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Planer Doesn't Have a Depth Lock

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Forum topic by CLS89 posted 05-24-2022 01:23 PM 527 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CLS89

44 posts in 1367 days


05-24-2022 01:23 PM

I have a harbor freight bauer thickness planer. It is a decent planer. The main problem I have is that it doesn’t have a locking mechanism for the depth. I am trying to plane multiple boards to the same thickness, and without a depth lock it is hard to get the consistency that I want. The only thing I can think of is to plane a small amount from the boards and than set them next to one another and check them with a straight edge to see if they are close enough in thickness. Any additional advice or recommendations?


17 replies so far

View Robert's profile

Robert

5008 posts in 2974 days


#1 posted 05-24-2022 01:48 PM

Return it and buy a better planer.

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

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Meisterburger

64 posts in 732 days


#2 posted 05-24-2022 03:11 PM

Sorry, but you did buy the cheap stuff at harbor freight. There is probably not an easy answer to building and using a homemade lock setup.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

7126 posts in 2716 days


#3 posted 05-24-2022 03:13 PM

When I bought my Delta 560 lunch box planer back 20 or so years ago, locks were the “new” feature everyone was pushing.

I can’t really tell you how you could adapt for one, alternatively you might be able to create some kind of depth stop if there is a place between the bed and the cutter head. You would then need to keep some tension on the depth adjust while the boards are passing through. Beyond that, trading “up” is the only solution I can think of beyond returning the planer as “defective” (which it may indeed be).

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

1148 posts in 5240 days


#4 posted 05-24-2022 03:20 PM

Run all the boards through, change the depth, run them all through again, change the depth, run them all through again… I have a depth stop on my Dewalt 735 but I’ll be honest, I have never used it. I use a thickness gauge. Not this one but one almost exactly like it made from aluminum that I have had for over 20 years.

Thickness Gauge

-- NorthWoodsMan

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1284 posts in 4311 days


#5 posted 05-24-2022 04:11 PM

I also never use the thickness gauge on my (Ridgid) planer. Every part of a piece of furniture doesn’t have to be exactly the same thickness, close enough will do – think about the days when people thicknessed by hand.

Like NorthWoodsman, I run boards through in batches (helps eliminate snipe too). Sometimes I’m organized enough to get all of the parts together at once, but more often each joint-rip-plane stock preparation is done for similar parts together. For example, a dining room table would have a batch for the tabletop and a separate one for the aprons.

Otherwise if I do need to make boards of a thickness equal to boards I’ve already prepped, I use one of those cheap digital calipers that machinists like to make fun of.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View SMP's profile

SMP

5392 posts in 1399 days


#6 posted 05-24-2022 05:07 PM

Keep in mind that most threaded things have some play if you go forward and reverse. But if you keep going the same direction it should stay tight. So here is what I would do. Loosen it up too big and then tighten it down for a little over the final size you want, this gets the screws going one direction, run everything through. Then tighten it a hair more to take off a 64th or whatever yours allows. This way everything is tight, and taking off a hair shouldn’t push everything out of place by force like a thicker pass wants to do.

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JAAune

2137 posts in 3810 days


#7 posted 05-24-2022 07:02 PM

The Ryobi AP10 doesn’t have a lock either. A piece of masking tape across the depth adjustment handle would keep it in place for the final pass.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

9779 posts in 2881 days


#8 posted 05-24-2022 07:24 PM



Run all the boards through, change the depth, run them all through again, change the depth, run them all through again… I have a depth stop on my Dewalt 735 but I ll be honest, I have never used it. I use a thickness gauge. Not this one but one almost exactly like it made from aluminum that I have had for over 20 years.

Thickness Gauge

- northwoodsman

I actually use the depth stop on the 735 and find it to be very accurate but even with the depth stop I follow the same process and run all of the board through the planer, lower and repeat.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

9045 posts in 3693 days


#9 posted 05-24-2022 07:38 PM

I am guessing that you mean a depth stop for standard widths like on many planers?

