Planer advice

cain61

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
955
Reaction score
279
I'm just a hobby woodworker with an interest in lutherie. What kind of planer do most of you recommend? I was thinking in the $400-$600 range, assuming that will do. Any particular ones to stay away from?

Thanks, Cain
 

fatdaddypreacher

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
6,823
Reaction score
4,988
unfortunately, there is a pretty big price jumb when you get above 12" and to plane glued up maple caps for a carved top build, you will need a 15". it may be difficult to find anything new for the kind of budget you have, but grizzly and the similar tools made like them have served me well. if you can find a decent used one you might find one in the upper end of your budget
 

cain61

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
955
Reaction score
279
Thanks, Bob. I was thinking I could run the half- caps before glue-up and they would stay virtually flat afterward. Does that not happen in real world?
 

DaveR

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
679
Reaction score
1,128
FDP is totally right about needing a 15" for guitar work as most guitar bodies are in the 13" range and most budget planers are 12". I nearly bought a used 15" Powermatic last year but let it go because it didn't have a spiral head. I could kick myself for that now, because I've had to plane a TON of rough cut stock recently on my 12" Dewalt lunchbox planer.

Trying to plane half caps probably won't work out all that well. I've done it, but it required a lot of finessing after the glue up. Also, what's the body wood? If it's one piece you've got the size problem again. If it's also halves, then you're compounding the issues you'd have with the maple cap pieces.

Something else to think about.... If you do other woodworking more than guitar building, a 12" lunchbox planer fits your budget and can be a fine tool. With guitar tops, if you're interested in figured wood, a straight knife planer has a tendency to rip it to shreds anyway. I get by without a massive $$$ spiral head planer, by using a router planing sled. It's slow and tedious but can thickness wood that is beyond the capacity of my small planer. The router doesn't leave a glass smooth cut, but it also doesn't cause crazy tearout like my planer does on curly maple. It tends to leave some ridges behind that can be cleaned up with a hand plane or sander. I'm not going to plane 100 board feet of stock with this sled, but to do one guitar body and top, isn't too bad. It hangs vertically on the wall of my shop, so the footprint is small, and since it was homemade, the price was right.

IMG_5345.jpg
 

Tone deaf

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
33,666
Reaction score
66,196
Used Grizzly... Sadly, there will be lots of used tools on CL, soon. Also, all the retailers will have inventory that they have to get rid of. Keep your eyes peeled.
 

cain61

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
955
Reaction score
279
FDP is totally right about needing a 15" for guitar work as most guitar bodies are in the 13" range and most budget planers are 12". I nearly bought a used 15" Powermatic last year but let it go because it didn't have a spiral head. I could kick myself for that now, because I've had to plane a TON of rough cut stock recently on my 12" Dewalt lunchbox planer.

Trying to plane half caps probably won't work out all that well. I've done it, but it required a lot of finessing after the glue up. Also, what's the body wood? If it's one piece you've got the size problem again. If it's also halves, then you're compounding the issues you'd have with the maple cap pieces.

Something else to think about.... If you do other woodworking more than guitar building, a 12" lunchbox planer fits your budget and can be a fine tool. With guitar tops, if you're interested in figured wood, a straight knife planer has a tendency to rip it to shreds anyway. I get by without a massive $$$ spiral head planer, by using a router planing sled. It's slow and tedious but can thickness wood that is beyond the capacity of my small planer. The router doesn't leave a glass smooth cut, but it also doesn't cause crazy tearout like my planer does on curly maple. It tends to leave some ridges behind that can be cleaned up with a hand plane or sander. I'm not going to plane 100 board feet of stock with this sled, but to do one guitar body and top, isn't too bad. It hangs vertically on the wall of my shop, so the footprint is small, and since it was homemade, the price was right.

View attachment 463052
Awesome! That makes a lot of sense!
 

cain61

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
955
Reaction score
279
Used Grizzly... Sadly, there will be lots of used tools on CL, soon. Also, all the retailers will have inventory that they have to get rid of. Keep your eyes peeled.
Sadly, you're right, at least in urban areas. However,I live in a very rural area where very few people other than the local one or two cabinet makers possess such equipment. I've always wondered about Grizzly. I seldom see their tools top-ranked in wood magazine and website bench tests. Reviews on retail sites that sell their products are seldom stellar.
 
