Planers: OK, Now I Think I Know What They Do. . . sort of. - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Planers: OK, Now I Think I Know What They Do. . . sort of.

Hi All,

I continue my slow build of the standing desk (see, Standing Desk - Lowe's Creative Ideas (plans toward the end of the web page).

One of my colleagues at work also happens to be a woodworker (actually a cabinetmaker). I laid out my plan to biscuit together the dozen or so mini-planks that make up the desktop. And then -- well, we had a woodworking moment.

He said, well, line up the grains as they look well -- here's the moment: make sure they're all straight and flat with the planer and joiner. Uhhh, what planer/joiner? It's still on my wish list. To be fair, he has a commercial shop, with, as best as I can gather -- basically everything. I've got a dozen or so tools, but not a planer (nor a joiner).

So, I had some free time and I dug in to figure out how the hell you get the boards flat and square: The planer and joiner! OK, now, I sort of get it. And, now I understand the notion of the hand plane.

OK - so, practical question: How should I deal with putting a dozen or so mini-planks together to make the desktop? Questions within that question: Should I -- indeed, must I -- buy a benchtop planer? Should I go with a set of handplanes and then later buy a benchtop planer? If I bought the benchtop planer, wouldn't I still need to handplane the surface of the desk after I joined the mini-planks? Could I use sand paper to even it all out?

If I buy a commercial bench planer (I've looked at the Dewalt, Ridgid and Porter Cable models) -- doesn't that mean I can only plane the boards before they're jointed with biscuits? I mean, I can't afford some planer that will plane down a desktop.

Incidentally, this lead to an interesting set of internet research. I found a guy who gave a great video essay on getting into hand planes -- and encouraging people to buy a bench planer, and only go with a small hand plane at the beginning (see, Which Hand Plane Do I Buy First | The Renaissance Woodworker).

Oh, I left out the most important question: How should I explain to my wife that even though i said I wouldn't need any tools for awhile, I'd like to go spend, I dunno, $200 to $800 on a few more tools to finish a desk that I'm charging $100 to make :-).

Thanks!

--Craig.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 06:53 PM
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Heh...welcome to the world of the tool addict!
Craig, as much as I like and promote hand planes, this project of yours isn't the place to begin the learning curve, plane wise. Yes, buy a /some planes, but in the meantime, for the desk top, will your buddy run it through his sanding equipment for you?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 06:56 PM
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Craig; I meant to add, will he let you spend some time with him in his shop? This is a golden learning opportunity not to be missed, if you can swing it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 06:59 PM
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Craig, many lumber vendors or cabinetshops will be glad to surface the faces or edges of your lumber - there is quite likely no immediate need for you to purchase a planer or a jointer. Hand planes can be used by those with the proper skillset to achieve some amazingly nice surfaces - but it is much more to get accustomed to than simply feeding wood into a planer or running an edge over a jointer. Everyone of us have tools we would like to have when the budget timing is right, but also everyone of us has to learn when something may need to be done in such a way that may not seem ideal, due to budget constraints. My Dad was raised in a house that was built without the use of electricity! Still the woodwork in that house is amazingly well built - even by today's standards! It makes us appreciate more fully how far woodworking has progressed!

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 07:01 PM
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I could not agree with Dan more. As another huge fan of hand tools, especially planes, getting and then learning to use em in the middle of a project isn't really practical. Even if it would take a couple bucks or better yet, a couple beers and a good evenings conversation to get him to run your wood thru his equipment, it be well worth the experience.
As time and funds become available, go and get a couple of good planes. you don't have to spent a fortune. A great working plane doesn't have to be pretty! They are a joy to use!!!!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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Default Jointer - great addition to my shop

Every time I use my jointer the more I appreciate it.

Yes, I would like to add a planer next but making surfaces that are flat AND are 90 degrees to another side is priceless.

Don't settle for a 4" jointer. Get a 6" one. It will take up nearly the same amount of room. And put it on wheels.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2012, 08:01 AM
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Jet makes combo unit that has jointer on top and surface planer underneth for around 400.00. I believe it's 10"
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2012, 10:13 AM
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Craig, I meant to thank you for that link to the hand plane video; good find!
Cheers,
-Dan
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2012, 12:58 PM
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The link you posted was educational. A very good resource material.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 07:15 PM
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Ha!
I have done it both ways-hand planes-jointer.
One thing I learned is, best get the wood glued up quick, as the internal stresses will take over, and the boards will be out of true again.

Don
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