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Old 09-29-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
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The right tool for a Table Top??


I'm starting a small project of making a table. I've seen lots of different methods and now I'm torn between which tool is going to acheive the best results for the table top surface. Do I use a Planer Thickener? or will a Planer Jointer do the job without the Thickener part?

Also, ultimately, what gives the table top it's smooth finish (excluding the final sanding)? The thickener or the planer?

Thanks for any advise!

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Old 09-29-2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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The right tool for a Table Top??


I have been woodworking for 30 years, and I have never heard the term thickener used in conjunction with a planer. A planer jointer is typically used to put an edge on a board for glue up, and can also be used to flatten a board . A planer typically reduces a board down from say 1 inch to 3/4 inch, and gives it a decent (far from perfect) finish. All the tables I have ever built I start with either planed or rough boards with one finished edge. Then I glue up the top, and if it is rough wood I hand plane the top, then finish with an orbital sander. If the boards are already planed, I use the orbital sander, finishing at somewhere around 400 grit. The final finish I do by hand, sometimes with a scraper, sometimes with 600 grit wet dry sandpaper, depending on the type of finish (polyurethane, oil, lacquer) I am going to use.

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Old 09-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #3
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The right tool for a Table Top??


I think jono meant to say thickness planer. I agree with what Daniel has to say. If your stock is cupped, you'll want to run it flat through a jointer to get a flat face, then lay that face against the jointer fence to give you a square edge. Rip it with your table saw to establish the parallel edge and run this sawed edge down the jointer to finish it out. Next, run it through a planer with the flat face down. You now have a finished piece of stock and the cross section should be square. When your glue up is finished, you will still need to plane and sand the top even though you already planned and jointed the stock as there will be slight (hopefully not more than slight) fit up variation from one piece of stock to the next.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
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The right tool for a Table Top??


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Originally Posted by WirelessG View Post
I think jono meant to say thickness planer. I agree with what Daniel has to say. If your stock is cupped, you'll want to run it flat through a jointer to get a flat face, then lay that face against the jointer fence to give you a square edge. Rip it with your table saw to establish the parallel edge and run this sawed edge down the jointer to finish it out. Next, run it through a planer with the flat face down. You now have a finished piece of stock and the cross section should be square. When your glue up is finished, you will still need to plane and sand the top even though you already planned and jointed the stock as there will be slight (hopefully not more than slight) fit up variation from one piece of stock to the next.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah you're right, I did mean 'Thickness Planer'. Sorry for sounding dumb, but when you say "Next, run it through a planer with the flat face down", is that a 'thickness planer' you would run it through or some other type?
Cheers.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:53 PM   #5
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The right tool for a Table Top??


No problem.

Yes, you would run it through a thickness planer. Most people refer to a thickness planer as simply a planer and a planer/jointer as simply a jointer. If you have rough cut stock that is reasonable rough cut, you can simply run it through the planer on both board sides and not use the joist except for the edges. However, if the cross section is not uniform (i.e. if it is cupped or twisted, or of varying thickness), the planer has a hard time finding a plane since the driving wheels cutting knives battle with each variation and will likely jam (kinda like driving down a bumpy road). When you run the flat face of a board across a jointer (several times depending on the condition of the stock), you are simply achieving a flat plane across the width and down the length of that board. With this plane established, you can run it through the planer and planer has a flat face to use as as cutting reference.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:22 PM   #6
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The right tool for a Table Top??


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Originally Posted by WirelessG View Post
No problem.

Yes, you would run it through a thickness planer. Most people refer to a thickness planer as simply a planer and a planer/jointer as simply a jointer. If you have rough cut stock that is reasonable rough cut, you can simply run it through the planer on both board sides and not use the joist except for the edges. However, if the cross section is not uniform (i.e. if it is cupped or twisted, or of varying thickness), the planer has a hard time finding a plane since the driving wheels cutting knives battle with each variation and will likely jam (kinda like driving down a bumpy road). When you run the flat face of a board across a jointer (several times depending on the condition of the stock), you are simply achieving a flat plane across the width and down the length of that board. With this plane established, you can run it through the planer and planer has a flat face to use as as cutting reference.
Thanks so much for that! That's going to help me loads.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:29 PM   #7
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The right tool for a Table Top??


a thickener planer would come in handy tho,sorta like an adding sawor an unholeing drill

Last edited by Tom Struble; 10-01-2010 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:40 PM   #8
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The right tool for a Table Top??


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Originally Posted by WirelessG View Post
No problem.

Yes, you would run it through a thickness planer. Most people refer to a thickness planer as simply a planer and a planer/jointer as simply a jointer. If you have rough cut stock that is reasonable rough cut, you can simply run it through the planer on both board sides and not use the joist except for the edges. However, if the cross section is not uniform (i.e. if it is cupped or twisted, or of varying thickness), the planer has a hard time finding a plane since the driving wheels cutting knives battle with each variation and will likely jam (kinda like driving down a bumpy road). When you run the flat face of a board across a jointer (several times depending on the condition of the stock), you are simply achieving a flat plane across the width and down the length of that board. With this plane established, you can run it through the planer and planer has a flat face to use as as cutting reference.
should have said: jointer
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:21 AM   #9
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The right tool for a Table Top??


What is the difference between Planner thickener and Planner Jointer? I just want to know I want to create my own table too.

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