Flip-top Sander/Planer

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Project by Paul Stoops posted 09-07-2011 12:34 AM 21181 views 70 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Since my new shop is approximately 10 ft. x 20 ft., space is at a real premium. So I decided to build a flip-top cabinet to house my Performax 16-32 drum sander and DeWalt 735 planer. Unlike any designs I have seen on the internet or in magazines, this cabinet incorporates a spacious drawer on full extension ball bearing slides.

The cabinet, tool base, and drawer are made from Baltic Birch plywood. The tool base consists of a sandwich of two 3/4” BB ply skins with solid wood fillers between and 1/2” poplar edge banding all around, making it a very rigid structure. The two pivot shafts are 3/4” diameter X 12” long steel bars pressed into a 3/4” square channel between the skins and the fillers. The flange bearings on each end panel are Teflon impregnated bronze. At each end, two large washers, attached with countersunk screws, with nylon washers between them, provide a low friction rotating interface. Four barrel bolts provide stops for the horizontal positions. Locking knobs at each end thread into 5/16-18 inserts imbedded in the tool base. The locking knobs provide an extra level of security beyond the detents in the barrel bolts—and make nice bumpers when storing the cabinet against the shop wall.

After fabricating the cabinet and mounting the equipment, I realized that I could probably have eliminated the barrel bolts and locking knobs on one end. However, the extra hardware doesn’t require much more time when changing tools, and it makes the cabinet feel very secure.

The flip-top rotation is very smooth. The planer is slightly heavier than the sander, so it tends to sink to the bottom, but the whole thing can be rotated very easily without any danger of it flipping over out of control!

I also designed the cabinet with provisions for about 30 lbs. of sand ballast between the wheels on each end. However, the 20” x 32” caster contact footprint and the low center of gravity provides such a stable platform that I decided to omit the ballast. I could add it at a later date if necessary.

Five inch diameter double locking casters make it a breeze to move the cabinet around in my shop and hold it steady for operation.

I am happy with the design and am looking forward to making some serious wood chips…........... :-)


-- Paul, Auburn, WA

47 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4147 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 01:09 AM

Looks great.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3852 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 01:53 AM

Very nice. Looks factory made (and that is a complement).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View jfk4032's profile


384 posts in 3739 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 02:28 AM

INGENIOUS! I have both of those units and a small shop as well. Not as well versed with hardware pieces to think of such a great solution like you did. If you wouldn’t mind sharing the plans, I might tackle something like this in the future when I have no more floor space for new equipment.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3872 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 02:54 AM

WOw, you should submit this to a wood working magazine like Shopnote or Fine woodworking. I bet they would pay you for an article. Very nice cabinet. I like the ballast idea as other plans I have seen for these seemed like it would be a wrestling match to flip the tools over. Thanks for the post and Congrats on a really nice job abd great design

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4256 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 03:12 AM

Holy Cow!! Just what I need! I am with jfk4032 and would greatly appreciate any plans you may want to share.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4901 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 04:08 AM

Top notch project…love the paint job as well : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3773 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 05:13 AM

Thank you all for your kind and gracious comments. I have been thoroughly enjoying so many of the wonderful project posts here on LJ for a long time. What a wonderful group of highly skilled woodworkers that so generously share their projects, ideas, innovations, and expertise! This is my first project post (of many, I hope) so I am glad to be able to contribute to the community.

For those of you who have expressed an interest in plans for this project, I do have CAD drawings of this project, as I do for all of my projects. I may be able to convert them over into a .pdf format to share with those of you who would be interested in them. I can’t do it right at this time, but I should be able to get to it soon. I will send a message to each of you who have asked for plans when I have them ready to send. I will also include a list of the hardware and sources.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View David65's profile


190 posts in 4498 days

#8 posted 09-07-2011 05:30 AM

Very well done I did something similar but only the plainer…

-- David '65

View hjbdc's profile


7 posts in 3983 days

#9 posted 09-07-2011 05:33 AM

Looks great! I would be interested in your plans for this as well.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4231 days

#10 posted 09-07-2011 06:53 AM

This is by far the best looking flip top cabinet I have seen posted here so far! You did a superb job on it. I need to make a couple of them.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3852 days

#11 posted 09-07-2011 06:55 AM

What paint and color did you use ?

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Ken90712's profile


18058 posts in 4401 days

#12 posted 09-07-2011 10:44 AM

Well done, I have made one as well w/o the shelf. I’m curious in the threaded knobs how do the work? Mine I loosen and the swing out of the was to flip the top.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ChrisN's profile


259 posts in 4986 days

#13 posted 09-07-2011 01:20 PM

Great project!!

Thanks for sharing!


-- Chris N, Westford, MA - "If you won't eat something from your fridge that turned green...why would you eat something that started out that way?"

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4408 days

#14 posted 09-07-2011 02:05 PM

Paul, I’ve seen flip top designs before and I’ve thought of using it in my garage shop. I must say though, yours is the best design I’ve seen for it. Excellent job. I’d love to see the plans when you get around to it. Thanks and keep up the great projects.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View StumpyNubs's profile


7853 posts in 4013 days

#15 posted 09-07-2011 02:25 PM

GREAT IDEA! I figured out long ago that my planer should be mounted right above my jointer because I always go from one to the other. You’ve taken it a step further- you can go from the planer right to the drum sander! I think other Jocks’ envy you and I…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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