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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve made a number of kitchen drawer trays and jewelry boxes and always use ¼” thick Maple as the dividers. This works well since I have a ¼” dado blade for my contractor table saw. My problems have occurred when trying to thickness plane the maple to ¼” before ripping it into strips. I have a DW734 thickness planner. When trying to get to ¼” I set the depth stop on the side of the machine at ¼”. When I get close I try to sneak up on it by repeated passes through the planner, turning the handle anywhere from ¼ to 1/8 of a turn on each pass. I use a digital caliper after each pass to measure the thickness since the scale on the DW734 is very close but not exact enough for my purpose. There are two problems with this. First, by nibbling away at the thickness I’m taking multiple passes through the planner. Takes time and wears on the blades. I’ve also over tightened it a bit on the last pass and ended up with a sloppy fit in the dado and having to start again. There's not a lot of forgiveness in a 1/4 inch dado. If I end up having to make more because I screwed up something, like cutting the dados in the wrong spot (who me?), I have to go through the whole exercise again.

Sorry for the long story but, with that said, has anyone tried the Digital Planer Readout from Chipsfly https://www.chipsfly.com/product/35-520.html and, if so, which planner, 734 or 735? It looks like it’s made for the 735 but can be made to work on the 734. Is it worth the $48? As always, thanks for your help.
 

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I can't answer your direct question but have an alternate approach suggestion.

Instead of planing your wood to the dado width, why not make your dado to the wood thickness? You could adapt the exact width dado jig idea to smaller dados. I'd use a 1/8" or 3/16" bit to do this. Then you'd get a perfect dado fit every time without the tedious multiple passes through the planer.

By the way those gauges do work pretty well in general but like any other measurement system, need care and feeding. I have one on my router table but haven't bothered with the planer. Though will probably get one eventually. Keep spare batteries handy, you'll need them at the worst possible time.

Nice looking boxes, by the way.
 

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I resaw a lot of my walnut. I use the jointer first to get all sides cleaned up and square. I then resaw to thickness before planing. I then use my drum sander to get to final thickness. However, I agree with Phil. If you are going to place a board into a dado, it it easier to make the board and then route the dado to fit. I made a jig where you use the board to set the width and then you route out the dado. You should get a perfect fit each time.

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your input. My process is pretty standard. I face plane, joint and resaw the maple then run it through the thickness planner before ripping it to get the proper height. Here's the thing, my dividers are around 1 1/2" high, 1/4 inch thick and the dado is 1/8" deep. I use my crosscut sled with the 1/4" dado blade to cut the shallow dados. This is very quick once all of the dado locations are marked. For the boards that cross one another, I raise the blade and use a slotted joint. The edges also have a 1/8" rabbit to fit the 1/8" thick plywood bottom. I route the rabbits.

The exact dado jig is great for larger stock and I used something similar in the past for wider dados but it would be difficult to set up and use with the narrow height of the dividers. I attached a picture of just the tray. It's 6" wide and 9" long so you can see I'm working with fairly small pieces. I'd love to have a drum sander for this but it's out of my price range.

And chuck, my wife uses the little spoons, I don't, so that's her territory and I don't trespass under penalties that I prefer not to discuss. :fie:
 

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Barry, I've made boxes with dividers and used an EW jig to make the dados. What about that process doesn't work for you? I use a guide bushing and cut the fitting edge of the jig with the dado bit. 1/4" ish stock is no problem with a 1/8" bit. It does take a little getting used to working at that scale. You need to be aware of which edge you need to align with to ensure the dados are exactly placed. And, of course, a light touch is needed but given the boxes you've pictured, you are clearly there.
 

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Sorry for the long story but, with that said, has anyone tried the Digital Planer Readout from Chipsfly https://www.chipsfly.com/product/35-520.html and, if so, which planner, 734 or 735? It looks like it’s made for the 735 but can be made to work on the 734. Is it worth the $48? As always, thanks for your help.
[/QUOTE]

I use the Wixey variant on my DW735, once calibrated it is accurate and easy to use. 2 things I don't like, it is not back lit and the batteries don't last very long. I like the Igaging you posted and will probably switch.
 

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Throwing Spit...

No...but I'm guessing somebody else does! :)
Possibly a variation of a box joint jig?
Something like a sliding stop on the rear fence plus a scrap of your divider stock material as a spacer might be a simple solution...maybe add a piece of wax paper or something equally as thin as an additional spacer on the divider-materia-lspacer piece just for ease of connecting the joints, if they're too tight?
 

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And chuck, my wife uses the little spoons, I don't, so that's her territory and I don't trespass under penalties that I prefer not to discuss. :fie:
Barry, I hope you know that I was just kidding about the plastic spoons. Everything else seemed so perfect that I couldn't help myself. :smile: And I'm very aware of keeping my nose out of my better half's domain... VOE...
 

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In the first couple of years after getting my planer/thicknesser, I found it difficult to plane less than about 1/4" then I made this simple "jig" a thin stop on a board. meaning that the planer didn't have to go almost to it's minimum height. It made a lot of difference.
By the way, beautiful work Barry.
 

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A method that I found simpler than trying to fit a dado stack to a size was fitting the wood to the dado. Instead of trying to plane the wood to fit cut the tongue on a table saw. Just set the bade height so it's as deep as the dado is. That will leave a shoulder on your boards and no one will see it. It's really easy to dial in a saw fence for the right size.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bob, I have various Wixley and Igaging gauges. I agree that backlighting is a plus. I have the original Wixley angle gauge and it works great but is hard to read unless you're right in front of it. At one of my woodworking club meetings I won a new version of the angle gauge that is back lite. Much better but I find the original one was built better. As far as the 2032 batteries that they all eat, I bought 50 for $10 a few years ago. I still have about 10 left.

Chuck, I realize that, and had a good laugh, and I was just kidding about my wife. Each of the 8 drawers that I made was designed specifically for what we put in them with specific sections for certain things and then a general area for other junk. The forks and spoons fit in nicely when they're arranged. The knives, baby spoons and the miscellaneous section we just throw in.

Harry, thank you for the compliment. I actually do have a sled for the planner that I've used to straighten slightly warped boards using shims and to plane pieces thinner than 1/4", which I've only done once. Even with the sled, I still have to measure the thickness of the board after each pass when I care enough to get it exact. Some time, close enough is good enough, for example, when making cutting boards. As long as each piece is the same thickness, if i'm off from my target by 1/32" or 1/64" it doesn't really matter. To fit my 1/4" x 1/8" X 1 1/2" dados it does matter.

Going back to my original question, I have a number of digital gauges. As I've gotten older, they're easier for me to read than an analog gauge. I'm quite familiar with analog since I went through college studying engineering with only a slide rule. Using those things, I always wondered why bridges didn't end in the middle of the river. Turns out one of them did once. If the hairline is off by the slighted amount the compounding effect added up. That, along with my aging eyesight favors digital gauges. With that said, I'm going to gamble the $50. I'll post an update once I install and test it. It might be a little while. I live in Florida and this time of year we get a lot of visitors. We're having 4 sets over the next 6 weeks. By the time that's over I'll be happy to get back in the shop, assuming i'm still sane.

Thanks again everyone for all your suggestions.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update for IGaging planner gauge

I promised an update so here it is:

I received the IGaging planner digital gauge from Chipsfly.com faster than expected. It was packaged well and nothing was broken. As a reminder, this gauge is designed for the DW735 and I have the DW734. This probably explains why there were a number of extra parts that I did not need for the installation. The directions are ok but it took me a few minutes to orient myself to how they translated to the 734. Actually, they were very straight forward. The only problem that I had mounting the gauge was at the top where a screw that holds the top cover on the 734 was in the way. I simply mounted the top of the sheet metal backing, that the gauge is mounted to, just below the screw. Due to the amount of vertical travel the gauge has it was not a problem.

The gauge came with a USB cord plugged into it. This can be used to power the gauge. Due to my physical layout, batteries work better for me. I tried to unplug the cord but it didn't come out. I was reluctant to pull too hard. I sent an email to Chipsfly but haven't received a response yet. It's not a big problem if it's permanent since I can just tape it to the side of the planner.

When I turned it on the display was flickering. I changed the battery (it came with two extra 2032's) and it worked fine. The display is nice and bright which is a plus since many of the digital gauges out there, including several of mine, are just the black character on a gray background which can be hard to read unless you're right in front of it. Anyway, I followed the instructions for calibrating the display. I planned a board, measured it with digital calipers and keyed that into the display in calibration mode. I then lowered the cutter head, planned another board, measured it with the digital calipers and it matched the IGaging display exactly. That surprised me since I expected it to be off by a few thousandths.

I haven't used it since I set it up because I'm trying to finish a jewelry box for my great niece. I will need it in a week or two when I begin my next project. Unless I encounter problems worth mentioning in the future, I won't update this post unless someone has some questions.

My last comment to everyone reading this post is, please be safe. Take the warnings about the Coronavirus seriously. I, for one, would hate to lose anyone on this forum for any reason, but more so for one that can be avoided with a little extra caution.
 

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I promised an update so here it is:

I received the IGaging planner digital gauge from Chipsfly.com faster than expected. It was packaged well and nothing was broken. As a reminder, this gauge is designed for the DW735 and I have the DW734. This probably explains why there were a number of extra parts that I did not need for the installation. The directions are ok but it took me a few minutes to orient myself to how they translated to the 734. Actually, they were very straight forward. The only problem that I had mounting the gauge was at the top where a screw that holds the top cover on the 734 was in the way. I simply mounted the top of the sheet metal backing, that the gauge is mounted to, just below the screw. Due to the amount of vertical travel the gauge has it was not a problem.

The gauge came with a USB cord plugged into it. This can be used to power the gauge. Due to my physical layout, batteries work better for me. I tried to unplug the cord but it didn't come out. I was reluctant to pull too hard. I sent an email to Chipsfly but haven't received a response yet. It's not a big problem if it's permanent since I can just tape it to the side of the planner.

When I turned it on the display was flickering. I changed the battery (it came with two extra 2032's) and it worked fine. The display is nice and bright which is a plus since many of the digital gauges out there, including several of mine, are just the black character on a gray background which can be hard to read unless you're right in front of it. Anyway, I followed the instructions for calibrating the display. I planned a board, measured it with digital calipers and keyed that into the display in calibration mode. I then lowered the cutter head, planned another board, measured it with the digital calipers and it matched the IGaging display exactly. That surprised me since I expected it to be off by a few thousandths.

I haven't used it since I set it up because I'm trying to finish a jewelry box for my great niece. I will need it in a week or two when I begin my next project. Unless I encounter problems worth mentioning in the future, I won't update this post unless someone has some questions.
Good to hear it went so well and fast.

My last comment to everyone reading this post is, please be safe. Take the warnings about the Coronavirus seriously. I, for one, would hate to lose anyone on this forum for any reason, but more so for one that can be avoided with a little extra caution.
Amen, from the US COVID-19 ground zero! All us old f*ckers are in the high risk group.
 
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