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Thread: Best Way to Flatten Small Pieces of Wood?

  1. #1
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    Best Way to Flatten Small Pieces of Wood?

    What's the best way to flatten small pieces of wood, like 6" square? I have something about that size and 3/8" thick. I fooled around with a smooth plane, but now the piece is ten thousandths thicker on one side!

    I don't know if it's a bright idea to run things this small over the jointer.
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  2. #2
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    I did something even smaller recently, made a sled for a wide belt with material on all four sides to positively hold the object being sanded in place, some could work for a planer or drum sander, possibly a belt sander could be made to work too. The jointer is a no no at that dimension, good way to lose the piece or worse.
    "A good miter set up is like yoga pants: it makes everyone's butts look good." Prashun Patel

  3. #3
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    A router sled would also work.

  4. #4
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    I don't think the jointer is a good idea, unless it was somehow held tight on a larger board.
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  5. #5
    A jointer is the wrong tool for making a piece of wood the same thickness no matter how large the lumber is. A jointer is for "flattening" lumber so that it can be planed to the proper dimension.
    Something as small as what you have is going to be hard [and dangerous] to run through a planer without the aid of a sled.

  6. #6
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    plane small stock.JPG

    Glue two strips of milled lumber to the sides, run 'em through the wide belt or the planer and saw the "rails" back off.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-29-2015 at 9:42 PM.
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  7. #7
    I use a hand plane.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve H Graham View Post
    What's the best way to flatten small pieces of wood, like 6" square? I have something about that size and 3/8" thick. I fooled around with a smooth plane, but now the piece is ten thousandths thicker on one side!

    I don't know if it's a bright idea to run things this small over the jointer.
    Forgive me for being so dense, but I've gotta be missing something important. 10/1000 thicker on one side is only 1/100 of an inch. Am I missing something? If not, why is that a problem - your eye will not see it and the first humid day will change it that much? (I'm not sure my lunchbox planer could do better, nor a drum sander.)

    PLEASE don't run that over a jointer. You're gonna get hurt Steve.

  9. #9
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    I think I would go back to the smoother and hit the high spots

  10. #10
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    Using a proper push block, I'd run that (6" long) over my jointer and through my Dewalt 735 with no worries. A one handed push block with a trailing stop on the jointer and a following board backing up the board in the planer should work fine unless the wood was brittle or split. Also, running it through diagonally would work. I just measured my rollers and they are just a shade less than 6" apart. I wouldn't run it through by itself, but with backer, I've never had it miss a lick.

    Dan

  11. #11
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    I should mention that I would only take the lightest passes, though.
    Dan

  12. #12
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    When I first started making end grain cutting boards, I used 6" long pieces of hardwood turning stock. I would, and still do stick them using dbl sided tape to a piece of Plexiglas
    Mounted to my work bench. Using a trim/palm router with a wide rectangular base. Mount a 1" or taller strip of 3/4" wood along each side, at the edge. Lightly touch off and
    Glide away. I use the Blue, Duck Tape brand found @ Wal-Mart. It holds really well. I can mill parallel to .001 using this method. I have successfully milled 3/16" thick strips
    Without any issues. I use a trim router, because they are lighter and won't flex on the wide base. Also you will not be taking a heavy cut. A 3/4" wide cutter works well.
    It may seem like a lot to do, not very costly and can be done safely.
    Just giving you another option.

    Ellery Becnel
    Last edited by Ellery Becnel; 06-30-2015 at 2:28 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve H Graham View Post
    What's the best way to flatten small pieces of wood, like 6" square? I have something about that size and 3/8" thick. I fooled around with a smooth plane, but now the piece is ten thousandths thicker on one side!

    I don't know if it's a bright idea to run things this small over the jointer.
    That is much too small to safely hand hold and run across a jointer. At a pattern shop where I once apprenticed small pieces like that were routinely flattened on a stationary disk sander preparatory to stack laminating. It actually produced a flatter surface than either a planer or jointer. If we wanted it to have parallel sides, we would machine the other side with a rotary plane held in a large drill press. Of course, both tools left swirl marks, but they didn't matter for our purpose.


    Jim

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  14. #14
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    Best way, although very costly is a drum sander. I do it all the time, no sled. I make smaller pieces too, but 2 inch square or so I use a sled.

  15. #15
    Face joint and thickness the board *before* you cut it into 6" lengths.

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