First experince planing a twisted board

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by dnick posted 08-24-2012 03:47 AM 2851 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2586 days

08-24-2012 03:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip planer jig twisted wood

Learning from experience. I had this nice maple board for almost a year 1×5x8’, that was twisted the entire length. I got a planer about 9 months ago & used it a lot but never got around to that twisted board. Got the Wood magazine #213 & saw a technique, bottom page 64, so I decided to give it a try. I made a mdf sled a little bigger than the board & glued a cleat to the back edge. I first jointed the boards ( cut about 20” long) so the shimming would be minimal. Then placed shims on the sled with double sided tape to keep the piece from rocking. I started the cut & was moving around to the outfeed side, when I realised only the board was coming through, not the sled. By the time I got back to infeed the board was almost through & of course tilted down, with no support & made a huge gouge in the board. I went on Wood website, first to their community, & almost all responses said cleat should be on leading edge so it will pull sled with board. One guy said you need a backstop because the blade spinning in the opposite direction of the roller could cause the board to come back to you. I contacted the editors & got a prompt response. They said they have used 2 ( back & front) or 4 cleats for maximum stability. I turned the sled around, the glued on cleat now on the leading edge & I carpet taped a back cleat to the sled so the board fit tight between them. Shimmed as before. On 1 pass the back cleat came loose & the board was backing up to me. I had a push stick nearby & was able to get it going in the right direction with a little nudge. So that guy was right. I was able to plane the boards flat on one side, tomorrow I have to plane the other sides. This was kind of an exiting day. I’m still a a little shaken by the near disaster ( wasn’t sure if I damaged the blades/machine on that first pass) & I have learned some really valuable lessons. I will always use front & back cleats in the future & maybe side cleats if needed. I used tape because I hope to use this jig repeatably, but I will have to make sure the back cleat iis really secure before each cut. I think Wood magazine may want to ammend that article. I did exactly as they described & it could have been really dangerous.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

3 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2392 days

#1 posted 08-24-2012 04:01 AM

As I understand it, twisted boards are the result of reaction wood. I would not take the time to try and flatten them as they will go south on you the first time the humidity changes. Basically they are junk.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View jmos's profile


902 posts in 2573 days

#2 posted 08-24-2012 11:26 AM

I wouldn’t automatically junk the board, depends on how badly it is twisted. The other thing to keep in mind is what length board you need for your project? If you can cut the board down into shorter pieces, and then mill those you’ll end up with thicker boards than trying to flatten the whole 8’ length. It doesn’t take too much twist over 8’ to get to the point where you won’t have anything left trying to flatten the whole length!

It’s always good to take a hard look at any plans you get; never know what errors may have crept in.

edit – one other thought, I often find I can knock down some of the twist with a hand plane before power milling and get a flat board faster with less overall material removed. Also makes it easier to keep the board stable.

-- John

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2894 days

#3 posted 08-25-2012 02:43 AM

I always screw the cleats on all for sides of the workpiece on my planer sled. (Just make sure the screws are short enough to not go through the bottom of your sled or get up into your knives!)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics