Buying a Planer
- What is a planer?
- Types of planers
- What should I consider for when shopping for a planer
- Brands of planers
Sometimes a do-it-yourself project comes along that we truly need a specific tool to help us do it right. Here is one such task: What do you do when you have a piece of wood that needs to be leveled or straightened? For this project, a planer or jointer is the way to go.
What is a planer?
A planer is a power tool (hand-held or bench-top) designed to help level or straighten a piece of wood by shaving its face. A rotating cutter head spins while the wood is pushed beneath it. The cutter heads utilize one of several methods, including curved or straight blades, or staggered carbide cutter bits.
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Types of planers
Are extremely versatile power tools, and have successfully replaced the old hand planer from Dad’s workshop. The new generation of hand-held planers is able to remove much more material than by hand (a great time-saver) and you can control how much wood you take off more accurately. In addition, contemporary hand-held planers are portable and ideal for smaller, less demanding tasks and tighter workspaces.
Are typically stationary power tools. A pair of rollers and a cutter head work in concert to help flatten boards on their upper surface and retain an even thickness along their length.
If you often work with larger pieces of lumber, consider a jointer. This woodworking machine consists of a pair of parallel tables, a moveable fence (set perpendicular to the tables), and a cutter head that’s powered by an electric motor. This is commonly a stationary power tool because of its size.
While the two can be classified together, there’s a technical difference between planers and jointers. A planer is strictly for smoothing rough lumber or reducing the thickness of a board, and a jointer is used for straightening wood.
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What should I consider when shopping for a planer?
Here are a few features designed to help make your woodworking projects go more smoothly:
- Obviously, while you’re not going to shove an entire tree branch in a planer in hopes of making it flat, there are some capacity guidelines. For smaller tasks, hand-held planers should do the trick. Similarly, if you’re working with larger stock, consider a thickness planer. Also, most residential applications can be met with a bench-top planer. Finally, make sure the width capacities of the planer you’re considering will be enough for your projects. In essence, the larger your projects, the larger your planer needs to be.
A cut above.
- Depending on the type of planer you’re looking for, you’ll find they’ll typically come with two, three, or four knives.
- One or two speeds are nice, but to maximize your planer’s potential (not to mention make your project easier), look for tools with variable speeds.
- This feature will allow you to choose and set the desired board thickness for simple and reliable accuracy.
- A dust port can be a key feature. It lets you connect a dust collection system to keep sawdust, shavings, and chips from littering or cluttering your planer’s work area.
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Space…the final frontier.
Also, remember to have backup knives around for your planer. This will ensure you won’t have to stop in the middle of a project to run to the hardware store.
Brands of planers
We carry the industry’s top brands of planers and accessories, including Bosch, Hitachi, Makita, Ridgid, and many others.
Planers and jointers are important pieces in any amateur or professional woodworker’s collection. Don’t let an uneven or slightly warped piece of lumber keep you from completing your long-awaited home improvement project. Some tools are designed to make even the most puzzling job easy. If you’re working with wood, consider a planer or jointer.
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