Planer Jigs ... Which one?


bushwacked
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So I think I am going to build a planer jig for things bigger than my 6" jointer.

My question is ... how crazy would you go building one?

1)

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2)

chargers-planer-sled-2.jpg

3)

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I would love to build #1 and be done with it ... if it works.

#2 would be a fun build I guess, but seems overly complicated for the task.

 

Thoughts? 

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My favorite planer jig is called...a jointer. :)

I've tinkered with a few versions over the years, and they were all a PITA that worked okay.  I've gotten to the point I'll just break out the hand planes and flatten the thing by hand if it's too big for the jointer.  By the time you deal with that jig you could have a dozen boards flattened and ready to go.

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I built the one shown in image #2.  It was an interesting build.  I used it twice, but then had an issue where one of the screws (holding in an adjustment wedge) vibrated out, got stuck under the sled, and put a long scratch in my planer bed.  I haven't used it since.

I've since gone more towards something like #1, except I put a small cleat on the leading edge of the sled so that the lumber being planed pushes the sled along.  Its quick and effective.  I use this one occasionally. I have 2 like it - one around 3' long, and another around 6' long.

Lately though I've been using the method where the blade guard on the jointer is removed (gasp!); the board is jointed only as wide as the jointer allows (the unjointed face hangs off the side of the tables); a piece of MDF is attached to the to the jointed surface,  and the whole thing is run through the planer (using the MDF as the bottom).  This is effective - but boards a lot wider than my jointer still concern me, and long boards are always a challenge.  Thankfully I rarely joint anything terribly long.

Just to add additional thoughts.....I'm toying with the idea of making a flip-down station where I can secure long/wide boards on the base, and run a router on some fences along the top of the board to make 2 level co-planar grooves, and then secure some type of runners in the grooves. Run the board through the planer with the runners as the 'bottom'.  This method would help with really long boards, where some jointers suffer; would keep the blade guard on my jointer; and would avoid having to deal with a long heavy sled.

Edit: if you don't have a jointer, then of course my jointer method doesn't work.  I've used a similar method mentioned by Eric to use a plane to get the boards to the point where they can go through the planer.  This is very effective.

Edited by Jfitz
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15 minutes ago, Eric. said:

My favorite planer jig is called...a jointer. :)

I've tinkered with a few versions over the years, and they were all a PITA that worked okay.  I've gotten to the point I'll just break out the hand planes and flatten the thing by hand if it's too big for the jointer.  By the time you deal with that jig you could have a dozen boards flattened and ready to go.

maybe 1 day I will have an 8" PM like you haha. 

I was thinking the hand plane route, but then that is more $$ on tools that may not be necessary. The main reason I was at least going to try the sled idea is 

1) Cheap

2) lots of people do it so it must be somewhat effective

3) no need to learn how to use a big hand plane and sharpen it :)

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2 minutes ago, Jfitz said:

Lately though I've been using the method where the blade guard on the jointer is removed (gasp!)

Yeah I do that all the time.  I have an 8" jointer and I'll regularly joint boards up to 11" wide like that.  I don't think it's all that dangerous as long as you don't have manure for your brains.

 

74086e90a80074b0987548efbd08d81f-1.jpg

 

Just now, bushwacked said:

more $$ on tools that may not be necessary.

Everyone should have at least one serviceable bench plane.  Sorry, no exceptions.  Except Don.  RIP

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Just now, Eric. said:

If you're only gonna have one plane, it's hard to make any argument other than a #62.

Agreed.

Although if you're just looking for a 'beater' to go to town on rough lumber, you can usually find jack planes really cheap at most yard sales.  I have a LN 62, but I use my yard sale no 5 jack for the ugly rough lumber prep for the planer.

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32 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

@jfitz, any concern about the runners spreading apart under pressure?

No.  I didn't explain it in too much detail, but the idea would be that the runners would just "fit" into the channel made by the router - it would be a straight groove from one end to the other.  A 1/2" router bit and a 1/2" wide runner.  I think a little dab of CA or something would secure the runners.  Just an idea I had, so I could deal better with wider and longer boards and not have to deal with an overly cumbersome sled.

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1 minute ago, Jfitz said:

No.  I didn't explain it in too much detail, but the idea would be that the runners would just "fit" into the channel made by the router - it would be a straight groove from one end to the other.  A 1/2" router bit and a 1/2" wide runner.  I think a little dab of CA or something would secure the runners.  Just an idea I had, so I could deal better with wider and longer boards and not have to deal with an overly cumbersome sled.

