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Veteran Contributor
Rich Luna
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Planer Sled

I have read that making a planer sled to flatten one side of the board effectively replaces one of the functions of a jointer. Do you have any experience with a planer sled approach? The two main tools that my small shop lacks is a jointer and a planer. I have been using a router for edge jointing for some time, and know that this method is a decent work-around -so, if the planer sled really works, then perhaps a small serious-amateur shop like mine can function effectively with just a planer. I would appreciate any views/advice you have on this topic. Thank you in advance...

Good wood would if it only could.
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jandsjacobson99
Posts: 481
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

I tried the planer sled approach for a while and finally got a jointer.  If you're looking at getting into surfacing and can only afford one tool for the time being, then the planer sled is a good stop gap measure.  But don't think you can use rough cut lumber with only a planer.  I suppose if you're just building small boxes you could get away with it, but otherwise you'll be pretty unhappy.  It takes a really long time to set up a planer sled, so if you're building anything large (like a kitchen) you'll soon find the money to buy a jointer.  It's just too much work!  It took me about 15 minutes to surface a 32" board; if you have 50 board feet, you're gonna be at that for a very long time! 

 

Get the best planer you can afford, then start saving for an 8" jointer.

Cheerio!
Sam
Honored Advisor
JL North GA
Posts: 1,621
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Planer Sled

I love tools - them who dies with the most tools wins.

 

That being said. 

 

You can get by without a jointer for most stuff.  That's why they had jointing planes. 

Edge jointing can be done with a router, table saw or hand planes.

 

Planer sleds really work - if you have a large enough space to use them (and store them) and a reasonable planer.  I used a planer sled before I got my jointer.  It worked reasonably well.  Mine was about 5' long and about 12" wide.   That being said - it did go away very quickly once I got my jointer.  It was a PITA to store and while it worked (and was a decent work around), it was somewhat time consuming to use - the jointer is LOTS faster.

 

Another thought - how about a combo machine?  The 12" Jet is about $2K and the 10" Jet is about $400+.  Grizzly has a beefier 10" for about $1150.  Laguna also has a couple of combos at various prices.  A beefy 10" will work reasonably well for most shops.

 

 

Frequent Contributor
jdsjmail
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎11-09-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

I too had asked this question a few months ago.  Have you considered used equipment?   Just picked up a used 6" Ridgid jointer on CL.  Good shape, just had to clean up the tables and fence, waiting for new knives to arrive to take it for a test drive.  Been trying to find the DeWalt DW875 planer that everyone seems to be getting on clearance at HD for $279, but can't find one around here (NW Ohio) for that price.  So will keep looking for a used unit.

 

Jim

Veteran Contributor
Rich Luna
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

Thanks for the practical advice guys. It sounds like the sled idea would work, but at the expense of time and having to store the thing. I am going to check out the combos. With limited space this might be the right answer. Because I have no experience at all with them, I am a little uncertain about multifunction machines. It seems like there would be a higher probability of things getting out of alignment and moving parts having a higher risk of wear and breakage; but the idea of space savings definitely makes it something worthy of consideration.

Good wood would if it only could.
Frequent Contributor
woodgrinder
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

I assume by planner sled you referring to a setup that you can use a router to flatten a board with or are you referring to something you can flatten a twisted board with ? Here is what I do to flatten a twisted board with and it works very good as long as you have enough stock (thickness) to work with.  I bought a piece of 3/4" x 8' x 12' vinyl covered practical shelving.  I attached a 1/2" block across one end, I lay my twisted board on the bed, shim the high corners with a wedge, trying to equal each high corner, run through the planner with the blocked end going through first, flip the board and repeat the process.   Again you need to have stock thickness for this to work, if able to use shorter stock, will minimize the twist

Veteran Contributor
Rich Luna
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

Hi Woodgrinder! What you described is the basic concept that the sleds I have read about all use. The plans I have seen show a flat plywood sled base (at whatever length is desired) with end cleats on both ends, and with screws interspersed throughout the face of the base to adjust up or down as needed to match the bow or twist of the stock before feeding it through the planer. I have never used one of these contraptions, but the concept seems sound. The advice given so far seems to indicate that storing the sled is a hassle, and that setting a sled up like this takes a lot of time and effort. I was hoping that maybe I could save a little cash by just getting a planer and using a sled - but it sounds like this might not be an optimal arrangement.

Good wood would if it only could.
Advisor
jandsjacobson99
Posts: 481
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

If you check out fine woodworking they actually have a free video and not free plans for making a sled that is better than the one you describe.  I tried the screw thing for a little while, but it was a huge pain!  The one on fine woodworking uses a set of wedges in a set of support bars that are pretty slick.  It works, but the time is what really got me.  As soon as I could I got the money together to get a good planer.  And I would do it exactly the same again.  Having a planer first allowed me to obtain whatever thickness I wanted.  The planer sled allowed me to work with rough cut lumber.  It also encouraged me to get a jointer as it took so d!#n long to get a flat face. 

 

I don't think I would like the combo machines.  I like the idea of the wide jointer, but the short beds would be pretty limiting.  I figure I can use my planer sled to flatten wide boards now, but since most boards are under 8" there is rarely a need.

Cheerio!
Sam
Veteran Contributor
Rich Luna
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Planer Sled

I checked out the video you mentioned. It was very interesting and informative. You are right, the wedge approach would be much faster than adjusting screws. Like you mentioned, the whole process is time consuming but very doable. Thank you for turning me on to the video and your practical advice.

Good wood would if it only could.

 

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