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Is it me or the planer?

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 06-13-2012 02:41 PM 1600 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


06-13-2012 02:41 PM

Background
I picked up a used Craftsman planer on Craigslist for about 50$. Great deal and my first planer. I know it is on the very low end of planers and am not expecting miracles. I have never used a lunchbox planer before and my only comparison point is an SCMI 440v 36” model.

Issue
It takes me FOREVER to plane rough cut lumber down to size. Part of the reason is the mill I buy lumber from cuts thick. His 4/4 would easily be 5/4 anywhere else. on average, a board is an inch and a quarter to an inch and three eighths thick. For consistencies sake and following my plans, I plane to 3/4. It takes me on average about 3 to 4 hours to get a 9 foot long, 8” wide board (oak or maple) down to 3/4. Is that because of my planer, or am I doing something wrong. I am interested to hear how long it takes with a better lunchbox style planer (735x for example). If it still takes forever, I will get my boards surface planed at the mill and keep my craftsman for other tasks. If it is far quicker I will gladly invest in a new planer. Spending half a day to surface plane ONE board is not my idea of fun, and a waste of electricity.

Also of note, I have brand new blades installed. The cuts are clean and consistant

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts


40 replies so far

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4145 posts in 1698 days


#1 posted 06-13-2012 03:01 PM

If you’re planing a 1/2 off of the original (5/4 down to 3/4) on a nine-foot board, that’s gonna cause a lot of shavings. I’d try to resaw it closer to 3/4 myself before planing it. Or sometimes I’ll get a lot of the material out with a scrub plane first as well.

So what happens when you try to plane off more stock at a time?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11457 posts in 1753 days


#2 posted 06-13-2012 03:02 PM

It does take a while to shave off that much lumber especially if you’re taking light passes, say 1/64 or 1/32, but that seems kinda long. When you think about it you’re probably making 36 passes through the planer to get to 3/4 so it not really that far out of the realm of reality. I dont think youre doing anything wrong the lumber is just thick. Best bet would be to let someone elses machine do the heavy lifting and plane down one side to save wear and tear.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Don W

15527 posts in 1314 days


#3 posted 06-13-2012 03:28 PM

So I have saw milled my own lumber for a while. I just upgraded from a chainsaw mill to a bandsaw mill. Since I’m never sure I usually cut a little large as well. I only have a ryobi lunchbox planer. Its on my want list to upgrade. That said, I can plane enough lumber for a reasonable size project in a few hours with a little left over.

Your times are long. It should take less than a minute to take 1/16” through the planer(one pass). Even counting a minute to get it off the planer, look at it, admire your work, grab a drink and run it back through, your at 30/16” (or almost 2”) in an hour.

If your planer is that slow, there is something wrong other than its a craftsman.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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jmos

681 posts in 1116 days


#4 posted 06-13-2012 03:39 PM

Those times do seem excessively long. My 735 has two settings, rough and fine, which sets the speed of the feed rollers. Any chance yours has something similar?

Have you located a manual; might list the feed speed. At least you would know if it was working up to spec.

Does the wood feed smoothly? Could the feed rollers be slipping on the stock? Or the drive belt/chain slipping and not driving the feed rollers properly? I’d start taking it apart and poking around for something strange.

-- John

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


#5 posted 06-13-2012 03:41 PM

I’d like to resaw, but I don’t have a bandsaw, and I don’t think I can afford a bandsaw that could slice a 9 foot long 9” wide hardwood board.
Don W, that’s kind of what I was getting at. A 16th would stall out the planer about 3/4 of the way through a 9 foot board. I usually take about a 64th off each side.When I get impatient, I do 1/32”, but the planer isn’t happy about it. As I mentioned, my only other planer experience is a gigantic one at the mill that the owner lets me use to plane my purchased wood. I take off 1/4 on each side on the first passes at high speed, then 1/8th (or whatever gets me to 3/4) off each side after. So a total of 4 trips through the planer, and I can usually do 3 boards at a time. Total planing time is about 5 minutes

I know I am not going to get anywhere near that level of speed with any planer that would fit in my garage, but taking of 1/16 or even better – 3/32 at a time would be awesome! That would cut my time down to about 20 passes and about 35 to 45 minutes.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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CharlieM1958

15792 posts in 2965 days


#6 posted 06-13-2012 03:45 PM

Also make sure the bed is perfectly clean. As soon as mine gets the slightest bit dusty, the feed wheels start to slip and lumber feeds slowly.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


#7 posted 06-13-2012 03:53 PM

The feed rate is consistent (listed at 26 FPM) and smooth. I just have to take shallow passes or it trips the internal breaker. I do need to use an extension cord, but it’s beefy and short (12 feet long, 8 AWG) which is well within the spec according to the manual.

