I posted a response to “doc” regarding planers way down the page, under the title “Vintage Planers” Jan 7, 7pm. Doc posted a photo of a Virutex power planer with an adjustable concave/convex sole. I wrote the following response, but decided to pull it up to the top here for any comments you guys might have on this. Maybe I’m all wet, but it seems like a good concept. My response: Doc, just the other day I was wondering why in the world someone hadn’t invented a planer for surfboard shapers that had a concave/convex sole (adjustable either way)… and there it is!..the Virutex in your photo! It seems like a natural. Ever used one, know any shapers who have, or do you agree it could be a great tool for shaping? There are virtually no dead flat long surfaces on a surfboard, so technically the material being planed is never riding on its full surface length. To make a point, the surfboard’s rocker is just a segment of a big arc where only the apex of that arc is actually touching the planer’s bottom. Further, it isn’t even touching in the center area of the planer’s bottom cuz the blades are located toward the front (so it’s not even balanced as you hold it). You’re actually just pushing a long flat bottomed planer as it naturally wants to see-saw over the arc (exagerated for point) around the circumfrance of that arc. Now flip the surfboard over (deckside up), and you’re pushing it around the inside circumfrance of that arc where the blades are now located above the arc and can’t touch the arc’s surface unless it is adjusted for a deeper cut depth. The surface of the inside arc is only touching the bottom tips of the planer’s nose and tail while the blades are spinning up above the concaved surface of the arc. Granted, the the surfboard’s rocker profile is not a continuous perfect circle or arc, as the board’s arc dimensions change along its length, but… Where am I missing this, and why isn’t a planer such as this Virutex the answer? We make the regular planer work on surfboards, though they were never designed for such, but rather initially for trim carpenters to fit doors before the “pre-hung days”. So it’s not the ultimate correct shaped tool for the job. You hardly see them anymore, but in earlier days Stanley, Record, and others made a compus plane designed with a steel sole that was adjustable for arcs just as this Virutex planer has. Thoughts?? Check out the planer in question at virutex.com (their “Curve Planer”).
Ive seen one used in a woodshop, even held the thing, in principle its great however adjusting is complex, it would have to be made easier to adjust, however this one was a makita and not the virtuex. http://www.surfboardglassing.com
how to balance a planer with a curved shoe or platen? Seems to me the thing would want to change pitch constantly and you’d have a hard time (read impossible) maintaining a steady cut depth. Now look: planers aren’t the only tools we use; each tool is designed with a purpose in mind, and though tools can be used imaginatively, there are other tools for other purposes. If your planer won’t do something, then either (a) use it differently or (b) get another tool. Methinks the flat platen is here to stay, but it won’t take much imagination, and only a little work, to put a curved temporary platen on your planer.
Years ago after about 20,000 shaped boards on this one production board Skill 100 that I used, I noticed that it had developed a subtle convex curve on a diagonal across the bottom surface of the bed and shoe. A lefty would develop the diagonal curve from opposite corners. The fish don’t resist me anymore. How’s the nomad flying? SB
Planing surfaces that adapt themselves to the surface. Hmmm… Steve, you`ve been spending too much time around that surf mat! True story… I once worked with a couple of guys who were always getting on my nerves. So one evening I borrowed their hammers and very carefully “re-crowned” the striking surfaces. Next day… wow! Loads of cursing because of all the bent nails! And for many days afterward. It was so funny, I thought I was going to die laughing a few times. Only about 50% of their nails could ever be hit square. As with all practical jokes, mine only lasted a short time. I think it was about a month. My co-workers swore it was because of cheap imported nails. Of course I agreed. A lot of nails were bought, tried and rejected. I justified my actions as providing a simple form of “on-the-job therapy”, I had done them a favor of sorts… giving them something inanimate on which to focus their frustrations. In the end, their personal issues outlasted their customized hammers. But hey, it worked for me!
and over time these thwarted technicians became talented…50 percent gave way to 40…to 30 to 20 and then these units could make the "new crowns " perform satisfactorially until they got new hammers that never could quite set those clean un mooned entries that their old Dale customs so exquisitely executed…now …on a porch some where in the blue ridge mountains some arthritic carpenter with a missing third finger joint is waxing nostalgicly about his old hammer that fell off the truck in kapaa,after the hurricane ,that was the best damn hammer he ever saw…if only he really knew…ambrose…call it a fish with a bitten off tail fin…damn it lookit that sucker swim
Just thumbed through the new issue of “Longboard Mag”. Check out page #81. What is that planer (?) on the left. Looks a little like different than the skill 100 Mickey is holding on the right. Is Hobie reading these posts? Man, they respond fast to new ideas! Seriously, what is he holding?
There is nothing difficult about adjusting the front shoe on a curved bottom planer… THe virutex is the one to buy guys, trade in you old planers and get used to it, they are hgere to stay!!!
that is some funny thinkin i would like to try that on some co slackers tools…bent nails suck expessualy finish work…cool
So you like yours then? What’s the good/bad points of it, what you really like and what could stand a little modification. Give us a tool review on it, please. Thanks doc…
Good balance, good motor, and it is not hard to adjust. More positives: it gets into the scoop and it can do rail band without having to turn the planer at a 45 degreee angle. Negatives: Since it is still new, I don’t know how long it will last and what the parts will cost. But if you can find Skil parts…then you can find Virutex parts. Also, you won’t look as cool because you aren’t holding a Skil or a Hitachi???
Thanks.I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what your impression of the critter was. Looks like it might be just the thing for a boat carpenter. For what it’s worth, what can go wrong with it? Belt, brushes, bearings, which may be kinda standard off-the-shelf items or easily adapted - and they have a couple other machines built on the same motor/cutter/body set, so it shouldn’t be a major problem. Interestingly, the curved surface planer, the straight light planer, the chamfering planer and ( kinda surprising ) the nice big actually-made-out-of-metal 10 amp plus CE24E planer all use the same cutters. Link to Virutex North America below, Virutex of Spain planers page here: http://www.virutex.es/En/2_en.htm http://virutex-tnt.com/index.html