Setting up a new planer

Pointers and tolerances for setting up a new 20-inch planer. June 14, 2000

I have a brand new 20-inch planer I am setting up.

The table is set to within .005 (inch) of the head. Is this acceptable? The cutterhead (side to side) is within .008. I am using a dial indicator, naturally, to set this beast as close as possible. I am trying to get the cutterhead closer but am having no luck.

Maybe it is fine. Thoughts, anybody?

When setting the cutterhead to the outfeed table, you must set it as perfect as possible. .008 is not very close.

When I set knives I set them to within less than .001". Otherwise you will get sniping and chatter. Also, dimension variation will show up. Depending upon the type of cutterhead body you are using, there are several setup tools that can be used. I use either a magnetic holding tool or a tool that allows the edge of the knife to slide into a V-notch.

Let me know what type of machine you are using.

As for the distance between the tables, you need to allow enough room for the wood chips to flow by. I normally set a small planer table gap to about 1/32 to 1/16. The closer the better, as long as the chip can pass by the table without getting caught.

If you need to find out about the gauges let me know, but I will need to know the type of planer.

Another option is the use of an insert cutterhead. This makes setting the knives extremely simple.
Dave Rankin, forum moderator

The knives are set within .001, it's the cutterhead itself. The cutterhead is out .008 in 20 inches. The table is within .005. The planer is a Grizzly.

I also set the chipbreaker .002 above the roller. The rollers are set now at .030 instead of the factory recommendation of .040 (the infeed and outfeed rollers).

I set the rollers there to reduce the pressure on the surface of the wood and minimize roller marks from the outfeed roller.

Has this machine had the adjustment for the head cleaned and squared? If not, this would bring the spindle as square as possible to the table assembly.

A worn table can be machined back true. If the table is just out of square, it can be adjusted. Some of the smaller machines have set screws for this adjustment, others must be shimmed.

The roller pressure appears to be all right. Be sure to use a non- marking roller. Urethane works much better than rubber.

The chipbreaker setting may need to be adjusted depending upon the oversize of the lumber. You need enough pressure to hold, but not excessive pressure.

Sounds like the way you have the machine set is a good starting point.