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Max board length to run through a benchtop planer?

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Forum topic by Tedison posted 09-30-2020 03:05 AM 1353 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedison

9 posts in 1850 days


09-30-2020 03:05 AM

Wood planing question – when using a benchtop planer (mine happens to be a 13” General International model 30-005HC M1-but this is a general call for comments on benchtop planers), how long of a board do you find to be the limit? I have about 30-40 cherry boards that are 1 inch thick, 10-13 inches wide and about 8 foot long. They are about 40 years old and I am told they were air dried if that matters. I found with the first few I put through the planer, they were heavy and even with a support at either end, it was tough to keep them balanced so as not to incur snipe. Any suggestions? For my next build, most of the boards only need to be about 40 inches long, – would it make sense to cut them in half before planing? Any other thoughts on how to best stabilize the benchtop planer for a day or two of production planing?

Thanks in advance for any ideas on how to get these boards ready for my cabinet project (and others!)


25 replies so far

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therealSteveN

6454 posts in 1457 days


#1 posted 09-30-2020 04:05 AM

Always remember it’s not against any laws to use an infeed support, and an outfeed support to help even the load. Most of the associated problems will be going into, or out of the machine. The excess weight of the stock presses upward on the blades/cutters and you get some awful snipe, make it too much of a dig, and it can throw the lighter machine around, at that point it’s not just messing up stock or tools, it becomes a safety thing. Principal is the same for Jointers, as well as planers.

One of the reasons stationary tools are as heavy as they are, so they don’t get their buttocks kicked by a heavy board. I didn’t see it happen, but an old timer I know tells a story of a board as you described throwing his DeWally 735 across the shop. I have seen the planer, and I have no doubt what he says happened, did happen. As it was coming out, he lost his grip on the heavy board, and next he knew the board had knocked him onto the floor, and the planer was whipped by the weight of the board across the shop. Where it landed quite inelegantly into a cinder block wall

Some ideas shown here for roll your own. Or throw $$$$ at it, and get something pre-made. The key is to have same height going in, and coming out.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/350928995939707922/

You said

“For my next build, most of the boards only need to be about 40 inches long, – would it make sense to cut them in half before planing?”

I would say most definitely before jointing, planing, sawing a board I will always use the chop saw to shorten it to an inch or so over final length, and same with width, then use the machines to pretty it down to final size.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Craftsman on the lake

3524 posts in 4320 days


#2 posted 09-30-2020 04:17 AM

i have a dewalt. The design of the planer holds the board very tight in it’s travel. It does have flip down outfeed shelves on each side. When I pet an 8 ft board through, I am feeding it so it’s not a problem, and I do the same thing on the other end. It’s really not an issue. You’ve got a different planer that I’ve never used so maybe it would be different.
That being said, unless I’m making something like a bed, which would have long sections I often rough cut the wood to the size sections I’ll need ahead of time. Just makes things easier.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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dbeck

80 posts in 1241 days


#3 posted 09-30-2020 05:57 AM

You may want to add a couple inches for each end to cut off after planning to remove snipe. Rough cut to around 45Inches.

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Rich

5982 posts in 1472 days


#4 posted 09-30-2020 06:03 AM

Yes, definitely rough size your lumber before milling. It makes it easier to handle and reduces waste. Regarding the question in the title, if the board fits in your shop you can run it through your planer. Use infeed and outfeed support. I build residential doors which are typically 80” tall and I run the stiles through my DeWalt 735 without a problem.

As for the board that supposedly threw the DeWalt 735 across the shop, knocked the guy to the floor and “landed quite inelegantly into a cinder block wall:” I call total BS. Sure, if you faced the planer against a block wall and tried to run a board through it, it would push back. But to suggest that “he lost his grip on the heavy board,” and it threw the planer across the shop is ridiculous. Only a fool would believe a story like that.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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AlaskaGuy

6111 posts in 3192 days


#5 posted 09-30-2020 06:43 AM

This doesn’t seem to have a problem with 2×12x not sure of the length

https://youtu.be/1tLlYs5zJ9k

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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WoodenDreams

1161 posts in 793 days


#6 posted 09-30-2020 07:47 AM

I’ve planed 2”x8”x18’ (yep 18 feet long) Red Wood with my Delta 12” planer and my Delta 13” planer about 8 months ago. I feed then in and I had a helper on the outfeed end. Helps to have the planer bolted down.

