Author Topic: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?  (Read 11315 times)

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Offline impecunious

  • Posts: 25
Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« on: April 01, 2016, 04:51 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm at a bit of a proverbial fork in the road and I'm just not sure which path to take.  To explain, I'm still fairly new to woodworking, but I have accumulated a fair bit of Festool kit... the tracksaw, CT 26, MFT set, Kapex, CMS and router, and Domino are the major components I have.  However, this is basically ALL of the major woodworking gear I have.  Notably absent from this list are a jointer and planer, either in power tool or hand tool form.

I'm also dealing with a relatively small space for my shop, roughly 220 sq ft.  So I have very little tolerance for any tool that won't be extraordinarily useful because my free space is getting slim.

I really don't know which tool route to take to simply mill a board 4-square.  For the time being, I've bought some wood surfaced two sides from an online site (Woodworker's Source) and I will probably plan to do so for the foreseeable future, with my rationale being that I won't have to usually flatten this stock and then plane it, and assuming that I like the thickness as is.  But even then, this doesn't seem to be a foolproof approach.  The last S2S board I bought recently was in good shape for the most part, but even it wasn't perfect and one stick out of a picture frame I was making was slightly twisted and basically put me dead in the water with the project.

To me, the downside of buying a planer (assuming I can get by with my TS 55 as the edge jointer) is the space it will occupy in my shop.  Granted, something like the DeWalt DW735 13" planer isn't a huge footprint, but it's still something, and will also require (I guess) a Dust Deputy or similar to handle the chunks.  On the other hand, the downside of hand tools like jack & jointer planes is the sheer time that seems to be involved.  If I were making something like this simple picture frame again and needed to flatten out one stray stick member, the idea of using hand tools to flatten that stick - and then thickness the other three members to compensate - just seems a little sadistic.  Don't get me wrong... the idea of hand tools really intrigues me.  But the time involved with them just to flatten & thickness lumber in this example "scares" me.  In fairness, I have no idea how long an exercise like that would take, but my guess is it would be orders of magnitude more than using power tools.

Can you guys give me some advice here?  Thanks!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 04:55 PM by impecunious »

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Offline Steve Rowe

  • Posts: 828
  • Teach them safety when they are young.
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 06:03 PM »
Unless you plan on adding a substantial workbench, don't consider the hand plane route.  The MFT just isn't stable enough to do this activity IMO.  Also, this does require substantial effort and practice to be proficient. 

With the limited space you have, I would be looking at a Hammer jointer/planer combo model A3-31.  This would give you both machines occupying the same space.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 06:47 PM by Steve Rowe »

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2034
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 06:38 PM »
I second the Hammer combo route.  I have a 35 year old .2" Powermatic planer and a Jet 16-32 drum sander but never bought a wide jointer.  I'm intending to buy the A3 41 Hammer and putting my Powermatic up for sale (I can get more than I paid for it).

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 07:23 PM »
Another vote for a combo from me!

... on a mobile base - right next to your new bandsaw [wink] [big grin]

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 5145
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 09:29 PM »
@impecunious
We've discussed your available space but the other item we haven't discussed is your budget. I have no idea what a Hammer Combo runs, but that just may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Compactness along with accuracy comes at a price.

Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 10:02 PM »
I've made do without a jointer for ten years now, but a thickness planer is essential for me. I do use a lot of hand tools though, and jointing with a hand plane is actually very fast if you have the right tools and technique. It also goes without saying that there are no width restrictions when hand jointing a board.

Frequently I pay the lumber yard to dimension the boards for me as well.

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1553
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 10:12 PM »
One thing to consider is production volume. If you are a hobbyist making couple of pieces of furniture a year from S2S lumber having A3 will be total waste. I never had proper bench, but it did not stop me from using hand planes. You can rig up sturdy and removable surface. You don't need fancy planes either. There are plenty of options. Router sleds, ts saw for joining, etc.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 5145
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 10:51 PM »
FWIW...Ive had a Delta jointer and a Dewalt planer, for the last 15/20 years. I probably use the planer at least 10-15 times as often as I use the jointer. There is always a way to joint a board such as using a table saw or track saw, but there are few viable options to easily thickness plane a piece of lumber. A planer is a necessity, a jointer is a bonus round.

