Creating The Perfect Table Top With Your Electric Planer

wooden table made with a planerMore and more people are trying to save money or create a unique style statement by making their own furniture out of reclaimed wood or by upcycling old pieces into something new and bold. There are many guides to making tables out of old doors, for example. But this type of project does require the use of some power tools and the electric planer is perfect for smoothing down that table top to a beautiful finish.

What Is an Electric Planer?

An electric planer basically does the same job as a manual hand plane only much faster, more efficiently and accurately. It’s a handheld power tool which has cutting blades that shave off parts of the wood you are working on and you can adjust the depth according to the finish you require.

Generally, an electric planer would never cut more than one sixteenth of an inch each time but the depth is adjustable using the front knob on the planer. Most of them also come with a fence that is adjustable as well.

How Easy Are They to Handle?

Most planers operate at a maximum cutting width of six and a half inches so the size of the model will depend on the blade size. They usually start out at a cutting width of three and a quarter inches so can be anywhere in between.

Operating an electric planer is really very straightforward and requires very little effort. You just need to make sure you follow all the safety guidelines and make sure you are well balanced before you start operating it. You really just need to glide the planer along the wood once the wood is held in place and you are balanced.

How Do I Use an Electric Planer On a Table Top?

Here is a quick guide to using an electric planer on a table top, to make sure you get the best results and avoid damage to your planer or your table top. Always follow the safety instructions which came with the tool to ensure you are protected, before you begin to work.

1. Make sure the wood you are using is dry. If you are using reclaimed wood it may have been stored somewhere damp so always leave it to dry out thoroughly for a couple of weeks before attempting to use your electric planer on it.

2. Once your wood is dry, the next safety job is to go through thoroughly and check it for any nails

3. Clean the table top over with a cloth to remove any excess dirt but taking care not add any moisture to the wood. Just use a dry cloth as you are looking to remove debris which could get caught up in your planer blades and damage them.

4. Make sure the table top is securely held with clamps and cannot move and that there is adequate room for you to walk around it to reach every side of the table top.

5. Before you start planing down the length of the table, make sure you apply pressure at the front of the plane. This will make sure the sole of the plan is flush with the wood.

6. Do the same with the heel of the plane, to make sure it is running parallel to the wood

7. Check periodically with a straight edge to make sure the wood is not dipping as you pass the plane over it.

8. Position the planer at the edge of the table and begin to shave, stripping small amounts of wood as you go along, depending on the finish you wish to achieve

9. If you are using older, reclaimed wood you might need to adjust the depth of the blade to compensate for twists or other irregularities in the wood surface

10. Continue to use the planer across the whole surface of the table, taking care when you end a pass, not to drop off and nick the edge with the blade

11. Make sure you adjust as you go along otherwise you could end up hurting yourself or damaging both the table top and your planer if you hit uneven or rough patches on the wood.

12. If you are having any decorative bevelled edges along the table top you can also do these with the electric planer if you are feeling confident enough to try out this technique

13. Once you have shaved across the whole table top then remove the electric planer from the table and switch it off.
14. Place the planer down somewhere safe until the blades have completely stopped spinning.

15. You are now free to finish off your table top however you choose to, with varnish, wax, or paint to complete your perfect upcycled furniture project.

Hopefully this quick guide has shown you how easy it is to use an electric planer on a table top? As long as you follow all the safety guides and make sure your blades are sharp, using an electric planer will really make all of your woodwork projects far quicker and easier.

They are also the perfect power tool to use in a small workshop as they don’t take up much space at all. They are super versatile and can be used for smoothing large surfaces like a table top but also for much more detailed work like creating beveled edges and finishing the edges of cabinets and tables as well.

Once you have used an electric hand planer you will not want to go back to the old-fashioned manual planing for any of your projects again! There is a quick final safety warning though, be careful not to plane your fingers as the blades on these really are sharp. When you switch off the tool after using it, always take the utmost care and don’t try to put the tool away until the blades have completely stopped moving. It’s just not worth the risk.

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