What is a Hand Planer and Why is it Important to Buy One?

What is a Hand Planer and Why is it Important to Buy One

There are many tools that a tradesman can use to improve the quality and output of the work he produces. A planer is just one of the tools that he is expected to have in his toolbox.

If you have never heard of it before, then you may be asking yourself what is a hand planer and how does it work? Once you do woodwork, professionally or not, you will be expected to have a planer at your disposal.

A planer is one of the most basic woodworking tools that you can have in your toolbox. It is also a must-have as it has a lot of functionality.

The purpose of this article is to describe what planers are, to explain the different types of planers, and to advise you to get one if you a don’t have one yet. You may assume that they are expensive, but the price will vary based on the planer that you choose to get.

Hand planes will be the cheaper option if the price is a factor. But generally, most carpenters may have a hand plane as well as an electronic plane to help them get their work done.

What is a Hand Planer? 

A hand planer also called a plane is a traditional tool that has been used for centuries to shape wood once the cutting blade is pressed against the surface. The plane is used to smoothen rough surfaces, and to reduce thickness.

It can also be used on a variety of surfaces whether the surfaces are inclined, deemed as too large, or is vertical and horizontal. Planes have a body that may be made of metal or wood.

Attached to the body of the planer is a cutting edge, that is usually at the base of it. You will also have a handle to operate the planer.

How to Use a Hand Planer?

Planes are used for smoothing, flattening and shaping. Before using a plane, you are advised to check the sharpness of the blade.  You can do this by using your thumb.

If the blade slides off, then you need to sharpen your plane against an oiled stone. Once you deem your planer to be sharp enough, it is ready for use.

You also have to adjust the blade to ensure that it drops completely under the planer’s sole. Before using the plane, you should identify the wood grain because you should always plane in the direction of it and not against it. If you plane against the grain, the plane may splinter the wood.

When using the plane, it is necessary that you exert some effort. You have to stroke the wood and exert the most force at the front of the wood plane.

If you want the wood to be sliced or shaved evenly, you ought to hold the plane at an angle to accomplish the task. If the wood is difficult to plane, you can hold the planer at a forty-five-degree angle or a steeper angle until you get the desired effect.

When the plane is not in use, the blade should be retracted. Another thing you should do is to keep the plane dry. A wet plane does not really work well on a wooden surface and moisture encourages rusting.

Types of Hand Planes Available?

There are actually different hand planes available for use and you will realize this if you go to a hardware store and you are asked what size of the plane you need. Planes can be pocket-sized, have different angles, and they have nine numbered sizes going from three to eight as some half sizes are included as well.

The type of plane you choose will have to be matched to the job that you are doing. In terms of hand planes, they may have different names such as block planes, smoothing planes, jack planes and leveling planes. Planes may come to you in sets of two or three.

Block planers are either pocket-sized, standard angle or low angle. The most common of these three is the standard angle plane.  These planes are usually small, inexpensive and are bedded at 20 degrees.

Block planers are also the most common planers because of their size. You can picture a smoothing plane as a plane that functions as a sander.

The make surfaces really smooth and once they are used, there is no need to use a sander afterward. They are very short and the planers come in No. 4, No. 3 and No. 4-1/2.

A Jack Planer can be described as an in-between plane. That is because the plane does both leveling and smoothing.

Some persons who work with wood may prefer to buy this plane and use it for both functions, rather than having two separate planes.

When you use this plane, because it is an in-between plane, you may take a bit longer. They are the No. 5-1/2, No. 5 and No. 5-1/4 planes.

As the name implies, a leveling plane is used to level or straighten. So, if you have an uneven or rough edge, this is most likely the plane you are going to use. They are long and wide and come in No. 6, 7, and 8.

Apart from these planes, there are other planes that are not necessarily hand planers. They can also be powered and machine planes. There are also some really heavy industrial planes that are available as well.

A dual plane set will come with a block plane and a jack plane. The three-set planes may come with one of the three planes, a soothing plane, block plane and a leveling plane.

What is a Hand Planer and Why You Should Get One?

A hand planer is a very useful carpentry tool. Anyone hoping to work in wood should have one as it appears to make the job pretty easy.

Also, if you use a smoothing hand planer, there is no need for you to use a sander! It can, therefore, be argued that hand planers make it more efficient to work with wood. So, if you are a hobbyist or a serious woodworker, you should get a planer.

It is very necessary and will make your work easier. The three-set plane is more suitable for a professional, while the two-set planer will be more for a hobbyist.

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