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Help explain a Planer to me ???

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Forum topic by MNbuzzdust posted 03-28-2009 07:18 AM 1243 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MNbuzzdust

99 posts in 2812 days


03-28-2009 07:18 AM

I am learning how expensive this furniture building hobby can be. Mainly buying the wood.
I dont have a planer and dont really understand its value or all its uses.
1. If I had one could I buy the construction grade 2×8 etc and plan them down and have nice wood
2. I am looking at something like the 13” ryobi model. So do these just do the face of the boards or can they be joiners also for the edges

3. Please explain all the benifits of a planer to a beginner.
Thanks


16 replies so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#1 posted 03-28-2009 07:30 AM

Planers allow you to make a flat board a specific thickness. They are used with Jointers that make boards flat and square (90 degrees). Normal process is to

1. make one face of a board flat using a jointer

2. use the jointer to make one edge 90 degrees to the flat face

3. use the planer to make the board the desired thickness

4. then use the table saw to rip to width.

Points to note: You need to ensure one side if flat, if not it will make a board that is consistent in thickness, but curved. E.g. it follows the defect.

If you do not have a jointer there are jigs you can make to flatten boards with only a planer.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View oldskoolmodder's profile

oldskoolmodder

799 posts in 3140 days


#2 posted 03-28-2009 07:33 AM

NO, not necessarily, to your question of whether you’ll have nice wood from construction grade 2×8’s. There’s not really any reason to plane down a 2x anything in construction grade lumber. It simply doesn’t seem to be worth the time.

From your posts lately, you’ve got a LOT to learn (by your own admission, and of course you’ll only learn by asking, which is good, but don’t set your sites on furniture building right away.

If you want to be considered a furniture builder, most people won’t use a $200 Ryobi planer (I like Ryobi by the way for some of my tools). They simply aren’t built to last, and they aren’t the same thing as a jointer planer. Two different tools altogether, though you can face plane some smaller width boards on a jointer planer.

Working with 2x’s and white board is a good way to start off making things for around the house, Workbenches, Outdoor benches, etc. But honestly trying to plane 2x will do not much for you except waste your time and make lots of wood shavings and sawdust, with not much of an end result to be happy with.

M.O.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1770 posts in 3550 days


#3 posted 03-28-2009 07:36 AM

1. Theoretically, you can take construction grade wood down to surfaced material, but not with only a planer. Also for the most part, why bother? Just start with some pine projects.

2. Planers need to work in tandem with a jointer for surfacing lumber. All they do is make one side or face parallel to the opposite face. So unless you start with a completely flat face, you will not get surfaced lumber using just the planer. There are jigs that you can make to accomplish some face jointing, but not edge jointing.

You can get by with some edge jointing using router jigs.

3. The value of a planer is that you can quickly take wood to any thickness within reason. They also offer repeat set ups.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

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WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#4 posted 03-28-2009 07:40 AM

To expand on Oldskoolmodder’s line of thinking, the process I described above is the process you would follow if you purchased rough lumber from a supplier. Examples would be if you wanted to buy some maple or oak for a table. You would need to mill the lumber to specific demensions to use it in your project.

Also, normally your wood would be close to final demensions before you planed it. If it is not you would resaw the lumber using a bandsaw or if the wood was not too large possibly your table saw.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MNbuzzdust's profile

MNbuzzdust

99 posts in 2812 days


#5 posted 03-28-2009 07:57 AM

Thanks for the replies.
I have been building stuff for 25 years … from construction work to building airplane wings to building my own trailer and my latest is a 4 seater sidecar. I have no interest at all in being considered a “furnitiure builder” I just want to make peices for our house for fun. I need to tinker constantly.
I have many “store brand” power tools like the menards brand and home depot stuff and they all have held up very will some for 10 year now and never had one die yet. Its amazing how fast wood adds up at the check out counter though and i dont buy the good stuff even just #2 pine. I was really hoping there was woodworking secret I didnt know on how to do this hobby on a budget. I have an old barn I would maybe tear down soon and thought maybe the planner would make that wood more useable too. Well thanks for the info.

View oldskoolmodder's profile

oldskoolmodder

799 posts in 3140 days


#6 posted 03-28-2009 08:06 AM

Then you need to make sure you have a metal detector to take out nails and screws too, before you ruin the planer blades, if you plan on using reclaimed wood. There’s nothing wrong with starting to build with cheap or free wood, there’s many examples here on L.J. of just that. Once you make your fist table or bench, you can consider yourself somewhat of a furniture builder though, if only to you and your family.

The Ryobi will do a satisfactory job if you don’t plan on using it to plane a house worth’s of wood.