Offline impecunious

  • Posts: 25
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2016, 11:23 PM »
All great points, guys... thanks so much.  Honestly, I really had never spent much time at all before considering the Euro-style combination machines, and I had never heard of Hammer (or now Felder, Mini Max, and the like).  After doing a little web window shopping, all I can say is wow... amazing machines.
@impecunious
We've discussed your available space but the other item we haven't discussed is your budget. I have no idea what a Hammer Combo runs, but that just may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Compactness along with accuracy comes at a price.
And here's my biggest concern... these amazing machines cost amazing coin.  Even just the Hammer planer/jointer combo is at least $3K from what I've quickly gleaned.  And although a little off topic, it would be totally sweet to have an all-in-one machine like the Hammer C series... but as I think about all of the relatively still new Festool gear sitting in my garage, I just don't want to even picture the thought that I've gone down the wrong path for my small space.  So I'll just think happy thoughts and pretend those 5-in-1 machines don't exist.   [big grin]

The reality is that I'm a weekend warrior at best.  I want to woodwork for fun, it's about time that I start doing something with my shop besides "getting it ready" for woodworking, and I'm really not excited at the thought of stomaching several grand more for a good combination planer/jointer.  Now the Dewalt 735 planer & its mobile base (which is a smaller footprint still than the Hammer!) is suddenly looking much more attractive to me.  Surely with this, my tracksaw, and the occasional bench plane or two, I can be off to the races when it comes to milling a board 4-square... right?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 11:26 PM by impecunious »

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 291
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 11:25 PM »
I agree with Cheese on prioritizing the planer over the jointer.   I built a sled which let's me "face joint" stock on the planer. By placing shims between the stock and the sled, you can stabilize your stock to face plane the first side of your board, then flip it over and go through the planer on the second side without the sled.

I'm certain I'm not explaining this well, but there is a video somewhere on the internet where some guy did this and it works really well. 

I've done a lot of boards with a Lie- Nielsen # 8. It's fun the first few times you do it, but it gets old real fast, especially if you have a bunch of boards to do. I personally prefer to let a power planer do this job...

Hope this helps...

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1723
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2016, 12:05 AM »
Depends on where you want to go with your woodworking.  One thing for sure, is that a weekend warrior does not have the time to square up many boards with a handplane.

If you can find a good lumberyard in your area, they can do the milling for you, for a price, and solve your problem.

If you need to be self sufficient, then you will need a way to mill rough lumber to a variety of sizes.  Frankly, I have seldom seen s2s lumber off the rack that is sufficiently square to build furniture with.

A combo is probably the best bet.  Get it on wheels so you can move it out of the way as needed.  Though most combos will need 220v.

There is a good market in used equipment these days.  Try craigslist before you buy new.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2016, 12:36 AM »
Depends on where you want to go with your woodworking.  One thing for sure, is that a weekend warrior does not have the time to square up many boards with a handplane.

If you can find a good lumberyard in your area, they can do the milling for you, for a price, and solve your problem.
...

Amen - The rest of the @Jesse Cloud message (that I left out) was also good.

Sometimes I have had 'propeller stock' and handplaned one side to make it flat, and then strutted back to have the lumber yard run it through their thicknesser.

Offline impecunious

  • Posts: 25
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2016, 09:46 AM »
Amen - The rest of the @Jesse Cloud message (that I left out) was also good.

Sometimes I have had 'propeller stock' and handplaned one side to make it flat, and then strutted back to have the lumber yard run it through their thicknesser.
I can see why this was suggested.  My biggest hiccup with it is that to my knowledge, I don't have a local lumberyard nearby that sells high-quality lumber that would also mill it square for me.

Just out of curiosity, speaking of those Hammer machines... if you guys had 220 sq ft of space like I do and didn't have a single machine to start with, would you have gone with a Euro 5-in-1 machine or with Festool?  I don't know why I have this feeling in my stomach that maybe one of those machines would have made more sense for my space...   [sad]

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1723
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2016, 09:56 AM »
"I can see why this was suggested.  My biggest hiccup with it is that to my knowledge, I don't have a local lumberyard nearby that sells high-quality lumber that would also mill it square for me."

