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I'm working as carpenter with a lot of recycled wood which I plane on a circular saw (Bosch GTS 10 XC) from both sides (in both senses) which has an acceptable result, but is never perfectly straight because the rip fence isn't perfectly rectangular (isn't made for this task). And I'm limited in terms of board/plank width of 2 times the maximal cutting depth, i.e. 2x 7.9 cm for my saw. Even if I manage to remove less than the diameter of the saw blade, the work is slow with a fine blade or the resulting surface rough with a blade with less teeth.

Therefore I thought of investing in an electric plane in average price range (200 to 300 €), but therefore I need to know whether I can plane boards/planks with a width of a multiple of the electric plane's working width, e.g. whether I can plane a board/plank with 25cm width with an electic plane with 8cm working width so that the result is equally plane to the result of a jointer which would plane the piece in one run.

  • Buy a quality used plane, not the far-east junk which dominates the market today. I've never seen a plane that lets you plane half the wood and rotate it and run it through again. That's just not how planes work. Also remember planes are not jointers. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Apr 30 '17 at 13:52
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It sounds like you're looking for the word "jointer" (not obvious at all; I wonder why they call it that). That takes an irregular first side and makes it regular (or at least more regular).

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Once the first side is true, you can do the second with a planer.

I have never heard of a jointer - or a planer - that lets you work wood wider than the machine is made for. Jointers rely on the smoothed surface that is emerging on the far side of the jointer. And the constructions of normal planers would make that impossible.

If you need constant access to a jointer, buy a quality domestic used one that is still supported... avoid the modestly priced junk from the far east.

If you require occasional access, look for a new phenomenon called a "Maker Space", which is a membership club where you have access to a huge variety of machine tools. There are several in most US cities, I assume they have swept the world by now. Now when I google Maker Space, among the top 10 results are two in my local area, one I didn't even know about! You commonly see respectably sized jointers and planers at maker spaces.

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I have done what you want to do with a electric hand plane. It will leave ridges where the cuts lap. If you want it flat, one side needs to be ran over a jointer of the proper width for the piece then a thickness planer to get a uniform thickness across the board.

As I mentioned, I have done this, but as a prelude to running the material through a planer. Instead of using a jointer, I would run the electric hand planer over the surface here and there to flatten it with care, then run the other side through the thickness planer. once that side is flat enough, I flip it over and run the side I used the hand plane on to remove the ridges left by that method.

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If you can't afford a jointer or don't want one because of other issues like space you could consider a router planing sled. These also work when the work piece is larger than the jointer table. Essentially you stabilize the work piece and then run a router over the piece to create a flat surface.

enter image description here

  • That is extremely interesting, thank you. Is it possible that you post another photo for an impression about the resulting surface? What attachement/shaper would you recommend (dimensions)? – Karl Richter May 5 '17 at 15:21
  • I haven't used this method myself. I would recommend doing some searching for it. There seems to be better results depending on multiple factors including the bit and cutting with or against the grain(and probably other factors). – Mr. Horse May 5 '17 at 19:03

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