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Truing and milling twisted or cupped boards whose width is broader than your jointer is always a challenge. And this becomes a true headache if you need to do this fast and efficiently.
If you own the common duo of a 6” jointer and a 12” planner you know what I mean. While it is manageable to skip the jointer and feed a somewhat straight 10” or so wide lumber into the planner and mill both faces flat and true, attempting to mill a twisted board in your planner is not going to end up well. As we know, the planner will try to press the board flat before shaving its top face and then release the pressure as the board exits the machine. This results in a smooth but still – twisted board – which leads us nowhere. In this situation, we have a few options:
- True and flatten the first face with a hand plane, then feed it to the planner, true side facing down.
- Rip the wide board in half, true each half on the narrow jointer, mill the other face in the planner, and then edge glue them back together.
- Mill one face with the help of a router & gantry contraption, then mill it in the planer – trued side facing down.
- And lastly cradling the crooked board over a platform that supports its topography before feeding it into a planner. That last approach is the fastest and the more common one among woodworkers.
Cradling technics can come in different forms. They can be as simple as shimming the twisted board with a few wedges to support its flared-up areas. Or be a very sophisticated system of adjustable slats that pitch to specific angles and conform to the board’s terrain.
Recently I found out another technique to cradle the board that on one hand will not require a lot of resources and time to build, and on the other hand will not demand gluing down shims to the platform to nest the crooked board over it.
Next time I will show my newly build cradleboard, AKA EZ Planing Sled.
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