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Handheld power planer question (1 Viewer)

Greg Yeatts

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
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300
Any of you guys use a handheld power planer. I need to plane a bit and am considering purchasing a hend held power planer.

In a related question, is it possible for MDF to shrink or expand with humidity? I cut a panel for my enclosure, then used a router with a straight-cut bit to make 8 duplicate panels for the back and braces. I checked each of these at the time I cut them and they were perfect duplicates. I moved four of the braces into the house for a week (the rest of the panels in the garage). The panels in the house are now about 3/32 shorter than the panels I left in the garage. Could this be mdf shrinkage from lower moisture levels in my house? If so, can I just keep all of the panels in the same place for a while and hope for equalization?


TIA
 

Allen Ross

Supporting Actor
Joined
Sep 30, 2002
Messages
819
yeah i now i have nipples on my tempest because it shrubnk after i filled in the screws with putty, or the putty expaned, either way i can now proudly say that my sub is the proud owner of over 30 plus nipples :D
 

ThomasW

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 6, 1999
Messages
2,282
MDF doesn't plane very well....and yes it certainly absorbs humidity like a sponge. 3/32" however seems excessive

You're probably better off stabilizing the humditiy. Then trimming the edges again with your router bit, if you don't have access to a tablesaw
 

Greg Yeatts

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
300
Thomas

I may have to try the planer anyway. The panels that need trimming are 2.25" and 1.5" thick. Too thick for my straight cut router bit. I don't have a table saw (grrr... gotta get one). May just wait a week and see if they equalize. I'm getting impatient now that my sub is here.
 

Dan Dubeau

Auditioning
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
6
I would suggest that with all woodworking projects that before you make any cuts you bring the wood you are going to be using into the house, prefferably into the room where the finished piece will be. This will bring the wood to the humidity level of the room and after about a week you can then cut and build and you shouldn't have any expansion or contration. Unless your climate changes alot from season to season.
 

Greg Yeatts

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
300
ThomasW

I agree that 3/32" seems excessive for shrinkage. As I stated, I checked these panels at the time I cut them and they were perfect (or perfect as a mere mortal can make them). Oh well. I'll have to make the best of it.
 

Dennis XYZ

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 1, 2002
Messages
115
If you decide to get a power planer, I've had good luck with the Makitas, both the little 4 incher and the monster 6 incher. The big one can even be bench mounted to make a pretty decent jointer but, at almost 20 pounds, it's awfully heavy for normal handheld use. I'd get the little one if I could only have one.
 

Chris Tsutsui

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Messages
1,865
One reason the panels could have warped is perhaps you didn't cut an inch or two off the full sheet before making the rips. The 4x8 sheets can be in storage for a while and the edges absorb moisture. By cutting away a small strip off the main sheet and exposing fresh edges, it makes all the panels edges the same. This is just a basic contractors rule of thumb.

MDF can warp depending on how you store it too, did you store them upright?

I had to store some MDF in my garage for a while so what I did was put some thin plastic over the pieces to help keep the moisture out. I dunno if this helps or not but it works with ceramics.

Humidity is MDF's worse enemy, sometimes the MDF will warp if you use too much glue or putty.

Allen, if you're getting nipples from putty, I wonder if the MDF absorbed moisture from the putty and expanded thus squeezing the putty out as a nipple. A suggestion is to use automotive bondo because that stuff dries solid and water proof and sands smooth.

I once left my car window open over night and the rain puddled around my tempest inside my 4runner. I'd have to say the base of the mdf box expanded like a quarter of an inch. At least it still sounds good. :)
 

Greg Yeatts

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
300
Chris

It didn't warp. The panels are very flat. They just have shrunk. I placed the panels that have shrunk in the garage with the other panels. Hopefully they will equalize.
 

Greg Yeatts

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
300
Just to follow up on my original post. I have let the braces sit in the garage with the other panels now for awhile. Tonight, I test fitted the panels again. Snug fit all around. The panels equalized. I would have never, ever thought that having some panels stored in a different room for awhile would have caused such shrinkage. I would be skeptical if not for my own experience. Now all the panels fit fine. The object lessson (if only for me) is to store all panels on an enclosure to be constructed in the same place.
 

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