What is a Wood Planer? – Description and Its Use

One of the most common and most widely-used woodworking tools is the wood planer. If you want to become a woodworking pro and work with all kinds of wood, it’s a must to learn how to use a woodworking planer. Let’s learn what is a wood planner and how it’s used through this special guide. 

What is a wood planer?

A wood planer is a woodworking tool that can help you reduce the thickness of the wooden piece you’re working on. You can use a wood planer to work with large cuts of wood, a wooden floorboard, or a wooden deck. 

Wooden planers are used to prepare wooden pieces before these are used for actual construction projects. And when all the installation work is done, planers can help flatten and smoothen wooden surfaces before these are sanded, painted, or stained. 

A planer has a wooden body and a metal or steel blade and handle. A simple adjustment knob is found in most traditional wood planers. You can use this to release the blade if ever you need to sharpen it or you want to tighten a loose blade. 

You need both hands to use any type of plane. Your dominant hand pushes the planer across the wooden surface while the other one holds the knob at the front to keep the plane steady. As the planer glides over wood, wooden shavings are created which are scattered all over the working area. This is because planers don’t have a collection system. 

Using a wood planer is a very simple, straightforward thing to do. With a basic planer, all you need to do is to glide it over the surface you’re working on.  Using slight pressure so the blade underneath can scrape off the layers of wood. 

The wood planer blade can easily tarnish and become blunt when not cared for properly. Aside from regular sharpening, this blade must be kept away from moisture and dirt. You may hose the tool down to remove dirt but make sure to wipe the blade clean and dry afterward. 

What are the different types of wood planers?

Wood planers come in many forms, sizes, and shapes. Generally, there are two kinds of planers: manual wood planers and electric planers. Manual tools don’t need electricity to work and require very little training to use. Meanwhile, electric planers need electricity and should be plugged into a socket to work. You may need special training to use an electric planer as you need to be familiar with its parts and features. 

Manual wood planers

Manual wooden planers are hand-held, hand-powered so you can use them anywhere, no need to depend on electricity or batteries. This is the earliest form of wood planers and despite many centuries of use, the design remains the same. It has a simple blade at the bottom which moves over wood surfaces to trim and smoothen the area. 

Handheld wood planers are great for simple woodworking projects and the price can be as affordable as $25 to $40 to as expensive as $500. It’s a wood finishing tool for beginners and professionals alike. 

Electric hand planers

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Electric or power planers are time-saving tools that will eat up more surface wood than handheld planers. With an electric planer, you can finish your projects faster and more efficiently. 

Electric planers are corded planers that need to be plugged into an electric socket to work. Some battery-operated planners carry a battery pack. Charge this tool to full and you can take it anywhere like a manual wood planer. 

Electric hand planers are for beginners to professional woodworkers and cost anywhere from $30 to $1500. 

2-in-1 wood planers

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2-in-1 planers are a combination of wood planer and jointer machines. It is a heavy machine that can also make woodworking tasks faster and more efficiently. A 2-in-1 machine is usually found in woodworking businesses and is as expensive as stationary wood planers.

The benchtop planers

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Benchtop planers are heavy planers that are placed on top of a bench or a working table. These are perfect for mid-sized woodworking projects as they are fast, efficient, and powerful. If you’re building a wooden deck or flooring, a benchtop planner can prep up wood for you, piece after piece. 

Benchtop planers are perfect for woodworking workshops, home builders, and professionals. The price for a good quality benchtop planer is from $300 to $750.

Stationary planers

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If you are working with larger pieces of wood then you need a stationary planer. This is a standalone machine that can eat wooden planks in seconds. A stationary planer is heavy and difficult to move around and thus, it’s used in most workshops, professional shops, and businesses. Stationary planers cost $1000 and higher.

How to use a wood planer?

A traditional wood planer is one of the easiest tools to use. It has a straightforward design that works well with prepping wood and finishing projects. Before using a planer, it has to be sharpened. Take your planer to an expert sharpener to get the best results.

1. Place the wooden piece on a vice to clamp it.

The wooden piece you’ll be working on should be steady and balanced. To ensure that it won’t move, place it securely on a vice. 

2. Find the area that you want to prep or finish.

Locate the area that you will work on by feeling the wood and inspecting it. You may use a pencil or chalk to mark the area. 

3. Position at the front of the wooden piece so you can work on it more efficiently.

You need to stand near the area that you’ll be working on. The area should be easy to reach without overstretching your arms. 

4. Hold the wooden planer correctly.

Use both hands to hold the planer. Apply light to moderate pressure on the wooden piece you’re working on. 

5. Apply the planer on the wooden piece. 

Now that you know what is a wood planer, how to use it, and the many types of wood planers, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Take a piece of wood, clamp it and start planing! With constant practice, you’ll be prepping and finishing your projects like a pro.

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