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Author Topic: Do I need a planer?  (Read 679 times)

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Offline Rhodemont

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Do I need a planer?
« on: March 15, 2017, 03:30:50 pm »
  I have a lot of mature Northern Red Oak.  My forest plan calls for a harvest.  Rather than have a logger come in and take it out for which I would get very little for these trees. I had this great idea to get a LT35 and saw my oak for my own use.  Plan is to build a saw shed and then a new barn/garage. Getting started with fence boards for a pasture as I learn to saw while taking timbers I will need from the center.  Seems I have a lot to learn to keep all the cuts flat and square.  Question is should I expect to be able to saw nice smooth/flat/square timbers and lumber for construction right off the saw or is it necessary to plane everything to make construction work out smoothly?

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 03:39:15 pm »
The only planing I do is my finish work,trim work. Don't do much of that,so no need to plan much. Most of my sawing is for out buildings. I have a small planer,Rigid,and it works good. Slow,but not like I use it every day.
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Offline Rhodemont

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 04:13:55 pm »
Getting some wavy cuts on the fence boards happens at times which is first issue to eliminate.  I have been reading the posts on this topic.  Next is timbers that are little out of square which is going to be a hassle for framing.  Some of the timbers I see in the posts look a lot better than my as sawn!
Move logs with JD 4720 & Norse 350 winch to get them to trails and then Yanmar 187D with home made arch to bring up to saw. (I drop the gearbox and bit off the post hole digger  to pick front of log with arch trailing behind). Load the logs onto the saw hydraulics with two tongs hanging from JD 4720 front loader.

Offline fishfighter

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 06:32:33 pm »
Using lumber right off a saw mill without planning is no problem. Now using hardwood to build with, that is a different story. If you are going to build with it, use the lumber green, fresh cut. The longer hardwood dries, the harder it gets.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 02:34:33 am »
Your saw if purchased new should have been adjusted so that the blade when engaged is parallel to the bed.  If not, there is an adjustment that you can find in the manual.  If you're planning to timberframe, you're going to need some timbers longer than your mill, thus you will need bed extensions.  I have an LT15.

If timber framing, you do not "need" to plane.  With that said I like to plane timbers for a smoother surface so that they collect lest dust in the finished building.  It's hard to dust a rough sawn timber (except with compressed air).  Some will just belt sand rough sawn timbers to their desired finish.

I have a beam planer on my mill made by Woodmizer.  Unfortunately it can only be mounted on two rail track like the LT15.  It is very handy to plane and square up timbers.  If I've had timbers drying in the shed for a year, I can then plane them back square with the beam planer.

You can timber frame out of square timbers using snap line square rule technique.

FYI, I only use 4 degree bands on hardwood.  To extend the life of the bands, remove the bark along the timber where the band is entering the cut. This will save a lot of wear on the teeth.

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Online Don P

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 09:00:33 am »
Oak moves a lot while drying. I've never been happy saying "it was tight when I cut it". I work with power tools as much as possible so hard isn't as big of an issue. Working green and accepting movement or waiting for it to dry and having a better looking tight frame is somewhat of an aesthetic thing. If you wait for it to dry the timbers will look better and be far easier to work with if you can joint and plane them. With my planer I can plane a bowed timber and create a surfaced bowed timber, I am indexing off a short bed and a bowed timber. I went in with a friend who has a Lucas mill on the planer head for it. It sounds like it is doing much like what Brad is talking about. The timber is resting stationary and the planer head moves over it on a set of straight rails. This flattens and straightens the bowed timber. Saws and mortisers sit flat on a correctly dimensioned timber. If you are tooling up for timbers I'd be thinking along the lines of equipment that can do that.

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 10:12:01 am »
I haven't milled any oak. Mostly pine which usually ends up with a smooth finish on the mill (unless I hit a bullet or barbwire  :snowball:). You'd think I would have bought metal detector by now. I have cut some walnut and maple which are somewhat comparable to oak. The mill will cut smooth until I hit a big not. Even with a fresh blade going slow on an LT40 with a Yanmar I get little ripples that are of no concern for me dimensionally. But then I have a surface that isn't smooth. I think you might run into something similar with oak. It's nothing that can't be worked out with a sander. As Brad said, rough cut gathers dust as a finish material. I am very interested in one of those Woodmizer planers. Not a problem if this is just going to be a shed. It all depends on how much work you want to put into it.

As for square timbers, make sure you level your mill correctly. I have seen a mill that wasn't leveled correctly and the bed was slightly tweaked. Once we leveled it the problem was solved. I was using a mill that wasn't cutting square and it was time consuming to get square timbers. I won't even go into the process. Make sure your carriage is square to the bed and you should be fine. I would check your first few timbers for square using a true framing square. Then you will know and can be confident in the remaining cuts. As Don P alluded to, starting with square timbers helps with time and hassle with cutting joints.
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Offline Rhodemont

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 07:46:34 am »
I think the out of square beams is of my own doing.  I have got to learn to go through a checklist when I turn the logs to make sure square against the stop and rails.  Since it sounds like properly as sawn is just fine to frame with it will be much more cost and time effective for me to perfect the sawing.  Won't matter as much with the saw shed but when I get to the barn/garage will want nice fit up.
Thanx guys.

