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Planer Sled

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by wacolo, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. wacolo

    wacolo Tele-Holic

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    I picked up my first planer a few weeks ago and finally had the chance to play with it this weekend. I am looking to make a very basic planer sled. I have watched about every tutorial out there and the process is very straightforward.

    So what does everyone use for material? I have scrap 3/4" MDF laying around and also some plywood. It seems that every piece I check is not flat enough. Am I being too picky? I am shooting for something like 12x18 so not very big. Has anyone found an alternative material that really is dead flat that is a good alternative? BTW overthinking is my specialty so it is possible I am making this harder than is necessary :confused:
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Finding flat sheet goods is pretty much a challenge. I'd look at baltic birch or MDF and add some support beams that they attach to that are dead flat. Why would you want a planing jig if you bought a planer? A planer jig isn't as good as a planer...... YMMV.
     
  3. wacolo

    wacolo Tele-Holic

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    This is what I am looking to make. Or something close.

    [​IMG]

     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think that's called a carrier board. A planer sled is a jig that holds a router and the router planes wood flat but after googling it there are planer sleds that look like that too I guess.



    I made a carrier board to sand acoustic guitar tops and backs and other thin stuff. I glued up quartersawn pine pieces and sand it flat each time I use it. I was thinking of using an old style drawing board as those were basswood, but I don't see basswood drawing boards around so much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  5. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I've always called this a planer sled... and seen it referred to that way. But, semantics aside....

    You could do like @guitarbuilder mentions and add flat runners/supports or do a grid like a torsion box. Might even be the best solution, really. You could go with something as thin as 1/4" MDF. Use two pieces for a top and bottom, then use strips to build a grid in between. Long as you build it (glue and screws or nails) on a flat surface, it will be flat.
     
  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I grew up calling it a planer sled too. A router sled--that's for a router. Sort of like 'grinder' and 'sub sammich' I guess :cool:

    Make it from 3/4" MDF that you skim with the planer before making the sled.

    Why that guy in the pic used screws is certainly a mystery to me. He must have plenty of extra planer knives to spare. Glue and clamp the pusher fence on the back end; don't use screws.
     
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  7. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The fence should never come close to the planer knives anyway, in that example there is plenty of clearance.
     
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  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sure, that piece of wood is thick. But what if you want to plane a thin piece? Using glue allows the planer to take off the top of the fence if you like. These sorts of sleds and jigs are expendables--like a push stick for a table saw: they're made of wood so if the blade contacts it, it takes a bite without damaging the tool.
     
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  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You say Tomato....I say Tomato:

    Be like Bob

    The Thickness Planer - Bob Vila
    www.bobvila.com › articles › 2130-the-thickness-planer

    If you're planing thin stock (wood less than three-eighths of an inch thick), you will need to use a carrier board. A piece of three-quarter-inch plywood will do; make it the width of the planer and slightly longer than the stock to be trimmed.


    Planing very thin boards on your planer - scroll saw forum
    forum.scrollsawer.com › scroll-saw › info-exchange

    Oct 6, 2013 — Make sure the board is shimmed solidly so it doesn't rock on the carrier board and the carrier will act as a reference. Last edited by Arcy; 10-06- ...
     
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  10. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It looks like a jig that he knocked together quickly so that he could get that piece of wood milled down. I've got plenty of jigs that were similarly banged out quickly so I could keep working, as well as nicer ones that were planned out in advance and glued together nicely (which cannot be used until the glue is dry).
     
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  11. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Friend of Leo's

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    For some reason I could never stand Bob but He was usually right:D
     
  12. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    I saw a youtube video where the guy used a piece of melamine shelving...it seemed to work but I havent tried it as I havent had a need to plane anything recently
     
  13. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

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    I guess the point of it is to reduce/eliminate snipe? and plane small pieces
     
  14. Mr. Neutron

    Mr. Neutron Tele-Meister

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    I don't have a good pic of my set up after it was "finalized" with a 24" x 28" piece of granite countertop for the base. I got this hunk of granite for free from a local countertop business. They throw away the parts of granite "sheets" they don't use, and this piece was in the "Throw Away Bin". It became my base, and helped immensely towards getting my wood I was flattening to end up within less than .005" overall thickness variation, when I do my part. For a guitar body, I'm guessing that's good enough?

    I simply cannot make a straight cut with my Sears Contractor table saw, no matter how hard I try. :( :cry: :confused: I made a sled and rails from plywood first, but the results were about .025" of thickness variation. The retired machinist in me wasn't happy with that. So, I made the sled from 2 pieces of aluminum 1.5" x 1.5" x 3/16" thick angle, and a couple pieces of 3/4" plywood. The plywood at each end holds the angle far enough to accomodate my router base. The bottoms of the plywood pcs. have 45 deg. bevels due to the radius inside the angle.

    IMG_20201212_150806330.jpg

    I made these clamps for each end. These "clamps" serve as guides for the rectangle steel rails the sled rides on, and it keeps my router blade from biting into that 1" x 2" steel rectangular tubing I use for the side rails. They just tighten with 2 wood screws each, and keep the sled from cocking at odd angles while in use. The router base I made stops on the top of these clamps, keeping the cutter away from the steel rails.

    I have 4 pcs. of that steel for the rails, and can stack it to suit the needs of the moment. Again, if I could figure out how to get a straight cut with my table saw, I would happily have made my rails from plywood. The steel is pretty consistent on it's thickness where the sled gets used.....

    Here's a top and bottom view of my "clamps/sled guides".
    IMG_20201212_150843346.jpg

    IMG_20201212_150908275.jpg

    Again, I tried one made out of plywood, kinda "conventionally designed", but it left dips and high spots in whatever I was planing. Primarily due to the uneveness of the tablesaw cuts, and my own assembly mistakes/ineptness. I get much better results with this setup. For some reason, I did need to put some masking tape on one side rail of the sled to level out the cuts on the wood.

    I also needed to make an acrylic/plexiglas base for my router with a 45 deg. bevel on the bottom to deal with that pesky inside radius of my structural angle. You may possibly be able to see see a blurry view of that in the upper photo.

    Next will be an attempt to hook up some sort of dust collection..... ;) :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  15. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger Friend of Leo's

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    looks a bit like mine
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Mr. Neutron

    Mr. Neutron Tele-Meister

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    Nice, @LeftFinger ! :cool:
    I like the felt pen graduations on the rails, also! Looks like a good setup! ;)

    Jimmie
     
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