How to Use a Hand Planer

Are you excited about starting your DIY carpentry projects in your spare time? Carpentry has vast potential, and it is one of the most exciting activities to explore. The best part is that you get to use several tools you’ve been fascinated by since you were younger. Some tolls are more challenging than others; therefore, I wanted to create a guide on how to use a hand planer to help.

Hand planers are critical for DIY projects because they help shape the wood to your desired shape. Its most common function is slicing the wood surface with a flat blade. It comes in several sizes to accommodate your need, with smaller versions better for higher shaping accuracy.

This blog will give some details about hand planers and help you understand how to use them.

Types of Hand Planers

The mention of hand planers likely makes you think about the traditional ones used to even the shapes of average-sized wooden planks. However, that is not the only type of hand planer available. There are nineteen different types of hand planers, and the following are the most commonly used:

  1. Leveling Planers – most commonly used hand planer and a wider version of jointer planers
  2. Block Planer – hand-sized and affordable
  3. Bull Nose Planers – small (3-4.5 inch) hand planers used for detailing
  4. Chisel Planer – precision planer that can access areas most other planers cannot
  5. Finger Planer – one of the smallest planers used for intricate detailing
  6. Compass Planer – hand planers suited for curved surfaces
  7. Fore Planers – 14 – 20 inch long hand planers used to even surfaces
  8. Jointer Planers – 22-30 inch long hand planers that can be used to level curved surfaces
  9. Bench Planer – a combination planer made up of multiple types of planers joined together
  10. Rabbet Planer – hand planer used for cutting grooves in the wood

Mentioned above are the most used hand planers, and they rely on your strength to operate. There are also electric versions that rely on external energy sources, like batteries, which generate power, so you don’t have to use manual strength.

However, only a few planer types have electrical versions because this innovation’s purpose was to allow people with varying strengths to use the tools. The ones meant for detailing, decoration, and accurate cuts only have manual versions available.

How to Use a Hand Planer

I mentioned various types of planers in the section above; however, I will only focus on mentioning the mechanics of non-precision ones to simplify the explanation. Following are tips on how to use a hand planer to help you perfect your DIY project:

1. Arrange a Wooden Block or Plank

Firstly, you will need to arrange a wooden log, block, or plain that you want to work with. Have a clear direction of what you want to do, and make precise calculations before starting. Such planning provides direction for the work and helps you keep track of your changes.

Having a sketch will also make it easier to make adjustments if you feel like the execution needs a few changes. Hence, preparation will be central to the success of the process.

2. Sharpen the Blade

The last thing you want is to work with a dull blade, no matter the form of planer you are using. A dull blade will make your job exponentially more challenging when using hand or electric planers. It can also increase the chances of injuries.

Sharpening the blade will require the use of motor oil and stone. Apply the oil on the side of the blade that will be at the bottom, lay the blade flat on the stone, and slide it on the stone several times. The motion will sharpen the blade and make the process more convenient.

3. Fix the Blade in the Planer

Once the blade is sharpened, fix it back in the planer. You’ll need to ensure that you have inserted the blade correctly to prevent accidents, so give it a test run before starting your operations.

4. Adjust Depth Settings

Adjusting the depth setting is critical for the process because it determines how much wood will get shaved off from your wood source. Typically, you will start with greater depth (depending on how distorted the wood is) and reduce it as you get closer to the level and shape you want.

It is best to mark the wood for having a reference of how much wood you want to cut away.

5. Consider the Direction of Wood Grain

All wood pieces have grains moving in a specific direction. Your goal is to plane in the direction of the grain rise to make the process smoother. Doing the opposite increases the chances of the wood splintering at the edge, and you will need to make adjustments.

6. Push the Planer Onto the Wood

Once everything is set, it is time to push the planer onto the wood. You will need to apply relevant force for hand planers to ensure you get the results you want. Electric planers are much more manageable since they generate the power, and you need to operate them in the correct direction.

Always wear protective eyewear, a mask, and gloves to prevent wood shavings from getting in your eyes or lungs.

7. Store in a Secure Location

It is challenging to plane, especially when working with manual versions of the tool. However, do not let your tiredness come in the way of securely storing the item after you are done with work.

Hand planer blades are exceptionally sharp and can cause severe injuries when handled carelessly. Hence, keeping it in a proper storage location is much better than leaving it outside.

Our Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed reading the guide on how to use a hand planer and found it informative. You need to keep the blade sharp, the depth settings adjusted, and remain secure. You also need to plane in the correct direction to avoid the wood splintering at the edge.

Following these tips will be helpful, and you can also read other blogs for more information.

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