Heres a collection of some of our favorite tips that will help get the best results from your benchtop thickness planer

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The day my thickness planer arrived in my shop changed my woodworking forever. 1 can now buy rough-sawn lumber at my local lumberyard and prepare it exactly the way I want.

A planer does two tilings. Besides reducing the thickness of your stock, it also makes the second face fiat and parallel to the first (You should first make one face flat with a jointer or a belt sander).

However, planing wood is not simply shoving a board through the planer and waiting for it to come out the other end. Over the years, I've picked up some tips and techniques that helps me get the most out of my planer.

Some of the tips have to do with how workpieces enter the planer, and others involve making a simple jig. But these ten tips have always given me great results. B3

Angling workpiece ensures even wear on knives

Angling stock also reduces snipe

Orient workpiece so knives 'smooth' wood fibers

Angling workpiece ensures even wear on knives

Even Wear on the planer knives gives your stock a consistent thickness across the board's width. You can run your stock at a slight angle (drawing above) or run one workpiece along the right side of the planer and the next piece along the left.

Angling stock also reduces snipe

Orient workpiece so knives 'smooth' wood fibers

Take Off no more than 1/1B" of material with each pass to preventtearout. As you get to final thickness, remove even less for a smoother finish.

Reduce Tearout by planing with the direction of the grain, as shown in the inset drawing. You can determine the grain pattern by looking at the edge of the board. Then, mark the end that goes in first.

Workpiece

Auxiliary bed

One face planed

Workpiece tends to stay flat

Blum Slides Installation

Auxiliary bed

Thin Stock (V or less) can be a challenge for some thickness planers, To solve this problem, you can "raise" the bed of your planer with the auxiliary bed you see here. The table is V plywood covered with laminate and cutto the width ofthe planer bed. The jig is held in place by cleats. Planing thin strips is just a matter of feeding them into the planer with the grain, taking very shallow cuts until you reach the final thickness.

Planing Both Faces minimizes any cupping or bowing that could happen after the fresh wood is exposed to the air. A planer only shaves off the top face of your got^ faces board, so you should flip the work- planed pieces over with each pass through your planer.

Workpiece tends to stay flat

Workpiece

Snipe occurs when a planer cuts a tittle deeper on the ends of the boards. Running scrap pieces in front of and behind the stock will put any snipe on those pieces and spare your workpieces.

One face planed

QuickTips for Better Performance

Scribbling a chalk or pencil line back and forth across the width of a board and planing until the marks disappear will help indicate when the entire surface of the workpiece is flat.

QuickTips for Better Performance

Scribbling a chalk or pencil line back and forth across the width of a board and planing until the marks disappear will help indicate when the entire surface of the workpiece is flat.

Accurate Measuring can be attained by replacing the planer's original pointer (above left} with a hairline indicator made of wood and acrylic (above right).

Reduce Friction by using a dry lubricant to improve your planer's performance. It wii! aiso help with chip removal and prevent resin buildup on the platen.

The dye above is actually dissolved in the water, creating an almost "transparent" mixture.

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