Using a Power Planer on Wide Boards

Hand Power Planer

Power planers can be amazing time savers on almost any project. They can level out framing lumber, smooth out edges, or they can chamfer handrails for instance. With experience, you might even be able to use one to do things like bevel door edges.

A power planer is very similar to a jointer in how it is used. There are power planers that are handheld and others that are a stationary machine. But if you are looking to use it on wide boards, a handheld power planer is probably the best one to use.

A board could be way too wide for a stationary power planer but using a handheld power planer will be the perfect tool for the job!

Now that we have discussed the type of tool you’ll need and a brief mention of what it is, let’s get into how you would use it on your wide boards, but first.

Some Tips To Help Flatten Your Wide Board

  •  You will not only need to be steady on your feet but also comfortable as you make the full pass over the piece.
  •  Rest the front sole plate, or shoe, on the wood. Don’t let the blade rest on the wood just yet.
  •  You should start the device, let the motor reach its full speed, and then relieve the plane into the wood.
  • Keep the same amount of hand pressure on the tool throughout the pass. This will help keep the tool steady but also help you when you come near the end of a piece.
  • Having even pressure throughout will ensure that it is evenly cut throughout that pass and in other passes as well if you can keep up the same amount of pressure.

Avoid overreaching

  • Overreaching means letting the blade go out through the other side of the wood, but it also means it will take a snipe at the end of the wood as the front show drops off the end. That’s also why you need to maintain the same amount of hand pressure and being conscious of what you are doing.
  • Speed and depth are also key factors in your final product. How fast you push the device along and how deep you set the setting, will impact how smooth the work ends up being. I would recommend moving the tool along the board slowly and making more passes over moving quickly or making few passes.

Setting Up Your Board

To begin planning your board, you need to make sure it is set up correctly. This is done by first finding a flat surface that is much larger than the board itself. Make sure the board is supported by the higher spots or else the wood will rock as you are cutting into it.

If the board is cupped, set it so it is convex, or that the bend is facing upwards to prevent any rocking. Also be sure to make all four edges of the board with a marking gauge to show its high spots. This will help you make sure that the board is actually even from end to end and that one part of it isn’t higher than another.

Power Plane The Wide Board

In this step, you are power planing the board down to the marks you made in the previous step. You should also use winding sticks to fine-tune how flat you intend to make your board.

It’s best to flatten these wider boards in stages as removing wood releases tension within it and causes it to slightly change shape. It would be best to remove something closer to 75 percent of the wood you want to remove off of each side.

Wait a Day or Two

Waiting a day or two to go back to your board again is best to let the board settle before you finish flattening it. I made sure to include this as its own large step as people can be impatient and want to skip ahead.

You definitely could skip it if you wanted to, but leaving it alone for a few days is the best way to go about it as this allows the board to settle into its shape fully. It also gives you a break from the workshop for a while, so you don’t keep breathing in those small wood shavings all day long.

Sand It Down

And of course, to finish flattening the board, you’ll need to sand it. Well, I suppose you don’t have to, but after putting in all the hard work why skip on this step? It will just look and feel so much better.

If you have the opportunity, use a wide-belt sanding machine to get a very nice finished sanding for your piece. If you don’t have access to one, use a regular belt sander. It still does the job well and will still make the board very smooth to finish off your project.

Just remember to use a fine grade sandpaper on your belt sander for this step and you should get the perfect Finnish.


This was a very simple and shorter article, but these steps should easily guide you through the process of using your handheld power planer on a wide board. There are other ways of going about this, such as using a stationary thickness planer machine, but you may have to remove the guard making the task a very high risk for injury and on top of that you may not end up getting the finished surface your after.

So remember to take your time, use your safety equipment, keep a clean workshop and I’m sure your next project will be worth all the time and effort you put in.

Let us know if you found this article helpful and please drop a comment below of any other suggestions you may have on what a person could use to flatten wide boards.





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