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  • Timesaver alternative suggestions

    Iím just getting back into woodworking since the birth of my third child. I have s few basics. But no idea how to get nice flat panels out of solid wood in high school I was spoiled with a giant timesaver sanding planer. What can be done on a hobbyist home shop budget

  • #2
    Work with dry lumber. Make sure your rips are exactly 90į to the face. Thickness plane before final rip. Try to find quartersawn stock.

    Just a few suggestions.
    just another brick in the wall...

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    • #3
      If the log is still fairly moist, (green - not dry) as you cut boards, you should make some "sticks" all the same size and stack each board, add sticks about every 2 ft and add a board, then sticks and so on. This will help keep them flat. They should air dry anywhere from a few months to a year.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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      • #4
        I buy my stock at a locally owned lumber supply store, mostly 3/4 stock. I look it over pretty well, picking stock that is flat to the view and without cupping or twisting. Then I take it home where I store it for a few days, weeks if possible, on a wall rack in my garage. I always stack my wood with "stickers" which are basically 3/4 thick scraps from previous cuttings. I cut them so they are square (3/4 x 3/4 and about 14 inches long) and keep them in a small plastic open bucket (like dry wall mud comes in). As described by Hank Lee, you place them about every two feet or so and stack your boards, placing stickers between each board. This will allow the boards to properly air dry. I also keep some old weights around to add if I find a board or two that looks like it might twist... it's hard to find absolutely dry lumber, even in a good lumber yard.

        The other concern is the need to let your boards acclimate too. That is to say, you need to have them conditioned to the environment of their final use. Storage, shop work and home should generally be similar with regard to humidity and temperature. Otherwise things will shrink and/or warp if conditions are significantly different.

        CWS
        Think it Through Before You Do!

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        • Slik Geek
          Slik Geek commented
          Editing a comment
          Me too on the stickers. But I always put weights on top to keep the wood from moving. Some pieces don't look like they will move, but they do!

      • #5
        Thank you all I donít have much in my area close by to choose for in furniture grade lumber. Mostly big box stores and thatís just sad. My big concern is I guess getting the joints right when edge glueing. Iím torn on my next piece of equipment band saw or plate joiner both do things I need but right now trying to decide whatís more important to me.
        Last edited by Byrnes; 10-04-2018, 11:47 PM.

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        • cwsmith
          cwsmith commented
          Editing a comment
          The weights are important, though I don't use the every time. My brother-in-law had an exercise machine when he was a teen. It was broke and sat in my in-laws basement for a number of years. When they passed away, no one wanted the machine (or cared to fix it), so I scoffed up the weights just for the purpose described. They are vinyl-clad and weigh about 25 lbs apiece, rectangle in shape. There are six or eight of those as I recall.

          CWS

      • #6
        Regarding your next tool choice,

        We have all faced that decision and from my own perspective, so much depends on your project, even the style of furniture you like sometimes. We of course don't know what you might already have and certainly the two tools you mentioned are wide apart in their application. But, from my own experience, I went for years without the plate joiner and a short time ago, here on this forum, there was a discussion of plate joiners, with most of those participants admitting that though they liked the tool, most hadn't used it in some time; and I'm one of those. I love having one, don't use it much lately, and before I bought it, I used dowels.

        The band saw, is likewise a very handy tool to have. I have only a small 9-inch Ryobi bench top and wish I had a larger one (someday hopefully). But while I think it a great tool, but with most of my projects so far, I've managed just fine with circular-type saws (radial arm, table, miter, and hand held) as most everything I've done requires straight cuts like cutting down sheet stock, ripping and cross-cutting board stock, etc.

        If however, you're working toward projects with stylish curves and patterns, then no doubt the bandsaw gets a much higher priority. The one thing I love about the band saw is it is a lot safer (IMO) than almost any other cutting tool I have.... just keep our fingers out of the path of the blade! It's also an essential tool for resawing, and that alone can justify having one in the shop.

