Best Planers for 2020 | Hand Planers or Bench Planers are Right for You?
What happens when your patio furniture or deck building needs repair? Of course, you become the woodworker! With the best planer in hand, your repairs easier and smoothly finished. Making the four faces of each piece of wood parallel and extremely blush has never been easier for me!
Everybody knows that professional woodworking projects involve using the best tools available, from hammers and drilling machines to jointers and, above all, wood planers. The last ones can actually turn a plain looking piece of lumber into a silk-like, smooth and shining dining table anyone can admire over the holidays or simply having dinner with their loved ones.
From the confines of my home, I discovered that power planers were extraordinarily equipped to handle most wood repair works. With it, you can use all shop-based pieces of equipment without having to run to a wood workshop.
Table of Contents
- Basic Information on Wood Planers
- Planer Table Characteristics
- How to Open and Adjust Your Planning Table
- Types of Blades
- Why Power Rating Affects Characteristics
- Safety Features
- Best Planers for All Your Needs
- Hand Planers
- Portable Planer
- Benchtop Planers
- Thickness Planer
- Jointer Planer
- How to Choose the Best Wood Planers
- Wood Planer Tips
- How to Use an Electric Planer
Basic Information on Wood Planers
First of all, let’s set something straight: there are a lot of people who mistake the wood planer for another tool used in woodcraft, the jointer. While the latter one’s main purpose is to straighten up the sides of a piece lumber, a wood planer finishes the surface, eliminating even the slightest imperfections and leaving a smooth plank that professional carpenters or amateur wood artists can use to give life to sophisticated or simple pieces of furniture.
Although there are a lot of people who see them as a product of the modern, industrialized era, the reality is quite different. The first wood planers were used ever since the Roman times and were considered highly useful and valuable. Of course, as time passed, the original models were significantly improved, until they reached the form we have now.
The electric planer caused a real revolution in the industry. Appearing at the beginning of the 20th century, it’s used both in major factories and in private workshops. The only differences refer to size and power.
Planer Table Characteristics
When looking for a mounting table, the long tables are the best to work with. With a longer table, I was able to work with long pieces of wood, eliminating the need to visit the local woodwork shop. These tables also allow for ease of operation and stability.
If a piece of wood isn’t held steady and flat, it will be poorly planned with a gross-looking surface. The lengths range between 700 mm and 3,000 mm.
Tip: Before buying the longest table for convenience, make sure space is available.
Planer tables are made of either:
- Steel – It significantly reduces vibration, allowing the machine to become more stable and robust.
- Aluminum – It is lighter; when using it, watch out for nails protruding from wood as they can easily damage it.
How to Open and Adjust Your Planning Table
Planning machines use any of the 3 switching mechanisms when transitioning from a thicknesser to planer and vice versa. These include:
I. Separating thickness and planing – As the most convenient option, this mechanism allows you to switch without mucking or opening the table.
II. Lifting – By allowing you to raise your planing table on the hinges, this mechanism is quick to operate and almost effortless.
III. Butterfly opening – In this mechanism, the table splits to make enough room for your planer. In some planers, one has to remove the guide; replace it carefully after you’re done.
Types of Blades
Nice, planed finishes are only achieved with well-adjusted blades. When choosing a blade, one should look out the steel quality, blade type, number, and size. The two grades of steel available are:
- Trimetal – It guarantees you of the best performance in cutting and is made out of cobalt steel.
- Standard – It is good for all woodwork jobs including cutting hardwoods.
The blade types available are:
Magnetic disposable blades – Combining the practicability fused in disposable blades and mechanical adjustment, they can be used with conventional shafts.
Centrifugal disposable blades – Though their adjustment will be automatic, you might need a special installation shaft. Whenever they show signs of wear, you can change them rather than having to sharpen them.
Traditional blades – These blades require considerable care when re-sharpening and precisely adjusting. Their vibration is negligible and they are easy to mechanically fix on the shaft.