As for secrets, you never stop learning when woodworking. The minute you think you know every trick there is, is the moment you should give up, because you’d just be fooling yourself. Keep asking, and I’m sure we’ll try to answer how we know best. Remember there’s tons of ways to accomplish the same task that some people don’t even consider sometimes.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

952 posts in 2844 days


#7 posted 03-28-2009 08:19 AM

For making old barn wood into usable lumber, the planer would be very helpful. Here is a picture of some old pine that was in my basement from what was an old coal bin, I’m guessing well over 100 years old. The wood was very rough with the grain really standing out as the rest of the wood was worn down. One pass through the planer on each side, removing about 1/16th of an inch, total of about one minute with setup, and I had some nice looking wood. http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv232/daledman/th_Oldpine.jpg

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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DaleM

952 posts in 2844 days


#8 posted 03-28-2009 08:23 AM

Sorry about that. After clicking on the link, I gave you a thumbnail image. I hope this one comes out bigger. Anyway, the one on the right is what the wood looked like when I found it and on the left is after I ran it through the planer. I have enough good looking wood now to build a few cabinets for my shop from what was some really bad looking wood. http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv232/daledman/Oldpine.jpg?t=1238221245

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View jack1's profile

jack1

2057 posts in 3487 days


#9 posted 03-28-2009 08:48 AM

A piece of advice about buying power tools that was touched on above. It’s wise to buy the best you can afford but sometimes, you really should step up even if you have to save a bit longer. If it’s hard to afford the first time, how can you afford it a second time… I used to be an automotive tool dealer and a saying I used to use was, “I’d rather explain the cost for quality than have to apologize for it’s lack.” Buy the Ridgid or the DeWalt, you’ll be happy you did.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#10 posted 03-28-2009 08:51 AM

I have the Rigid and would recommend it…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

952 posts in 2844 days


#11 posted 03-28-2009 09:05 AM

I agree with Jack. I was considering a new Dewalt based off the reviews I read and what I could afford. I shopped Craigslist for months before I got a good deal on a Dewalt DW734 12 1/2 inch planer used for 200 dollars. You can still get them new for about 400 dollars but I suggest you wait on a used one if you could find a deal for half the cost of a new one. The guy I bought it off of had upgraded to a 20 inch planer and sold this one to me at half price used. It still works great and new blades are cheap.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View TomHintz's profile

TomHintz

207 posts in 2858 days


#12 posted 03-28-2009 09:22 AM

I get this same question frequently enough that I wrote a permanent story that gets a surprising amount of traffic every day. See the link below.

Jointer or Planer?

-- Tom Hintz, www.newwoodworker.com

View MNbuzzdust's profile

MNbuzzdust

99 posts in 2812 days


#13 posted 03-28-2009 10:46 AM

Thanks for the replies.
Dale that is nice looking wood after you ran it through the planer ! I do that with a belt sander and it take a while. I would like that kiind of speed at my fingertips!!
I tore down one of my barn walls about 10yrs ago and had a large pile of barnwood. People all told me it was worth big money. I ran an ad in the paper and got a couple call but no takers. I finally had to run an ad to give it away. The guy loaded up so much up I didnt think his pickup would make it out the driveway… Long story short.. I went to buy a tiller a few yrs ago and it happed to be the same guy and he showed me alll the great things he had made with it.. Now I am interested in woodworking and of course I am kicking myself LOL.

I understand the argument on buying the best tools possible. We all have been on job sites where a miter saw is started up every couple minutes all day long so I see why they need a $500 miter saw. But I dont want to end up buying that saw used. Id rather get a brand new cheaper one that I just turn on a few times a weekend and it will last forever. On the other hand a Planer is not a miter saw and most used ones will probably not have seen to much usage. Ill look around.

Oldskool I have built a headboard and an island for our kitchen so can I be called a furniture builder?? I really dont feel worthy of such a title. I really want to be able to build a quality piece like the highboy GaryK built. Someday with all your help maybe I can accomplish that.

Can I use my router like a joiner to straighten edges ??

View David Freed's profile

David Freed

112 posts in 3127 days


#14 posted 03-28-2009 12:34 PM

“Can I use my router like a joiner to straighten edges ??”

Yes that will work, if set up properly. With a shop-built jig, some people use their router to joint lumber before planing it.

Many people will insist that you have to use a jointer before planing. I have planed over 100,000 bf to finished thickness without ever using a jointer, so I don’t have any use for one. Occasionally a board will twist or warp and not be usable, but it is cheaper for me to throw away an occasional board than to waste a lot of time running everything through a jointer.

-- David, Southern Indiana

View oldskoolmodder's profile

oldskoolmodder

799 posts in 3140 days


#15 posted 03-28-2009 10:07 PM

Here’s my version of a thickness planer with a router -

Click for details

Mine works fine, but I don’t need to use it very often.

ghazard did his own version based on mine that looks even better, here -

Click for details

These are easy projects and VERY cheap comparatively speaking speaking, so you might try building one just for grins. You can never have enough “jigs” in the shop.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

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