        So, give it some thought and make your decision based on the project needs (my humble opinion of course )

        CWS
        Last edited by cwsmith; 10-05-2018, 07:47 PM.
        Think it Through Before You Do!

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        • #7
          Do you have a good router? If not, that's what I'd consider. A quality plunge router with multiple bases. Then spend a few weekends in the shop building:
          1: A large base for the router - something 2 to 3 feet long and several inches wider than your routers footprint. Mount the router to the center. Glue & screw some support pieces along the long edges of the base to stiffen it. Clamp a pair of straight boards - that are identical in height - to your workbench on either side of the board to be flattened. With a bottom cutting router bit (or even better a "bowl carving bit") you've got a way to flatten the upper surface of the work. You might have to use shims on the underside if the workpiece is really twisted - to keep it from rocking. Look at router thickness planer as an example. Slide the "tray" holding the router left/right across the workpiece, then slide the tray forwards a little bit (based on the size of the router bit you use) to cut the next portion of the workpiece. Slow but not expensive. A little light sanding will result in a finished product.

          2: Make a simple router table. You can "dedicate" the fixed-based part of your router package to make it quicker to setup & use. Router tables need not be fancy... just a flat surface with a hole for the router bit to poke through. A pair of flat boards (plywood or some other stable material) glued into an "L" shape with a "mouse hole" cut near the center for the bit is all that's needed for a fence. Simply clamp it to the edges of the tabletop. Adding a thin shim layer (stick-on slick tape for example) to the outfeed side of the fence (typically left side as you face the fence) and adjusting a straight-cutting router bit to exactly line up with this shimmed face makes a simple jointer. Run two board edges across this setup (from right to left obeying the normal feed rules for routers) and you'll have flat edges suitable for panel glue-ups. See basic router table for an example. This is simply a flat panel clamped to a workbench or other table, the router is mounted to a metal plate that in turn sits in a custom-fit rectangular hole in the table top. You could simply bolt the router to the table top too. The fence pivots on the left (outfeed) end with that black knob tightened once the adjustment is made; the right side of the fence is held by a simple clamp to the tabletop. This particular example has a "box" behind the fence and bit to create a dust collection cavity. If you have a shop vac, this is a useful add-on. Applying a layer of UHMW tape (that slippery white tape sold to make stuff slide easily) to the left half of the fence creates the "offset" normally found on a regular jointer. The amount of your workpiece trimmed off for each pass across this "router jointer" setup will match the tape thickness. 1/16th of an inch or even 1/32nd of an inch is thick enough tape.

          3: Got a good table saw? If not... a quality blade in a decent circular saw plus a long straightedge/fence can get you started. Look up "sawboard" for a really simple and effective technique. I have a 4 foot sawboard and one that's 8 feet long for breaking down plywood panels. To make one: get some thin plywood, melamine, or Masonite/hardboard and a 1x4 or 1x6 board that has a really straight edge. Or use your circular saw's factory edge guide (if you have it) to rip a 4 inch slice off a fresh sheet of plywood. Basically you want one really good straight edge. Glue & screw that straight edge piece to the thin panel several inches from one end - make sure this "several inches" is about half an inch wider than the width of your circular saw's base. THEN run your circular saw across the thin panel, using the straight edge as a guide. That will trim the panel to exactly match the base & blade of your saw. To use this contraption, mark your workpiece where you want the cut made. Lay the sawboard on the "keeper" side of your workpiece so the edge of the sawboard sits right on your line. Clamp the sawboard and workpiece down and then run the circular saw across the sawboard. The sawboard will guide the saw AND act as a "zero clearance" plate which holds the workpiece fibers down a bit, reducing tear-out to practically nothing. This pic sawboard pic shows a sawboard being used to cut a large panel. Notice the straight edge is not positioned along one edge of the sawboard - it's more in the middle. This leaves a bit of space to clamp to AND, if you make this overhang large enough, you can run your router against the straight edge with a straight cutting bit. Now you've got a "router sawboard" on that side for making grooves/dados in things. Just remember which router bit was used to trim that side of the sawboard - that will be the bit you'll want to always use.

          mpc
          Last edited by mpc; 10-06-2018, 04:40 AM.

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          • #8
            Thank you for all the tips. Yes I have a few good tools I have a decent router and Bosch worksite table saw which Iím hoping to replace the fence with a more accurate one. I also managed to almost stole a jet 3 blade joiner and I also picked up a craftsman disc and belt sander and a drill press from an old machine shop. I have an old makita 12 inch mitersaw that needs some tlc but better than trying to do length cuts on my table saw because I have yet to build a cradle to do that. My wife likes the reclaimed rough hewn look right now so Iíve got basically what I need but I miss doing the fine detailed cabinetry I used to do.

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            • #9
              A plate joiner is handy for alignment of panels, which was your original post, but you can do the same with a cheap dowel jig from Harbor Freight.


              My plate joiner gets pulled out rarely but when it does it's highly specialized and fills the need perfectly. My bandsaw gets used a bit more, You can buy a cheap used benchtop bandsaw but I'd recommend a good floor-standing one if you're going that direction.

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              • #10
                Thanks yea Iím generally against anything benchtop if I can avoid it. My inner Tim the toolman tends to always want more power.

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by Byrnes View Post
                  Thanks yea Iím generally against anything benchtop if I can avoid it. My inner Tim the toolman tends to always want more power.
                  Fair enough, however you are losing out on some wonderful tools, and will require a LOT more shop space, and money to get equipped than if you had opted for bench top variants....

                  The only tool bench top wise I own that I feel I would have been better off with a floor model is my jointer. Not that the jointer that I have is insufficient, but longer beds would have been really nice...

                  If you can absorb the space, power, and budget requirements of floor models though, go for it.

                  You are making me think of my bench top inventory and if I would prefer floor models, just assuming for example, no limits on budget or space. (playing with won the lottery daydream territory for me here but work with it....)

                  Bench Top Tools I own.
                  • 6-1/8" jointer. Yes I want a floor model jointer. I can afford the floor space. I can't fork out for the machine now. I would honestly have been happy had Harbor Freight kept selling their 6-1/8" floor model. They were actually pretty good. Keeping an eye on Craigslist for one, but not in a huge hurry.
                  • 13" lunchbox planer. While I would love a better unit with a cutterhead lock, I see no advantage whatsoever in a floor model vs a bench top unless you are going with one of the huge wide models, and.... not for me. I am lucky to find stock that my 13" can't handle, and on the few occasions I have found it, it's prohibitively priced....
                  • Scroll saw. This is for dainty work anyway. No need for something huge.
                  • 8" Bench Grinder / sharpening station. Only thing that would make one of these a floor model is the antique design of a remote motor and belt drive. Haven't seen one of those since High School, 30+ years ago....
                  • Oscillating belt / spindle sander. These are kind of unique. Never seen a floor model variant. Even if I did, I don't see a good reason to want one. The bench top models, what few are on the market are fantastic.
                  • Mortising machine. I'd have to lay hands on a floor model to be sure, but I am pretty happy with my cheapo bench top unit. Although I have seen a powermatic unit that had a pivoting head that allowed you to cut mortises at all sorts of awesome angles, that would be a nice feature...
                  So given that list, the only item I would actually change out is the jointer.

                  Sometimes bigger, isn't always better.
                  Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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                  • #12
                    I solve the whole price issue by never buying new. If you spend enough time surfing the web you will find someone with a mint machine for cheap. Itís like fishing itís all about patience. That and Iím lucky to live just outside a large metro area

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                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Byrnes View Post
                      I solve the whole price issue by never buying new. If you spend enough time surfing the web you will find someone with a mint machine for cheap. Itís like fishing itís all about patience. That and Iím lucky to live just outside a large metro area
                      That addresses the price issue. Space and power are the other issues floor models often present... Everyone has their preferences. I know for me, given the space I have, I would like a floor model jointer like I said already, but aside from that, I'm good with everything else...
                      Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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