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Chippygeoff

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I am looking for some advice. I have a theory but very often theories don't in practice. I do scroll saw work that I sell and I am kept very busy all the time. My biggest problem is getting hardwoods that are planed on both faces. I have bought so called planed timber from several sources but the planing leaves a lot to be desired and I am spending hours and hours getting the hardwoods smooth on my belt/disc sander. I cannot have a planer/thicknesser of my own as I work in a spare room in my bungalow but I have been thinking that if I had a portable thicknesser my problems would be a thing of the past.

I need to have my timber around 20mm thick and some would be 10mm thick and up to 200mm wide. I thought with a thicknesser I could keep it indoors and then take it to an old workshop and a couple of hours work would produce enough timber to keep me going for a couple of weeks. I can buy sawn hardwoods from several sources and the planks of 25mm hardwood would be flat. I know the proper way is to surface plane the wood first and then put it through the thicknesser. I buy the planks in metre lengths so i can get them in the car but a metre plank would not have to be a uniform thickness as I only use small pieces on the scroll saw. I suppose the biggest piece i would use on the scroll saw would be 200mm x 100mm but mostly the pieces are smaller than that. Even if a metre long plank is a bit wavy I could always cut it in half. I would like to know if my idea would work in practice and if so could you recommend a particular make or model of thicknesser. Many thanks.
 

Oryxdesign

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I think perhaps you would have a more suitable set up if you built or bought a bench and invested in some hand planes. You would be able to plane up theses sizes quietly quickly and enjoyably.

Maybe you can find somebody local who will let you have a go with their kit?
 

Lord Kitchener

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Just how flat does the stock have to be? The reason I'm asking is that if you were starting with reasonably flat stock then a decent (Festool etc) sander would get it nice and smooth, and still be decently flat, and, of course, as smooth as you want.
 

Lowlife

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From what you've said it sounds as though a thicknesser would be suitable if that's the way you want to go, I've had a DeWalt one for several years and it's a good machine, you can often find them on special offer.

I use mine a lot, and like you absolute uniformity is not usually a requirement, so for me it works well, the machine has paid for itself many times over if you compare the cost of sawn and planed timber.

One thing I would say, they do produce industrial quantities of waste, so if you don't already have one I would budget for some sort of extractor as well, otherwise you'll be knee deep in chips in no time at all!
 

wood master

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if you where closer to me geoff i would plain all the timber as often as you like

but a good plainer is the way to go i have a jet one and had no probs. to keep cost down buy one with resharpable blades, timberman resharpen them, have you rang them to see what they have in the secondhand line
 

SurreyHills

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A thicknesser will do the job. As said by Lowlife they do produce a lot of waste, given the amount you need to plane off to get to 20mm, so you will need some form of extractor again either a vac style one or if you can store it in the workshop a bigger one.
 

Chippygeoff

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That was a quick response from all of you. I am very grateful for the replies I have had.

Oryxdesign. I have a good bench and i have 11 hand planes from my days as a joiner but I am disabled and hand planing is not an option. Even if it was an option it would be to time consuming.

Lowlife and Lord Kitchener. Yes. I had given a lot of thought to a hand held belt sander and this would certainly do the job but I have a nice belt/disc sander and at the moment I am spending hours on it getting the timber to a decent finish and I just cannot spare the time. With a thicknesser I think I will get a good enough finish where I just need to go over it with my orbital sander with about a 120 grit or even a 150. Using 25mm sawnboards I would want to take 2 to 3mm off each side. I have a numatic NV750 exractor so i think this will handle it okay.

Thanks Surreyhills. At the moment the numatic NV 750 is coping very well with the other machines I have, getting the correct adaptors to go from 51mm to the various machines is causing a little bit of a problem at the mo. Sods law they are all different.

Thanks Woodmaster. I sent you a PM yesterday. You are just over 30 miles away from me so I can easily pop over. I a hoping to get the thicknesser this year but may have to wait a bit longer. I have put my lathe and all the kit on e-bay so if I sell that over the coming days I will get the thicknesser sooner. I would love to see you new scroll saw anyway.
 

dddd

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Be warned; if you're going to be carrying it in and out of the house even bench top thicknessers are not light, I do this with mine as well, I'm 17 stone and pretty fit but I wouldn't say I can just pop it under my arm and strole about....

Just a thought

N.
 

Mark A

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How about using a router? You can build a dedicated thicknessing jig, or just a couple of skis for the router to run on

Like these



 

Lowlife

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dddd is right, I don't know the extent of your disability, but these things are not easy to lug around!

I built a mobile stand for mine with locking casters, the extractor sits underneath so the whole thing can be wheeled around as a single unit, I usually use mine in the garage, but when I plane very long planks I have to do it outside in the driveway, it's very easy to wheel it out, lock the casters and plug in and it's ready to go.
 

Chippygeoff

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Thanks Guys. I had thought of the router solution but I do not have the room in my new workshop for that sort of set up. Yes, the thicknessers are not exactly lightweight and I have given this a lot of thought and I have an idea. I thought I would make a base for it with wheels on. I have seen some wheels on the Axminster site that can be locked up once it is in position and I thought if I made a short stand with a thick MDF base this would be ideal to wheel it in and out. Ideally I would like to end up with the thicknesser set up so I don't have to do much bending as bending is the killer for me. When I come to part with my hard earned cash I could ring the supplier and ask how high it is with the stand that you can often buy with such items and then make a base board for the bottom of the stand with the wheels underneath. I can easily store this in a corner of the workshop when not in use as they look quite compact when the tables are folded up out of the way. Thanks again fellas.
 

