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Discussion Starter #1
Been debating either a 13" Dewalt or Rigid planer for a while. Been watching for some cheap used deals on Kijiji. They pop up, but gotta be quick because they sell super fast.

Right now, trying to figure what I need -vs- what I want -vs- what makes sense.

I'm planning to build a CNC this summer. Mid sized, with a bed around 24"x36". Big enough for guitars, necks, and other projects and small enough to fit in the space I have.

I've been after a 13" planer because around here are quite a few places selling live edge walnut, ash, cherry, etc... and I would like to make 1-piece bodies... but is 13" wide enough? I think some LP's are just over 13", not to mention Explorer/Destroyers, Flying V's, etc... even a Strat, I think 13" only gives me about 5/16" of wiggle room.

Would I be better off using a router sled for making body blanks? especially since I've seen some posts stating that a planer doesn't flatten/level, and I'd have to make a router sled for that anyways.

13" planers seem to double the cost of an 11"-12" planer... if 13" isn't wide enough for most bodies, I'll save my money and get a smaller one since for stuff like 2x4's and 2-piece bodies, 11"-12" should be more than enough.

Looking for some advice/direction... limited budget/space and if for 1-piece bodies a 13" planer won't be useful, I'll start building a sled and look for a cheaper planer.

Shame you can't get a 13.5" planer. 15" would be perfect, but seems to jump up in price and size a lot, also 220v which I don't have an outlet for.
 

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A planer is for thickness only. Throw in a warped board you will get a thinner warped board back.

If you want stuff flat you need this kind
clarke-cpt800-204mm-planer-thicknesser-6462135.jpg



Or a hand planer or a router sled. Most people would still want a thickness planer after the router sled.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry if I get my terms wrong... warped would refer to the board/wood length wise correct?

If the wood is cupped (width) the planer will level that out, correct?

Length wise I'm not overly concerned. 18-19" I'm not sure many would notice a warp...plus as mentioned, hand planers... I'd assume if any warp, it would be minor.

Main concern is if the 13" width won't be enough... because then for a single piece body, I'd have no choice but to thickness it with the sled anyways.
 

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For the (assumed) small number of these projects, you may be able to find a local cabinet shop or someone with a 16" jointer / planer to mill it for you for a small fee.
 

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Here's the thing. Those DeWalt/Ryobi/Delta 13" planers should be called thickness planers. It does NOT make the wood flat! Warped any direction will still be warped unless you use a sled with shims. If you want flat wood you use the other style planer. When the wood is flat you run it through the thickness planer to get to size. If you can't afford the planer ( much more expensive than a thickness planer) you use a router sled then a thickness planer for size.
 

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Here is a thickness planer with a sled and shims and a hot glue gun

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ya, I think there is one 20min from here with a 20" planer for $10.... well, when I asked about it 2yrs ago it was.

As long as flat and squared, I guess with a CNC the thickness won't matter much. Adjust the code to match how thick the blank is, it'll route off the rest.

I blame that one thread here with the CNC made SG's... I was happy repainting Squiers until I saw that. :D

But no, not many projects a year, I don't think. Goal for now is to make guitars for me, and once better at it, maybe sell some bodies and necks online.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's the thing. Those DeWalt/Ryobi/Delta 13" planers should be called thickness planers. It does NOT make the wood flat! Warped any direction will still be warped unless you use a sled with shims. If you want flat wood you use the other style planer. When the wood is flat you run it through the thickness planer to get to size. If you can't afford the planer ( much more expensive than a thickness planer) you use a router sled then a thickness planer for size.
This actually takes me back to a long time ago when I was asking about planers in general... because I totally understand how a planer would not make wood flat length wise, but width wise, it has to be able to make it flat, shims or not, as long as it's not rocking back/forth when being run through. Eventually the top of the curve will be planed down to the edges, then flip the wood and plane down the edges towards the middle.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, does anyone have any experience using a 13" planer for 1-piece bodies? Big enough? not quite big enough?
 

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That cupped piece will bend and spring back again. Takes a lot of force to hold that in the thickness planer. Otherwise the blades grab your workpiece and flings it out the back side.
 