If you tell us where you are, maybe we can help find a good yard.

Any woodworker's clubs nearby?  They are a great source for local info.

Offline impecunious

  • Posts: 25
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2016, 10:01 AM »
If you tell us where you are, maybe we can help find a good yard.

Any woodworker's clubs nearby?  They are a great source for local info.
I'm in the Tippecanoe County area of Indiana.  Besides the big box stores, we have a couple of local lumberyards, but one of them for sure definitely doesn't offer quality hardwood.  There are definitely lumbermills around, but the couple I've called don't deal with consumers unless you want to buy at least a thousand board feet or something.

There is a woodworking club... the Wabash Valley Woodworkers I think it's called.  That is a good idea to reach out to them for thoughts.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1818
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2016, 01:29 PM »
The woodworking club is definitely your best bet. Not only are the members likely to know sources for good quality hardwood, but they may also have access to planers and jointers, either owned by the club members or by some company that will do this work for you custom to your needs.

Also, since you are, to some degree, just beginning, they would also be a great resource when you have questions. While the internet offers a huge amount of information (some good and some not so good), it's always nice to have access to someone who may be able to show you in person or help you work through problems you encounter.

It certainly is possible to use the TS55 for jointing and edge, but the question is would serve 100% of your needs? If it doesn't then you still have the problem which needs a solution.
Randy

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 220
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2016, 06:54 PM »
Just out of curiosity, speaking of those Hammer machines... if you guys had 220 sq ft of space like I do and didn't have a single machine to start with, would you have gone with a Euro 5-in-1 machine or with Festool?

My opinion.  220 sq ft is about 15 ft by 15 ft.  21 ft diagonal.  Good enough sized space.  I'd opt for the stationary machine.  Or the saw/shaper and jointer/planer machines.  And a Domino for joints.  Assume you will do all of your woodworking in this space and not need to do anything on site (portable).  Add a workbench or worktable on the side.  The above tools and a very few hand tools could accomplish almost anything.  In a small space.  If you are committed and dedicated to making woodworking a hobby, I'd advise spending the big money to start.  Instead of doing the upgrade shenanigans.  Buy starter tool, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.  You end up spending as much or more than if you started at the top.  And you spend a lot of wasted time before you get the good tools to do good work sort of easily.  Money, time, tool quality, there is a compromise with all these together.  I realize dropping big bucks on something new is dangerous.  Better to work your way into it gradually.  Its just that with woodworking, and other things too, unless you have high quality tools, and expensive, its hard to really enjoy it or be successful.  This is not an absolute.  But take planes as an example.  High dollar and quality Lie-Nielsen compared to a cheap, rusty, old Sears brand plane from the 1960s.  LN you use and it works perfectly.  Sears you rebuild it and adjust it and maybe it will work OK.  Are you a woodworker or a machinist, antique restorer, woodworker?  Where does the joy come from?  You can produce a straight edge on a board with either, its just how you want to get to that result.

This is the hand tool forum.  So its a bit odd to talk about Festool and Hammer machines here.  I know the original question was about hand jointer or power jointer and planer.  But we have digressed from that quite aways.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 09:04 PM by RussellS »

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3595
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2016, 12:14 AM »
Having a tracksaw and a long rail will cover many of the bases you would otherwise need a jointer for.  By just adding a decent planer, you will be able to surface and true up rough lumber, provided it's not overly twisted or cupped.  The planer will work just fine hooked up to a large shop vac without the dust deputy as well, in case you were worried about that. 

Hi guys,

I'm at a bit of a proverbial fork in the road and I'm just not sure which path to take.  To explain, I'm still fairly new to woodworking, but I have accumulated a fair bit of Festool kit... the tracksaw, CT 26, MFT set, Kapex, CMS and router, and Domino are the major components I have.  However, this is basically ALL of the major woodworking gear I have.  Notably absent from this list are a jointer and planer, either in power tool or hand tool form.

I'm also dealing with a relatively small space for my shop, roughly 220 sq ft.  So I have very little tolerance for any tool that won't be extraordinarily useful because my free space is getting slim.