Why Power Rating Affects Characteristics
The more power your planer motor has, the better it will perform. For the motorized planers, they are available in several types i.e.:
- Three-phase or single-phase
- Asynchronous (motor-wear parts made of carbon)
- Synchronous (they have permanent magnets and are carbon-free)
The power of your ideal planer is determined by rpm of the rotating shaft through which planning blades are driven. Machines with the best performers have the fastest rotating shafts.
To prevent the operator’s fingers from coming to harm, the best planers have a protective cover. An emergency stop button also comes in handy and halts the blades within milliseconds. Following this stop, a machine shouldn’t restart until it has been reversed.
In my quest to look for the perfect planer, here are 8 of the best planers I looked into:
Best Planers for All Your Needs
Power hand planers are versatile enough to be used by hobbyists or professional carpenters and provide unmatched durability. If you’re serious about your woodworking, electric planers are practically essential, as they cut time off of each project and pay for themselves in no time.
When you decide to purchase a hand planer, choose from the best names in planers for durable equipment that provides lasting results. You’ll want an electric hand planer with a carbide blade so that it can withstand the test of time. Carbide blades resist breakage, even when planing difficult wood with a few stray nails or staples. These long-lasting blades will last for the project after project, reducing hassle and frustration in the wood shop.
If your planer will get a lot of use, opt for electric planers. These planers come equipped with a sturdy motor that can stand up to regular use. High-quality brands offer motors that provide you with smooth finishes on all your woodworking projects and stand up to intense daily use. It’s worth it to pay a little more for a brand with a durable motor, as you don’t want to replace your woodworking equipment every few years. Check with the manufacturer, as well, to see what type of guarantee or replacement warranty they offer on their products. If you’ll be using your wood planer daily, choose a brand that’s designed to last.
The best planers on the market also provide a wide variety of adjustments, so that you can customize each of your woodworking projects to precise measurements. Some have manual adjustment knobs – if you opt for this type of planer, be sure it has the variety of adjustment options that you need. Other more expensive planers, feature automatic adjustments. These planers make woodworking easy, helping to eliminate misaligned cuts made by poorly aligned blades. If you’re new to woodworking, or if you just prefer to plane quickly and accurately, with a minimum of fuss, you may want to opt for an automatic planer.
If you’ll be moving your planer frequently, either around your worksite or from one job to another, you’ll likely want to choose a model that comes with a carrying case. This case will help protect your new tool from dings, bumps, and scrapes, and is custom fitted to your planer. If you’ll be purchasing a planer, leaving it in your wood shop, and rarely transporting it, you may want to choose a model without a carrying case. Neither option is better or worse, so make your purchase decision based on your lifestyle and the way you’ll be using your planer.
A powered hand planer saves time and is so easy to operate after a day’s use you’ll have it mastered. A power hand planer is great for edge-smoothing and leveling framing lumber as well as chamfering handrails and posts. With the right accessories and skillset, one can also do finesse work like shaping and tapering wood trim, scribing cabinets and countertops, and beveling door edges. Check out our recommendation for the best hand planer in this class.
1. Makita XPK01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Planer – Best Cordless Planer
The Makita planer is one of the best planers on the market today. Makita is a worldwide manufacturer of industrial quality power tools and offers a wide range of industrial accessories. Makita applies leading-edge innovation to engineer power tools that are more compact and energy efficient, yet deliver industrial strength power and results.
If you are looking for a great cordless planer, Makita XPK01Z gives you portability and power you need. Though not the most powerful hand planer, it still holds the highest rating in handheld models. Within its price range, it’s the best performing planer.
Highly Efficient For a Cordless Planer
In many other power tools, you lose quite some power when using a cordless model instead of a corded one. As I learned, however, Makita XPK01Z shows negligible power loss and is highly efficient in performing light duty DIT projects.
Running off an 18 V battery (Lithium Ion), the planer has adequate power and can be moved around. With the blades rotating at an incredible 14,000 RPM, I was able to tackle a wide array of projects; this was quite surprising as I had expected to visit the local shop for some assistance!
Depth Adjustment and Precision Cutting
Adjusting the depth in this planer is as easy as turning the knob. With good depth adjustment, your stock removal and precision are at their best. Through the knob, you can instantly change your depth cutting from 0” to 5/64”, giving you the most precise cut every time.