Offline Heartwood

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 09:07:47 am »
I'm curious what the planer heads for the Woodmizer and Lucas Mill cost. A 12" portable power planer is a lot less expensive I think, and would be easier to use than changing the head on the saw if only going for the smooth finish (and not planing for square). We usually compensate for out-of-square or bowing with the layout system, if needed. Our tolerances are 1/8" of twist over 16' and within 1/16" of square on an 8x8 before we consider planing to correct (and maybe then only at the joinery location). Our commercial  circular sawyer and our own Woodmizer can usually achieve this. Like Brad, we would only plane timbers in a house frame or outdoor structure that might need a finish oil, not a barn, shop or utility building.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 09:55:34 pm »
Will (Heartwood), MP100 planer head $5895 right now without the track(because it rides on my LT15 track).  It's a whole separate head from your sawmill head.  Great tool.  A 12 inch hand held planer cannot do what the MP100 does.  It quickly planes a beam parallel to the bed.  Rotate your first planed side 90 degrees opposite of the uprights.  Use a framing square to check how square that planed side is to the bed.  Shim the beam to make it square to the bed.  Now plane your second face(which is adjacent to the first face).  Now you can rotate either of these faces down against the bed and plane the opposite face and it will be parallel to the face your referencing against the mill bed.   This assumes that you have initially adjusted your MP100 to plane parallel to the bed.  I've only done this once - 2 years ago.  It has not moved since.
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Online Don P

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 11:14:58 pm »
The Lucas head is about $900 and is more like an end mill or router than a knife head. If you remember the radial arm saw planning heads it is similar. A series of disposable inserts around the perimeter do the cutting. Changeout to the planer is a few minutes. It does not produce the finish of a knife planer and is no more accurate than the saw, pretty much dead nuts if set up well. It joints and dimensions the full length of the timber. Where it shines is dimensioning dry timbers. The other day I set up 5 6x8's side by side and did all of each face, rolled 180 and planed, then 90, clamped together and finally another 180 to finish. One was black locust and I certainly could tell the difference from the white pine but it did a fine job, just a little slower. Might have taken an hour for straight, flat, on dimension stock.  Prior to that I had been thinking of making  a beam planer using the top of a gutted old lunchbox planer and "roller skates" on a section of poured "sidewalk". Set the timber down and roll the cutterhead over it, again indexing from a long straightedge.

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 10:18:41 am »
Will (Heartwood), MP100 planer head $5895 right now without the track(because it rides on my LT15 track).  It's a whole separate head from your sawmill head.  Great tool.  A 12 inch hand held planer cannot do what the MP100 does.  It quickly planes a beam parallel to the bed.  Rotate your first planed side 90 degrees opposite of the uprights.  Use a framing square to check how square that planed side is to the bed.  Shim the beam to make it square to the bed.  Now plane your second face(which is adjacent to the first face).  Now you can rotate either of these faces down against the bed and plane the opposite face and it will be parallel to the face your referencing against the mill bed.   This assumes that you have initially adjusted your MP100 to plane parallel to the bed.  I've only done this once - 2 years ago.  It has not moved since.

So Brad, It lives on your mill? So do you have both heads on the track at once?
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 09:50:50 am »
flyingparks, YES.
Here you can see both heads on the mill.  Put the saw head down past the timber at least 4 feet and then Use the planer head.  I have a 4" vacuum hose with a Dust Right quick attack from Rockler that I stick on the planer outlet. It's got an 1100cfm Jet dust collector motor/blower.  It's plumbed to the next room where I have a 4'x4'x8' chip collection box that I can pick up with the forklift.  If you don't, those chips will pile up fast.
 

 

 

 
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline fishfighter

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 05:50:20 pm »
Brad, I can see how wood chips could be a problem planning. When I use my little Dewalt table top, I have chips for days everywhere. :D

Offline flyingparks

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Re: Do I need a planer?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 06:56:07 pm »
flyingparks, YES.
Here you can see both heads on the mill.  Put the saw head down past the timber at least 4 feet and then Use the planer head.  I have a 4" vacuum hose with a Dust Right quick attack from Rockler that I stick on the planer outlet. It's got an 1100cfm Jet dust collector motor/blower.  It's plumbed to the next room where I have a 4'x4'x8' chip collection box that I can pick up with the forklift.  If you don't, those chips will pile up fast.
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)


Very cool. I like the setup.
Ain't gotta read between the lines, just gotta turn the page.