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Thread: Planer Crash Course?

  1. #1

    Planer Crash Course?

    Hey everyone!

    I just bought the Ridgid R4330! I've read through the manual, set it up, and ran some scrap through it. I'm really happy with my purchase!

    I've searched through the forum, read a bunch of articles, and watched some videos over at Fine Woodworking.

    Among other things, I've found tips to help determine the feed direction to keep tearout to a minimum and how to adjust the infeed and outfeed tables to help minimize snipe.

    But I still feel like I could use a bit more information... a crash course in planer usage with tips and tricks would be great... but I haven't found anything like that.

    Probably the biggest question I have is: When dimensioning, how do you ensure accuracy and repeatability? When playing around with the scrap, I found it difficult to get exactly 1/2"... I'd undershoot, then overshoot with the next pass. It seems like it would be difficult to make multiple parts the same thickness.

    Any help ya'll could offer would be greatly appreciated!

    Paul Fitzgerald
    Mid-South Woodworker and Turner

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    walnut creek, california
    get a wixey planer gauge.
    Last edited by frank shic; 11-24-2007 at 1:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Fitzgerald View Post
    Hey everyone! It seems like it would be
    difficult to make multiple parts the same thickness.
    You're right. That's why I run all the parts at the same time so they come out equal. Don't cut to length untill you plane everything that way you are sure to have the same thickness. Very important if you are going to use a tenon jig.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Plymouth County, Massachusetts
    Congrats on your new tool. The way I do it on my planer...My dial goes 1/16" for each revolution. I divide that up like a clock. Every 90 is 1/64th. .....Start at 12 o'clock. 3= 1/64th (.015) 6=1/32 (.030) 9=3/64th(.045) and one full turn equals (.062).
    I always check my wood with my dial calipers.(verniers)


  5. #5
    Everything that has been said should do it...

    I run all the boards though the planer that I will use for a given job, that way they will all be the same.
    I have a Wixey planer gauge, but I have not installed it yet. I have my 1300 sold and I am getting the 4330 in a week or two.

    DON'T try and take off to much wood at a time. The wider the board the less you want to take off. I will take 1/32 off for small boards and drop it down when I get to 6 inch plus. On a 12 inch I will just take off a very little.

    I have also found that on wider boards I will run it though 2 times at the same setting.

  6. #6

    Repeatability is an issue.

    And the ability to accurately set cuts consistently is probably not going to be a stong point on the Rigid planer with the ruler and pointer style gauge it probably has. First and foremost is to plane parts that absolutely must match at the same time, say cabinet framing for example. As far as getting the right thickness you will learn not to take too much off with practice. I hadn't used a planer for a while and just got a new one set up. I did the same darn thing. Ok so you lose, chip or miscalculate and need to add one more piece of 1X2 to your pile of sticks that will become cabinet door frames. You can sneak up on it and get it right with the aquired skills I mentioned above. It's not that it's so hard to match the thickness as it is time consuming. You'll find yourself planning your planing sessions to do all of one thickness for a project at once, not as you go along. The most essential ingredient it a decent caliper to measure with, digital or good old direct read. Just a few thoughts, hope it helps. You will love having the ability to thickness your stock.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Deep South
    If this model is like it's predecessor, there are mechanical stops for most common thicknesses, including 1/2". I have found these stops to be quite accurate and very repeatable. For other dimensions, like 7/8" or 9/16", install the Wixey gauge like Frank suggests. I have found this little device to be accurate to within 2 or 3 thousandths using my digital calipers for comparison.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Peoples Republic of New Jersey

    Planer Re-Run

    It has all been said in the previous with the exception of 1 little trick I have found helpfull. When I get to the last pass or sometimes the last 2 passes regaurdless of how slight the cut I run each pc. thru at least 3 times at the same setting. Sometimes twice on each side. You can tell just by listening to the machine cut. Sounds like over kill but I can maintain at least + or - .003". Line the parts up and run 1 thru after the other in sequence to allow the parts to return to a normal temperature. It makes a difference in most cases.

    Have a good day!

  9. #9
    It is pretty well covered here. I use the Wixey. Wax your beds often. Clean your rollers when required. I have gotten marks on boards that would indicate a nicked knife. A little investigating revealed this to be a chunk of knot or whatever caught between the knife and knife-head. The result was the opposite of what you would think(?). So, take a moment for maintenance now and then and be careful; those knives are sharp.

    Keep the guide rods clean but not lubricated. Lubrication will interfere with your carriage lock. Make one of these and pretend you have a wide jointer: There is also an interesting jig to plane narrow boards on edge that I have not tried yet; TS works fine so far.'s talks about your car. It's screaming "Wash me, please!"

  10. #10
    Thank you all for your posts! They've been most helpful.

    Paul Fitzgerald
    Mid-South Woodworker and Turner

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