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LittleShaver

695 posts in 1502 days


#7 posted 09-30-2020 01:18 PM

I have a 734 and routinely run 10-12’ boards through it alone. I have two simple infeed and outfeed tables with very simple 2×4 bases with levelers on each leg and hollow core door tops to provide support. The tops are coated with leftover shellac and waxed with Johnsons paste wax. Big boards are a workout, but are manageable.

-- Sawdust Maker

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5872 posts in 3234 days


#8 posted 09-30-2020 01:29 PM

Don’t plane your boards until you are ready to use them. Cut them to rough length for your project then plane them.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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4wood

60 posts in 836 days


#9 posted 09-30-2020 01:32 PM

Watch AlaskaGuys video. Notice that his outfeed table is adjustable. In the video the far end is higher than the end at the planer which helps to prevent snipe. By moving the block support you can change the height depending on the length of the board you are planing. I use a setup similar to this on my drum sander. I have a table level with the sander conveyer belt about 2’ long and then an adjustable incline like AlaskaGuys to help prevent snipe. Nothing fancy, but it works.

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Robert

4048 posts in 2363 days


#10 posted 09-30-2020 01:35 PM

Slight up lift on board as it goes in and out.

That’s an awful big task for a little planer like that.

I’m with Bondo ^ at this point I would not do anything more than skip plane them so you can see grain.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3732 days


#11 posted 09-30-2020 01:36 PM

How are you jointing the reverence face? Have to agree with Bondo, you should not be milling it until it is at rough dimension, you can lose a lot of stock trying to straighten an 8’ board when you just need a 24” piece of it flat and true

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Bstrom's profile

Bstrom

134 posts in 56 days


#12 posted 09-30-2020 01:54 PM

Planing shorter boards yields more useable thickness, so the advice to rough cut the lengths for your project makes a lot of sense. Using in and out supports is what I do all the time.

-- Bstrom

View theart's profile

theart

229 posts in 1437 days


#13 posted 09-30-2020 02:22 PM


I found with the first few I put through the planer, they were heavy and even with a support at either end, it was tough to keep them balanced so as not to incur snipe. Any suggestions? For my next build, most of the boards only need to be about 40 inches long, – would it make sense to cut them in half before planing?

It would make sense if cutting the boards corrects the snipe problem, which it may or may not. If it doesn’t, you’ll just end up with more waste per board. There are three reasons why I might cut a board before planing. 1) It’s more than half the length of my shop. 2) It’s heavy, and I have to lug it back and forth between infeed and outfeed a bunch of times. 3) It’s bowed. If a long, stiff board has even a little bit of bow in it the ends are going to get pressed down hard on the infeed or outfeed supports. This can create too much friction for a small planer to keep feeding against.

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

5982 posts in 1472 days


#14 posted 09-30-2020 02:51 PM


If a long, stiff board has even a little bit of bow in it the ends are going to get pressed down hard on the infeed or outfeed supports. This can create too much friction for a small planer to keep feeding against.

- theart

Why would you ever run a bowed board through a planer? All you’ll wind up with is a thinner bowed board. I’m not going to list every way you can get a flat face on one side of it, but one way or another you need to.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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EarlS

4009 posts in 3231 days


#15 posted 09-30-2020 02:51 PM

If those boards are old and air dried, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are twisted, cupped, bowed, and anything else you can think of. I’d rough cut them to to length, leaving a bit on the ends for possible snipe. I’d also joint an edge and get close on width.

Smaller boards are easier to handle, less waste than trying to get a big board flat with a jointed, square edge. By cutting down the lumber you will also relieve any hidden internal stressed that might cause trouble if you work with whole boards and then cut things down to rough dimensions.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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