If you have a few thicknesses that you use all the time, you could create a set of reference depth blocks that could be used in lieu of a dedicated depth stop. All you need to do is stop the platen from lowering beyond a certain distance, which should be easy to do. An embedded magnet could be used to keep them in place until the platen finally reaches them (final pass). Just a thought.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

7126 posts in 2716 days


#10 posted 05-24-2022 07:54 PM

It sounds to me like the OP is saying the depth adjustment wanders while cutting, hence the suggestion to run it down to a positive stop (with SMPs suggestion of eliminating the backlash) and securing the depth adjust crank by hand or tape/small bungie cord to keep it from loosening as the series of boards are fed through.

View SMP's profile

SMP

5392 posts in 1399 days


#11 posted 05-24-2022 08:18 PM



It sounds to me like the OP is saying the depth adjustment wanders while cutting, hence the suggestion to run it down to a positive stop (with SMPs suggestion of eliminating the backlash) and securing the depth adjust crank by hand or tape/small bungie cord to keep it from loosening as the series of boards are fed through.

- splintergroup

Yeah to me it sounded like he meant what dewalt calls a “carriage lock”. On my dewalt all 4 columns lock in place. I tend to only use it on my final pass.

View RClark's profile

RClark

291 posts in 3679 days


#12 posted 05-24-2022 10:52 PM



I have a harbor freight bauer thickness planer. It is a decent planer. The main problem I have is that it doesn t have a locking mechanism for the depth. I am trying to plane multiple boards to the same thickness, and without a depth lock it is hard to get the consistency that I want. The only thing I can think of is to plane a small amount from the boards and than set them next to one another and check them with a straight edge to see if they are close enough in thickness. Any additional advice or recommendations?

- CLS89

Be mindful of blade sharpness.

I used to have a Delta 22-565. If the blades were dull, the cutter head would lose position, even with the cutter lock on. Dull blades could result in so much “push back” that the cutterhead could overcome the resistance of the cutter head lock and move.

-- Ray

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1563 posts in 2596 days


#13 posted 05-25-2022 01:06 AM

I agree with northwoodsman. To the extent you can, do your planing in batches. You can also assure a bit more accuracy by always setting your planer thickness on the up stroke as you are turning the adjustment crank. The threads in the cranking mechanism have some lash or slop. As you are adjusting for the next thinner pass of your batch, turn the crank to lower the head about a turn or turn and 1/2 below where you want it to be and then turn it upward to the final position. This will assure that the threads are supporting the weight of the cutter head and it will be less apt to move during cutting. It may also help to tie your crank in position some way to keep vibration from turning it.

Checking thicknesses with a set of calipers, I think, is also a good idea and helps with consistency.

View CLS89's profile

CLS89

44 posts in 1367 days


#14 posted 05-25-2022 06:58 PM



It sounds to me like the OP is saying the depth adjustment wanders while cutting, hence the suggestion to run it down to a positive stop (with SMPs suggestion of eliminating the backlash) and securing the depth adjust crank by hand or tape/small bungie cord to keep it from loosening as the series of boards are fed through.

- splintergroup

Correct. I am talking about the planer setting drifting from vibration. There is no lock setting to prevent this from happening.

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

1148 posts in 5240 days


#15 posted 05-25-2022 07:59 PM

If the planer depth is drifting caused by vibration that’s inherent to the quality of the machine. Perhaps they make planers with locks but I have never seen one. I know that if I dial my Dewalt 735 into a certain setting and run 20 boards through it that every one will be the same from the first to the last even without using the depth stop (carriage stop). I know because I randomly check boards as they are coming out using the gauge I posted above. What I like about that gauge is that I can run it quickly from one edge of the board to the other to make sure I’m getting an even cut and it’s easy to check boards while they are still moving through the machine. I have many digital calipers around the shop but I find this old school tool way easier, faster, and more accurate. I don’t have to stop and think or calculate in my head.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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