Should I plane first or edge join and then plane

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Forum topic by BamaCummins posted 08-22-2008 10:34 PM 8579 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 3661 days

08-22-2008 10:34 PM

Making some drawers out of poplar for a chest of drawers project, the drawers will be faced with red oak. I have 3/4 poplar that needs to be planed to 1/2 inch. Also the variable width boards have to be edge joined-glued in order to get the 8 inch width boards I need. What should I do first, edge join or plane? Wonder if the glue will hurt the planer blades? Should I use biscuits or just glue?

Thanks for all the help.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

15 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3733 days

#1 posted 08-22-2008 10:43 PM

I was wondering the same, but I think the planning should be part of the milling process – and should be done on each piece individually prior to glueing up – making the next step after glue up as simple as cleaning and some sanding.

Also it’s easier to mill smaller pieces then large ones – not to mention that it really depends on how large your glue up are going to be – sometimes they are larger than the planer all together. plus you won’t have to plane those glue joints – which is only a good thing…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3776 days

#2 posted 08-23-2008 02:32 AM

I,m with skeezics on this I,v just finished a project and i biskit my edge joints first then planned to correct thickness your knives should be fine

be nice to see finished project to

andy aka poomy

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3900 days

#3 posted 08-23-2008 03:28 AM

Definitely plane after glue up. This assumes you have a planer that will handle the width. If you think you can glue them up all in the same plane and get a flat smooth surface, I’d say you were kidding yourself. Planing after is also the time saving, don’t have to think about it method. you just get it done.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View jtreynoldsJTR100's profile


9 posts in 3661 days

#4 posted 08-23-2008 10:33 PM

I’d split the difference.

Take the boards down partway to final thickness, square the edges, then edge glue. Clean up any excess glue and plane to final thickness.

I always use biscuits. They’re quick and easy, I think they add strength, and as skeez says they help with alignment

-- Jake http:/

View James Early's profile

James Early

48 posts in 3733 days

#5 posted 08-24-2008 01:08 AM

One thing—if you decide to plane after glue-up, make sure to orient the grain of each strip the same way. Otherwise, you would get tear-out planing in either way, because some strip(s) would always be in the wrong direction.

-- -- Jim E., Oswego, NY. Create, have fun, and work safely!

View herc's profile


20 posts in 3688 days

#6 posted 08-24-2008 05:21 AM

I would:

1. face joint
2. plane
3. edge joint one edge
4. rip opposing edge on tablesaw

Hardened glue proud of the wood will damage planer knives.

Denny Bell

-- Denny, Upper Michigan

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4175 days

#7 posted 08-24-2008 05:25 AM

Plane to the same thickness.. whatever they both hit first.

Edge join.

Plane to final thickness.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3839 days

#8 posted 08-24-2008 05:44 AM

I would face joint first, the edge joint. That will make the edge square to the face that you jointed. Then rip the other edge to width + 1/32, and finish off the final 32nd on the jointer. Your edges will now be parallel to each other. Then finally plane the other face to thickness, this will make this face parallel to the other face, your board will now be square.

Depending upon how picky you are you may want to face joint your inside face first then plane your outside face to thickness. If you hit some preaty figure on the outside face, as long as you are already parallel to your inside face you can flip the board over and take the inside face down to thickness.

Hope this helps.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3831 days

#9 posted 08-24-2008 08:35 AM

I agree with gizmodyne and sIKE. And I think that biscuits on long grain joints (edge to edge) are a complete waste of time. They’re too loose fitting to be of any real value in alignment and they don’t add any strength along the joint as the glue joint will be stronger than the wood. They “might” aid in adding shear strength. Use cauls for alignment.

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3986 days

#10 posted 08-24-2008 11:27 AM

I just noticed grumpycarp’s reference to biscuits being loose. Are we talking about the same thing as in UK? Compressed beech ovals 4mm or 5/32” thick. I’ve never found them loose here. They normally need a tap with a hammer to get them started and/or pulling into place with sash cramps. I always use them in this sort of situation for accurate alignment.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4384 days

#11 posted 08-24-2008 01:04 PM

I never use biscuits in a close fitting flat glued joint either.

If your biscuits are tight, that means they’ve gathered up moisture, & causing them to swell.

I store my biscuits in a tightly sealed jar.

Biscuits aren’t supposed to be tight. The glue is supposed to make them swell.

Another thing that I’ve heard, the swelling of the biscuits

have caused raised humps along the surface, on certain wood types.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View GEORGE6149's profile


32 posts in 3682 days

#12 posted 08-25-2008 02:56 AM

I saw once in a post that if you put biscuits that have expanded because of moisture,in the micro-wave for a few seconds,they will return to normal.


View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3822 days

#13 posted 08-25-2008 03:48 AM

Biscuits will telegraph through the surface when still wet. Make sure you use a good glue, like titebond 3, so the glue becomes more stable when dry. Sanding is always necessary after using biscuits. I use biscuits, a glue joint shaper cutter, splines, and sometimes just edge gluing methods. I think you can get by just fine edge gluing when making drawer boxes.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4384 days

#14 posted 08-26-2008 06:19 PM

This is the company that makes the biscuits for, PC, & Ryobi.

There plant is about 20 miles from my cabin.

They also sell hardwood lumber, & veneers.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View BamaCummins's profile


67 posts in 3661 days

#15 posted 08-31-2008 07:47 AM

Thanks for all the input. Now I just have to decide if I want 1/2 thick drawer sides as the plan called for or make them 3/4 ” . Boy, I hate to plane away good wood, but the drawers would be a bit heavier.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

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