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Thread: how would you plane or dimension thin wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan

    how would you plane or dimension thin wood?

    i have a peice or qulitted maple that is around 4" wide and 1/4" thick in the thickest point that needs to be made flat enough to use as a veneer lamination.. but dont know how to get it there the safest. have shellix head planer and drum sander or can have a power belt sander do it..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    How long it's it Larry?

    I'd use my drum sander (partially because I feel compelled to keep finding reasons to justify its existence but also because it takes the most controlled bite), but you have to watch short pieces with it. If it's less than about 12" you'll need to fatten it down to a board somehow (thin double sided tape maybe) to keep it from being sucked up. If you don't have a flat reference side I'd start with sticking it a small sled and some shims under the workpiece to knock off the highest spots and then flip it to finish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    St. Mary's, Georgia
    Drum Sander is the best bet so you don't rip out the figure

    If you are going to make something nice, make it with a statement, use quality an do it right the first time

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Another vote for a drum sander but, at a quarter inch thick I'd be tempted to resaw it first and get twice as much material. I have also use double stick tape to tape thin material to the carrier board before going through the sander.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 09-02-2014 at 02:17 AM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    I'm with Glenn on re-sawing first to double up on material. Seems a waste to sand off a quarter inch of special wood.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I've gone as thin as 3/32" with my Performax drum sander. You saw those lamination strips I used on the 'circle table.' They were resawn, then sanded.
    Jim D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Like Jim D, I have gone to 3/32 or less with the drum sander and a sled:
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I use a known flat piece of wood or chipboard with melamine as sled. I plane first one side of the wood and then I stick it to that sled with double sided tape, that prevents it moving and lifting, it has worked for me without going to hassle of making a proper sled.
    The only drawback if you want is that you have to achieve the final thickness by removing wood from only one side. I got pieces down to 3mm thick with no problem

    Obvioulsy, depending on the thickness be carefull when removing the piece from the sled. I have got
    Best regards,

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Late to this party, but I've made thin veneers on my drum sander for many years. I can get to as little as 1/16", but usually stop at 1/8" for bentwood laminations or a little thinner for veneers.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    When I had the Performax/Jet drum sander, I was able to get very precise thickness. I now have a Woodmaster, which is NOT as precise on thickness (since the abrasive is attached with Velcro, and the feed belt is spongy rubber). I think Larry has a sander like mine.

    I stilll would probably use the sander, but I would test the flatness of the belt and make many shallow passes (the woodmaster has a reverse feed switch so you can run something back and forth.)
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

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