plastic through planers?

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Forum topic by tbone74 posted 10-09-2011 09:45 PM 5321 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 2484 days

10-09-2011 09:45 PM

I have a Dewalt 735 planer and I got my hands on some 3/4” plastic cutting board material and I was wondering if it could be put through my planer to give it a glass smooth finish. I plan on making table saw inserts with it. It cuts like butter through my table saw, I just don’t want to ruin a $60 set of blades on my planer for a few dollars of plastic….

Thanks for any input!

-- Tony

20 replies so far

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3595 days

#1 posted 10-09-2011 09:52 PM

I would not try it. But that’s me.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View StumpyNubs's profile


7592 posts in 2799 days

#2 posted 10-09-2011 10:19 PM

I disagree. You can cut that stuff just fine on a table saw, so why not a planer? It’s not going to be in there long enough to melt, and it won’t gum up the blades nearly as bad as pine does. I say go for it, and if it blows the thing up, I’ll pitch in a dollar for the new planer…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View rawdawgs50's profile


82 posts in 3016 days

#3 posted 10-09-2011 10:35 PM

Its a toss up….run a profile router bit on it. If it starts to melt then it will melt in the planer. As long as it does not get jammed you might be okay. I wonder if the planer can handle it… That stuff does not exactly shear off like wood. A spiral head could do it…but those straight long knives could get you into trouble real quick.. If it does work it “shiny” seems like a long shot.

Good question..looking forward to the results.

View tbone74's profile


65 posts in 2484 days

#4 posted 10-10-2011 01:10 AM

I can cut it nicely with a profile router bit, still nervous about the planer…. Speed one or two on the planer? I will only remove a 32nd

-- Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

18715 posts in 2566 days

#5 posted 10-10-2011 01:14 AM

if you have a narrow piece, try that first. At least the cleanup would be minimal, but i think it may be ok.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#6 posted 10-10-2011 02:36 AM

I’ve tried it. My experience wasn’t that good. Results were
uneven in my experiments. Better to double-face
tape it to a carrier board and cut to thickness with a table saw.

A drill-press mounted safe-t-planer might do well on plastic.

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#7 posted 10-10-2011 02:39 AM

You also thickness plastic by making cuts to depth with the table saw
and cleaning up the rough surface with abrasives and scraping. Many
plastics do scrape well with card scrapers or razor blades.

View Pimzedd's profile


602 posts in 4141 days

#8 posted 10-10-2011 02:53 AM

I taught Plastics Mfg. for 34 years. Never tried any plastic in a surface planner. As Loren said, I don’t think you would have a good experience.

We modified all cutting tools to work plastics and the shape depended on the type of plastic. The problem with most wood cutting tools is they tend to take a bigger and bigger bite as they go along. Eventually you start getting chunks instead of shavings and chips. If the planner cutterhead starts to take too big of a bite, the plastic may get pulled up into the cutterhead. That would be BAD!

I like Loren’s idea of the drill press mounted safet-t-planer. Take thin cuts. Double stick tape the plastic down using multiple strips of tape.

Just my thoughts/

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View tbone74's profile


65 posts in 2484 days

#9 posted 10-10-2011 03:03 AM

Ok thanks for all the input, I will NOT be putting it through my planer

-- Tony

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2501 days

#10 posted 10-10-2011 10:22 AM

You could most likely plane it quite successfully by hand.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4930 posts in 3959 days

#11 posted 10-10-2011 04:47 PM

Let us know ahead of time so we can duck. You’ll never get all the chips and crap out of the planer or the shop.


View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3067 days

#12 posted 10-10-2011 05:03 PM

I certainly wouldn’t do it. If you’ve ever run plastic thru a table saw, or cut it with a jig saw, you should have seen that it melts as much as cuts. Lots of ragged edges and stringy shavings that are usually pretty hot. I don’t even like to think about what a planer (or jointer) would do.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3269 days

#13 posted 10-10-2011 05:57 PM

I would not use a planer for this – just my overall caution. I would worry more about the heat melting the plastic and coating your blades. I had some semi dry glue on one of my boards and it took forever to get it removed from the blades and the transfer rollers.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2849 days

#14 posted 10-10-2011 06:06 PM

Of all the flags going up the flagpoles here, I’m voting for the router bridge.

I regularly buy these use polyethylene cutting boards at thrift stores for various uses around the shop. I’ve always hesitated to stick ‘em in the planer, and now I know why.

Actually I have a router duplicator, and now that I get that in my head, I think it would do a great job, using the stylus on a piece of MDF. Variable speed router might be the best, but I don’t think there’s one that would fit in the fixture on my machine.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3159 days

#15 posted 10-10-2011 06:08 PM

I would not have a problem running it through my planer. I wouldn’t take real big cuts either.

Comparing a planer to a router to a table saw is not a good comparison IMO. A planer doesn’t tend to heat materials up like a router does. Do a comparison of the surface speeds of the cutting blades if it bothers you. As for the planer sucking it up into the blades, it should act no different than a piece of wood (at least until it gets real thin). Just my 2c. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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