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StewMac Safe-T-Planer; Planing to 1/16" Thickness

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Apr 1, 2020 - 2:23:04 PM

YWGbanjo

Canada

185 posts since 9/29/2012

Hello,

I've used my Safe-T-Planer to plane rim laminations to 0.1" thickness; no issues. I now have a 3" x 30" piece of quilted maple that I need to plane to 1/16" thickness. I've never planed to that thickness (thinness?) before. Does anybody have thoughts or experience to share in using a Safe-T-Planer to plane down to 1/16" thickness? Thanks!

Doug

Edited by - YWGbanjo on 04/01/2020 14:37:20

Apr 1, 2020 - 3:30:46 PM
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3875 posts since 5/12/2010

I have used my Wagner Sate-T-Planer to plane down wood that thin. Others might have different ideas but this is what I do and it works for me.

I like to start with my plank as near as I can get it to the desired thickness. If I have a 3/4" thick or more board I re-saw it to yeild a 1/4" plank.

Using double sided carpet tape I then fasten this 1/4" plank to a good straight board, usually popular because I have a good stack of well seasoned straight boards, sometimes I will run this board through my big planer to make sure it is flat.

I set up the fence on my drill press tighten the planer into the chuck and set the depth to take off about half the thickness of the cutters on each pass until I get it down to the desired thickness. I crank up the speed and make the each cut in two passes turning the board end to end between, as I don't want the planer teeth to hit the fence so only cut about half a side at a time.

I get good results with this approach, the finished board has some minor swirl marks which are easy to sand out which I do with a long sanding block while the thin board is still mounted on the thicker popular board.

Apr 1, 2020 - 5:00:57 PM
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714 posts since 2/19/2012

Wow. You remove half the thickness of the cutters in each pass? I have a Wagner, but I have to admit I'm not that comfortable with it, especially on figured wood. I really l like your method though. I've been using a Shopsmith conical sanding disk for thickness sanding.

Apr 1, 2020 - 7:05:40 PM
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2429 posts since 6/19/2008

I would not try to plane quilted maple to 1/16 with my Safe-T-Planer, even if it was stuck to a good backing board. Sanding would be the method I would use. That said, if you try it, make sure your planer bits are SHARP.

Apr 2, 2020 - 2:01:54 PM

YWGbanjo

Canada

185 posts since 9/29/2012

Thanks for the helpful replies, gents. I'm going to plane it with a carrier board per Old Pappy's suggestion, but I'll leave it a hair over 1/16" thick. I'll take it the rest of the way down with a thickness sander per Jonnycake White's suggestion.

Thanks again!

Doug

Apr 2, 2020 - 5:28:23 PM

12894 posts since 6/29/2005

I'm impressed!!  What speed are you guys using on the drill press?

Apr 3, 2020 - 10:16:34 AM

YWGbanjo

Canada

185 posts since 9/29/2012

I ran the drill press at approx 700 RPM and took about 1/32" at a time. There was some fine surface tearout - I probably should have run at higher RPM. I sanded off the final 1/32" using my oscillating spindle sander and a fence. I've very pleased with the result.

As an aside, the maple is from Home Depot. A few years ago I was idly looking at their S4S maple, and I found two 12' x 6" boards with beautiful figuring along their full lengths. Jackpot! I've made that maple go a long ways...

Doug


 

Apr 3, 2020 - 5:26:15 PM
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3875 posts since 5/12/2010

You do need to keep the cutters sharp, but they come with the stone for doing it.

I don't know the RPM, I just crank the dial of the Shopsmith up to where it says "Router", and keep my cutters sharp. It does a fine job, even on maple or ebony, but like I think i said, I take several passed, not sure I was clear on that, but I set the fence to only take half the width of the planer on each pass.

BTW these machines do not turn fast enough for routing. I have the router setup and bits for mine. I thought it would be like a pin router, but just does not turn fast enough and you get a rough cut.

Apr 3, 2020 - 5:30:54 PM

3875 posts since 5/12/2010

Our Local Home Depot stores do not carry maple, wish they did. They carry red oak (wish they carried white oak) and popular, and that is about it for the better woods they carry.

Lucky for me, there is a hardwood supplier in Chattanooga, which is only 50 miles away, and they usually have a large assortment of wood species, some of the prettiest curly maple I ever found came from them.

Edited by - OldPappy on 04/03/2020 17:32:39

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