What's the best way to plane long pieces?

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Forum topic by distrbd posted 07-25-2014 05:00 PM 1122 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2252 posts in 2415 days

07-25-2014 05:00 PM

I’m in the process of building a trestle table top,I must find a practical way to plane 7’ long (6” wide) of Ash which will be planed from 2” to 1.50” ,I just bought a used outfeed table (with rollers on it) to support the weight of the lumber .
The whole operation should be done outside the shop so I can move around the planer freely,I have never planed long pieces before so I’m hoping to get a few tips on how to do it.

BTW,the lumbers will be cut with a circular saw/homemade track to slightly over 6” then cut to the final width on a table saw(with a glueline blade) but I don’t see any problem doing that,it’s the planing part that I’m not sure of.
If you have any suggestions/tips ,please share.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

11 replies so far

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1393 days

#1 posted 07-25-2014 06:38 PM

I built a support “tray” for long pieces that need to go through the planer. Just made from some 3/4” plywood with some plywood stripping frame all the way around to give it rigidity over its length.

I set my board to be planed on top of it. Helps prevent snipe, as well. But, just in case, do not cut your board to length until you are finished planning.

I might run it through the band saw to get as close to 2” as you are comfortable with first.

Your board is 6” wide and 2” thick. You should be okay.

-- Brad, Texas,

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1904 days

#2 posted 07-25-2014 07:11 PM

Ken, I built a trestle table that was about 7’ long as well. It wasn’t easy milling all of the lumber. The jointing was by far the most difficult part, but it sounds like you are taking a short cut around that road block, and I don’t blame you. I would too if I did the table again.

When I planed my pieces, I just rolled my tablesaw outfeed table to the outfeed side of the planer. It wasn’t perfectly in plane, but the drop was only about 1/2” or so. That at least prevented drastic snipe. I just held the board up on its way out. No magic. I ended up with some snipe, but just cut it off in the end. You might have to accept some snipe in this situation, it could be unavoidable.

Honestly, if I were you, I would be a lot more worried about getting good glue joints between the planks of the tabletop. That was my biggest issue, because I didn’t face joint the boards. It was all I could do to even edge joint them. Good luck!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1766 days

#3 posted 07-25-2014 07:15 PM

I have one small suggestion—I use roller stands to help me. Work very well. However, don’t use the ball bearing style if the side of the board against it is rough at all—won’t roll.

Wonder how I know that . . .

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1917 days

#4 posted 07-25-2014 08:09 PM

How wide is it?? I made 2 red oak tops for my place they were 25.5” x 96” and 25.5” x 48”. I made the first glue up like 19” wide and ran it through (there was no extra support). My planer is an 800# 20” beast. When I got about mid way through I went around to the back to catch them. also I ran the last board through at the same time so everything was a uniform thickness. after everything was planed I glued the remaining width on and sanded it for finish. another thought if you don’t have the large machines is to find a shop that will plane it for you. It may cost you a little. if you ruin the wood trying to DYI it could cost you a lot. I have a local shop that I take large stuff to. all it cost me is a 12 pack of amber rock dark.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5624 posts in 2782 days

#5 posted 07-25-2014 09:34 PM

Just use a pair of roller supports. If you don’t have any, simply support and slightly lift the boards as they exit the planer to prevent snipe. Leave the boards a little long, and trim them to finish length after planning.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2415 days

#6 posted 07-25-2014 09:55 PM

Thank you all for your for you helpful comments,I’m sure you all agree this is not the easiest task to joint/plane /glue up these long and heavy pieces ,I have a half decent jointer(6” older model ridgid) and a 13” Dewalt (DW 735)planer ,if I had a good 17” or bigger bandsaw,I would have considered removing 1/4” from the thickness but with what I have (14” import) it’snot the wisest thing to do.

Brad.The planer has infeed/outfeed tables but an additional makeshift infeed table was a great idea .

wooded oyster,I’ll plane all pcs 96”,then cut to 84”,I am worried about the glue joints but it never stopped me before,may have to use the portable outfeed table for the jointer as well.we’ll see.

Charles,the roller stand has those 1” encased” balls” lol. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.
Shawn,the width is 6.25” so it’s not too wide to handle,I don’t mind to pay a shop to prepare the wood but don’t know any near by to take on the ask,anyhow,I like the challenge ,at the end of it all I’ll learn something new. .
Pinto,I forgot I also have a couple of those cheap roller supports,thanks for reminding me.

Now I’m going to the shop and psyche myself for the job.
Thank you all again.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2659 days

#7 posted 07-26-2014 12:54 AM

Ken, I plane some 9’ x 16-18” slabs and I just catch the outfeed end and raise it well above the tables as it exits the planer to minimize snipe. I tried roller stands and they were always tipping over and aggravating me. A big, dedicated outfeed table won’t work for me as I roll the big planer outside and scoop up the shavings with a shovel.

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

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2415 days

#8 posted 07-26-2014 01:16 AM

That’s why I forgot I even have two of those roller stands,there has to be a way to secure them to the floor so they don’t tip over.lifting stock as it’s coming out of the planer /drum sander is a trick I learned from you Andy,and a good one too.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2659 days

#9 posted 07-26-2014 01:22 AM

Ken, Always good to hear a favorable review on my advice! Those roller stands pissed me off once too often so they are retired. I’m sure you could put a sack of sand or cement on the legs of those to keep em from tipping but then they are never EXACTLY the right height :(

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

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10372 posts in 3397 days

#10 posted 07-26-2014 11:08 AM

Ken, Jointing the edges would be a lot easier using a hand held router, flush trim bit and a length of MDF as a guide.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2415 days

#11 posted 07-26-2014 01:43 PM

Gene,I did consider jointing on a router table w/flush trim but it would have meant building a big and sturdy router table top temporarily (out of a 4’x4’ MDF) so it could handle the weight/length of the lumber but for some reason never thought of hand held routing,,it may make things a lot easier and simpler,

Ill give it a try on long scrap piece and see if the joints are acceptable .

Thank you for the suggestion.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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