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RGman

13" Thicknesser/planer?

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Someone must be using one of this size on this forum!

How do you find them for luthiery? What do you use it for?

I would go to 20" if i could spare the cash, but the reason i am interested in a smaller machine is that it's cheaper and i need all the money i have for the new house (when we buy it, that is).

13" will do all of my guitar bodies, which fall short of 13" by a few mm, do all of my tops after bookmatching and will also do my neck stock after being jointed.

In theory it sounds like it would be a very useful tool to have?

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Someone must be using one of this size on this forum!

How do you find them for luthiery? What do you use it for?

I would go to 20" if i could spare the cash, but the reason i am interested in a smaller machine is that it's cheaper and i need all the money i have for the new house (when we buy it, that is).

13" will do all of my guitar bodies, which fall short of 13" by a few mm, do all of my tops after bookmatching and will also do my neck stock after being jointed.

In theory it sounds like it would be a very useful tool to have?

Awesome tool to have but beware that a planer will not work well on figured woods. For that, you'd need a drum sander.

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I have Ridgid's 13" planer. Works great, and I think is the best deal around. (Comes with the stand and a great warranty.)

My first choice would have been the latest DeWalt model, but I didn't have enough expendable cash for that one.

As was mentioned, though, a thickness planer is not going to do well on heavily figured woods. Still, it's indispensable; I wouldn't be without it.

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It's doing me damn well, its not so bad with figured woods...just a little tear out.

Heck, i couldn't have done much on this build without it.

DSC00270.jpg

Bank account hurts a little now..:D

Edited by RGman

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A fairly cheap one like this: http://www.gmcompany.com.au/index.cfm?modu...cts&pid=608

These things get re-branded in different countries, so everyone would have their own version in their homeland.

I was looking at more expensive carba-tec machines but they do the same thing and this one had very good reviews.

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Make sure you get the width you want....at this size planer, different brands come in at 12-3/4", 13" and 13-1/2"....the brands will be different in Oz, but I have the Rigid planer.

I also have a drum sander. The planer I use mainly for three things; (1) removing the outer rough from lumber that I mostly buy in-the-rough; (2) taking straight-grained boards down to thickness quickly; (3) shaving particularly oily/tough lumber that gums up the drum sander (bocote, cocobolo, ziricote, various other rosewoods).

The planer will tear out figured woods and burls, so for those I use the drum sander. You can take off 0.02" increments with the planer if you're careful, and I've successfully thinned stuff down to under 1/8" using a sandpaper-topped shooting board 3/4" thick. But if you need more precision than that (like for tops/backs/sides for acoustics) or need to go thinner, the drum sander is essential, you can shave off a few thousandths at a time.

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A planer with a helical cutter will plane figured woods with no issues. I have seen them run and they are great. They are expensive. I run a cabinet shop and own an old 13" planer but wish I had a 15". A trick that an old timer taught me is to wet the surface of a figured piece before you put it through the planer. Somehow it helps with tearout. I have done it myself and it works.

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Erik...would you buy the Rigid planer again...or would you buy something else? What do you think is a more useful purchase, a jointer or a planer? I can really only afford one right now....just need to figure out which one first.

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A fairly cheap one like this: http://www.gmcompany.com.au/index.cfm?modu...cts&pid=608

These things get re-branded in different countries, so everyone would have their own version in their homeland.

I was looking at more expensive carba-tec machines but they do the same thing and this one had very good reviews.

Did you get the GMC one at bunnings? How much was it, about $300?

I've been looking at the Carbatec, Hafco and JET ones for a while and can't decide whether to go for the 12 1/2" ones around $300 or the 13" ones for $600-700. The 13" ones look better than the small ones but really, I have no idea how much of a difference they are. There's so many tools I have to buy and so little money :D

Edited by Phil Mailloux

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I have the Ridgid. It works great. I've had it about 7 years, and have planned truck loads of rough cut 12 inch white oak to make mission furniture. It leaves a nice finish on oak. I've used it for making two guitars, works fine. No problem with birds eye. Even if the blades haven't been changed in a long while, it still didn't tear out. (These blades haven't seen white oak, but normal hobby shop jobs).

My only complaint is that it will snipe out on the end of a cut. I got rid of most of it by adjusting the table heights. I ususally just leave a couple of extra inches in length to the board so that IF it snipes a little, it doesn't create a problem, I just cut off the end. This problem may be user error.. I just work around it.

-J

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Hmm... superficially, at least, that GMC model looks suspiciously similar to the Ridgid.

