Planing larger boards with a substandard portable planer.

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Forum topic by Buckethead posted 07-03-2013 07:58 PM 1446 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3194 posts in 1835 days

07-03-2013 07:58 PM

It’s a Christmas miracle!

By happy accident, I was delivered three pieces of hard maple which are 8+” x 8+’ x 8/4. (Lucky 8s)

So I had originally wanted them as I saw them at my little Sapele connection, but alas they were destined for another project at the lumber yard. So I just bought another piece of Sapele and some walnut left over from one of their jobs, and went on my way.

I took the walnut with me the upon my visit, but he listed it as hard maple for the 8/4 piece of stock because he didn’t have an entry in his computer for 8/4 walnut

Today they delivered. (The Sapele was too big for me to bring, and they deliver it free to me when it is convenient for them.)

When Harold (charming old delivery guy) showed up, I was doing the lawn. He opened the back door of his P&D truck, and behold! .

So there was the miscommunication. Of course I called immediately, and let him know what had happened, and that I would rush it back over if he wanted. He asked if I still wanted it and I said yes. So it’s mine.

(I hope that wasn’t unbearably long)

Now for the needed advice.

I have an old 12” delta bench top planer which has no in feed nor out feed tables. Is it safe to plane such beefy stock with a makeshift support?

Will the planer handle it adequately?

I intend to build my first workbench top from this stock. I could map it out and break it down as needed, but I am champing at the bit to see what final thicknesses I will be dealing with.

I’m also going to need to build a large jig to do jointing on my subpar table saw, but that’s another issue.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

5 replies so far

View JayT's profile


5588 posts in 2177 days

#1 posted 07-03-2013 08:56 PM

Hmm, my substandard portable planer is usually seen in the mirror and could definitely use some support. Its motor also poops out after planing too much lumber, especially in summer heat.

Now for the serious business. Your Delta should be able to handle the stock, just take light passes. You will need some sort of support for the weight of those pieces. It can be makeshift, as long as it is solid and level with your planer bed.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2243 days

#2 posted 07-03-2013 09:08 PM

I have an old 12” delta bench top planer which has no in feed nor out feed tables

None at all ??...Better set up infeed/outfeed tables that came with the planer or make your own…otherwise snipe city
Your planer will tell you if it can handle the material…light passes of no more than a 1/16” should be a good place to start…watch grain direction to avoid tearout

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 2865 days

#3 posted 07-03-2013 09:54 PM

well it well work but your going to need alot of support some of them are thick this is my lunch box and I still have to use roller’s on both ends.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1835 days

#4 posted 07-03-2013 09:55 PM

Thanks guys! Ya… I bought this on Craigslist for a low price, and I am completely inexperienced with using a thickness planer. I understand it isn’t rocket science, but this is some special wood in my eyes and I don’t want to ruin it or lose any due to hastiness. I tend towards haste so its good to get feedback.

All the hard maple I have located in NE FL has been quite expensive and this was sold to me for a song.

It seems I am renewing a relationship with a lumber yard I used for framing lumber some years ago. They don’t do hardwood as a rule, but they do custom build specialty doors for upscale clients. I happened in on a good day.

There is enough hard maple to do the entire bench, but I also have some 8” x 8’ x 8/4 walnut as well as about 56 bf of 5/4 Sapele.

I’m thinking some walnut legs or at a minimum accents.

Going with Shipwright’s wedge vice.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Loren's profile


10264 posts in 3614 days

#5 posted 07-03-2013 10:33 PM

Mount the planer on a pair of straight 2×4s or on an
aluminum straight ladder. Attach other pieces of 2×4
to the base for material supports. You have a planer
so you can thickness them exactly. Bevel the leading
edges. A 4 foot or longer level will help align the
planer bed with the supports accurately.

One of the benefits of portable planers is the
cutterheads move, not the bed, so they are
friendly to this sort of material support method.

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