In most (all?) of the US, construction has to use kill dried lumber to destroy the spores of root-rot and other diseases and prevent them from being transported. Stock for 2×12, 2×4, etc. is rough cut and kill dried, or dried in wider pieces and goes through a rip saw after drying (a gang of circular saw blades at the appropriate spacing), then a 4 side planer. At the “dry chain” from the planer it is graded and stacked for delivery. Thinner wood like 1×4 or something angled, like coving, will also go though a resaw (giant band saw) before planing in a “sticker”.
The final piece of the sled is the router itself. I use a Triton 3.25 hp router mounted to an Infinity Large Router Base plate. An Infinity Mega Dado & Planer Router bit is my bit of choice for this task for a number of reasons. I wrote a blog specifically about this router bit titled “Go Big or Go Home” definitely check it out if you want the finer details on this awesome router bit. The base plate is important because it keeps the router on track as it slides back and forth across the sled bridge and allows the router bit to do its thing. I have never had a problem with the router bouncing or bucking but you could add a set of hold down strips to the bridge to keep the base plate from lifting. Because the router bit cuts from the side and not straight down like a drill bit I have never found the need for the hold downs, but could be helpful to keep the router on track especially on wider slabs. I also use a Router Collet Extension to increase the reach of my router. The router bit has to reach through the large router base plate and the 3/4" MDF base of the sled bridge. combined that is over an inch of plunge just to clear the bottom of the bridge. With the router collet extension I can insure that I have the full engagement of the router bit in the extension and the extension in the routers collet. The last thing I want to do with a 2" diameter router bit is cheat the amount of router bit shank I have in the router collet to reach a little deeper. The router collet extension solves this problem.
The “automatic” kickstand is a simple plastic swinging arm of sorts that gets pushed back into place when the planer is pulled across a smooth surface. When the tool is set down, the natural position of the kickstand is down and out, so it protects the blades from unnecessary wear. Speaking of blades, the HPL51K does a lot to make itself easily serviceable. The kit includes an extra set of blades (the planer uses two at a time) and you actually get two uses out of each set. When your initial (installed) blades get dull, simply use the included blade wrench to remove the blades and flip them over. Once both sides are dulled, the second set can be installed. Ryobi didn’t stop at the blades; they also took care to allow users to service the other primary part that tends wood hand planer review go bad in planers – the belt. This can be replaced easily simply by removing two screws from the plastic belt cover and swapping it out
I’d agree with those who say that a jointer (surface planer) is more accurate than a hand plane - we have a 16 x 9in planer/thicknesser in the shop with an 88in table and I reckon that it’s good for up to about 6 or 7ft accurate planing, with the addition of an outfeed roller stand, before the accuracy tapers off,. However, as Rob Millard states, machines like this cost a lot and take-up a lot of space. And I still find it necessary to use a jointer plane. For example, this morning I’ve just prepared a stack of 1in x 10in poplar boards - planed, edged and thicknessed by machine, then ripped to width and both the visible edges hand planed with a #8 jointer to remove the machining marks. I’ll probably finish the surface with a sander to get rid of the ripple marks as this isn’t a high price job, but were this a better quality job, say in oak, I’d probably plane and/or scrape the surfaces, too. And the same as another contributor I still “hand tune” joints with a hand plane to get an almost invisible joint on long pieces as the machine doesn’t always perform flawlessly, especially on wild grained pieces.