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 In Tricks of the Trade

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Let’s face it: running a twisted board through the planer doesn’t make it flat. The board will still be twisted when it comes out. The trick is to use a sled that prevents the board from rocking as it’s being planed. That’s not a new idea, but I’ve made a sled that accommodates a board of almost any size, no matter how twisted.

I made the sled 12″ wide and 6′ long. It can be glued up from narrow boards, made from MDF, or be a melamine shelf purchased from a home center. Whatever the source, it has to be flat. Glue a 1/2″ thick stop block to the leading edge. Drill holes in the sled wherever needed and insert T-nuts from the bottom. Counterbore the T-nuts so their flanges don’t catch on the planer’s bed.

Next, mill a bunch of 1/2″ thick hardwood strips. Bevel some of the strips’ ends, and leave others square. Bandsaw adjustment slots down the strips’ centers. The wedges steady a wobbly board, and the square-ended strips hold it in place. Secure the blocks and wedges by screwing pan-head machine screws and washers into the T-nuts. Make sure the screws don’t stand proud of the board you’re planing! –Wayne Clevenger


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