How To Use An Electric Planer

Man learning How To Use An Electric Planer

We have known the humble hand planers for quite long as a woodworker’s most trusted tool. The electric planers do the same job as a hand planer with just the difference that they are driven by a powerful motor which makes them super fast and highly efficient.

Similar to a hand planer, an electric planer also operates on a sole plate or shoe. It has also blades that are mounted on a head or drum which spins incredibly fast in order to shave wood.

The grip on the front hand gets doubled as you make depth adjustments. The gauge comes with inbuilt scale settings that can be moved back and forth to shift the front planer shoe in order to adjust the cutting depth.

Based on the level of depth you set for the planer, it can remove a little or a lot of wood.

To use the electric planer in the desired way, you need skills which come with practice. You can use your planer for performing a lot of wood working by mastering the way to correctly hold and push the tool.

To ensure your safety, you must be able to balance your body perfectly and plan in advance.

Getting the right balance is of utmost important and you can achieve it by standing with your feet apart. You should be in a position that you feel comfortable in, which allows the planer to conveniently pass through the work piece.

So, every pass you make on the work piece using the planer is a proper blend of correct balance and hand pressure.

You can start by placing the front shoe of the electric planer flat on the wood. This should be done without allowing the blades to come in contact with the wood.

Now turn the power on and allow the motor to achieve full speed. Once the tool arrives at its full speed, you can slowly bring the planer in contact with the wood and steadily push it forward.

As the planer gets into the workpiece, you must ensure to keep the initial pressure on the front grip. As both the front knob and tool handle comes in contact with the work piece, you need to maintain a balance of the hand pressure.

Now, push the planer off the work and apply more control to the rear handle. You must avoid putting a lot of pressure at the end of the pass or this might lead to an uneven cut on the wood, which is also known as snipe.

The ultimate smoothness and final effect that you achieve on the work pieces after using the electric planer will depend on two factors:

  • Cutting depth you choose for the tool
  • Speed at which you push the planer

If you are planning to shave off dimensional lumber, then 1/8 inches per pass should be enough. However, when you wish to obtain the best results while smoothing out hardwood boards, you must use 1/64 inches of 1/32 inches cutting depth setting.

Once you have applied your desired settings, you may go on to push the electric planer slowly to make more passes.

There are some electric planers that come with two full-sized blades which should be re-sharpened with the help of a whetstone, before working on any project. In others you will find two double-edged carbide mini blades.

There are several planers in the market that come with gauge bases that help you correctly position the mini blades and set plate for elevating them on the drum.

When you should change the blades

The blades need to be changed or replaced when they show signs of dullness. When the blades become nicked or dull, the power tool becomes hard to push and the debris comes off in the form of sawdust that fills up the room with smoke.

The dull blades also create groves in the shaved wood. If you find any such signs, simply unplug the electric hand planer and read the instructions manual carefully. Always remember to turn off the power before you change the blades, make any repair work or adjustments to the tool.

You can re-sharpen and replace the blades both at the same time to ensure quality cuts using the power planer.

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