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Thicknesser?

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Dan Hawkes
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Hey folks, looking for a bit of advice. 

Up to now I've either bought or paid for my timber to be planed flat, whether it be neck & body blanks, but also tops for gluing into the body.

I'd like to be able to do this myself, but I'm pretty crap with a plane. Practice will help for sure, but funds are tight even for scraps to practice on. 

I've been looking at desk top planer/thicknessers. I get that these are a significant outlay, but if they do what I want then the time savings etc could make it worth it. Second hand ones do come up from time to time it seems. 

Does anyone use one of these or have any recommendations? I'm wondering if they give a flat enough surface for say gluing tops to bodies etc?

Cheers for the replies!


   
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Russ
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@liebe

Hi Dan,

A planner/thicknesser or a  thicknesser & a surface planner are great things to have if you are going to be using rough timber. For the cheaper option or if you have limited space you could get a planner/thicknesser but it can be a lot less hassle if you have a surface planner and a thicknesser. 

What I would say is brush up on your hand planing skills because you don't always want to use the machines to take it right down to size as you can often get a bit of tear out when the blades have had a bit of use. Good to use a hand plane to just tidy it up. 

These two are currently on sale at Rutlands

https://www.rutlands.com/products/factory-specials-bench-planer

https://www.rutlands.com/products/thicknesser   

They also have this one that sometime comes up at a sale price.

https://www.rutlands.com/products/planer-thicknesser

🙂🎸🎶🙏

🗝️ "Life's what you make it"🗝️


   
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Dan Hawkes
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Hey @russ, thanks for the reply and suggestions. Do you have any experience of these machines?

I can use a plane to a degree, but my skills are limited for sure and practice can only make that better. 

While processing rough timber would be a massive bonus, where I really want to get to is a reliable way of flattening tops and bodies ready for gluing. 

My planing skills are certainly not capable of accurately flattening to this degree. And while I do want to get better with a plane, I'd like to find a reliable way of doing it in the meantime.

I'm not 100% certain a bench top thicknesser is suitable for this?  

Up to now I've had intermittent access to a drum sander, which did the job perfectly. Unfortunately I neither have the space or money for one and it's a task is like to be able to myself.

I've thought about getting an engineers surfacing plate, popping some sand paper on it and using that to flatten the surfaces before gluing, but it would have to be a second hand one. Which, of course, leads to questions on how flat it would be.

Cheers!


   
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Russ
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@liebe

Hi Dan, I've got the Rutlands planner/thicknesser. With the blades reasonably new it planes a very smooth surface. As long as you double check the fence and make sure it's tight it planes a near perfect 90 degrees when squaring up the edges. The thicknessing is nice and easy. The only problem with it being so small is that it can only plane pieces up to 200mm wide. Okay if you are making a three piece body. 

If you are preparing tops, backs and sides for acoustic guitars then drum sanders are a much better bet. A thicknesser would just rip them to pieces......in saying that I did see someone successfully plane down the sides of an acoustic guitar by sticking them down with double sided tape onto 18mm MDF board and taking off 0.5mm at a time. 

🎶🎸🙂🙏

🗝️ "Life's what you make it"🗝️


   
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Dan Hawkes
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Cheers @russ, that's good to hear. 

I should have specified I'm taking about making electrics. So I'm thinking about carve or drop tops on the bodies, bit also the neck blanks and gluing the fretboard.

I've been looking at the metabo dh330, as it processes timber up to 330mm wide. I'd have to go second hand and possibly but new knives.


   
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Russ
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Posted by: @liebe

I've been looking at the metabo dh330, as it processes timber up to 330mm wide. I'd have to go second hand and possibly but new knives.

Hello again Dan. Getting a thicknesser like that is great but remember you'll also need a planer to get a flat surface and/or square the wood up before you put it through the thicknesser. The wood needs to lie flat on the bed to thickness evenly. 

🙂🎶🎸🙏

 

🗝️ "Life's what you make it"🗝️


   
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Dan Hawkes
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Thanks @russ !


   
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NSJ
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@liebe make yourself a cheap router sled, I recently did that with a piece of contiboard and a couple of rails. Great for getting things straight. Then I'll stick it through my thickness planer to get the other side done, flip it over and do the routered side. I think the router sled has to be one of best choices as far as getting surfaces straight goes.

A decent planer table is either old and quite large for cheap or reasonably pricey if new and smaller but still does a good job. Most of the cheaper small ones are pretty imperfect. I'll use mine but then run over the top with a no7 plane to get it properly flat.


   
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Dan Hawkes
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Hey @nsj 

Sounds like a good plan, thanks. I had thought about a router sled, but was worried about chip out on figured woods. Following up with the planner and then the plane to get it really flat make sense. 

I'll need to improve my skills with a plane to get the surfaces flat for gluing, but I can leave a little thickness on.

Which bench planer do you have and how would you rate it?


   
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NSJ
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@liebe Radian tools sell a planer bit to use with a router sled, it's excellent. Just take small bites.

 

A thickness planer or planer table is a lot more likely to take chips out of figured wood. As for handplaning, figured wood is really awkward lol.


   
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Dan Hawkes
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@nsj Cheers buddy. Sounds like I need to keep the chap with the drum sander sweet😅


   
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