As one of the best cordless planer on the market, Makita XPK01Z is ideal for all your DIY projects and delivers unmatched results.
2. DEWALT DW680K 7 Amp 3-1/4” Planer – Best Planer for The Money
When it comes to power tools, one of the brands that have been highly recognized and that is very well known is Dewalt. Dewalt power tools can be purchased in the stores as well as online. When it comes to the name that most men trust to work on their household chores, car repairs, and jobs, they rely on Dewalt to get the job done and get it done right.
As a heavy duty motor, DW680K handled most of my woodworking needs efficiently and easily. With it, you can cut through a maximum thickness of 3/32 inches, making it suitable for all home repairs. Putting a smooth and even finish on all types of wood can be quickly achieved!
Calibrated Depth-Adjustment Knob
Are you tired of having to re-calibrate your planer after each use? DW680K features an innovative design, ensuring that depth settings are locked and fine-tuned; this eliminates the need to re-calibrate. Engineered for ease-of-use and comfort, the machine doesn’t become cumbersome when being used extensively.
This planer is compatible with a wide range of blades on the market. Your choice will depend on the need at hand. For instance, picking the larger steel blades will allow you to perform straight edging perfectly. If you want to make square rabbet joints or a more nuanced woodworking-like frame, reversible carbide is your best bet.
If you are shopping for an inexpensive, solid hand planer which will handle most of your simple cuts, you can never go wrong with DEWALT DW680K.
1. Makita KP0810 7.5 Amp Planer
Though not the lightest planer, KP01800’s weight has been distributed evenly to make it easier to carry. This well-built planer has a drum housing designed from rigid die-cast aluminum, making it virtually unbreakable.
Makita KP0180 runs at 16,000 RPM, making it ideal for handling many woodworks. With a 7.5 Amp rated motor, power is consumed efficiently. The 2-blade cutter makes it easier to scrape off wood more quickly.
In a single pass, this planer can cut a maximum depth of 5/32” and a width of 3-1/4”. For a handheld planer, this is considerably high. I ended up getting the required thickness after only a few passes.
As the user, you have more precise cut control. Carpenters find this especially helpful when working on windows or doors; they can adjust the depth knob in movements of .1 mm, creating a smoother finish. Being average, the Guide Rule adjusts after some time.
The surface is adequately protected from the blades by the spring security feature at the bottom.
The combination of a durable design, precise adjustments, and a powerful motor makes Makita KP0180 suitable for both hand planers and hobbyists.
When you’re evaluating various bench planers, there are a few things you should look at carefully. Take the time to think about the types of work you’ll be doing in your wood shop, and match your planer to the jobs you’ll be doing with it. You’ll need to take several factors into consideration, including motor horsepower, cutting depth, bed width, and bed flatness. In addition, you’ll want to consider the weight of the machine and if you’ll be moving it around your shop, and various safety features such as guides and emergency stop cords.
1. DEWALT DW735 Planer
The DEWALT DW735 Benchtop Planer is a very powerful and versatile planer that is equally comfortable in a professional shop or in a well-equipped home shop. It is for a person who wants to buy rough stock and dimension it, creating custom materials.
The Planer has a 15 amp motor that produces up to 10,000 rpm. It can cut the toughest of wood, and it combines three cutting heads with a two-speed gearbox that helps it cut at either 96 cpi for dimensioning or 179 cpi for finishing. The three knives are both reversible and disposable and last 30 percent longer than traditional blades. The knives change quickly and easily.
Packaged in a pretty large box, DW735 is similarly heavy like other benchtop planers. As a unique feature, this planer can operate in two feed speeds. The first speed planes the thickness of the wood quickly while the second ensures a detailed finishing.
The machine’s blades are designed to cut each workpiece 179 times, leaving nice and smooth finishes; in speed 2, this drops to 96.
The DEWALT DW735 Benchtop Planer has extra-long infeed and outfeed tables that, together, support 33-1/2 inches of material. It also has a turret depth stop for popular depths. It also has a safeguard system that locks the wood in tight and ensures maximum accuracy and minimum sniping.
The DEWALT DW735 Benchtop Planer has a chip ejection system that looks somewhat like a mulcher and empties the chips into two dust shrouds. It weighs 92 pounds with a maximum cut depth of 1/8 inch, depth capacity of 8 inches, and width capacity of 13 inches.
Depth Setting Dial
With several incremental-depth stops available at standard measurements (1/8th to 1-1/4 inches), the depth setting dial allows you to easily maneuver through all woods. I found it particularly helpful as I planned reclaimed oak boards on my desktop to a thickness of 1-1/4”.
Changing the Blades
Coming with a useful Allen wrench, one needs to remove the plastic cover by loosening to have access to the blades. This is strictly done to ensure your safety when working. Inside the cutter, there is enough room to work with.
FYI: The Allen wrench has a magnetized handle, making it even easier to remove blades.
Ease of Use
If you have used a planer before, DW735 is fairly self-explanatory. Its power and accuracy make it fit well in a busy workshop. Its ability to handle many types of hardwood makes it particularly appealing.
2. Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer is another professional tool that is priced for the home. It has a 15 amp motor whose no-load speed is 8,500 rpm. In addition, it is very quiet compared to other planers, running at 83 decibels. It has a stable design: 4 posts and diagonal cross supports. There are also very large table extensions for support and adjustable depth stops.
It can be fed at 28 feet per minute, and the depth can be adjusted up to 6 and 3/32 inches. Weighing in at 68 pounds, it can be used at home or easily carried to and from a job site. The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer uses disposable double edge planer blades for easier and faster blade changes. It has a large paddle on/off switch for easy operation and LED indicators to let you know when the power is on. There is also a detachable tool box and removable dust hood for storage and protection.
Here are some great features of Makita 2012NB Planer:
- Compact and lightweight for easy transporting to the job site
- Fastest and easiest blade change system on the market; uses disposable double edge blades
- Quietest (83dB) planer in its class
- 4-post design and diagonal cross supports for stability
The Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer is made for finish woodworking and can be used for almost any project, such as furniture, cabinets, closets, and many others. There is even an internal clamp lock to prevent snipe and help all of your projects come out perfect every time. This many mechanics can’t be wrong: the Makita 2012NB 12-Inch Planer does everything it promises and lives up to its lofty reputation.
3. DEWALT DW734 15 Amp Planer
The DEWALT DW734 Benchtop Planer is pure hardcore power with 15 amps and has a motor of 20.000 RPM which allows for your wood to be cut deeper and to cut larger pieces of wood. When you are working on your home, no matter if it’s installing a hardwood floor, building shelves or if you are putting together a bookcase, Dewalt will be the name of choice for you and the planer is the tool for you to use.
The Planer has three knife cutter heads that will operate at 10,000 RPM and works at a speed of 96 cuts per inch and will operate one of the finest finishes that you can get with a portable planer. Of all the brands that most contractors and woodshop owners use, Dewalt is the name brand that they all have in common.
DW734 is built for high performance and precision cutting. Its 15 amp motor, delivering 10,000 RPM, this planer offers many conveniences such as supporting extra-long feed tables, disposable and reversible knives, and accurate depth adjustment.
Disposable, Reversible Knives
These razor-sharp knives will last 30% longer than the conventional ones. You no longer have to worry about time-consuming and costly re-sharpening! Several pins have been machined onto the knife, allowing you to easily and quickly change the one-tool knife.
The benchtop planer will make all your woodworking jobs easier and will allow for your woodworking jobs to be done quicker. When you are spending hours working on a project, you will like the fact that the time will be cut in half with this wood planer.
Dust and Debris Management
This planer’s impressive and functional dust hood connected directly to the shop vacuum, keeping my workspace sparkly throughout! Alternatively, one can use a standing dust collector to achieve the same level of cleanliness. Debris and chips lying aimlessly in the shop can pose danger.
Accurate, Easy Depth Adjustment and a Large Capacity
The table’s extra-long outfeed and infeed tables can support an incredible 33-1/2” of material! To save you time when working, the turret depth stop feature comes in handy. Each pass is made as accurate as possible by the planer’s extra-large thickness and material removal gauge.
The 4-column carriage lock drastically lowers any movement that can cause snipe, or material damage, as one planes near the edge of the board. The 4 column carriage lock will hold your wood better as it works to cut back on the amount of movement that your wood will make when being cut. By cutting back on the movement, you will cut back on the amount of snipe that your wood would normally have.
1. WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer
WEN 6550 has an impressively robust 15 Amp motor, allowing you to make 18,000 cuts per minute. In a minute, you can work through 26 ft. of wood, making it ideal for a woodwork shop. No matter the wood type, I was able to cut pieces of equal thickness simply and quickly.
Even with pieces measuring 6” thick and 12.5” wide, WEN 6550 allows you to work hassle free!
The 13” Version
If your workspace is currently handling projects which require up to 13” in wide wood pieces, WEN has an optional 13-Inch version for handling these wide boards. This model uses a dual-blade system, removing the thinnest sliver off your wood.
FYI: Each pass takes off up to 3/32”.
Changing the Blades
With the index pins and installation magnets, the blades are automatically aligned and easy to remove and replace. The sharp blades last a long while but for the best performance, ensure that they’re always as sharp as possible.
Supporting longer pieces of wood has been made easier through the foldable outfeed and infeed tables. At the right angle, I was able to feed in log pieces of wood smoothly and effortlessly. Since every rotation of the angle-adjustment handle equals a 1/16” height adjustment, don’t forget to factor it in.
This table won’t bend even after extensive use, thanks to its granite material; combined with a cast iron frame, this makes for a sturdy base and eliminates wobbling during operation.
Tip: To prevent wood shavings and sawdust from spreading all over your workspace, attach a vacuum cleaner to the dust collection port.
How to Keep Your Benchtop Planer Running Like New
Now that you’ve spent the money on a new benchtop planer, wouldn’t it be nice if it ran like new every time you want to use it? Well, if you follow these tips your planer will operate flawlessly for years to come and prove to be a worthy investment.
Don’t even think about buying a planer without purchasing a sharpening tool. This is the single best tip we can give you about wood planers. Without a sharpening tool, you’ll be cutting slow, damaging your wood, and wearing down what is left of your blade. We recommend the Diamond Hone-Mate. This sharpener allows you to sharpen the planer knife without removing from the tool saving time. Extended blade life is a nice bonus as well. This tip works extremely well on the Makita 2012NB 12-inch benchtop planer.
We’ve seen a few reviews where people are complaining about having to force the wood into the planer, particularly after using the planer for a while. This is a sign that the blade is dull and needs to be sharpened or changed. You’ll be amazed at how easily this cures the problem. Also, if your planer is cutting slowly or dragging, try giving it a quick sharpening and you’ll be surprised.
Another big factor for extending the life of your wood planer is keeping the shavings out of the mechanics. Occasionally remove the side panel and remove any errant shavings that could affect the chain infeed drive. Keeping this is clean of debris will also improve performance.
The jointer planer is used for cutting, shaping and reshaping the wood. These jointer planers are used during woodwork. Especially when you are making furniture and other wooden things jointer planer helps you a lot at that time because of every wood project call for flat. Jointer planer can make the wood surface plane. There are many types of jointer planer and each has its unique functions. Now a day its use becomes common and famous. Many people buy jointer and planer and think that these are the same things. Actually, these both things perform different things. Thickness planers are used to cut the rough surface of the wood while; Jointers are used for making the wood smooth.
Jointer planer is used for smoothing and flattening wood. We can make a variety of shapes of wood by using this. Jointer planer is easily accessible in the markets. Different companies are selling jointer planer online. You could also get it with the help of internet. Jointer planer has its blades inside. These blades cut the wood very quickly. If you need to change its blade then you can change or clean its blades very easily. Jointer and planer both are used during woodworking task. Jointer planer can cut and give shape to wood accurately as you required from it. Jointer planers are widely using across the world. These have heavy machinery install in it. You can cut and give shape to wood piece very quickly. Jointer planer is easy to use and can save a lot of your precious time. You can easily and quickly do woodworking by saving your time you can earn more with the help of jointer planer. Jointer planer can also be used domestically. You can cut, give shape or smooth the surface of your doors, windows and wooden safe.
Jointer planers are widely using by furniture industries and other wood making equipment industries. The woodwork done by jointer planers is comparatively very fast then woodworking manually. Now the question is which thing you should buy first and the answer is both things jointer and planer should buy together. Both things do the work by helping each other. Finally when we get results then you will find that both of the things can perform their task efficiently. Many wood industries have raised their production level when they use jointer planers. Increased in their production has also increased in their profit as well and when the profit is increased then the government will receive more tax. So now we can say that jointer planers help to industrialists and government to increase their income level. Jointer planers are the necessary tools for wooden industries because it can perform its job very quickly. If the time has saved then the manufacturers can earn more. So jointer and planers can directly affect your income level. The wood planer is used to cut the roughest part of the wood to make it smoother and plane. Wood can be made into good position by using it. The wood jointer is used for making the wood smooth. You can adjust the size of your wooden board to fix it more properly and efficiently.
1. Best Jointer Planer – Cutech 40160H-CT 6” Jointer
Looking at the Cutech Jointer for the first time, my expectations of its performance were high. I wasn’t disappointed! The overall weight and size saw it take up only a fraction of my garage, leaving me more room to work with. Transporting it was easy, thanks to the well-placed handles and precise weight distribution.
What You Might Get With It
If you require a separate benchtop planer tool after you’ve finished milling the timber, Cutech 40160H-CT comes with it. As an optional addition, the planer is compatible with the HTC Adjustable Mobile Base, making it easier to move around your working space.
Tip: For superior dust collection capabilities, consider adding a shop vac to your shopping cart.
Who Can Use The Jointer?
Are you looking for an affordable spiral cutter head jointer? This model will help you get all your jobs done. Beginners will particularly find it easy to work with! If your needs don’t surpass the 6” cutting width, the machine should serve your needs well. The table-to-table length totals to 2.5 ft.
However, if you are looking for a blade cutter and one that handles thicker and longer pieces of wood, you will have to look beyond the Cutech Jointer.
The Carbide Model
With this model, you have 12 carbide inserts to work with. Replacements for these inserts are readily available in packs of ten. When an insert chipped or nicked, one can simply rotate it, revealing the fresh cutting-edge.
How to Choose the Best Wood Planers
When selecting a wood planer for your home or workshop, it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs. This is often based on determining what type of work you’ll be carrying out and just how large and complex the duties are going to be that the wood planer is going to be employed for. A wood planer is a long-term investment, which is why several aspects have to be considered in order to ensure the best decision:
- The motor – When it comes to electric planers, more HP equal a higher efficiency and a greater accuracy. Of course, if it is just for a hobby, it may not be worth investing a fortune in a powerful motor, but if you have future plans, clients you care about or a reputation to protect, you should go for the highest configuration.
- Cut quality – scallops and snipe – Wood planers use a rotary cutting head that holds two or three knives. The rotary cutting action leaves a series of shallow scallops leaving the board essentially flat. The closer the scallops are together, the smoother the board. Snipe is when the planer takes off too deep of a bite a few inches from each end of lumber you are working with. Most of the time these ends can be easily sanded away but if the snipe is too deep the ends have to be cut off. Planers usually need some adjustment to eliminate snipe.
- Bed flatness – Make sure the bed of your tool is as flat as possible because the smoothness of each piece of lumber depends on this characteristic.
- Width – You know better than anyone at what scale you work and what size the pieces you finish are, so just make sure the object of your purchase meets your needs. Again, if you only need it to support your hobby, in your home workshop, you might manage with something smaller and simpler, but not if you build large pieces of furniture for demanding customers.
- Warranty – You hope you will never need it, but the truth is that you can never know when your favorite toy breaks down and leaves you with unfinished projects. It is, therefore, better to settle for equipment with a long warranty period, especially because if the manufacturer guarantees the functionality of a product on a long-term, the product is usually reliable and lasts at least throughout warranty.
Also, there are several types of wood planers, and although they serve the same purpose, there are particularities that promote some types over others. Here are the most popular:
- Hand planers – Every woodworker with respect for the art and willingness to excel must have at least some of the many models and sizes available in his workshop. Among them, benchtop planers are used mainly for the bigger pieces of lumber. They are fixed on a support that ensures stability, and they are pretty heavy tools. The block planers are part of the same category. And since everything that is small and smart draws attention, we have to mention the small pocket wood planers, designed for fast and precise cuts. They are really easy to handle, especially for those who already possess some basic skills and knowledge on the functioning and utility of these tools.
- Stationary planers – They are extremely heavy and expensive. For these reasons, they are used mainly in industrial facilities, where the production reaches a larger scale, and the investment is justified. Besides, stationary planers take a lot of space, and chances are they will not fit a small backyard workshop or barn.
No matter what types of wood planers you choose to work with, it is important that you pursue the perfect combination of quality, utility, and price.
Wood Planer Tips
The luxury of owning a nice wood planer used to belong to professional woodshops and cabinet makers. Today benchtop planers are more popular than ever to the home woodworking shop and only cost a few hundred bucks. In this section, I’ll show you how to solve the most common problems of snipe, tear out and ridges.
Snipe is a small gouge or grove that occurs at the beginning and ends of boards. Snipe happens when feeding a piece of lumber into the wood planer and happens again when the lumber exits the planer.
Most newer planers have an inter-locking head clamp that locks the cutting head in place and is supposed to eliminate snipe. Although this helps, we find that the best technique is to measure your lumber 5” longer than you need and just cut off the snipe when you cut the lumber to its final length.
Tearout happens when the wood planer knives get caught on rising wood fibers and pull them out rather than cut them smoothly. This produces small holes or divots in the surface of the wood. Tear out mostly occurs when feeding the lumber into the planer with the wrong end forward. Avoiding tearout may be as simple as changing the direction you feed the wood into the planer. Feeding the smooth end first usually solves the problem. Some woods will produce tearout no matter which direction you feed the boards. In this case, it’s best to plane the boards in very fine increments and make several passes thru the planer if necessary. I recommend removing about 1/32” each pass.
Ridges are most often caused by a chipped or nicked wood planer blade and can be sanded out easily. We recommend 120 grit sandpaper and a sanding block. Eventually, you’ll need to replace the chipped blade but, there may be a solution to get you by. Try shifting one of the knives slightly to offset the chips. It won’t take much of offset to cure the problem. This won’t work on all benchtop wood planers because on some brands you can’t shift the knives at all.
How to Use an Electric Planer
Using an electric planer is far easier than most people realize and with only a few hours practice one can plane would like an expert. Each pass of the planer involves a rhythm of balance and hand pressure. Once you get the feel of it, the electric planer is a breeze to use.
- Make sure the work area is clear of debris and the wood to be planed is securely clamped down.
- Your planning surface will end up rough and uneven unless the blade is set properly and securely. The blade must be mounted so that the cutting edge is absolutely level, that is, parallel to the surface of the rear base.
- Make sure to stand with your feet apart in a comfortable position as this ensures safety and the best results.
- Begin by resting the tool base front flat upon the workpiece surface without the blades making any contact.
- Start the electric planer and wait until the blades attain full speed. Then ease the tool until it makes contact with the workpiece, and push it steadily forward.
- Apply pressure to the front end of the tool at the start of planing and balance hand pressure between the tool handle and the front knob as both planer soles contact the work.
- At the end of planing, apply pressure to the back of the tool as you push it off the work. This will help to prevent snipe.
The speed at which you push the electric planer and depth of cut determines the final finish of your work. For rough cutting, the depth of cut can be increased, while for a smoother finish you should reduce the depth of cut and advance the tool more slowly.
Picking the right planer for your needs can save you lots of money you would have otherwise spent hiring professional carpenters. For professionals, the success rate of your work depends on the planer you use and how well you maintain it.
Which planer will serve your needs best? Let us know in our comment section. If you have any questions that need clarification, we’ll be glad to help. Cheers!