What is a Wood Planer Used For Image

What Does a Wood Planer Do? – Right Way to Maintain Thickness

Are you a carpenter looking for an efficient tool that can make your woodworking task easy and quick? Or are you facing troubles while making the surface smooth and fit for the existing wooden project? If the answer to any one of them is a yes, then a wood planer can be the most useful tool in your woodworking kit. Various types of wood planers are available to produce high-quality outputs and incredible finishes if appropriately used. Here is detailed information about what is a wood planer used for, and easy steps to operate it effectively.

What is a Wood Planer?

A wood planer is an instrument used to create wooden boards of equal thickness and makes the surface flat and smooth. It is an essential woodworking tool for carpenters because it furnishes elegant moldings with every project and makes it easier for workers to deal with the board. It is available in three types: hand held wood planers, bench top planers, and shop floor planers. The cost and functioning of all of them vary, and you can choose the one suitable for your needs.

The wood planer machine glides along the top of the wooden material and makes it aligned in a few quick passes. At the planer’s bottom, one or more blades are positioned, and the blades remove a specific amount of wood from the top face of the material with every pass. It is crucial to adjust them appropriately so that only the desired amount gets cut and leaves a flat surface.

Types of Wood Planers

Wood planers can be divided into four categories based on complexity and cost. The brief information about each of them is as follows:

Manual Planers

Manual planers, also known as hand-held planers, are easy to use thickness planers having the least cost. They don’t demand prior training and have been used for several years. From the bottom part, the manual planer is completely smooth and flat. It includes an adjustable blade that extends to a downward angle. The blade furnishes a uniform cut along the wooden surface’s length. The user has to push or pull the tool along the wooden piece.

Power Hand Planers

Adding an electric motor to the manual planer can provide you with a power planer. Power hand planers are available in both wired and cordless forms. This tool can make your wooden projects much easier and further reduce the time required to accomplish the project. Multiple blades are present at the tool’s bottom. The planer’s blades start spinning and cut off a particular amount of wood by pulling the tool’s trigger.

Benchtop Planers

As the name suggests, a benchtop planer gets easily adjusted on the top of a bench or table and produces quick and precise outcomes. You don’t have to use muscle power to work with this machine, and all you have to do is move the wooden plank through the planer. However, this machine is more expensive than power planers. The powerful blades of this planer can take off extra material, and you have to operate it to obtain accurate results carefully.

Shop Floor Planers

Shop floor planers are the bigger versions of benchtop planers and occupy the floor space. They are freestanding units similar to milling machines and large drill presses. These industrial wood planers are much faster and more precise than other ones and are used for more significant wooden pieces. Additionally, shop floor planers are perfect for making deeper cuts. They are costly, and you have to buy them only after considering your budget.

How Does a Wood Planer Work?

Before using a wood planer, it is important to understand how it works. Firstly, you need to decide whether you want a hand-held tool or an electric planer. The working mechanism for both is quite similar, and you can buy any one of them according to your requirements and budget. The process commences with adjusting the cutter head and driving the wooden board into the planer. The in-feed roller takes hold of the wood and makes it pass through a fast-rotating cutter. The cutter then shaves off the wooden top, and the outfeed roller moves the flattened part out of the planer. You can continue the procedure until you get satisfied and achieve the desired smoothness and flatness.

What is a Wood Planer Used For?

The primary purpose of using a wood planer is to make the surface of the wooden board smooth for different furniture items like cabinets, flat tabletops, and tables. The rough surface is hard to handle and provides poor-quality results. You can easily trim the wood using a wood planer and craft it according to your preferences. The planer is used to reach the required thickness level and becomes beneficial when the piece has to be fitted in a predetermined area.

Although the planer is preferably used for wood working, it is not restricted to wooden materials only. Different planer uses include cutting plastics, soft materials, and even a few metals. Wood planers are excellent for maintaining straightness levels on double-surfaced wooden projects. You can further use a wood planer for chiseling and grooving purposes. It is the best choice for projects that demand to join two edges. Beveling a door also becomes simpler and can provide the most accurate edges.

How to Use a Wood Planer?

Understanding the usage pattern of a wood planer is essential to attain the premium quality of the woodworking project. Follow these simple steps to operate a wood planer correctly and safely:

Step 1: Test Your Planer Before Usage

Checking the sharpness of the planer’s blade is necessary before starting the work. You can clean it thoroughly using a chamois. If it has become dull, it is better to replace the blade with a fresh one to prevent improper cuts on the wood. Also, it is necessary to make sure that the blade is even. In the case of an electric wood planer, you have to ensure that the battery is fully charged and the electric cord is working properly.

Step 2: Make Necessary Arrangements on Workbench

If you use your right hand for the work, set up the workbench accordingly. You have to place your right hand at the planer’s back with your left hand at the front side. You can reverse the placement of the planer and workbench if your left hand contributes more.

Step 3: Select the Board and Secure it to Bench

Next, you need to choose the board you have to flatten. It is preferable to look for boards with straight grains and negligible flaws. After selecting the board, secure it to the workbench using adjustable clamps. The primary reason for this step is to ensure that the board remains at its position and doesn’t move here and there. It will lead to perfect outcomes and also protect you from injuries.

Step 4: Locate the Place for First Cut

In the last step, you have to wear eye protection equipment before starting the work. Peel a wooden strip by taking the planer till the end. Now, set the planer on the surface and tilt it a little forward so that the blade can get in touch with the board. Make your forearms and wrists straight and start applying the force to push it firmly. You can also use your lower body to exert force on the planer.

Step 5: Check Surface After Every Cut

After having the first cut, check out whether it has been made at the targeted location or not. You can continue a similar procedure until you get the smooth texture. You can improve this texture by using sandpaper having distinct grits.


A wood planer is an essential tool for both beginners and professionals. It can deliver the finest wood products with excellent smoothness. The range of wood planers is broad, and you have to choose the one that suits your workload. Different planers possess distinct traits and can work effectively with specific projects. You can devote some time to gaining more information about it to prove beneficial for you in the long run. It is necessary to learn the working of different best woodworking tools for elegant work without mishaps.