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Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.

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19 comments

Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

Posted October 25, 2014 4:03 AM by Del the cat

I'm not into laminated and backed bows in a big way, but decent Yew is scarce so its good to make the best use of the available wood. That means using billets and backing bows sometimes, this is fairly arduous, so I hit on the idea of using an old power plane I have to make a thicknesser.

The plane was bought years ago on special offer from one of those German supermarket chains (Aldi I think) but you can get 'em for about £25 anyway. I've only ever used it a couple of times (it's a 900watt one).

I scoured the internet taking ideas from various DIY bow lamination sanders etc.

When I took it apart I noticed the fixing holes for the sole plate were asymmetric and there was enough room to drill 4 holes and screw a couple of 15mm plywood side cheeks onto it and then to re-fit it. That allows a 2" width to pass through which is plenty for most types of bow.

That's basically the crux of the whole thing. It's then a matter of mounting it onto a base and making an adjustable platform to raise or lower the work-piece.

I've tried it and it works, it needs some fiddling and fettling to improve it, but as with most things its a trade of between simplicity, versatility, complexity, reliability, cost etc. I'll play with it and let it evolve. Ideally the platform should raise and lower parallel to the sole, maybe I'll look at that.

The pic above shows the adjuster, it's taken from a bolt and captive nut that was holding the feet onto our old sofa. The adjustable platform was a rail from the sofa too. Gotta recycle stuff.
Below is the hinge at the back end of the platform, it's just clamped to the base so that spacers can be added to accommodate different thicknesses etc.

The big pain is the interlock on the power switch trigger which means you only have one free hand to manoeuvre the wood. I'll rewire that to a nice big accessible switch.

The big reason for doing all this is that I'll be able to machine tapers on billets. How it's done is:-

You make up a tapered sled that the billet rests on and then the pair of 'em go through the thicknesser.

It's easy to make up a sled to any taper you want.

Say I want 1.5mm every 6", I get two bits of 2"x 1" 36" long with a 9mm spacer between them at one end and no spacer at the other. Glue and screw 'em together and the job is done. Could even make an adjustable sled.

Anyhow that's the principal, it needs some more work yet, but it could be a V useful low cost addition to the workshop.

Gotta sort out an adaptor so my dust extractor will suck up the chips.

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#1

Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/25/2014 11:51 AM

You do nice work. Keep at it.

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#2
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/25/2014 2:06 PM

You might want to try some of the many woodworking sites. They may have more specialized information. One I subscribe to is lumberjocks.co.

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#3
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/25/2014 4:24 PM

Ta' lumberjocks is a nice site.

Couldn't find anything specifically useful, but I've fav'd it

Del

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#19
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/30/2014 9:56 AM

Lumberjocks.co is lumberjocks.com in the US.

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#4

Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 9:01 AM

Del you might consider a foot operated switch to keep both hands free to handle the blanks or make adjustments as you go. Duke

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#5
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 9:28 AM

Yup, good idea, I just used what I had lying around. I'm still experimenting really.

Del

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#6
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 11:13 AM

Truly well thought out!!

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#7

Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 12:32 PM

When Skil first introduced an electric , handheld planer, they included a mounting set up that would allow the planer to be set upside down on a bench and used as a jointer, albeit, as small one (3 1/ 4"), but by using the fence included , we could do a lot of on site work. You could also free hand the in feed and out feed, by taking off the top pressure plate. We "planed" all kinds of curved pieces. That tool, with a spindle sander, helped create some very interesting stuff. Good for you in thinking out of the Box! Some pics, maybe….

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#8
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 12:58 PM

If you want to see what I make google 'Delsbows' or 'Bowyers Diary'

Del

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#9
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/26/2014 1:24 PM

Thanks for the links. I will certainly have a look..Macc

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#10

Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/28/2014 7:04 AM

I have a portable saw bench at home that uses a standard hand held circular saw. This overcomes the problem of keeping the go switch on by using a simple 'C' shaped clamp that slips over the switch & handle.

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#11
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/28/2014 9:23 AM

Good idea, but I like the idea of being able to switch it off quickly if things go wrong, so I've wired in a big fan isolator switch for easy turnoffosity

Del

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#12
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/28/2014 9:27 AM

A good plan, my saw table has a big red emergency button for the same reason.

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#13

Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/29/2014 8:59 AM

Loverly.

I particularly like the mixed units - something I was told off for as a baby engineer...and something I've encountered everywhere I've worked.

I'll have 600 mm of the 4" pipe please...

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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/29/2014 9:08 AM

The most confusing is talking to American engineers by phone when they refer to 'mils' meaning thousandths of an inch & I'm hearing millimetres.

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#15
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/29/2014 9:20 AM

Yes, isn't it.

Who ever heard of a truck with a girl's name?

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#17
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/30/2014 9:13 AM

Eddie Stobart.

(what did you mean?)

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#16
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/29/2014 10:02 AM

Yeah mixed units are odd but mm (to 1 decimal place) are just right for working width and thickness of bow limbs (with hand tools generally).

But mm they are no good for bow limb lengths (they are too small and fiddly and run about all over the floor)
cm are an abomination and shouldn't be mentioned in polite company.
The poor old decimetre never gets a look in, and metres are just overblown yards!

Good old inches are just right in the Goldilocks zone for bow length measurement.

I've gone metric every inch of the way

Del

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#18
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Re: Del's DIY Bow Making Thicknesser

10/30/2014 9:16 AM

PMSL! I agree with everfink wot you said there!

Case in point: Had to go to the hospital yesterday ('sokay...just a checky-up) and they weighed me. I asked what my weight was....and without any consultation, the nurse wandered over to the conversion chart so she could tell me in stones & lbs, rather than kg

(no, I'm not sharing that info....)

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