Portable Thickness planers

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  #1  
Old 04-13-05, 09:29 PM
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Portable Thickness planers

I was just curious, after re-reading an old Journal of Light Construction article that was discussing portable thickness planers, what types of planers the galoots here are using.

What brand do you have? Which do you WISH you had? What do you like or dislike about your planer? And what sort of results are you getting with it? How much sanding do your boards require after being planed?
 
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Old 04-13-05, 09:35 PM
Sawdustguy
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I have a Delta 12-5/8.

It's OK. Over the past 5 years, I've had this one and also a Riobi. Same thing. It's ok.

Have you looked into a drum surface sander? Like Performax? I have the 22/44 and it works pretty well. You could do your rough planing with any planer you choose and then do the final thickness by the drum sander.
 
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Old 04-13-05, 10:00 PM
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There was an auction here recently that has a used Woodmaster 38" drum sander (like the one at http://www.woodmastertools.com/s/drum.cfm ) but older. All the local carpenters and cabinet makers were slathering over it since it would be just the thing to run face frames and cabinet doors through. I forget what it sold for- seems like it was $1500 or so. But yeah, that would be nice.

I don't have a planer yet, but might be getting one someday- whenever there is a big job where I can rationalize getting one. I'm leaning toward the Dewalt DW725, since it's got a nice fan assisted discharge. I also like the beefy one piece cast infeed-outfeed.

One thing the review stated was that as long as the planer knives are sharp, all the planers they tested produced excellent results. When removing 1/32 to 1/16, they really could not tell much difference between the ones that had slow feed rates, or fast feed rates, which I thought was pretty interesting.

It would also be interesting to see which planer knives hold up the best, but they didn't test that. Say, after planing 1000 ft of red oak at a depth of 1/16".
 
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Old 04-13-05, 10:03 PM
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Planing 1/16" with a desk top planer as the one I have, is pushing it a bit. It would be more ideal to only take off 1/32

If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a drum sander over a thickness planer.

It gets all the mill marks out, which can be a PITA by using a random orbital.
 
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Old 04-13-05, 10:07 PM
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Yeah, I gave up using a random orbit sander to get out mill marks. That was when the Bosch 3x21 came to the rescue. All the oak and poplar I get from our local lumber yard has a lot of mill marks. Apparently the mill they get it from doesn't have a drum sander either!!! More profit for them, more sanding for me.
 
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Old 04-13-05, 10:52 PM
Sawdustguy
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I'm telling ya bud, if you can fork out the moola "$" I would get the drum sander. It will take you longer to get to the desired thickness, but you're sanding and planing at the same time, so it's kinda like getting two tools in one.

This is the one I have. Very wise idea to get the rolling stand that the sander is made for. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...?v=glance&s=hi

I have a large shop, but I still have everything I can on wheels. I'll be soon downsizing to a smaller shop, so I'm glad I did it. Put as many tools on wheels as you can, as it will create a lot more usable space. "Except the table saw" That's fixed to the floor.

I have my planer on a long rolling cart. Each side has about 4ft of table top that sits level with the infeed/outfeed tables on the actual planer. It's on wheels too.
 
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Old 04-13-05, 10:54 PM
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It erks the heck out of me when I see mill marks through a finished piece of wood. Sometimes you can't get them all out, but you can get the majority of it out. I cringe when I go to resturants and it looks as though they planed the wood, slapped some stain on it and one coat of finish.
 
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Old 04-14-05, 09:22 AM
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XSleeper,

I couldn't agree more that a drum sander is the way to go. However, just in case you're like me and can't get the better half to allow that kind of expenditure, I would highly recommend this Delta model. http://www.deltawoodworking.com/index.asp?e=136&p=952. I just purchased one earlier this year.

I have always avoided portable thickness planers because of snipe issues. Delta claims this model produces virtually zero snipe, but I was a bit skeptical. I can't tell you how surprised and pleased I was when that claim turned out to be absolutely true......NO SNIPE!

Sawdustguy is right on regarding planing depth. This guy will take 1/16 off oak ok, but 1/32 produces much better results. If I have to remove very much from a board, I resaw first. It takes forever to plane it all off.

Again, I really would like one of those drum sanders!!
 
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Old 04-14-05, 04:46 PM
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I have a Delta planer. It works. Am pleased so far. I don't long for something else.
That is until I read this thread. Drum sanders, huh. Naw, I don't make enough cabinets to justify it. But I would welcome one in my shop!

For any planer, a sharp blade will produce similar results. However, a planer with 3 blades will produce smoother results than a planer with 2 blades.
 
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Old 04-15-05, 07:06 PM
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Well, I've often thought about how great it would be to have a large drum sander, but the price tag on those things is gi-normous! From the sounds of it, I'd probably want both (in my dream warehouse).

Currently I need a lot of 1/2" stock, which I'm purchasing from our local lumberyard, and then belt sanding the heck out of it. (Which I'm happy to do since it all pays the same!) But I can't imagine reducing a 13/16" thick oak baord to 1/2" on a drum sander. How many passes would that take??? I've read that drum sanders will take off 1/64 per pass, and that 10ft per minute is moving at a pretty good clip. Is that a fair assessment?

This one looks like a nice sander! http://www.enotalone.com/tools/images/B0000DD0D4.html

Since I'm dreaming, it would look great next to a Powermatic model 15.
 

Last edited by XSleeper; 04-15-05 at 07:46 PM.
  #11  
Old 04-15-05, 08:16 PM
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That's correct. It takes off less per pass. That's where the catch 22 comes into play. Technically Speaking, you should plane down your boards to within 1/16" and then drum sand it to the final thickness. Sure it will take longer, but you won't have the divits/waves from the belt sander.
 
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