Improving surface prep time - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-27-2014, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Improving surface prep time

Hello!

I'm preparing the components for my next project, a hanging tool cabinet out of Ash. I'm using the following process to prep surfaces:

1. Thickness plane to get parallel surfaces with help of sled
2. Low angle jointer plane, 40 degree cambered blade (52 overall angle of attack), v tight mouth and light shavings

Number 2 has so far successfully reduced, even eliminated, tearout HOWEVER it takes me a very very long time to reach an acceptable surface.

There must be a quicker way to get a good surface!?

Any thoughts would be highly appreciated!
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-27-2014, 11:44 AM
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Are you trying to eliminate the need for sanding? The reason I ask this is because if you are using a thickness planer to get the material to size, what is the need for the hand plane afterwards?

I would think that if your thickness planer knives are sharp, there should be minimun need for surface prep afterwards.

I am asking these questions as it may help the guys that know better than I give you some direction with more information.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-27-2014, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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The thickness planer knives are not the best. They've got knicks which result in lines down the board which need eliminating. Still in terms of flattening the surface on boards straight off the lumber yard, the planer i have access to, albeit not the best, seems to me a reasonable option.

Add to this the usual ripple you get from thickness planing, i can't really see how one would achieve an acceptable, imperfection free, surface without planing after thicknessing.

My question is how to speed up the process:

Thicknesser > jointer plane > scraper > tickle with smoother/320grit

Last edited by gatortrial; 09-27-2014 at 12:24 PM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-27-2014, 01:14 PM
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Gator -

I am not a seasoned miller, nor do I play one on tv. I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

With that said, I would say that step one IMO would be to sharpen or get new planer blades and properly set up the planer. I am not familiar with the ripple effect you are referring to so my simple mind makes me invision uneven depths of the blades in the planer cause one or more to cut deeper than the others.

My planer leave a ridge down the middle that I know is attributed to a nick or two in the blades and I have failed to replace them knowing this. Other than that, the surface is usually in good shape. Enough for me to hit with my sander to get to a "good" finish surface.

The process you layout is more than I normally do so my experience does not allow for me to suggest a way to speed it up in any other way than I have suggested.

Hopefully this will peak the interest and input from those wiser than I in this process.

Best of luck.

Johnny
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 12:23 AM
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Surface finish

It sounds like you need to sharpen your planer blades and if you have snipe at the beginning and end of the cut you need to adjust your planer tools, blades, pressure bar, etc to the required settings. My planer gives me almost perfect finished surfaces with little need for any additional work.

Jack
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 01:01 AM
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Ill admit to being rather green in the art of using a thickness planer, but i agree that a set of sharp knives will do wonders for the finished surface. Id start with that, being that nothing else i can think of would decrease the time to a finished surface. Maybe a thickness sander if budget allows

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Seems as though the planer is at fault here. The surface i get off the planer is FAR from perfect.

Makes me wonder if it isn't worth it to skip the planer altogether and go straight to jointer plane? Probably should use a jack with a toothed blade but i don't have one of those.

Thanks for thoughts, Gents!
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 10:37 AM
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Planers, shapers, router bits and other rotating cutters leave their marks on the work. Sharp, properly set up cutters can reduce the marks but not eliminate them. Most of us in the business use belt sanders to remove the marks, a little hand sanding after this is all that's needed for a great surface. Problem with most, that don't do it regularly, is fear of the belt sander.

They are a fantastic tool and make quick work of any machine marks. It doesn't take long to learn how to use them. I've just sanded out a lot of red oak boards for a staircase, with winders. I took some pictures trying to show the surface after the belt sander using 80 grit. I don't intend to do any other sanding after the belt sander.

It's a shame so many are scared of the belt sander, they are a piece of cake to use, very quick, excellent results on most any species or grain pattern.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatortrial View Post
Seems as though the planer is at fault here. The surface i get off the planer is FAR from perfect.

Makes me wonder if it isn't worth it to skip the planer altogether and go straight to jointer plane? Probably should use a jack with a toothed blade but i don't have one of those.

Thanks for thoughts, Gents!
Yes, the problem is your planer. Whether or not is is just hardware or if there is also technique involved I do not know. I do know that I would solve the problem and keep using the planer.

George
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hammer1: I understand then that you forego hand planing altogether?