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I have thickness planed lots of long live edge slabs. I've only had a couple that followed the twist. This was a 24" helical head thickness planer on slabs that were up to 23" wide and 6' long. I found cupped boards would not spring back and it would easily take the cup out. The head spins towards you, like a table saw blade. It will not fling it out the back. It could fling it towards you, but they have built in stops so that does not happen.

For body blanks get yourself a hand plane at least a #5 or even larger to flatten the bottom side, or use the sled. Then the thickness planer works well.

So, does anyone have any experience using a 13" planer for 1-piece bodies? Big enough? not quite big enough?
Depends on the guitar you are building. It's not big enough for me for most of my builds. You mention CNC. Just get a surfacing bit and do it on the machine.

I have a 24"x36" CNC machine but I also have a large joint / planer combo as well as a thickness sander. They all have their uses but the CNC can be used to do all the jobs if necessary.

Cheers Peter.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@Silvertone

You'd definitely be the one to talk to... actually sent you a PM a while back but no response. It made me feel cheap, and tawdry.... o_O

Did you make your CNC or buy it? I was at OpenBuilds and they have some nice machines for sure, but price just kept going up the more I clicked/added. Seems that their kits don't include motors, controllers, etc... so a $2000 kit becomes $3500 quickly. Thinking I might be able to build one around $2000, similar to what Highline Guitars built and he seems to use quite often. Originally I just wanted a small CNC for making pickguards, and well, more I researched and such, the bigger the thing got. :D

I debated the CNC for planing. Makes sense... also one less machine in the way. I have some garage space for the bigger stuff like table saw and eventually the planer... but it's not much space, not heated, etc... CNC will be in the cellar.

I still need a planer, have other projects on the go, and mostly would be for cleaning up 2x4's and 4x4's.... but now I'll expand my search to include smaller models because if 13" is too small for single-piece bodies, and bigger than needed for 2-piece bodies, then I may as well save some money and get something smaller and more portable.

I do have a jointer... somewhere. My Dad passed away and I inherited a bunch of tools... but he was starting to hoard a bit near the end and it's been a long slow process finding the time to go through everything. Jointer I am certain is buried in there, been years since I've seen it but I think it's an old vintage Beaver 2800. Lots of routers for some reason. No thickness planers (so far).
 

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I have a 13" planer. I very rarely use it on guitar stuff anymore. It's a Delta 13" two-speed feed. It makes old fence boards look pretty, but that's about it's best move. With the exception of the Tele and the Strat, most guitar bodies won't fit in a 13" planer anyway.

I have a 18" thickness sander that I use to true and flatten slabs and bodies. I find myself using it more & more all the time. Little slower, much better job. I find the sander works better for things like a cupped board. Start with cup edges on the feed belt , so the high spot of the board is in the center on sander. Flatten that side, then turn it over the cup (high edges) to the sander and finish it off. Planers don't feed worth a dam on cupped boards.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a 13" planer. I very rarely use it on guitar stuff anymore. It's a Delta 13" two-speed feed. It makes old fence boards look pretty, but that's about it's best move. With the exception of the Tele and the Strat, most guitar bodies won't fit in a 13" planer anyway.

I have a 16" thickness sander that I use to true and flatten slabs and bodies. I find myself using it more & more all the time. Little slower, much better job. I find the sander works better for things like a cupped board. Start with cup edges on the feed belt , so the high spot of the board is in the center on sander. Flatten that side, then turn it over the cup (high edges) to the sander and finish it off. Planers don't feed worth a dam on cupped boards.
Just like in my little diagram, cup down, flatten then cup up.

I've noticed a lot of vids now with people using those sanders, though on Kijiji, I don't find them very often for sale and definitely not for cheap. I'd image the other upside to them is the seem more quiet, and don't shoot shaving out all over. Probably easier to make a collector for the sander than the planer.

I'll probably grab something smaller and cheaper then.... sounds like a planer will be mostly used for cleaning up 2x4's when I make benches and stands for well, all the other tools. :D
 

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This is the sander I got, new, for about $600. Excuse the dust on it, my housekeeper hasn't been around yet today to dust it.
Sander.jpg

Works great, it could use a little more power though. Someday I'll put a better/bigger motor in it. When you're working with a 14" or 15" wide guitar slab, you really have to watch the amount of cut you're taking or you can stall it out. Narrower things like neck blanks, you can give er'.

