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Planing long boards - short jointer beds.

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Chunky Monkey

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Hi all,

For several years I've owned an Axminster AW106PT2 planer - thicknesser and apart from the niggles with having to reset the outfeed table it's served me well.

Recently though I find myself planing longer and longer boards, today I've machined a couple of 2.4m boards and tomorrow I'm faced with the prospect of planing a couple of 4.2m boards. I'm now finding the short beds, circa 1m, are really making life difficult now, I'm using a roller stand at each end to support the boards but I'm not convinced I can position these accurately enough to ensure the boards remains totally flat on the beds.

I've spent the evening looking at alternative P/Ts, for example the Hammer A3 - 41 has beds that are 1800mm long which would really help, but in every other respect is probably too big a machine for my needs. The A3 - 31 with the bed extensions maybe a better compromise.

Before I go any further down the road of purchasing a new P/T, are there any techniques that help when dealing with long heavy boards, or has anyone had any success with shopmade extension tables?

Thanks
Jon
 

RobinBHM

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It depends on the section.

Small sections cant really be straightened.

An 1800mm bed surface planer wont straighten a 4.2m board, although it might be a tad easier to control the board.

As youve prob found roller stands help but they never seem to quite the right height because each board will have a slightly different shape.

If you have a track saw or skil saw and a straight board, that would help get the boards straight.

If your boards are twisted you dont stand much chance!
 

Trevanion

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I'll sometimes start from the middle of a board and work towards the ends if it's got a nasty bow or twist in the length, this requires totally exposed cutters though so it's not everyone's cup of tea. People make the mistake of putting all their pressure on the infeed table which is incorrect and this will cause the bow to stay in the timber, you need to reference off the outfeed table without deflecting the timber to get straight timber.

It's not easy to get 4m lengths straight, especially without an extra pair of hands. The first question should be: does it need to be straight? If it's being fixed to other timbers E.G a bookcase it doesn't technically need to be dead straight as it will be pulled straight when fixed.
 

Jacob

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Chunky Monkey":1p6fkies said:
......
Before I go any further down the road of purchasing a new P/T, are there any techniques that help when dealing with long heavy boards, or has anyone had any success with shopmade extension tables?

Thanks
Jon
Cut them shorter. Don't plane anything until you have a design, a cutting list, all sawn timber cut to size (plus a bit for planing).
For long stuff - skirting boards etc I'd simply give up on the idea of straightness and bung them through the thicknesser, with rollers or something to support them.
If I really wanted dead straight long pieces e.g. newel post I'd do face and edge by hand and then thickness through machine. There's a procedure for the hand planing - first take out any twist, using jack plane and winding sticks, ignoring the bumps and hollows, then take them out using the longest plane you have, eyeballing all the time as you go. I've got a 22" woody for this purpose alone.
 

RogerS

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Two suggestions...

1) Outsource it. That's what I did when I needed some 4.2m long cills made from sapele. Six of them in total. My local joinery company only charged me £60 over what it would have cost me to buy the sapele myself. Best £60 I've spent for a very long time.

2) As you've found out, roller supports are useless. This was my solution (the roller stand will work with the aluminium channel.)



I'd still outsource your lengths though.
 
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