I'm sure it's the same one. It probably comes from the same factory in China or Taiwan. All the brands I mentioned in my post up there are all the same thicknesser rebadged under different names. I want to know if some are made to better specs than other models basically.

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i use the delta 13" planer

works great for everything i do, except i cant do 1 peice body blanks :'(

i go to the local collage to do that tho hahaha

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... A trick that an old timer taught me is to wet the surface of a figured piece before you put it through the planer. Somehow it helps with tearout. I have done it myself and it works.

Thanks for the tip Hound, I'll have to give it a try sometime.

Another thing I've found that can help a little is to angle the board a bit when sending it through.

Though, thats not always possible with wide and or very long boards.

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A fairly cheap one like this: http://www.gmcompany.com.au/index.cfm?modu...cts&pid=608

These things get re-branded in different countries, so everyone would have their own version in their homeland.

I was looking at more expensive carba-tec machines but they do the same thing and this one had very good reviews.

Did you get the GMC one at bunnings? How much was it, about $300?

Yep, that exact one. Works well and absolutely no snipe :D

Now for some dust extraction :D

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There's so many tools I have to buy and so little money :D

I know the feeling :D

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I have a thickness planer which isn't wide enough to do one-piece bodies, but it works wonders on rough milling wood, and a little snipe isn't too problematic. I'll have to try the trick about wetting figured woods, but I try not to let them get near to the planer as it's a spiteful bugger. I'd love a thickness sander of course but don't have the budget right now. Instead i'm building a multipurpose overhead router table which can be configured for templating, copying, duplicarving and thicknessing. It seems a better proposition for the outlay. Thickness planers/sanders etc. seem to go up hugely in price beyond 10"

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Erik...would you buy the Rigid planer again...or would you buy something else? What do you think is a more useful purchase, a jointer or a planer? I can really only afford one right now....just need to figure out which one first.

I would purchase a jointer before a planer. In building, there are SO many times you need to true an edge, or start with a piece with squared edges, that it becomes pretty essential. I use mine every day I'm in the shop.

The main reason I got the thickness planer was because I have a local lumber wholesaler nearby who sells only in the rough, and only 8' to 12' long planks. It gets used once or twice a month. It makes planing stuff down really a breeze, but if you're not doing a lot of that, you can do a really good job on thicknessing with just a drill press and a Safe-T-Planer.

The main reason I got the thickness sander was to mill tops-backs-sides for acoustics....I've got a pretty good stash going that is seasoned just about well enough now that I can start building with it.

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+1 on the jointer (although I still don't have one. Have the money, don't have the space).

I do my joints with handplanes, ditto most thicknessing - if I'm doing 2-piece bodies I'll resaw excess thickness off before jointing, then clean up with the thickness sander (got it for acoustic guitar purposes, like Erik) and/or a handplane.

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I'm in the market for a planer. Is 13" really not big enough for a body? I can't afford anything more. Most popular designs I have looked at are just under 13". My own ideas are under 13" as well.

Thanks

Edited by Jude

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13" should do most single-piece bodies and definitely two-pieces individually. Larger shapes like Explorers, Flying Vs or some basses might be a problem but still easy to work around with a hand plane. Larger than 13" is useful however there is going to be limited uses requiring that extra real estate. We are looking at the Hammer A3 31 thickness-planer which is a 310mm (12,2") wide bed. The A3 26 260mm (10-1/4") would suffice also, but limit the work to those outside of single-piece bodies.

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Most of the time a 13" planer is actually more like 12 7/8" wide. Mine is a few clicks under 13".

It is pretty rough putting a whole body through a planer that size that takes up every bit of the blades. I have done it, but it really puts a lot of stress on the planer.

You really cant do any Vs or explorers with one that small. They wont fit at all. YOu will have to plane each piece separately and level by hand or by another method after.

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Like has been mentioned, you really don't need a wide bed size for planing anything other than the occasional single-piece body blank. If you joint and glue up your pieces properly using complementary slip joints (I just made that term up) to even out any inaccuracy from the fence, then there is no real need to be running entire body blanks across it. A well-jointed two-piece (or more) body can be cleaned up of any glue with a flat board and a large sheet of sandpaper (such as a roll being thrown out from a larger drum sander). I wouldn't consider a jointer to be a satisfactory finish for a near-final surface, unless using a helical drum.

What you save on bed size can go into buying a 13" jointer with a better-built fence, plus investing in a simple engineer's square (Starrett not entirely necessary) to keep the jointer in check.

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