A Different Way of "Thicknessing" Stuff?

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Forum topic by jasoncarpentry posted 12-12-2012 05:23 PM 1733 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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149 posts in 3567 days

12-12-2012 05:23 PM

Like many of you, I’m into cutting boards big time. And no matter how carefully I glue up the laminates, I always end up w/ misalignments. I know that the best tool to get an even plane on both sides is a thickness sander, but I don’t have one. So I just thought of another way, and I’d like your feedback on it.

Put the widest dado head you’ve got on the table saw, lower it below the table surface, lay the board on the table, and gradually raise the blade up while moving the board around. Continue to raise the blade until you’ve removed all the “wobble.”

Now, I realize this method will give you even planes on both sides, but won’t guarantee a uniform thickness. So I plan to run it thru my DW735 planes to accomplish this.

OK, fire away! Dumb idea or not?

-- Jim in Tennessee

9 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12263 posts in 4341 days

#1 posted 12-12-2012 05:41 PM

If it’s an edge grain board, I don’t see a problem running it through the planer.
For leveling one side, here is a router based, more consistent and safer method.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View ChrisK's profile


2048 posts in 3994 days

#2 posted 12-12-2012 05:48 PM

Since the board is pretty wide and the blade is fairly narrow, you will just remove material in an uneven fashion. The board would have to be held some distance off the table so the blade only hits the high spots. I would go with the router solution, the router is at the fixed height and will remove the high spots first. Much safer and more controllable.

-- Chris K

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 4071 days

#3 posted 12-12-2012 05:58 PM

That won’t work because the more wood you remove the more the piece will fall into the blade. The only way to assure that it works is if you stabilize each corner of the work at a uniform height as you hog out the rest of the stuff.

That said, if you glue up some temporary blocks at all four corners, those could serve as feet while you hog out everything else. Then when done, cut off the blocks.

Even so, it sounds dangerous.

I’d make a router sled.

-- jay,

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3398 days

#4 posted 12-12-2012 06:36 PM

Freehand cutting on the table saw is dangerous, so I can only advise against it. Like Jay says, make a router sled. Much safer, and more reliable. And like a drum sander, it can be used to flatten an endgrain cutting board, whereas sending it through a thickness planer would be disastrous.

-- Brian Timmons -

View bandit571's profile


26947 posts in 3596 days

#5 posted 12-12-2012 06:39 PM


Just maybe? Can’t beat it for afety, either. Go at the board on a diagonal.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3923 days

#6 posted 12-12-2012 06:44 PM

+1 on the router sled.

For thicknessing it, many folks do use the planer with very very very light passes, but it is a risk. Many cutting boards have blown up in planers.

If you really are into cutting boards big-time, then find a way to get a drum sander! You’ll be so thankful for it. :)

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Darkeyce's profile


26 posts in 2958 days

#7 posted 12-12-2012 06:48 PM

Having tried to plane a piece of wood on a table saw (albeit inadvertently, and having the scar to prove it) I’m with BTimmons on this, even if you could get a setup that would work, the risks involved are WAY to high.
If you just want a flat side use a router planer setup.

View runswithscissors's profile


3119 posts in 2938 days

#8 posted 12-17-2012 06:12 AM

Got me to thinking about an old idea, the rotary plane. You could mount if on a RAS or drill press. These were a disk (steel or aluminum) about 3 1/2” in diameter, with 3 or 4 cutters around the perimeter. There were 2 iterations: the “safety planer,” whose cutters protruded only a few thousandths, and the other (non safe) kind. I used mine in a radial drill press, which meant it could be used like a panel raiser by tilting the DP head. I built an entire roll top desk with this thing. The amount of sanding was huge, but the router sled mentioned above (which is also a good technique) will also require sanding to get rid of inevitable ridges. As with the router sled method, you could joint a big panel, much bigger than an orthodox jointer. Just googled safety planer, and got Wagner Safety Planer (that’s what I had—heck it may still be under a pile of stuff). They have them on Ebay. Worth checking out. Oh, there’s a LJ review of one 1590 days ago. Kickback with the safety planer is almost nonexistent, simply because the cutters protrude so little. Apparently the Sears non safety model was very dangerous.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2953 days

#9 posted 12-17-2012 06:34 AM

I have both a drum sander and the Dewalt 735 and the Dewalt 735 is my goto tool for getting the edge grain cutting boards nice and flat. I don’t even try and get the boards all perfect on glue up and rely on the planer to flatten them out. Then I only run them through the drum sander a couple of passes. If I didn’t have the drum sander I don’t think that would even slow me down much because I could do all the sanding with the orbital sander. But if you’re taking end grain boards that’s different, but that doesn’t sound like what you’re talking about.

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