I originally bought this planer because I plan on building some mission style tables and need 3/8” stock for the slats. I figured since I had a planer it would save me .50/bf at the mill. That savings evaporates in the form of time and electricity. This planer has some miles on it too, it’s manufacture date was 2007. I picked it up at the owners shop and judging by the shop he has and the amount of stock laying around, I’d say it was used regularly. I’ll have a quick look to make sure everything is tight.

Also, I wax the bed and the tables before each use.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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CharlieM1958

15792 posts in 2965 days


#8 posted 06-13-2012 03:57 PM

What type of wood? I notice a huge difference in the performance of my lunchbox planer depending on the hardness of what I’m running through it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


#9 posted 06-13-2012 04:00 PM

Red Oak

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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Doss

779 posts in 1011 days


#10 posted 06-13-2012 04:12 PM

Hmm… I fed 12” wide green red oak 5/4 rough through the DW735 and it tripped the breaker a few times as well anytime I tried to go much beyond 1/16-1/32” (that’s a small range in my opinion).

Your extension cord seems to be well within spec like you said, but does your outlet allow for enough amps? Once I changed outlets on mine to a higher amp’d one, the problem seemed to go away for me.

Also, how sharp are the knives? Dull knives tend to drag the motor a lot.

Are both ends of the board well-supported?

Personally, I’d get a bandsaw if I were you and slice it down closer to 3/4”. You seem to be wasting a lot of wood just planing it down. And, in doing so, you’re probably wasting a lot of time too. Just a thought.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


#11 posted 06-13-2012 04:22 PM

Doss, great questions:
1 – it’s a dedicated 110v outlet on a 30amp breaker. Nothing is running on that circuit except the planer (even the lights are on a separate circuit). I recently redid the electrical in my shop and put in quite a few dedicated outlets.

2 – knives are right out of the package. The package looks to be several years old, but it is sealed.

I am wasting a lot of time and wood for sure. My only “consolation” if you want to call it that, is I am playing for 4/4. And red oak runs me 2.00/bf. I do plan on getting a band saw, and may already have one lined up, but I’m sure it would also need to be pretty beefy as I like to keep my boards wide. I’ve been burned before with ripping before planing. Once planed I saw a few knots that I would definitely have cut around, but now have no choice.

Also, My trash guys would appreciate it a lot more. That’s 2 less contractor bags of chips they would have to throw in the truck.

3 – Edit – yes, I have roller stands supporting the board, both infeed and outfeed

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View DS's profile

DS

2132 posts in 1167 days


#12 posted 06-13-2012 04:25 PM

A 12” wide requires a minimum cut depth in a lunchbox.

If this were a 3” to 4” wide board you’d get away with up to 1/8” per pass.
That poor motor just can’t pull that much load.

Often, if I know I have thicker stock, I’ll adjust my plans to use 1” boards instead of 3/4”. Saves time, looks beefier. If it doesn’t make any difference functionally or asthetically, why bother with all the wood chips?

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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jmos

681 posts in 1116 days


#13 posted 06-13-2012 04:30 PM

Joe, have you done the math on the feed rate? Does it feed at, or close to, the spec’d 26fpm? If yes, I think you’re probably getting all this little guy can give you. If not, something is slowing it up which you can work on
(wax the bed, clean the feed rollers, check the drive chain…)

-- John

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 995 days


#14 posted 06-13-2012 04:42 PM

It’s pretty close. I get about 24fpm out of it. As I mentioned I wax the bed a lot. I will check the v belt and the drive chain later on, but I think you are right, that I am at capacity with this little trooper. What I was really curious about is if I drop 500$ ( I could easily get 100$ for this one) on a Dewalt or similar lunchbox, am I going to see a marked improvement? In order to be worth it for me to plane at home and save the extra change, I would expect the entire process (9’ long, 8” wide red oak) to take about 35 to 45 minutes.

If I am still looking at an hour and a half + for something like that, I will invest in another tool I need and bring my lumber home S2S

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Don W's profile

Don W

15527 posts in 1314 days


#15 posted 06-13-2012 04:45 PM

Something like a dewalt 735 would certainly show an improvement.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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