The big thing is that wide sandpaper drive belt. It moves anything across the sanding drum no matter how warped, cupped, or irregular it is. A planer, that drives the board with two little rollers, really struggles unless you're working with something that's already flat/true and all you want to do is make it thinner.

Sanders are much cleaner, no shavings, just fine dust. You for sure want a good dust collection system.

I used an old Kenmore built in vacuum canister mounted on the wall of the shop. I still use it, only now I also have a real 2 stage dust collector as well. The Kenmore is a little special in that it doesn't use a bag. They used cyclonic dust separation. Most built-in vacuum canisters don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do those go through paper a lot? Any idea how many blanks you get before you need to replace the sand paper? I'll assume you need to clean it after every pass.
 

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Do those go through paper a lot? Any idea how many blanks you get before you need to replace the sand paper? I'll assume you need to clean it after every pass.
I've only changed the sand paper twice in about 7 years. The first time was my own fault. I was using it to sand down little plastic spacers for drawer slides on cabinets. I got greedy/impatient, melted a bunch of them down, and the plastic stuck to the sanding drum. I could not get the plastic off. That happened right after I first got it.
The second time I changed the paper was recently, in the last month. I couldn't begin to count the number of uses I've gotten. Very many. When the paper wears out, gets dull, the wood starts to burn (you make black streaks in your pretty wood).

The sand paper on the drum doesn't seem to ever plug up. (except with melted plastic)
 

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This is the sander I got, new, for about $600. Excuse the dust on it, my housekeeper hasn't been around yet today to dust it.
View attachment 298676
Works great, it could use a little more power though. Someday I'll put a better/bigger motor in it. When you're working with a 14" or 15" wide guitar slab, you really have to watch the amount of cut you're taking or you can stall it out. Narrower things like neck blanks, you can give er'.

The big thing is that wide sandpaper drive belt. It moves anything across the sanding drum no matter how warped, cupped, or irregular it is. A planer, that drives the board with two little rollers, really struggles unless you're working with something that's already flat/true and all you want to do is make it thinner.

Sanders are much cleaner, no shavings, just fine dust. You for sure want a good dust collection system.

I used an old Kenmore built in vacuum canister mounted on the wall of the shop. I still use it, only now I also have a real 2 stage dust collector as well. The Kenmore is a little special in that it doesn't use a bag. They used cyclonic dust separation. Most built-in vacuum canisters don't.
Good deal for 600$! Over a grand now. I have been looking for a thickness sander for a while, and only home builts come in that cheap. Funny, I run my central vac as dust collection as well. I put one of the cyclonic 5gal Dust Deputy pails in front of it. Put a car muffler on the outlet to keep the volume reasonable.

OP- I have one of those Dewalt 13inchers. Its pretty nice. Bought it factory refurbed for about 250$. The secret to the dewalt is use a sled. I have some 3/8 ply with that grippy rubber non slip placemat stuff on it (to hold the work piece). Works great. The blades are the weak spot however, a little dried glue squeeze out and they get nicked bad. Any you cant really sharpen them in the conventional sense. I had an old 16 inch Busy Bee Craftex with the 4 pillars design and a central height screw. I would stay away from them. The pillar bearings get dirty/slow and then the whole height screw assembly grenades because its off kilter. Newer ones may be better.

C
 

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Good deal for 600$! Over a grand now. I have been looking for a thickness sander for a while, and only home builts come in that cheap. Funny, I run my central vac as dust collection as well. I put one of the cyclonic 5gal Dust Deputy pails in front of it. Put a car muffler on the outlet to keep the volume reasonable.

C
Yeah, it was a great deal, I jumped all over it. It was a display model, never been used. Only thing was the dust port adapter was missing. That was an easy fix.

I'm with you on the the Dust Deputy. I've got two Dust Deputy's. A 2" I use on the kenmore vacuum, and a 4" I use on my other system. They work great.
 
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