I've used the belt sander a bit in the past and found it very fast BUT expensive in the long run, dusty (i notice your neat dust collection setup - nice!), noisy and easily errodes flatness (probably due to my lack of skill).

So, for you it's Thicknesser > Belt Sander (i assume you work your way up to 200 or 320 grit?)

Does this give you a surface that is the equal to a surface that has been hit by hand planes?

Thanks for your thoughts, Hammer!
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 08:24 PM
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Surface finishing

While hand planes with very sharp blades give a great surface finish, keeping your blades "very sharp" is a little time consuming.

My hand planes have been gathering dust lately since I discovered the Festool line of Sanders.

I have the Festool ETS 150/3 and the CT22 Dust Collector which gives me almost perfect surfaces without any dust in my shop.

Jack
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-28-2014, 09:43 PM
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I face my boards with the jointer first. Then run them through the planer. Using the planer as I reach the desired thickness I make the last two or three passes as light as the planer will make without showing feeder marks. My adjustment handle is in the same exact position on the last pass on every board. The result is perfectly flat boards with the same thickness. the mill marks are there but they are far smoother due to the last micro cuts. You also get less tear out.

I also use a cabinet scraper instead of a belt sander.

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This stack is truly flat and went into a dining table.

Al



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post #13 of 13 Old 10-02-2014, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gatortrial View Post
Hammer1: I understand then that you forego hand planing altogether?

I've used the belt sander a bit in the past and found it very fast BUT expensive in the long run, dusty (i notice your neat dust collection setup - nice!), noisy and easily errodes flatness (probably due to my lack of skill).

So, for you it's Thicknesser > Belt Sander (i assume you work your way up to 200 or 320 grit?)

Does this give you a surface that is the equal to a surface that has been hit by hand planes?

Thanks for your thoughts, Hammer!
Gatortrial, in your original post you asked if there was a quicker way to get a good surface. Those of us that do it everyday might not be the sharpest chisels in the roll but we figure out how to make our lives easier. We have to meet some high standards and we can't waste time whittlin' and fiddlin'.

Should a person go down to Lowes, grab a Kobalt handplane, have at a piece of hard maple and make a judgement about handplanes based on that experience? Isn't that about equivalent to your beltsander experience? How great was your first handplane experience? It doesn't matter what tool, you have to learn how, where and when to use it.

I'm in the business but I'm a woodworking hobbyist, too. I have other hobbies and little time for any of them, like most. There are times I get a chance to break out my handplanes, fiddle around with them, sharpen them up, try different things, maybe just make some shavings, have fun. At work, I always have 2 or 3 low angle block planes ready to go but the collection of Stanley bench planes, wood molding planes, combination planes, and many other assorted planes are just for fun. It would be a very unusual project where I would use a handplane to surface. They can immediately cause complications that take time to fix and often compromise the project.

Surface prep depends on the species, use, intended appearance, type of finish. A black lacquer piano is different than a stair tread, oak is different than hard maple. I'll sand the epoxy primer on a piano in a deliberate single stroke, 4 direction, cross hatch with wet 1200. On an oak stair tread, 80 grit off the beltsander, good to go. Everything else falls in between.

For most wood finishes your eye won't be able to see 220 scratches with the grain. There really isn't any difference between a planed or sanded surface once the finish goes on, it just looks different in the raw due to light reflection or absorption. If you have a fine piano, chances are, it's protected from even breathing on it. Is that the type of finish you want on everyday furniture or shop cabinets? A fingerprint shows up like a headlight. Isn't a modicum of practicality involved here?

I do have a nice set up. The 4" x 24" PC variable speed is quiet for a beltsander, especially at the lower speeds. It glides across the surface effortlessly and stays on the platten with little input. The Fein vac is known for it's low noise level and high efficiency, no exhaust port to blow shop dust around. I made up the hose and fittings. Auto on off as the sander switch is pulled.

Here is a picture of a commercially made stair tread. It was put through a wide belt sander at the factory. I can use a lot over a year and these are very nice for commercial treads. You can see machine marks from the wide belt, particularly in the upper left corner. Those are not acceptable to me for stair treads so I sand them out. Most of the rest under the pencils has been hit with the beltsander, 80 grit. I think you can see the difference. There aren't many contractors that would sand those and some folks wouldn't even notice the marks but I do.
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