Milling to Thickness
I use a handy little device called the Wagner Safe-T-Planer to mill wood to thickness.
The Safe-T-Planer can hold thickness tolerances to a few thousandths of an inch. In addition, the surface finish is pretty good. This means that the final finish can be achieved with a scraper plane, or hand scrapers. The Safe-T-Planer is mounted in the drill press, and is designed to be run at high speed.
There are two secrets to success with the Safe-T-Planer. One is to have a flat table or platform for the wood to be planed. And the second is the ability to firmly hold the wood against the platform without buckling. And, of course, you have to be able to lock the spindle feed quill of the drillpress.
The other matter to note in using the Safe-T-Planer is that the tool in use scatters chips in about 270 degrees of arc. Your shop will be hip-deep in cuttings if you do not do anything to capture them. Shown here is a floor broom device for the shop vac that is manufactured by Ridgid. I've mounted it so the brush bristles keep chips confined while letting the workpiece freely move into the cutter.