Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Planer / Thickness Query

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

PaulH

Established Member
Joined
18 Jul 2005
Messages
104
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern Ireland
As a relative newcomer to woodworking (and the site), I trust this is not an "obvious" question... but, can someone please tell me what's the difference between a planer and a thicknesser?

Also, is it "better" to have two separate machines or is a combined machine acceptable?

Finally on price - as a beginner, I don't plan on putting vast volumes of wood through the machine. Is it worth considering some of the cheaper machines (e.g. the P-Pro from B&Q) or would I simply be wasting my money?

Thanks in advance,
Paul.
 

RogerS

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2004
Messages
17,391
Reaction score
78
Location
In the eternally wet North
Hi Paul and welcome to the forum

A planer (or jointer as it's known in the US) will get your timber nice and flat (planed...in other words) - usually in two passes. The first pass gets side 1 flat. You then put the timber through for a second pass ...but with side 1 running along your fence (usually set at 90 degrees to the planer). That gets you two sides that are flat and 90 degrees to each other.

OK....in real-life, you will probably pass the timber through quite a few times to either remove cupping or similar distortions in the wood..until you get it smooth. You'll also pass it through several times ...ending up with taking off only a very small amount so that you get a reasonably smooth finish.

On a planer the blades also are underneath the wood (usually) and you pass the wood over them.

The thicknesser is used to reduce the timber down to the required dimensions...by laying your planed side face down...as the thicknesser blades are above the wood. The thicknesser will have rollers that will feed your timber through the thicknesser and the blades will then cut off excess material...the amount you can take off with one pass depends on a whole load of factors. You can adjust the height of the blades to get the thickness that you want. Repeat for the other dimension.

If you do a forum search for both planer (or jointer) and thicknesser then you'll get loads more information.

Separate or combined...that depends...on cost...on available space..on whether you want the hassle of fiddling about converting the planer into a thicknesser then back to a planer...at least that is my perception of a combined machine. I went the 'separate' route and haven't regretted it.

I can't really comment on the models you suggest but would strongly urge you to consider this. Get the best that you can afford...time and time again, you'll read of folks here who have gone down the 'lower cost' route only to regret it at a later date ...myself included.
 

Travis Byrne

Established Member
Joined
4 May 2004
Messages
253
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma, USA
Hello Paul

Welcome to the forum from me. :D
Here are some answers and I hope they fit your questions!!!
A planner (known in US as a jointer) is made to flatten one side of a board and to put a 90 degree edge to that side. You can flatten the other face of the board but it probably not be parrallel to the first side.
The thicknesser (in US know as a planer) will take a board and make both faces parallel. Also the thicknesser can make the board as thin as you like (within reason).

Ideal situation in my opinion is to:
Use planner to flatten one face of board
Use planner to flatten one edge of board
Use table saw to rip rough edge parallel to stright edge
Use planner to smooth ripped edge
Use thicknesser to smooth rough face of board
Use thicknesser to obtain desired thickness by alternating face of board in the thicknesser.


I personally like seperate machines in lieu of combo machine.

Hope some of this helps. :D

Travis
 

PaulH

Established Member
Joined
18 Jul 2005
Messages
104
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern Ireland
Thanks Travis and Roger - this is helpful.

Would I be right to take from your posts that a planer is "more important", i.e. if I was to spend my current budget on the "best" planer I could afford, it would still be useful "on its own" and I could then add a thicknesser later when budgets are replenished? (I agree that getting the best you can afford is good advice - based on a very limited experience to date!)

It seems to me from your posts that the purpose of the thicknesser is to get a parallel face, given the blades are above the wood and the already flat (planned) face is on the table. (Perhaps a thicknesser may also allow more material to be removed in a single pass?)

In all of the above, I'm assuming that I could use the planer for the penultimate step in Travis' list, albeit perhaps not getting a 100% parallel face, and also to thickness the wood - his final step, providing I was only trying to make small adjustments to the "thickness".

Thanks again,
Paul.
 

Noel

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
7 Aug 2003
Messages
6,521
Reaction score
243
Paul, if you're going with separates get a thicknesser first. With a few shopmade accesories you can just about use it as a jointer for the top and bottom surfaces and then use a TS or even a Circular Saw to joint the edges.
Where are you BTW? Feel free to pay me a visit if you want to try before you buy.

Rgds

Noel
 

PaulH

Established Member
Joined
18 Jul 2005
Messages
104
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern Ireland
Noel,

Thanks for the offer of a visit - I might just take you up on that some time. We can discuss using PM.

Are you recommending a thicknesser first on the grounds that the two faces will be parallel and the table saw will then make the edges perpendicular?

Regards,
Paul.
 

Noel

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
7 Aug 2003
Messages
6,521
Reaction score
243
Exactly.

Rgds

Noel
 

SlimShavings

Established Member
Joined
25 Dec 2004
Messages
216
Reaction score
0
Location
Tennssee, USA
I would go with the thicknesser (murican planer) too. As was said before you can straight edge on a table saw. You can also set up a router and a fence to use as a planer (murican jointer) And if you pick up FWW about two issues ago there is a jig to flatten a board in a thicknesser. Most lunchbox thicknessers dont put enought pressure(from there so called pressure bars to flatten out wood much anyhow. The big iron with the pressure bars will flatten the board out.
My nickles worth
 
Top