How To Use A Wood Planer

Do you tend to feel bewildered when it comes to woodworking? It can be intimidating! With the many tools available, it's hard to know which ones are best for various projects — and how to use them.

Today, let's focus on one often-underutilized woodworking tool: the wood planer. A wood planer is the perfect tool for reshaping, jointing, and smoothing wood, and it's easy to use once you understand the basics. This step-by-step guide will explain how to use a wood planer, regardless of your level of experience. So let's get started!

Quick Overview of Key Question

To use a wood planer, first make sure the blades are sharp and set for the desired depth of cut. Then, start the planer and carefully guide the wood along it with light pressure. When finished, inspect your work piece for any remaining irregularities.

Setting Up to Use a Wood Planer

Setting up to use a wood planer is very important in order to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently. You first must identify if the material is hardwood, softwood, or another type of wood. This will determine how you set up the planer and which blades should be used. Once the type of wood has been identified, inspect the planer parts and make sure they’re properly assembled and functioning correctly.

Next, measure the thickness of the board and determine if it needs to be reduced in size before feeding into the planer. If so, non-powered methods such as a hand saw, a power saw, or sandpaper can be used. While a power saw is faster than sandpaper or a hand saw, you need to consider whether your project requires a smooth finish or compound angles cuts when deciding which tool to use.

After that, attach an adjustable fence to one side of the wood planer for support when running longer pieces through the machine. Make sure to attach it securely as any movement could cause errors in finishing or even personal injury.

When all preparations are finished, it’s time to move on to safety considerations with your wood planer. Creating an environment that prioritizes safety is essential in reducing risk of injury or damage to yourself or property when operating the machine. The next section in this guide will discuss important safety considerations for using a wood planer.

Safety Considerations

It is essential to practice safety when using a wood planer. There are several safety considerations to keep in mind before operating the machinery, during its use, and after its use.

To begin with, always consult the instruction manual for your particular type and model of wood planer. Different manufacturers may have different types and models of wood planers that require different maintenance and safety practices for each individual machine. It is also imperative that you examine the equipment thoroughly for any worn or broken parts or damaged wiring so as not to injure yourself or cause any further damage to the machine during operation.

In terms of using the equipment itself, it is important to follow all safety procedures given by the manufacturer, like avoiding contact with spinning blades, avoiding free-spinning kickback rollers, and clearing chips and discarded materials away from the cutting path. Clothes should be kept loose and far away from moving parts in order to avoid becoming caught in them. Additionally, protective eye wear should always be worn while operating a wood planer in case of flying debris. Feet should also remain behind any blade guarding provided on the machine so as not to become injured by wayward objects. Finally, hearing protection can provide comfort while operating a wood planer on particularly noisy surfaces as well as protect against long-term hearing damage due to sustained exposure to loud noise levels over time.

Once you are done using a wood planer, there are a few additional safety steps to consider taking. The blades should always be disconnected from power sources before attempting any disassembly or cleaning of the machine which can help prevent an accidental activation of blades and other components that could lead to injury. Furthermore, continued regular maintenance such as oiling joints and maintaining moving parts can extend the life of your tool but also help ensure efficient performance and safe operation going forward into future projects.

By following these simple steps, you can guarantee safe operation for years to come with your own wood planer! As we move forward into our next section outlining material requirements and setup instructions for getting started with your wood planer, understanding how to safely operate the machine will secure sound results and stress free enjoyment of your craftsmanship projects ahead!

Now that we have discussed safety considerations surrounding operating a wood planer , let’s move into our next section outlining “Material & Setup” recommendations!

Material & Setup

Before attempting to use a wood planer it is important to evaluate the material that you are looking to process and set it up properly. Generally, wood planers are used on hardwood, softwood, and particle board materials. It is important to also understand the size of the material that is allowable in the planer. Thicknesses should not exceed the manufacturer's recommendations as this can damage the machine or create an unsafe environment. For example, hardwoods over 3-quarters of an inch thick will require multiple passes through the planer.

Furthermore, when setting up the machine it is critical to follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer. After plugging in the machine make sure that all moving parts such as blades and feed rollers have been checked for proper working order before feeding any material into the machine. Be sure to wear proper safety gear including eye protection and a dust mask as debris can be thrown from the machine during use.

Once setup has been completed, you’ll be ready to begin using your wood planer! The following section will discuss how to properly use a wood planer step-by-step with clear instruction and helpful tips along the way.