I really don't know which tool route to take to simply mill a board 4-square.  For the time being, I've bought some wood surfaced two sides from an online site (Woodworker's Source) and I will probably plan to do so for the foreseeable future, with my rationale being that I won't have to usually flatten this stock and then plane it, and assuming that I like the thickness as is.  But even then, this doesn't seem to be a foolproof approach.  The last S2S board I bought recently was in good shape for the most part, but even it wasn't perfect and one stick out of a picture frame I was making was slightly twisted and basically put me dead in the water with the project.

To me, the downside of buying a planer (assuming I can get by with my TS 55 as the edge jointer) is the space it will occupy in my shop.  Granted, something like the DeWalt DW735 13" planer isn't a huge footprint, but it's still something, and will also require (I guess) a Dust Deputy or similar to handle the chunks.  On the other hand, the downside of hand tools like jack & jointer planes is the sheer time that seems to be involved.  If I were making something like this simple picture frame again and needed to flatten out one stray stick member, the idea of using hand tools to flatten that stick - and then thickness the other three members to compensate - just seems a little sadistic.  Don't get me wrong... the idea of hand tools really intrigues me.  But the time involved with them just to flatten & thickness lumber in this example "scares" me.  In fairness, I have no idea how long an exercise like that would take, but my guess is it would be orders of magnitude more than using power tools.

Can you guys give me some advice here?  Thanks!
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • ETS 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 220
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2016, 10:30 PM »
Having a tracksaw and a long rail will cover many of the bases you would otherwise need a jointer for.  By just adding a decent planer, you will be able to surface and true up rough lumber, provided it's not overly twisted or cupped.

Its always been my impression that you must have one flat surface to run through a planer.  Jointer can get that beginning flat surface.  Tracksaw does fine for straightening one edge of a board.  But flattening one face?  A planer with its pressure rollers  will follow the dips in the face of a board.  Planer uses its rollers to force the face down onto the surface.  Then smooth the other side.  And when the board comes out of the planer and no longer has the rollers putting pressure on the board, it goes back to being wavy, with a smooth face on the other side.  Planer does not flatten the board unless one side starts flat when it is pushed into the planer.

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 291
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2016, 10:56 PM »
@RussellS, although your comments are basically true regarding the planer, a practical alternative for using a planer to flatten the first face of the board is with a sled specifically designed for that purpose.  By shimming between the board and the sled, you can stabilize the board as it goes through the planer. I have used this method successfully many, many times. My sled is built as a torsion box so it will not flex under the planer rollers.  I've seen videos on line where guys used elaborate methods for stabilizing the board on the sled, but I find simple shims held in place with blue painters tape works just fine. Using this method I can " face joint" a 15" wide board. Not easy to get access to a 15" jointer...

Offline john molloy

  • Posts: 59
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2016, 02:42 AM »
make a router sleigh if you are on a budget .you already have a router .if you are new to woodwork you should be experience the joy of using hand tools .not many tools can give the finish a hand plane can .the whistle of a sharp handplane is lovely .woodwork is forgiving and a great hobby .especially if it is hand made you will look at it different if it is in your house .the end product is not were all the fun is .it is in the making

Offline FOGNewbie

  • Posts: 134
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2016, 12:49 PM »
One thing to consider is production volume. If you are a hobbyist making couple of pieces of furniture a year from S2S lumber having A3 will be total waste. I never had proper bench, but it did not stop me from using hand planes. You can rig up sturdy and removable surface. You don't need fancy planes either. There are plenty of options. Router sleds, ts saw for joining, etc.

Totally agree! You can also sure up an inexpensive bench by attaching plywood to the sides and back. I did this with an inexpensive Sjobergs bench several years ago. After screwing the pieces plywood the the legs, I've had no racking issues. Basically the cross members for the MFT are doing the same thing.

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3595
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2016, 11:44 PM »
Depends on the type of warping in the board.  If the board is cupped, then the planer will deal with it just fine.  But if the board is bowed or twisted then you have to get more creative (like planer sled), or go with hand tooling.  I just try to make sure when getting rough lumber that the warping is limited to cupping.  After planing it, I use the tracksaw to gradually work my way to final width, making sure to leave some margin for wood movement after the first cut.

Having a tracksaw and a long rail will cover many of the bases you would otherwise need a jointer for.  By just adding a decent planer, you will be able to surface and true up rough lumber, provided it's not overly twisted or cupped.

