I'm a beginning woodworker and am shopping for a bench top planer. I have never used a planer before. The more expensive, quieter models are not in the budget and so I'm looking for ways to get a handle on the noise level.
I do not have a garage other shop space, which has me setting up outside (in Northern California, so pretty OK most of the year). I live in a densely populated area with a small backyard, and I'm concerned about disturbing my neighbors.
My intended usage is very infrequent-I have just a couple of projects in mind, though with success that could grow. I'm limited to weekends and holidays.
Given all of this, I would like to know if anyone has ever constructed a partial enclosure to muffle noise. Obviously the in and out feeds have to be kept clear, along with the dust collector port. I'm wondering if any kind of "cap" (picture a carwash structure sized for the planer, perhaps fashioned from solid insulation) would have any impact? I'd have to turn the machine off and lift the cap to make adjustments, so it'd be quite a hassle and not worth it for tiny gains.
Another thought is some kind of tent, though that would constrain my board length a lot.
The direct drive motor is a howling banshee and there's not much you can do to contain it for sound waves and still be able to run a board. I work in an open garage, and make a good deal of noise pretty often on the weekends. I often have small gifts etc. that I give them, always jump in to help with anything then need to get done, or at least make sure to offer, and most importantly know the rules/regs/laws for your area and also know which of you neighbors if any have babies and always respect their bedtimes… LOL let sleeping babies sleep.
In 15 years I've only ever had one pissed off neighbor yell at me and I was only painting a project in the shop, took a hell of a chewing from her and then walked across the street and let my neighbor know that his benchtop TS that he was using to finish his floor install pissed off the neighbor and he should make any more cuts inside the house and not on the front porch…
I don't know about sound proofing a planer, but a lot of neighbor irritation comes from a sense that they are being put upon without having been asked.
I would consider talking to the immediate neighbors and explaining what you will being doing and to give them your phone # and let them know to call you if it ever is a problem. Obviously ask them about any special things to consider about time of day. It's not that you are asking for their permission, just showing that you will work with them if it is a problem. Just showing some consideration will likely get you some more tolerance.
And of course you do have to be reasonable about it. It's a neighborhood, you do not have the right to make it sound like an industrial park all day, every Saturday and Sunday. But an hour Saturday afternoon, once a month or so, is just typical weekend warrior activity.
Of course don't make noise too earlier or late in the day is common sense for anything.
Your planer won't make much more racket than a lawnmower or a leaf blower. That said keep in mind the time of day you run your loud equipment. I know most of my neighbors and their habits. The planer is only run from late morning to early afternoon, they are horrible noisy. The rest of my stuff between 9am and 7pm. I have never had a complaint. Neighbors often stop by to see what is going on in my shop. I have even put out seating as some like to chat for a while.
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