Froggy

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Just one word of warning if you're planning on putting planks through the thicknessser that are rough sawn both sides. The rough surface of the timber will damage the bed of the thicknesser and then you'll struggle to put the timber through the thicknesser. I know this from recent experience!!
 

Lowlife

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Resinous timbers can also make the bed sticky and the planks will bind, wipe the bed regularly with acetone or similar solvent, also buy a spray can of dry PTFE to spray the bed once in a while and keep it operating smoothly.
 

Chippygeoff

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Thanks Lowlife. I hope i wont be using any resinous timbers but I will certainly be keeping it clean and will do as you suggest. I do it with my other machines. I have Liberon lubricating wax which i find is very good. I was a bit concerned about Froggys comment when he said if I use planks that are sawn on both sides i will ruin the bed. I rang a mate of mine in Essex, he has a dewalt thicknesser and had it for several years and he has never had a problem with his and he does exactly the same as i do.

I looked at the new Axminster thicknesser, the MB 1933 but I suspect that has a brush motor and I think the Jet has as well. I think if they had induction motors it would have said. I am going to see if I can get one with an induction motor otherwise I am going to have neighbours complaining.
 

Lowlife

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I bought my DeWalt after borrowing a friend's on my first boat build, I was very impressed with it's performance, the only other one I seriously considered buying was a Makita as they did a "quiet" one, however when I saw one in operation I didn't think it was that much quieter, except when it wasn't actually planing anything! It was nearly £100 more than I paid for my DeWalt, and a decent pair of ear defenders don't cost that much.

I machine a lot of soft and hardwood with mine, all of it sawn both sides, and I must admit the bed has picked up a few scratches especially from the Teak deck planks that I've been doing recently, but I certainly wouldn't call it "ruined". A quick rub with a bit of fine emery soon gets it nice and smooth again. I also regularly dust mine with talc when I'm planing lots of pine, a quick puff every few planks keeps everything moving along nicely.

DeWalt describe the blades as "disposable", and my friend was buying new ones at over £40 a shot every time his went blunt, but they can be reground and I've had mine done several times now for less than a tenner a time, I've also got two sets of old ones that my friend was going to bin! You just have to recalibrate the thickness indicator each time you have them sharpened, although TBH I don't really pay much attention to that anyway, treat it as a rough guide and check the actual thickness with calipers.
 

ajmoran

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You may want to consider a drum sander rather than a thicknesser e.g. http://www.poolewood.co.uk/acatalog/San ... _PLUS.html (btw don't know whether that is a good place to buy from, never tried them)

With a thicknesser you still need to buy in planed timber anyway (unless you get a planer as well) and thicknessers potentially have problems with snipe and tearout on difficult grains. All manageable but sometimes you may end up resorting to your sander!

Alternatively set a drum sander to take off 0.5mm each side and you could get the result you want with your existing timber supplies without needing to spend a lot of time manually sanding.

just a thought!
Cheers
Andrew
 

Chippygeoff

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Adjmoran. I had also looked at drum sanders but a friend of mine had one and sold it soon after getting it as it was not consistent taking more off one side of the timber.

Thanks again Lowlife for the information and the advice. I was looking at a site last night where they tested about five thicknessers, it was an American site and I cannot remember the name now but the makita came out bottom. They started off with 6 inch pine and then put through a 12inch piece of oak, the reviewer said the Makita really struggled. The one that came out on top was the Dewalt. At the moment my shortlist is the makita or the Dewalt. I have read several reports that state the Makita is quieter at 83 decibels so I am going to try and find out what the dewalt is rated at. I prefer the dewalt but the noise is a governing factor. I have not looked at the cost of blades but £40 sounds very steep to me but as you say, they can be re-sharpened and as they are reversible they should last me a long time. I cannot seem to find much information on the Jet thicknesser but what I have found out is that all the thicknessers I have seen have brush motors, not seen a single one with an induction motor.
 

Froggy

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Regarding the blade sharpening - check out Steve Maskery's planner blade honing jig: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIBKp9_hWLo
As for the damaging of the bed - I didn't mean to alarm and should have given a bit more detail. Such as, keeping it waxed or using pfte spray etc. helps and I was using larger pieces of wood than you will be, so that will have a bearing. Also the damage I incurred was over a long period ( 3-4 years) not overnight. I just wanted you to be aware that 'skip planning' for want of a better term, can damage the bed over a period of time.

All the best Froggy.
 

9fingers

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A few points.
1) Froggy's planer has an aluminium table and so is more prone to damage than a steel or cast iron one.
2) The OP says he does not have room for the router jig method and works on 1metre lengths of timber. Using a thicknesser will require about 2.5 metres of space.
3) All but the very best set up thicknessers will give some snipe on the first and last 50mm or so of each piece. So thicknessing short pieces can get very wasteful.
4) Jet do make an induction motor powered thicknesser but is it a relatively large floor standing machine with a fixed cutter head and elevating tables so possibly too big for the OP. JPM-13 CSX

hth

Bob
 
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