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Thread: Handplane vs Lunchbox

  1. #1
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    Handplane vs Lunchbox

    A hand plane makes a better surface than a planer because it makes one long straight cut vs many short curved cuts. But a planer impacts the wood. Does blade speed also make a difference?

    This may sound like a power tool question but I've brought it to the Neandercult because here we think a little differently.

    Thanks in advance for your insight

    Tom

  2. #2
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    By blade speed I assume you mean cuts per inch. Cuts per inch on a powered planer makes a difference; blade speed per se does not as long as the blades are sharp. More cuts per inch means lighter cuts, which means less crushing of the fibers and shallower scallops in the surface for you to correct with your hand plane later on. Blade speed coupled with an identical feed rate would give you higher cuts per inch, but if the feed rate is also higher (say, comparing different models with the same cuts per inch but different blade speeds) the only advantage would be time saved. Blade speeds would also make a difference in likelihood of burning the wood and speed of dulling the blades; we’re all well aware of the issues with a dull blade, so no need to go into detail there.

    Best regards,
    Michael

  3. #3
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    I use both. My lunchbox planer quickly reduces the lumber to my desired rough thickness. I follow up with smoother planes to establish the final thickness and a smooth as glass finish. Could I do it all with my hand planes? Sure, but I just don't have the time.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    I use both. My lunchbox planer quickly reduces the lumber to my desired rough thickness. I follow up with smoother planes to establish the final thickness and a smooth as glass finish. Could I do it all with my hand planes? Sure, but I just don't have the time.
    +1. Same here.

    I also use planes for small or short parts.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #5
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    Cuts per inch helps, but the surface is still going to show scallops when you put a finish on it. So for any show surface you're going to have to sand or plane it to finish.

    Not sure about the effect of blade speed, if it has any effect beyond increasing cuts per inch. Blade speed is usually limited by something else, like the max rpm the cutterhead can safely handle.

    A bigger factor would probably be cutterhead diameter. The larger diameter the less pronounced the scalloping, and it begins to approach something more like a handplane's cutting action. This can help with tearout, and the shallower scallops means less planing or sanding to get it ready for finish.

    The Japanese have a machine called a Super Surfacer. It is a type of planer, but uses a fixed blade instead of a rotary cutterhead. The work piece is fed through the machine and the cutter shears off a few thousandths. Even has a chipbreaker to limit tearout. This is the only power tool I can think of that would create the same surface as a handplane.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hazelwood View Post
    Cuts per inch helps, but the surface is still going to show scallops when you put a finish on it. So for any show surface you're going to have to sand or plane it to finish.
    It's been suggested that planers with a low speed feed option, and especially those that combine that with a helical cutter head, can achieve "finish ready" surface quality. I have no personal experience and frankly I'm skeptical.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  7. #7
    Unsure what you mean by 'make a difference'. In surface quality?

    I use my planer for thicknessing but usually a plane or sandpaper to finish, so the finish surface left by the planer (tearout notwithstanding) doesn't really bother me. In fact, I have come to kind of appreciate the scallops. They serve as a good reference guide for my hand planing. Also, because the tips of the wave break up the surface and you're really just knocking down the "tips of the wave" with the smoothing plane, there's less fear of tearing out.

    Anyway, I do both.

  8. #8
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    Guess I didn't make my question clear. Suppose I put a 100 rpm motor on my planer, it would make the same cuts per inch. The blades would not impact the wood, they would have to power thru, more like hand tools. How would the surface be different? I'm imagining the fibers being crushed in length.

  9. #9
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    I use my planer only on fast feed rate. Few times I used slow, it took more time and end of the day I still had to sand it a after project was done.

    Now a days, I use planer to dimension wood. After glue up and all, I either skim with a plane or sand for final finish. I find it faster than using the slow speed to get a little better initial results.

    As a added benefit, I am not bothered with small Nick's in blade anymore.

    Planer = DeWalt DW735

  10. #10
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    The only difference I found between the two....planes do not snipe.

    Now, how well would a planer handle a board like this?
    DVD Door, checking.JPG
    Hmmm?
    Last edited by steven c newman; 11-19-2019 at 11:53 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    Now, how well would a planer handle a board like this?
    DVD Door, checking.JPG
    Hmmm?
    Jointers manage, by design.

  12. #12
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    Enter: the super surfacer. Basically a belt fed fixed blade machine that works similarly to a hand plane.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Enter: the super surfacer. Basically a belt fed fixed blade machine that works similarly to a hand plane.
    Here's a link to a Japanese Woodworker that has a YouTube channel. I love his work and his production style. He has a Super Surfacer that shown up in a number of his videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7F...U5I8FCHXQSQe9Q
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Enter: the super surfacer. Basically a belt fed fixed blade machine that works similarly to a hand plane.
    Those are sweet. I've watched way more video of those in operation that I should have

  15. #15
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    I have both and I would not be without any of them. I thickness with the planer and finish with a hand plane.

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