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Thread: Planing technique

  1. #1
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    Planing technique

    Ive been planing about 80 BF of maple for some cabinet doors. That's a lot of time to think about world affairs, social issues, and just plain humming (it's amazing how good you sound with ear protection on).

    But I wanted to get some feed back from everyone about your technique for planing boards.

    My process is:
    I joint one side, cup side down with the grain till its nice and flat then I go to the planer and plane the rough side till its flat then I switch to rotating the board end-on-end (to keep the direction of the grain consistent) and continue to plane the boards alternating sides with every pass. My reasoning for this is that I will be taking approximately an even amount of wood from each side of the board therefore relieving tension equally from both sides. I reason that the board will be less prone to warping, twisting, or cupping.

    Is this a reasonable assumption? Or am I just keeping myself from going mind numb while I plane 80 BF of lumber?

    As always; anxious to hear from the all the sages.

  2. #2
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    your technique sounds fine to me.

    I usually plane down to almost the thickness I want, then let the boards sit for a few days to see if anything moves.

    If it moves, I dont use the board.
    Human Test Dummy

  3. #3
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    I aint done enough planning to comment but will be interested to hear what others say. I would have thought keeping track of the grain orientation at the end of the board would be more important if you thickening to a specific size. I would chew away more on the side with shorter rings than the longer ones if the board was flat sawn kind of getting away the center. Would think that would help with less cupping but I dont know.
    cheers

  4. #4
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    If its dry, it shouldn't move much if any from light planing. How much are you taking off? I'm assuming your starting with 4/4 and taking it down to 13/16. Most of the time you do a hard hit taking a strong 1/16 on the really bad side, and taking it to thickness on your second pass.

    Now if you're really grinding down lumber, then it'll move a bit. I see it mostly in drawer sides that I've glued up at 13/16 and then planed down to 11/16 and have sat around for a long time before going into the widebelt to be ground down to 5/8.

    Stacking it up nicely is important as well. Decently supported, and evenly stacked after planing helps.

    Its pretty rare I try and flatten a face with a jointer, but I only have a 6" jointer. If I have a board that is cupped badly, or the grain is really loaded up it gets cut up and thrown in the dumpster. My time costs more than a few dollars in twisted lumber and the hassles it creates down the road if it can't be hacked into small parts where it can be straightened or easily corrected.
    "Do, or do not. There is no try."
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  5. #5
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    That's just how I do it Julio. Like Allen I let it sit a day or two to see if I have any twists.

    I pretty much spend extra time at my lumber supplier picking out the best boards (a dozen donuts and a few coffees keeps them from getting annoyed with me). If I pick up 6/4 stock I don't joint one face first. I plane one side flat then flip the board. I figure that the rollers can't compress a board that thick.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Brogger View Post
    If its dry, it shouldn't move much if any from light planing. Stacking it up nicely is important as well. Decently supported, and evenly stacked after planing helps.

    Its pretty rare I try and flatten a face with a jointer, but I only have a 6" jointer. If I have a board that is cupped badly, or the grain is really loaded up it gets cut up and thrown in the dumpster. My time costs more than a few dollars in twisted lumber and the hassles it creates down the road if it can't be hacked into small parts where it can be straightened or easily corrected.

    my first instint is to cut a cupped board down for smaller parts, but tossing wood is something I just havent been able to get myself to do unless its totally useless.
    ofcourse, sometimes I pay the price for that.
    I also feel the different environment I work in, as in a cold damp garage, try to heat it, but at night I dont, then I bring the piece into a home, and I guess some woods dont like being moved with large differences in temp and humidity.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
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    I break lumber down to oversize the desired final size to reduce the effect of any non-flat condition. I do keep boards large enough to be milled safely so sometimes a board may contain more than one final piece. I then do pretty much as you do ( I assume by the first "side" you mean the "face"). I do one face and one edge, then plane and then let the material set for a few days. I then plane to final thickness before I either rip to width (then crosscut) or crosscut to length (then rip) depending on what I am doing or how the saw was last setup.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  8. #8
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    I always break down rough lumber to a an inch longer that board I need.
    I have difficulty handling 8 foot boards, planing, jointing.
    Life is much easier if I break down first then surface the boards.
    Human Test Dummy

  9. #9
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    I don't do enough planing to have expert insight. I do find if I go the 'wrong' way against the grain there will be digs or rough spots. So I just plane in the 'right' direction to get a smooth surface.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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