Planer bed is not flat


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Hi. 

I just bought my first lunchbox type planer. It's a cheap Chinese model which I recognize under many brand names on the web.

 

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 After cleaning off all the nasty grease I began to level the out feed and in feed tables, as I could tell by eye they were both pointing upwards on the ends. Doing this I noticed that the (very flimsy) bed inside the machine was not flat either. It's got a bow to it in the middle. 

 

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Is this normal or acceptable? I know it's a cheap unit, so I'm not expecting high quality, but a bowed bed can never plane a piece flat right? Other then this the planer seems good enough for my needs and the next step up is the makita at three times the price (which is to an option for me). From planing some pieces of different lenghts of 2x4 last night the result seem ok except for horrible snipe on both sides (which I was expecting). I'm stuck with this model of planer I think, but the question is whether or not I return it and hope for a better unit. Any thoughts and ideas are welcome!

 

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I would try to correct that. Get a piece of melamine shelving or mdf to use as an auxiliary bed. Double stick tape it to the bed and shim it as necessary. Your depth gauge will be off but I rarely use mine anyway other than getting in the ballpark.

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I made a melamine bed for mine that's about 2 ft long and added some blocking underneath either side of the machine to mount it. I also built 2 boxes the height of the planer and melamine bed to act as infeed/ outfeed tables. When I am planing long stock I shim the boxes level and clamp the planer to my longest table. This really helps reduce snipe.

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I don't believe it was engineered to do that. Check under the beds to see if there is a way to shim or adjust the bedup. I doubt there is but worth checking.

Unless your going to return it, you need to figure out a way to live with it or make it usable. I would go with the 24" or so of melamine. Cut thin shims for the center, level it with your straight edge then attach your melamine.

You may also want to attach a "guide rail" to each side of the bed to keepyour work from drifting off of the side. I'm thinking something like paint stir sticks from HD tagged into place would work great. Good luck, let us know how it goes.

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Are you positive both the in/out feed tables are completely out of the way of the bed? It appears the left side of the bed the straight edge is proud of the bed.

 

-Ace- 

 

Yes I'm sure of it. It's either a bad photo or taken somewhere in my adjustment process where I hadn't gotten it right yet. But when I started adjusting I had all the screws turned all the way in so that the tables was hanging down and in no way affected the straight edge.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions on how to cope with the problem. I'm sure I can find ways to live with it. I guess what I need to know is if I should return it or not. Or to put it in other words; am I expecting too much when I want a flat bed on a cheap planer? Will the next one be just as bad, or is it worth the time and effort to return it and then order a new one.

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Flatten a face of a board on your jointer.  Run the opposite face through a bunch of times on the planer.  If the board comes out with both faces parallel and flat, it may be a non-issue.

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I think only you can decide whether to return the unit or not. It's probably a crap shoot if you get a better one or maybe one that's even worse. My comment is on the infeed, outfeed tables. I found that if you adjust them up at a slight angle up from the machine, it helps reduce the sniping. I tried setting them perfectly flat to the table and the snipe got worse. So I adjusted them slightly tipped up and it helped quite a bit. 

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