How to Use a Thickness Planer

Due to its natural rigidity, wood is an ideal material for most of the carpentry and construction projects. However, this natural rigidity also causes wood to bow or warp when it is cut into boards. As such, the boards created out of the wood don’t have exactly parallel opposite sides. To do away with this shortcoming, you need a tool called thickness planer. Thickness planers let you create uniform boards all ready for a fine finish. However, it is important to get familiar with the usage of this tool. If you are not sure how to use a thickness planer for woodworking projects, follow the below advice.

Choose the right planer

Just like any other tool, choosing an ideal planer is paramount to maximizing the finish of your woodworking project. Thickness planers can be portable or stationary. Stationary planers are bigger and provide the advantages of a greater capacity and more stability compared to portable machines.


On the flip side, portable versions offer more flexibility as they can be easily transported and used for any woodworking project outside the workshop. As a thumb rule, go for a portable planer if you are working on a smaller project. Stationary planers might be a better bet for bigger projects.

Position the equipment


Modern day thickness planers are compact enough to fit into a small sized workshop. After selecting an ideal planer, mount it near the power supply so that the cord doesn’t interfere with the work area. Also, placing the planer near the power supply will ensure quick turn on and off of the power for avoiding accidents and also to save electricity bills.

Any power equipment is safe when plugged directly into the powering outlet. Extension cords can get overheated causing unfortunate fire hazards. So be sure to avoid any extension cord while using a planer. Take away all electric equipment from plumbing pipes and fixtures. Secure the base of the planer to the work table or a stand to avoid tipping or shifting of the planer during use.

Select the material

The objective of a planer is to transform a lumber into fine wood planks for detailed woodworking. The distance allowed on either side of the planer is the limiting point in board length. Choose the product that is at least 14 inches long and 1 inch wide. If you select the material (to be finished) in accordance with the above parameters, there is no reason why you won’t get the best finished product.

Feed the machine

A thickness planer warrants various adjustments that impact the final product you want to produce. Lumber must be planed on each side to ensure uniformity of moisture in the wood. This will also avoid the wood from warping.

Turn on the machine and use the depth adjustment crank to desired thickness. Be sure the power is off when you are feeding the machine with the product. If you fail to do so, you run the risk of cutting your hand. Also, the lumber could get damaged.

Set the material removal gauge from 1/32 to 1/8 inches. You will have to feed the lumber through the planer more than once to attain desired thickness. Feeding the lumber only once will not generate a fine finish.

In addition to this, make sure the speed of the planer is uniform throughout the finishing process. Also, keep your hand on the lumber steady to maintain uniform pressure on the lumber to get the best result.

Bottom line

Crafting intricacies of carpentry and construction projects can be a chore; this is more so with wood projects. However, you can get rid of this problem with thickness planers. Learn how to use a thickness planer and you are on your way to giving your woodworking projects a new look and appearance that will tell their own story.

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