This is a very cool idea.  

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Just now, bgreenb said:

This is a very cool idea.  

It's not unlike using the router to flatten a workbench. I have a nice piece of 10" wide figured walnut that I don't want to screw up, so it got me thinking.  I'll get to it at some point and post the pics.

 

 

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1 minute ago, bushwacked said:

LOL! @bgreenb ... bored today? :)

I get your point though ... however factor in 1 more thing. I do not yet have a true workbench. That will be getting built later after I finish the house remodel and can actually use my garage as my shop full time. 

Hahaha yup indeed I am.

No workbench obviously isn't ideal but still isn't an issue.  WIth the jointer trick you are only hand planing a narrow strip on the edge, so all the rest of the face of the board is clamping surface.  So you just have to clamp it down somewhere and go to work.  Sometimes I even just hold it with my hand if the strip is narrow enough and I just use a block plane one handed.  

If there were a board that I truly needed to flatten and it was too wide for the jointer trick but narrow enough for my planer and for some reason I didn't want to just use a hand plane, I would probably throw something together ad hoc. 

Full disclosure though, I absolutely HATE building jigs.  One of my dreams is to eventually build a guitar...that project is gonna be hell on earth for me.

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Sometimes I'll knock down the remaining unjointed strip with a plane, but most often I'll use one of the simple sleds.  just hang the unjointed face off the edge of the sled, and the board will push the sled along.  Once side #2 is planed flat, flip the board over and let the planer do the work.

Still.....as far as "getting into hand planes" goes, this is a pretty basic task so it's good practice.

 

 

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I use a jig like #1. I've got hardwood strips on 2 long edges and one end. I use playing cards to shim the board level then plane one face flat. Mines 8 ft long, but I've got 8 ft infeed & outfeed support so it's easy to slide it back and run the next pass. 

I've got wider & shorter ones I use w my drum sander. But the end strip goes at the front due to the belt feed instead of overhead feed rollers on a planer. 60 grit and 1/64th per pass is slow as hell but cheaper than a 12" or 16" jointer !

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28 minutes ago, wdwerker said:

I use a jig like #1. I've got hardwood strips on 2 long edges and one end. I use playing cards to shim the board level then plane one face flat. Mines 8 ft long, but I've got 8 ft infeed & outfeed support so it's easy to slide it back and run the next pass. 

I've got wider & shorter ones I use w my drum sander. But the end strip goes at the front due to the belt feed instead of overhead feed rollers on a planer. 60 grit and 1/64th per pass is slow as hell but cheaper than a 12" or 16" jointer !

are your hardwood strips along the edge so they hold the piece of wood on in case it tries to go sideways? OR are you setting it up top of them?

Id be curious to see your full setup with the 8ft supports on each side next time you bust it out. sounds like a great setup.

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The side wood strips stiffen the 3/4 melamine from flexing. 1 3/8 oak attached w dominos.  I built the indeed & outfeed supports as boxes the height of my lunch box planers bed that can be clamped to my tablesaw & outfeed table. They cantilever past both ends . I hold the playing card stacks in place with masking tape. Dollar Store packs of cards are what I use. Laminate sample chips (Formica, Wilsonart etc.) are another great spacer to use.

On a twisted board I clamp one end down flat and fit a stack of cards under the high corner. Then I put half the stack under the opposite corners and fit decreasing stacks every foot or so as the gaps decrease.

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If your boards have a twist, it is dead simple to get it flat enough with handplanes for planer use. If it has a bow, then it's more work... But really not that hard.

If you are opposed to handplanes or don't have a proper workbench, I'd recommend a router sled. Few passes and you're done unless you are surfacing slabs, which it doesn't seem like you are.

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5 minutes ago, Vyrolan said:

18a485e36718000f622a6c86ec0478de7a8a72b6

Listen, I love "fast food" pizza as much as the next guy.  Papa gino's, dominos, hell I'll even slum it with pizza hut ever now and then.  But I agree:  the line must be drawn somewhere, and that somewhere is before Papa John's.  Papa John seems like a nice guy but I'd rather eat out of my septic tank than his restaurant.  SORRY NOT SORRY!

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