Last edited:

fatdaddypreacher

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
6,823
Reaction score
4,988
daver addressed the alternative very well. i used the router/planer box method when i glued on the wings of a thru neck lp style build and works well if you take your time. the 15" is not absolutely necessary, but sure is nice to have. If you have a local cabinet shop or the like near by to take care of the wide board issue, then a 12" would serve you well. If you thought you might build more than one, and could pony up the money for an extra blank or two, you could glue up two or three caps and two or three body blanks and have them done and store them.
 

Ripthorn

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
1,963
Reaction score
1,829
I have the Ridgid 13" planer and it has worked great for many years. Rarely is a guitar body wider than 13". I bought mine for around $300.
 

fatdaddypreacher

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
6,823
Reaction score
4,988
that will work for most, indeed. i think lp style is 12 3/4 or so if memory holds me correct. i don't build vintage so i'm not certain, but 13 should work.
 

Robert Parker

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
759
Reaction score
377
This Dewalt has a 13" cut capacity and is a very nice planer. I've used one extensively. At a 13" cut, all the common solid-body guitars, like Tele, LP, and Strat-based guitars - should just fit.
 

LtDave32

Desert Star Guitars
Super Mod
Silver Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
46,383
Reaction score
153,463
I've got the DeWalt 734. At 12.5 planing width, it's just barely too narrow for most guitar bodies of one-piece construction.

But it does a helluva lot of other things and is a valuable addition to my shop.

But for thicknessing bodies, especially with maple caps, I'd rather use a drum sander anyway. It would be such a heartbreak to go through all that work to have a nasty rip-out.
 

SlingBlader

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2013
Messages
727
Reaction score
1,169
I've got the DeWalt 734. At 12.5 planing width, it's just barely too narrow for most guitar bodies of one-piece construction.

But it does a helluva lot of other things and is a valuable addition to my shop.

But for thicknessing bodies, especially with maple caps, I'd rather use a drum sander anyway. It would be such a heartbreak to go through all that work to have a nasty rip-out.
Same here. I only use my planer when just rough dimensioning lumber. Once any given part is roughly cut to shape, it only ever sees the drum sander after that.

Rule of thumb, the closer you get to final dimension, the more delicate and precise the tool should be. :thumb:
 

LtDave32

Desert Star Guitars
Super Mod
Silver Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
46,383
Reaction score
153,463
Same here. I only use my planer when just rough dimensioning lumber. Once any given part is roughly cut to shape, it only ever sees the drum sander after that.

Rule of thumb, the closer you get to final dimension, the more delicate and precise the tool should be. :thumb:
Doing Fender-style guitars, a planer is fantastic. Firstly, the bodies are two and three-piece. Fine for a planer. And one needs a precise final thickness of neck and fretboard (or one-piece neck) to be one inch.

Beats the hell out of trying to do such precision work on a table saw.

And on that, I have the DeWalt table saw which has a rack and pinion fence, and is able to cut really precise with almost zero runout. But you still have to set the distance from the fence to the saw..

A planer really took the tedium out of that job.
 

Robert Parker

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
759
Reaction score
377
I've got the DeWalt 734. At 12.5 planing width, it's just barely too narrow for most guitar bodies of one-piece construction.

But it does a helluva lot of other things and is a valuable addition to my shop.

But for thicknessing bodies, especially with maple caps, I'd rather use a drum sander anyway. It would be such a heartbreak to go through all that work to have a nasty rip-out.
That one is a different planer - which you may have already been pointing out. The 735 is more powerful, heavier, and has a 1/2" more cutting capacity. It's not much, but it's just enough. But, I agree with all y'all that as you get closer to being to final dimensions, I'd want something more delicate. One nice thing about the Dewalt 735 is that it has 2 cutting speeds, a 3-blade cutter, and a very slow rate of closure. So you can slow down your process to take very slow, very fine passes. I'm certain a drum-sander would be better at that stage, though I've never gotten to use one.
 

LtDave32

Desert Star Guitars
Super Mod
Silver Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
46,383
Reaction score
153,463
and of course we're all spoiled, because theres barnaby that does everything with his teeth and fingernails.
Barnaby talks trees into becoming guitars. All on their own.

I've seen him do it.

He once saw a mahogany tree growing next to a maple tree.

He said "so when are you crazy kids getting married?"

Soon, this carved top LP pops out. I've seen it. I testify.
 

fatdaddypreacher

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
6,823
Reaction score
4,988
that's funny. was that when he went up into the crater of an active volcano and forged his bridge and tailpieces, or when he went to the mountains and dug ore to make his staining agents. i sure miss those old videos. he went hi tech on us and uses electricity now
 


Latest Threads



Top