1/16 for not too much. I bought some to use as shims, they were more precise than I could make.

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View lew's profile


12101 posts in 3779 days

#6 posted 05-29-2011 04:11 PM

I regularly plane maple and walnut to .120” on my Dewalt 735. It has to be straight grained and NO KNOTS. You will get snipe as the boards exits so make them longer than you need.

As others have mentioned, sometime you’ll get a piece exploding inside the planer- caused by wild grain or a grain defect.

Now cherry- that’s another story.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View elginrunner's profile


10 posts in 2594 days

#7 posted 05-29-2011 04:55 PM

I don’t have a band saw, i’m saving for that now…. She is building prototypes for a projecs that will given away at xmas. I knew hobby lobby had thin balsa, but not hardwood, I may go there.

Thanks for the advise everyone, it’s much appreciated.

View Towtruck's profile


70 posts in 2633 days

#8 posted 05-29-2011 05:13 PM

After I got my Ridged 13” planer, I noticed that the settings went down to 1/8”. I wasn’t aware that you couldn’t or shouldn’t try it so I ran a piece of white pine about 8”x20” down to 1/8 without any problem. I’ve never found any use for it, but I think I could make more like it if I had a need.

-- I cut it off 3 times and it's still too short!

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3315 days

#9 posted 05-29-2011 05:21 PM

Here’s a vacuum sled as an alternative to double-sided tape:

Click for details

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2945 days

#10 posted 05-30-2011 12:40 AM

Hobby shops… know, model airplanes and trains… have some thin spruce in their stock.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#11 posted 05-30-2011 06:16 AM

I was in the local Woodcraft today. They had a ton of thin stock…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3021 days

#12 posted 05-30-2011 07:42 AM

Also, look at the veneers. Some are available thicker such as 1/8.

But for prototypes, the thin plywoods are much easier to deal with. $10 or so will get you a 4’x8’ door skin around here.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 2578 days

#13 posted 05-30-2011 11:31 AM

try a false bed in the planer….make sure that it has a lug on the infeed side so it is not dragged thru….and then make sure that the bed is well lubed and a slow feed….also don’t take off to much at a time….but as someone else said you would be better to cut it down as close as possible first.

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2678 days

#14 posted 05-30-2011 08:12 PM

Find out if there are any cabinet shops nearby that have a wide-belt or drum sander. I regularly thickness wood to 1/8” or less on my drum sander. I first resaw, as many have recommended, then sand out the resaw marks. I’ve gone as thin as 1/16” on the drum sander.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2828 days

#15 posted 05-30-2011 10:06 PM

I have used a piece of melamine shelving as a “filler-board” with double stick tape to plane some stuff pretty thin. The melamine slides very nicely through the planer. I only take about a 32nd or even a 64th off when doing that.
If you have a bandsaw, I’d first resaw to something close to your thickness.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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