What Is A Wood Planer and Why You should own one

Photo of a Green electric planerWood planers are one of the most common tools used in wood working. Despite this, most people have no clue what a planer does exactly, and people confuse this tool for another, such as a jointer.

Planers are an essential part of woodworking. There are many types of wood planers and the tool seems easy to use. However, in this article, you will learn more about planers and you will even learn how to use one type of planer.

What Is a Wood Planer?

A planer is a tool that reduces thickness, flattens, and smooths wood. Besides basic planers, there are special types like a rabbit plane or a shoulder plane that are used in certain situations and projects.

These specialty planes have their own features. For example, a grooving plane cuts grooves into a piece of wood. A grooving plane is used for projects where a person will need to join two pieces of wood together.

However, this introduction focuses on general wood planes and not the special ones like the mentioned grooving plane above so lets continue on.

An important function of this tool is that the helps reduce the thickness of a piece of wood. This function is great for those whose boards are too thick. The thickness reduction function is what separates a planer from any other similar tool like a jointer.

How Is This Tool Different from A Jointer?

A jointer is a tool that is used to smooth the surface along the length of a board, which helps flatten it. This means you would use this tool to smooth at any edges. While, as stated above, a planer is for thinning, smoothing, and flattening a board face.

The functions of the two tools make a jointer and planer seem interchangeable. However, due to small differences, the tools are not. Because of this, you should always see if your project will need either one before working on the project.

However, in some instances, a project will require both a jointer and planer. If this is the case, then you will soon learn about a really interesting tool that will combine the two.

What Kinds of Planers Are There?

Like many tools, there are many different types of wood planers. The following list does not include any specialty wood planers, but lists the 5 most common types. The most common types are:

• Manual
• Power hand planers
• Stationary
• 2-in-1
• Benchtop

Manual planers are hand-held and powered by hand movement. This is the original and earliest type of wood planer and it is very portable as it doesn’t require a power source.

Power hand planers have two sources of energy. You either plugged them to an outlet or they are battery operated. Like a manual planer, power hand planers are portable, but they have more power than the standard hand-held ones.

Stationary planers are the more powerful versions of the benchtop planers and like the name suggests, Stationary planers are not portable, and not great for projects that have hard to reach spaces that need to be thinned out.

2-in-1 planers are usually a combination of two tools. The usual tools that are combined with planers are jointers and molders. While more convenient, it is probably best to stay from this version unless you like a furniture or cabinet-maker.

Benchtop planers sit on benchtops and are stationary. These types of planers are great for bigger projects. Because of its stationary nature, benchtop planers are not great for projects that are smaller.

How Do Wood Planers Work?

Planers usually work in the same way, but if you are using an electrical one you should read the instructional manual first. The instructional manual will give you specific instructions on how to use your planer.

For those who are using a manual hand planer, there many tutorials online, whether they are videos on YouTube or articles. Below is another quick guide for manual hand planer users.

1. Check your planer to make sure blades are not dull. Dull planes will cause the planer to work poorly as a sharp blade cuts better.

2. Keep your dominant hand at the back of your planer and use your other hand to guide you as you cut. Be careful when doing this since you can injure yourself if you are not careful.

3. Check each cut to see if you are doing it right, and continue until your board is up to your standards

What Kind of Projects Can You Use Planers for?

You can use planers for any wood project. But make sure that you will need a planer instead of a jointer before starting your project unless if you have a 2 in 1 planer and jointer combination.

You could use your planer to make the perfect table top or a better example of a project that needs to use a planer is installing new doors. Not every door is going to fit every doorway so you may to take a little of the bottom to make it open and close properly.

If your new door is too thick in any way, you will need to use a planer to fix any problems. Also if there is any unevenness with your doorway, you can use a planer to fix it before you install the new door.

For example, is your doorway has any edges, you can use a manual hand wood planer to smooth the edges out before you install any doors.

And you should find the planer that fits your project before starting it.

There are many types of wood planers for you to use. These planers will smooth, flatten, and reduce thickness of the wood you are using. All of these wood planers are different, it is important to pick the best one for your project.

This list should help you understand not only what a planer is, but this list should help you understand how a planer works. Planers are not complicated to use. But they can be difficult to use since you need practice in making even cuts.

It does not matter what you use your planer for as it only matters that you are using the correct tool for your project.If you are interested in purchasing a new electric planer check out our reviews and top picks HERE!!

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