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I know there are a few guys on-list that use a benchtop planer for roughing their 60s. Can you use a 2 knife planer or do you need the much more expensive 4 knife one?  (Bill Walters)

    I use a 2 knife Black and Decker and it works very well. For roughing the initial 60 degrees.  The finish is very good, I do get some "sniping" on the end, but I don't know whether that’s a function of the number of  knives?  (Bob McElvain)

      Bob, how do you hold the strips down?  (Daniel Snyder)

        The Golden Witch style roughing form and the 60 degree wooden planing form have "cleats" on the bottom which hold them still on the tray of the planner.  The roughing form is 4 feet long so about 1-1/2 feet of form stick out of either side of the planner, same with the 60 degree form.  I set the planner to take 1/32 to 1/16 cut on the strip per pass.  The bamboo is power fed thru, held in place but sliding smoothly in the form groove, by the planner power rollers.  The strips need to be pre-straighten and I hand plane one edge smooth and at 90 degrees to the enamel for the first cut.

        A simpler answer is that the power rollers hold the strip tightly against the form.  (Bob McElvain)

    My rougher was made by Chris Lucker from an old bench planer. There are no longer any knives on mine. Chris removed the knives and milled down the shaft to accept two 60 degree cutters and it really does a wonderful job. As to the "sniping" thing at the end of your strip, it helps to sand a short ramp on the strip. This helps the strip feed smoothly into the cutters.

    Thanks again Chris for old Big Red! I don't know how I ever got along without it!  (Mike Shay)

      It is actually a converted moulder/planer or thickness planer made by the M&M Company, which I have been told was an early form of Williams and Hussey.  M&M moulder/planers show up on eBay every once and a while.  They weigh 75 pounds, so shipping is a consideration.  Seventy five pounds?  Does that sound right, Mike?  (Chris Lucker)

        More like 95 pounds!  (Mike Shay)

    Glad this came up at this time. I was using my new bench planer yesterday and wondered if I could plane the bevel on a strip. Tried a few things and got some splintered strips. Finally set a strip in a 60 degree rough beveler board and ran it through the beveler. The strip traveled faster than the board so it slipped through the 60 degree groove. I did not like this too much as it messed up the end of the strip. I am using a 60" long rough beveler board. The next strip was anchored down at the front of the board with a short pointed pin, just enough to keep the strip from sliding in the groove. The strip and board came through together. Flipped the strip and ran the other side through the planer. Made a real nice 60 degree strip. Just used the 60 degree groove from the start. Still have to play with this but it looks like a winner. I am open to any suggestions.  (Tony Spezio)

      Played with this idea off and on for a couple of years but could never get it totally right.

      Made an adjustable 60" starter form with a 30° + 53° groove on one side and a 60° groove on the other. The depth of the bevels were such that when the form was turned over no adjustment was needed to complete the 60° strip.

      The Thickness Planer was set so that it would feed the form but not plane it. The downward pressure of the feed rolls held the strip in the groove and I never had problems with slippage of the strip in the adjustable form, did have slippage in the nonadjustable form. You may want to try putting a small slit in  the bottom of your groove making it a "Y". This fixed the slipping in nonadjustable forms for me.

      The problem I never solved was "Nipping" the first and last 4" of the strip. Other than that once you get the hang of it, it is fast and very accurate but you may lose 4" off each end of the each strip. So, make your form at least 12" longer than the strips you need.

      Word of caution: Wear safety glasses. Once in a while that first nip turns into an explosion..... Scars the daylights out of you but all of the debris goes out the other side of the planer. Not a good place for a helper to be standing when this happens.  (Don Schneider)


This is for anyone out there who is using a power planer to rough plane strips. 

I have a 13 inch planer that I was thinking I could use to eliminate rough planing strips by hand.  I made a first roughing form that has roughly a 83 degree angle (53 + 30) with one side having a groove deeper than the other.  This form is only 3 feet long.  Then I have a second roughing form that is 6 feet long with a series of 60 degree V-grooves in it of varying depths.

My though was that I can clamp the form to my planer bed and lower the cutter just to the point where is won't cut or feed the forms.  Then I can feed the strips through.  My questions are;

1.  Should I make multiple passes taking a little more off each time.

2.  Do I need an exact starter angle (7 degree) on one side of each strip.  My splitting is getting better in terms of width, but my angles aren't exact at all.

3.  When I switch to my 60 degree form should I take a little off of each side switching sides being planed as I cut deeper, or should do I only have to plane one side.

4.  I assume the strips need to be straightened before I do anything.

I appreciate any ones input who is doing something similar.  Or if it won't work at all let me know.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    Might I suggest for your first rod or two to hand plane the rough sections, this will help in keeping your angles, learning how to correct angles going off. These are things you want to figure out before you get to taking the couple of thousands off you final taper only to find the angles are off and the strip is no good.  (Pete Van Schaack)


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