Question About Planers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassmanbob, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I'm still obtaining info and starting to get some tools to start building basses. I've noticed that recommended planers will accept wood blanks usually 12-1/2" to 13" wide. That would be great for wings on a neck through, but what about a bolt-on body? Thirteen inches sounds like a narrow body.

    What is the average width of most basses? If it's more than 13", what do you guys do if you want to buy rough blanks for your bolt-on body woods?
  2. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Planers wider than this start to get very expensive.

    I had some 16" boards I needed planed for the house, I had to send them out to a boatyard.

    Unless you have a ongoing need for this machine, you would be better of either cutting the blank and joining it after, or sending the piece out to a local cabinet maker, boatyard, or luthier and having the blank planed.

    I like you, would prefer to do this myself, but I'm not going to invest that kind of money for an industrial tool, that I am going to use so very infrequently.

  3. BrowneBasses

    BrowneBasses Bass Builder

    Sep 4, 2003
    Sparrow Bush, NY
    A 13” plainer should be plenty wide enough, you would just make two body halves and get them to an equal thickness about 1/32” thicker than you want your final thickness with the plainer. Than you run the two middle edges down a jointer so they’re square and straight, and glue the two halves together, a biscuit jointer helps with putting the halves together, it keeps them from sliding around. Than you can get your final thickness with a profile drum sander, there reasonably priced and you can get them pretty wide, mine is 16” wide and it’s plenty. Than you can cut your body shape and pockets and such. I hope that helps.

  4. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002

    exactly what he said.....
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    12.5" or 12" is generally too narrow. Most of what you see out there is not a one piece body, and if it is one from a small custom builder, it probably has not been through a 15" planer. More likely through a drum sander. Delta sells an 18" drum sander in the $700 range.

    Either way, a cabinet shop, as others have mentioned, is a good way to get a wide piece of wood surfaced while you get started.
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    save your money for a really, really nice band saw (unless you aleady have one).
  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Thanks guys. You answered my questions quite well.

    Off topic: I know that I whould stay away from the $100.00 table saws. I've looked at the Ryobi table saw that's about $360.00 in Home Depot. It also has a router table as part of the table (to the side). Is anyone familiar with this and what do you guys think?

    There is a DeWalt table saw in the paper that is originally about $850 and is brand new, never used for $500. Should I spend the extra $150 for the professional table saw or would you go with the Ryobi?
  8. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    the only ryobi machine i would buy is the spindle sander. $99 at HomeDepot/Lowes.
  9. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I thought that Ryobi was good stuff. It's not?
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I've gotten by without a table saw at all for about 5 years. I have access to one now and all I use it for is ripping neck laminates. A good band saw should be a priority for sure. I paid under $500 for my 14" Jet.
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio

  12. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member


    Repeat 3 times.

    Remove wallet from pants.

    Remove credit card from wallet.

    Take a deep, cleansing breath.

    Spend extra $150.00

    Be happy forever with good quality tool.

    See, that was not really painful at all.

    Like Miss Manners, Thor chooses to ignore moronic asides regarding spindle sanders by ascerbic semi-contributors when the thoughtful table saw tool purchase issue was brought up by the original poster.
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I agree with Whore, although not all of us are able to be a fierce VP of monopolistic fish smuggling outfit that pays off the NLRB ( :p ) and carries platinum cards in his wallet. :eek: :smug: Darn illuminatis!

    Don't skimp on the tools, budget it out and pay the most you can. you do get what you pay for.


    sshhhhhh!!! ;) is that all you got old man? bring it on!
  14. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member


    Try green card.
    [ You have one or two of those?...]

    That's a good plan,
    budget it out,
    59 bucks a month for life!

    Bet you have a financial advice column too, 'How to guide for Rice and Beans for San Antone Symphony Members ...'
  15. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    You can score a 15" planer at Wilke Machinery in York, PA for about $700. Great deal, unless your body's 15 1/2". Drum sanders go pretty wide, and sometimes have an open side, so you can sand half at a time, effectivly doubling the max width you can surface. The downside of drum sanders is they're much slower at removing material and the cost of consumables.

    As for the table saw, it's got limited usefulness in bass building, and unlimited usefulness is general woodworking. If that Dewalt is the DW746 model - the one that looks like a 3/4 cabinet saw, with the motor on the inside - then $500 is a good price for a very good saw. The Ryobi's not bad, either, just not at the same level. I think one of the key differences is that the DW has an induction motor (powerful, quiet, low vibration - like your dryer) and the Ryobi more than likely a universal motor (noisy, lots of vibations - like a circular saw.) Vibration is your enemy in a table saw.

    There's a couple adages that get tossed around about buying tools. The most used is, "If you spend the money for a good tool you only cry once." The other is "Buy your last saw first."
  16. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member


    I agree wholeheartedly!
  17. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Yes. It's the 746. It's preowned but never used. The guy didn't even take all of it out of the box.

    I'm beginning to think a little more clearly now. Even though the Table saw is a great buy, it seems that I won't be using it that much. On the other hand, a good quality band saw would be a good investment if I don't have the money to spend it all now.

    I think I'm going to get a really good band saw, joiner and sander first, then go from there.

  18. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    I'd buy that in a heartbeat. Then again, I'm much more of a general woodworker. You'd barely use it for what you're planning to do.

    Did you score a drill press in your last round of acquisition? If not, I'd probably go for the press before a drum sander. But, if you can afford to do all, go for it. I'd post some tool review sites, but I blew away my Favorites by accident, so you're own your own with googling around! :D You'll also want to get a quality machinist square and straight edge, perhaps even a setup kit (grizzly has them for very good prices...) You gotta learn how to set these tools up before you ever even turn them on. Actually, one of the markers of a quality tool is that you CAN set it up well, and it'll hold its setup. It's less critical in solid-body building than in many other forms of woodwork, but you really should know how to do it. Jointer setup is critical. Bandsaw second. Drill press, third. Sander, ah, who cares, as long as it doesn't bind up and shoot the blank across the room! A well-setup tool is much safer (I'm a little worried you're getting too much too quickly... At the least, practice each cut and technique on some soft throw-away wood like pine before working with the expensive stuff.)
  19. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Hi have no planer or drum sander yet, but after talking a lot with Larry from galleryhardwwods about it, I would go for a drum sander.

    For the exotic woods I use, the planner would do way too much chip out.

    Here are some examples: