Volume 4 of 4
Volume One -
Planning a Workshop
Volume Two - Workshop Safety
Volume Three - Workshop Lighting and Storage
IN THIS ISSUE
|Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You|
|National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH|
|Coming Your Way|
|Shopsmith Traveling Academy|
|See a MARK V Demonstration|
|Online Accessory Catalog|
|Request Printed Accessory Catalog|
|Links Worth Visiting|
|Free Woodworking Tips|
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THE THICKNESS PLANER
Why you should have one in YOUR shop
It gives you greater freedom to work with hardwoods, softwoods, even trees from your back yard or logs from your woodpile. It's a great step toward achieving a totally self-sufficient home workshop. It's also a joy to use, easy to handle and quick to set up.
What does it do?
How does it do it?
It's really quite simple in design and purpose. It smooths and simplifies all kinds of projects you make from scratch. Underneath its unique capability to prepare the surface of your project wood is this “rule of thumb”: The more cuts a thickness planer makes per linear inch of wood, the better the final surface will be.*
If you run soft wood (such as poplar or pine) through a thickness planer, you can feed it fairly quickly past the cutterhead. If you run hard woods (such as oak, ash or cherry) through the machine, you should slow down the feed rate, while at the same time, keeping the cutterhead revolving at optimum speed.
When smoothing very dense wood or wood that's highly figured with burls, knots or bird's-eyes, the feed rate should be as slow as possible and the cutterhead should revolve at optimum speed.
When your objective is to attain consistently thicknessed lumber for your projects, the key is a stable and controllable support table. Raising or lowering the table will allow you to produce lumber that's as thick or as thin as you need...plus...it will do this for you again and again, producing as many identically thicknessed boards as you may need for your project.
It works with the jointer to prepare straight, true, parallel wood in preparation for additional cutting, molding, shaping, routing and drilling.
It works with the table saw to ensure that every piece of stock you saw, dado or mold will be exactly the same thickness, eliminating the need to continually adjust your set-ups to compensate for slight differences in the thickness of the various pieces of stock you've purchased from the lumberyard.
Used as a helper for making delicate projects with the bandsaw or scroll saw, it will prepare smooth, thinned stock for crafts and gift items.
It helps ensure that all of your lathe turning blanks are identical. For example, if you're turning four legs for a table with each leg having a square portion where it meets the table's apron, the planer will help you be certain that all of these square leg tops match perfectly.
A planer will also eliminate the need to spend excessive amounts of time making dust while preparing your surfaces with the drum or belt sander.
You can also save on your lumber costs by resawing thick stock into thinner pieces, then planing it. Using this technique, you'll get two or more thin boards out of one thick one, eliminating the need to purchase 1-inch thick stock when all you really need is 5/16 thick stock.
Within the established guidelines of planer safety, you'll also be able to run certain pieces of scrap stock through your planer, then use them in larger projects for inlay, marquetry, parquet work and intarsia - or for smaller craft items like jewelry boxes or ornamental items.
You'll also save time during the assembly portion of your project. For example, instead of using sandpaper to attain smooth, even surfaces on stock after joinery, you can get the surface quality you want before you begin joining the wood together. In this way, the thickness planer will take many of the unpleasant surprises out of joining your project components together, increasing the many pleasures of your woodworking hobby in the process.
If, for instance, you're making stiles and rails for cabinet doors, a thickness planer will trim all your pieces to exactly the same thickness, letting you concentrate on joining them together professionally, knowing that you started with equally thick stock. That means your thickness planer will go a long way toward not only increasing the scope and quality of the projects you build, but also increasing the joys and pleasure you get from working with wood.
What it won't do