Planing Thin Stock

I work a fair amount with thin solid wood panels. Unfortunately, the cutterhead on my planer won’t lower enough to cut stock thinner than about 14". My solution? I made a riser panel that spans the planer tables to raise the stock. For accuracy, I used 34"-thick MDF, gluing plastic laminate to both sides for stability and easy stock feeding. A stop strip screwed to the underside of the trailing end keeps the panel in place. The low-friction laminate and uninterrupted surface improve feeding enough that I leave the panel in place for general work.

Although most planer manuals advise against planing stock less than 14" thick, I find that if I’m careful, I can easily work stock down to 316", and sometimes even 18." For best success, use straight-grained wood, and take very light passes. If the stock is bowed at all, feed it with the concave surface against the riser to prevent the blades from catching against a lifted leading end.

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