Its always been my impression that you must have one flat surface to run through a planer.  Jointer can get that beginning flat surface.  Tracksaw does fine for straightening one edge of a board.  But flattening one face?  A planer with its pressure rollers  will follow the dips in the face of a board.  Planer uses its rollers to force the face down onto the surface.  Then smooth the other side.  And when the board comes out of the planer and no longer has the rollers putting pressure on the board, it goes back to being wavy, with a smooth face on the other side.  Planer does not flatten the board unless one side starts flat when it is pushed into the planer.
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • ETS 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3

Offline adcolor

  • Posts: 74
    • MIkey's Millworks and More
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2016, 12:41 AM »
I'm a fan of jointer/planer machines. Hand planes are great, and could work with a good planer (the DW735X is a great planer in its category, you can upgrade the head to a helical later if you like). Jet makes a 12" machine that is impressive (the 10" is a lower class machine), and occupies only slightly more space than an 8" jointer.  What you CAN do with a tool is not the same as what you can do with your (unpaid but) valuable time.  I can plane a face of a board reasonably flat, but my time has some value, as I am not fast at it, and there are usually several boards that need work. The Jet may be on sale this weekend (10%) at Woodcraft and others. Still ~$3k for a helical head machine.

Others may be as good, including Laguna (just adding in another brand -- many of there machines are also Europe sourced). The buying/upgrading/etc of machines has a lot to do with you figuring out your style (aside from buying junk in the first place).  Having a reference surface for the other sides is the key to making that board 4 square, which makes it easy to make the next stage, ad infinitum, as you progress in your wood working.

Having no reference will leave you a frustrated woodworker with very slow progression in skills and quality of work.  Whatever direction you decide to go, commit to it until you reach a fork in the road (reached a limit in your results  you are doing or level of projects you can attain). 

Nothing wrong with your Festool equipment. It will make it easy to do a lot of the things you will want to do.  A combo machine is good -- as long as you have a process in mind in terms of set ups when you convert modes. I learned when I had an old Shopsmith to not have more than a couple of things (and never including my table saw) a single machine can do. Set up would just kill me.  Especially if I had to go back and make more of a part. If you are meticulous, then it will be a satisfying exercise to build and be organized in the flow and set ups.  Like all things, situations and requirements/limitations force us to make compromises (like a combo machine and set ups due to space limitations).

Offline charley1968

  • Posts: 491
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2016, 08:21 AM »
I'd recommed the planer/thicknesser. But: i almost exclusivly work in yellow pine, cuz that's the only lumber i can get. Most inexpensive boards come with one planed side, so a thicknesser enables me to plane stock into dimensions i need/use. It gives me the best bang for the buck.
Would i be living in an area where there's abundant hardwood, i'd be working with handtools.
I think it's fun to work with handtools, but it takes time and to get comparable results, some training.

Just for today..

Offline TheSergeant

  • Posts: 91
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2016, 10:50 AM »
I've been transitioning over to doing a lot of hand tool work lately but I don't think I could give up my planer or jointer.   They just make such quick work of dimensioning lumber, which is the most boring part of woodworking in my opinion.  I'd much rather get my wood to dimension quickly so that I can spend the time on parts I actually enjoy like joinery. 

I agree with others regarding a combo machine.  However, you don't have to spend major $$ to get one.  Keep an eye out for an Inca 510, 550, 560 or 570 jointer/planer combo machine.  They have 10-1/4" jointing/planing capacity and have  pretty small footprint.   

If you want to go the hand tool route I'd suggest getting a 14" band saw.  I've done a lot of projects where I'm able to hand plane a face, resaw it to thickness on the band saw, and then clean it up quickly with a few strokes of a plane.  With a well tuned band saw you can get really, really close to your final dimensions and with a few strokes a plane get it dialed in perfect without the need for a planer.   

Offline Dan-

  • Posts: 32
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2016, 11:47 PM »
What seems to be left out of this discussion is the necessity of good dust collection, which will run at least $2k from Oneida or ClearVue. You also have to factor in the cost of ducting (or S&D pipe). That's not the worst part (IMHO) because money is just cash flow, but space taken up by a stationary object is (semi)permanent. So you lose a 4x3 space for a good DC and then you lose the space for the jointer or combo machine. So you lose not only $5k+ but also 20 square feet of your shop.

