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Safe T planer on a router?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Simski, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Hi

    Is it possible to use a Safe-T Planer on a router instead of on a drill press? I have this idea of making a jig where I can move the router over the plank instead of having to move the plank around. Also, because I'd move rather invest in a router than in a drill press.

    So.. what do you guys think? Is it possible?
  2. Tdog


    May 18, 2004
    NO! NO! NO!!!!!! The Safe-T planer is not designed to be used on a router. Most routers are spinning at 10,000-20,000rpm. A Safe-T planer is made for a drill press operating at substantialy lower rpm....500-1800rpm.

    A Safe-T planer combined with a router is a sure ticket to the emergency room!

    If you want to use a router as a planer (with a jig set up), use a large 3/4-1in straight bit. This will work well, but it takes time....not to mention the added safety factor.
  3. BassBilodeau


    Apr 2, 2007
    Sherbrooke, Qc, Canada
    Builder of Bilodeau Basses
    I am with Tdog!

    a couple of weeks or months ago, someone post about nice video explaining many tricks. Here is a link on how to use a Safe-T-planer.


    I know, I know, you must already know how to use it. I thought so too, but I gain efficiency when I applied all little details in this video.

    Good luck and try to keep all your fingers ;)
  4. David Pinton

    David Pinton

    Jul 27, 2008
    Normandie, France
    Builder DPinton Guitars and Basses
    Let me add: DON'T do that
  5. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA

    I know on the surface of things :)D) it looks like a good idea.

    But, can you say "shrapnel" ?
  6. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    If you're still tempted after the above very correct advice, you should also know that it wouldn't work. Routers don't have enough torque to operate such a large diameter cutter.
  7. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    and, the shaft on the planer, is too big to even fit in the biggest collet
  8. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
  9. vbasscustom


    Sep 8, 2008
    my thoughts exactly
  10. Alright, not a good idea. But I could use a straight router bit for the same purpose but on a smaller area than with the Safe T planer?
  11. I use a bowl cut bit and some crazy jigs to surface plane necks, bodies, etc. It's tedious but can definitely be done. Also, if you are not quite convinced NOT to do the saf-t-planer in the router thing, please take pics.
    Do NOT do it.
  12. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    Palm Coast, FL
    There, I fixed it for you.

    Dan K
  13. ninepoundjammer

    ninepoundjammer Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    I know, old thread, but I just came across it. One can use something like this Magnate surface planing router bit for this application, right:


    Does anybody have any experience with these? I know Martin Koch shows a similar bit and jig setup for planing in his book. I was planning to give it a try.
  14. JoeDeF


    Apr 15, 2009
    That will probably work just fine. I prefer to use a dish cutter (or bowl cutter) bit for similar jobs, because the rounded edges of the bit don't tear out and tear up your new surface like the sharp corners of the bit you are considering. Tearout can happen when the sharp corner takes too big a bite and pulls wood fibers out that are below your intended final surface. By "tear up," I mean that if you press down just a little harder on the router, or if your jig or template has a little give, the corner can dig in to an already-planed area.

    Here is a link to the type of bits I recommend:


    I don't use those exact bits, but that should give you a good idea of the concept.

  15. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    On yet an even different note, anyone have or use a radial arm saw mounted version of the Safe-T-Planer?
  16. ninepoundjammer

    ninepoundjammer Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    Cool, I can see the advantage of the bowl/dish bits. I don't think I had seen/noticed them with such a large diameter.
  17. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    OP: Just have to add my (same) two cents - don't do it.
    Far too dangerous and totally unwise.

    For people using straight bits to mill surfaces, I would suggest finding a bit *without* a center-cutting feature - that is to say, try to find one that does not have cutting blades on the end, but rather only has them on the sides.

    The reason for this is that the tool speed (different from RPM) gets lower and lower, down to a theoretical zero at the center of the cutter. Additionally, the cutter is operating in a tiny little cut diameter, especially when doing a convex surface like a neck.

    The result of these two factors is that, even with a supposedly high-speed router, the cutter is basically twisting the wood at the center of the cut, without much tool speed to do the actual shearing. So, you can often end up with fiber disturbances below the surface, which read as lines that are very difficult to sand out.

    We went through this with archtop guitar bodies that had been CNC routed with a ball mill. The tool center left clear "topo-map" marks where it had been, and they were at least 1/16" deep below the surface. We had to sand and sand, and they never completely disappeared.

    Using something more like a "fly cutter" (where the outer perimeter is doing the cutting) keeps the toolspeed high enough and avoids the "twisting" effect at the center of the bit. However, this doesn't always work that well for concave surfaces, unless you've jigged it up right.
    This will really depend on what the operation is.

    Always bear in mind that a 1/8" bit at 20K RPM is cutting at a quarter the toolspeed of a 1/2" bit at the same 20K RPM. The spindle speed is only one element of the whole picture.

  18. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    +10 to this^^^^^

    the ones with cutters in the bottom center are "Plunge Bits"
  19. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    This thread resurfacing is just plain wrong . . . jeez.

    Go ahead, use the router Safe-T-Planer combo.

    Please send pics when yer done.

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