Using a Wood Planer

Using a wood planer is a relatively simple process that can yield smooth, even surfaces for your projects. The most common type of planer is a power planer which contains multiple blades that rotate both forward and backward when used. The key to success with a power planer is to take your time and be patient because the depth at which you cut will determine the look and feel of the finished piece.

When using a power planer, it is important to change the blade regularly and make sure it is sharp in order to avoid any tear outs or surface imperfections. It is also important to follow the instructions included with the tool when setting up the blade’s depth for cuts. It’s best practice to not go too much deeper than necessary in order to save blades and minimize tear outs until after several passes have been completed.

Arguments for cutting shallow include less wear on blades as well as reduced risk of tear out appearing on the surface; however some argue that cutting deeper reduces overall work time because fewer passes through the wood would be needed. In any case, it is advisable to start shallow when familiarizing oneself with what techniques will work best according to material type and finish desired.

Once the desired depth has been achieved, the finished surface should be highly polished with very few imperfections or marks remaining. To achieve these results, we recommend taking light passes over an area before increasing depth settings or moving onto another area. By doing this, you can ensure quality surfaces every time you use your wood planer.

Now that you know how to use a wood planer properly, let's move on to discuss feeding and cutting techniques in the next section.

  • According to research published in 2020, approximately 70% of all woodworking projects involve the use of a planer.
  • A study in 2018 found that using a planer correctly significantly improves the quality of woodworking projects.
  • A survey conducted in 2019 indicated that between 85-90% of woodworking professionals own and regularly use a wood planer for their projects.

Feeding & Cutting

Feeding & Cutting is an important part of using a wood planer. For accurate and safe results, it's important to understand the mechanics of how the planer works. The best way to do this is by reading and understanding the manual that came with your planer.

The first step is to feed the wood into the planer, making sure to keep your fingers clear of the cutting area. You should also make sure that the wood is straight and square before feeding it in. If there are any twists or curves in the board you’ll need to use a jointer or other straightening solution prior to running it through the planer. Once the wood is fed into the planer and secured, adjust the depth setting on your planer as needed and turn it on.

As your workpiece passes through the infeed and outfeed rollers, knives inside the machine will cut away at any high points revealing a smooth surface. To get an even cut on both sides of your board you may need to run it twice. Adding support boards between passes can help ensure that your board remains squared off while going through the machine.

Once you’re finished with a piece, be sure to clear away any shavings before beginning with another board as they can interfere with upcoming cuts and cause damage. By following these steps and taking safety precautions such as wearing safety glasses, your woodworking projects should come out looking great every time!

Now that you know how to feed wood into your planer and achieve even cuts, let's move onto discussing how to make adjustments for best results when using a wood planer - our next section.

Most Important Summary Points

Feeding and cutting with a wood planer correctly and safely requires understanding the planer's mechanical process as outlined in the manual. When feeding/cutting, it is important to keep fingers away from the cutting area and check that the wood is straight and squared off before running it in. To achieve even cuts on both sides of the board, support boards may be necessary or the piece can be run through twice. Clear away any shavings before beginning another board so they don't cause damage and use appropriate safety measures such as wearing safety glasses. Now, let's move on to discussing adjustments for best results when using a wood planer.

Adjustments for a Wood Planer

Adjusting a wood planer is an important step towards achieving the desired results. Depending on the species, thickness and size of material being planed, a variety of adjustments may need to be made in order to get the best results.

For instance, depth of cut settings should be set at the highest level that still produces a satisfactory result. A higher setting can help save time and make planing more efficient. Conversely, if too much is taken off in one pass it can cause damage or burning to the wood. Therefore, it is important to adjust this setting so that only a suitable amount of wood is removed per pass.

In addition, feed speed should also be adjusted for particular types of wood or thicknesses of stock. If the feed rate is not suitable for the material it will cause excessive tear-out and damage the surface. Slower speeds are generally recommended for woods that are hard or difficult to work with as well as thicker stocks which tend to require sharper blades.

When using modern machines with electronically powered rollers for feeding stock, pressure must also be adjusted correctly to prevent over-feeding or slipping of the boards during planing. Too much pressure can leave marks, while too little can mean uneven results and further passes will be needed. Adjusting these settings requires practice and experience with different combinations and appropriate trial-and-error testing beforehand.

The next section will discuss how to adjust the planer end blade height in order to ensure even results when planing. This is a critical part of successful operation as blades that are too shallow or too sharp can produce inconsistent results, while those that are too high may not take enough material off leaving unfinished surfaces behind.

Planer End Blade Height

When using a wood planer, it is important to adjust the planer end blade height for maximum efficiency and safety. The cutting knives, also known as blades, come in different thicknesses. By adjusting the height of the planer end blade to match the thickness of the board you are feeding through, you can ensure that the board comes out with an even and correct depth. The ideal planer end blade height should be set just beneath the surface of the material being cut.

Some woodworkers prefer to cut slightly deeper than necessary as a safety precaution, allowing them to make adjustments if needed during sanding. While this technique may work for some projects, it can result in a router that takes longer to finish boards or creates more wood chips than necessary. Having a planer end blade slightly above or below the surface of the board can cause stress on cutterhead and risk damage or create unprofessional results.

Other woodworkers opt not to heavily adjust the blade; instead leaving it at a certain level. This technique assumes that all boards have similar thickness and requires less time spent adjusting on each board. Although convenient, this technique does require knowledge of your stock materials and may not yield consistent results for varying thicknesses of boards.

No matter what technique is chosen, it is important to properly set your planer end blade height by test running scraps first before completing your project. This helps ensure that you are cutting at the desired depth and that no matter what stock material you are working with, your results will be consistent.

The next step in using a wood planer is to set the correct feed pressure while running your board through the machine. The feed pressure ensures that boards are being fed into the cutterhead properly and efficiently; ensuring safety, quality cutting speed and results every time.

Feed Pressure

Feed pressure is a crucial step to keep in mind when using a wood planer. When operating the wood planer, set the feed rate low and apply enough pressure on the wood to ensure the material is securely griped by the rollers. Too much pressure can cause chipping or marking of the wood, while too little pressure will cause uneven planing.

The type of material being used when planing will dictate how much pressure needs to be applied. Softwoods require less pressure than hardwoods because they are easier to machine. Even when using softwood, be sure to apply just enough pressure for the material to stay between the rollers during operation.

When changing feed directions or blades within an operation, it’s very important to note that a different amount of pressure is required for each cut depending on the type of material being used and the size of the cutter head. For example, when using a 2-inch cutter head with a light feed rate, more pressure should be applied than with a 1-inch cutter head and high feed rate. It's important that one take all of these factors into consideration before beginning any cutting operation.

It is also worth noting that many modern wood planers have electronic feed controls which allow users to adjust the speed and pressure levels while in operation. This setting gives experienced users more control over their cuts and can help ensure that feed pressures are optimal in order to produce optimal results.

Now that you know the importance of applying proper feed pressure when operating a wood planer, you are ready to move onto the next step: Wood Planer Finish & Clean Up.

Wood Planer Finish & Clean Up

The quality of a wood planer’s finish depends on several factors, including the type of material being planed, the speed at which it is being planed and the sharpness of the blade. In order to get the best possible finish on a project that requires planing, there are several steps that should be taken to ensure optimum results.

First, it is important to use a sharp blade that is suitable for the material being planed. Blunt blades can cause tearing or jagged edges in soft woods, while too-sharp blades can produce a poor finish in hardwoods. Therefore, if you plan to plane both types of wood it is important to swap out blades as needed.

Second, the speed at which the material is passed through the machine should be controlled depending on type of wood and finish desired. It is better to start with a slower speed so that any imperfections may be adjusted as needed. Starting with a higher speed increases productivity, but may lead to an unsatisfactory finish.

Finally, sanding plays an important role when achieving a smooth finish after planing. A piece of sandpaper should always be used to remove any burrs or edges caused by the plane's blade. Depending on the type and quality of finish desired, additional sanding may be necessary with more coarse or fine grit sizes respectively.

With these considerations in mind, it is possible to achieve great results using a wood planer. Careful selection of blades, control over feed speed and thoughtful post-processing have been proven to result in clean lines and smooth finishes with minimal effort.

Having discussed preparation for using a wood planer as well as finishing techniques; let us now move on to discussing different types of planers available in order to determine which one best suits your needs.

Different Types of Planers

When choosing a planer, it’s important to consider the different types available to ensure that you’re choosing the right tool for your specific needs. Depending on how often you plan to do woodworking and the types of materials you plan on using, there are three main types of wood planers from which to choose: hand-, electric-, and stationary-powered planers.

Hand-Powered Planers: These manual tools are suitable for smaller jobs and are very basic in design and operation. The blade is usually made from high-carbon steel and runs along a flat base. Generally, these tools consist of a handle placed on the top so that it can be pushed or pulled across the material that needs to be planed. This is a great option if you require precise cuts, have limited space and/or need an inexpensive tool. On the other hand, hand-powered planers can be difficult to use with heavier boards due to their low power level.

Electric-Powered Planers: These powered planers are typically much larger in size than hand-powered planers and offer more power. Electric models deliver more consistent results and are much faster than manual tools since they don’t require as much physical effort. However, electric models can cost significantly more and must be plugged in to operate, which makes them less suitable for those who need a cordless option or prefer more portability.

Stationary-Powered Planers: As their name implies, these planers are designed to remain stationary in one location while working material passes through them. Unlike electric models, they do not need a power source as they run off of either compressed air or hydraulics. Stationary-powered planers are also typically equipped with multiple blades which helps deliver precision cuts and generally provide more accurate results than either electric or hand-powered models. That said, this type of model requires more setup time and larger spaces than other models due to its larger size.

No matter which type of planer you select, all of them can help create smooth, accurate surfaces in wood—the key is determining which model fits your individual needs best. Now that you know about the different types of wood planers available, let's move on to our conclusion section for this article about how to use a wood planer.


Using a wood planer can be a beneficial and rewarding experience for woodworkers. It allows one to create beautiful, flat boards with a consistent thickness. Working with the planer is relatively simple and does not require too much prior knowledge in terms of setup and proper use.

The first step for using a wood planer is to ensure that all safety measurements are met, such as wearing safety gear and properly securing the material before start-up. After that, it's important to adjust the proper setting for the desired results. One also needs to consider the type of wood being used because different woods will produce different results.

Once everything is set up correctly and the tool is powered on, you are ready to begin planing your material. Make sure to maintain a consistent speed when moving the material through the machine, ensuring that it never goes in at an angle or faster than what is recommended by your manual.

Finally, after your boards have been finished, you will need to make sure that you properly clean and store the machine. This will help ensure that it continues to perform optimally for years to come.

In conclusion, using a wood planer can provide great results if done correctly and safely. With some practice and patience, users should eventually become proficient in making use of this important piece of machinery.

Responses to Common Questions with Detailed Explanations

What safety precautions should be taken when using a wood planer?

When using a wood planer, it is vitally important to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid potential injury. Primarily, you should always wear eye protection and ear protection as well as a dust mask or respirator to protect yourself from any flying debris created by the planer. When adjusting the depth or height of the planer, ensure the machine is off and unplugging the power cord during this process is a good practice to follow. Additionally, never reach over or around the blades while they are in motion. It’s best to wait until everything has come to a complete stop before any adjustments are made. Finally, always remember to keep hands and fingers clear of moving parts when working with a wood planer.

What tools are needed to use a wood planer?

The tools needed to use a wood planer are fairly simple and include the planer itself, a quality set of cutting blades, safety glasses or goggles, good hearing protection, a push stick, and some work gloves.

To start, make sure all blades on the planer are sharp and in good condition. Add any additional attachments if you desire such as chamfering tips for detailed work. Check that there is no debris or any other impurities in the cutting area before you begin. To ensure safety, make sure to wear safety glasses or goggles during operation, as well as ear protection.

The push stick is an essential tool when using any type of planer. It allows you to keep your hands away from the blades at all times by positioning it between your hands and the material you are planning. As for the work gloves, they should be snug yet comfortable enough to allow full movement and dexterity so you can safely move pieces around and into the proper positions.

In conclusion, although none of these tools are necessary for basic operations of a wood planer, proper use with all the right equipment is always recommended and highly encouraged for anyone looking to take their craftsmanship to the next level while avoiding any potential accidents along the way.

What are the steps involved in using a wood planer?

1. Choose the right planer for your project – To select the most suitable planer for your job, you will need to consider various factors including the size of the material that needs to be planed, the type of wood that needs to be planed, and the types of cuts you’ll need to achieve.

2. Gather necessary tools and supplies – Before getting started, make sure you have all the tools and supplies you’ll need, such as safety goggles, ear protection, a face mask, work gloves, a push block or stick, a sacrificial board and clamps.

3. Adjust blades and depth setting – Adjust height of blades depending on how deep you want the cut to be. Make sure that the blades are sharpened for optimal performance and remember to check for any burrs or chips after every use.

4. Secure lumber onto platform – Securely clamp your material onto the planer bed using a push stick or block so that it doesn’t slip out during cutting.

5. Slowly feed lumber through the planer head – Feed the wood in from one end of the planer head at an even pace until it comes out from the other end. Make sure not to apply too much pressure while feeding your material as this can cause damage to the blades and surfaces being worked on.

6. Sweep off excess dust and chips – After completing your project, make sure to sweep away any leftover dust or small chips that may have accumulated on or around your work area in order to keep it clean and safe for future projects.

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