Offline derekcohen

  • Posts: 229
    • In The Woodshop
Re: Hand tools? Or a jointer & planer?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2016, 02:19 AM »
Hi guys,

I'm at a bit of a proverbial fork in the road and I'm just not sure which path to take.  To explain, I'm still fairly new to woodworking, but I have accumulated a fair bit of Festool kit... the tracksaw, CT 26, MFT set, Kapex, CMS and router, and Domino are the major components I have.  However, this is basically ALL of the major woodworking gear I have.  Notably absent from this list are a jointer and planer, either in power tool or hand tool form.

I'm also dealing with a relatively small space for my shop, roughly 220 sq ft.  So I have very little tolerance for any tool that won't be extraordinarily useful because my free space is getting slim.

I really don't know which tool route to take to simply mill a board 4-square.  For the time being, I've bought some wood surfaced two sides from an online site (Woodworker's Source) and I will probably plan to do so for the foreseeable future, with my rationale being that I won't have to usually flatten this stock and then plane it, and assuming that I like the thickness as is.  But even then, this doesn't seem to be a foolproof approach.  The last S2S board I bought recently was in good shape for the most part, but even it wasn't perfect and one stick out of a picture frame I was making was slightly twisted and basically put me dead in the water with the project.

To me, the downside of buying a planer (assuming I can get by with my TS 55 as the edge jointer) is the space it will occupy in my shop.  Granted, something like the DeWalt DW735 13" planer isn't a huge footprint, but it's still something, and will also require (I guess) a Dust Deputy or similar to handle the chunks.  On the other hand, the downside of hand tools like jack & jointer planes is the sheer time that seems to be involved.  If I were making something like this simple picture frame again and needed to flatten out one stray stick member, the idea of using hand tools to flatten that stick - and then thickness the other three members to compensate - just seems a little sadistic.  Don't get me wrong... the idea of hand tools really intrigues me.  But the time involved with them just to flatten & thickness lumber in this example "scares" me.  In fairness, I have no idea how long an exercise like that would take, but my guess is it would be orders of magnitude more than using power tools.

Can you guys give me some advice here?  Thanks!

I have transitioned over the years from separate jointer and planers (thicknesser in Australia) to a Hammer A3-31 combo with a spiral head and digital readout. For my needs (weekend warrior), this is about as ultimate as I could want. It takes up little space, but (as was pointed out) you do need dust control as well. Still, it is expensive, and there are work arounds.

Keep in mind that I am also primarily handtool woodworker, and strongly believe that everyone should own and develop skills with handplanes. For the first 20 years of my woodworking I did not have a jointer or a planer/thicknesser. Learning to 4-square with a jack/jointer/smoother is time well spent.

Given that one can use handplanes, then there are these alternatives:

1. plane a face and edge flat and square, and then rip off a board on the bandsaw. Here is an old pictorial I wrote:  http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/Preparing%20a%20board%20without%20a%20thicknesser.html

2. Get a jointer before a planer/thicknesser so that you can plane a reference side quickly (rather than having to take out the twists and turns with a handplane), and then resaw with the bandsaw. I wrote about this in Pop Wood about 2 editions ago (final article in the magazine).

3. One can get a board coplanar (not flat) with handplanes, and then send it through a planer/thicknesser. Then flip the board and do the other side.

4. Or use wedges to secure a twisty board on a sled, and run it through a thicknesser/planer .... but I hate this method since most machines are slow and really LOUD.

5. All handplanes! Not difficult at all. The more you do it, the easier/faster it gets. Here is a quick pictorial:  http://www.woodworkforums.com/f152/planes-flattening-table-tops-209671#post1986147

It is not OK to use a Dust Deputy and vacuum cleaner to extract from a thicknesser. It simply will not catch the chips or the fine dust. I tried, unsuccessfully years ago with a Fein. You need a minimum of a 2 hp (preferably 3 hp) dust extractor and ideally 6" hoses.

Regards from Perth

Derek
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 02:21 AM by derekcohen »