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Planer – Must Have Woodworking Tools

Introduction

You may have done a little research on what tools you can add to your “standard” collection to take your woodworking to the next level. Pro or Novice, the planer is a total game changer.

Types of Planers

Now you  might be asking yourself, “What is a planer?”

Well traditionally it’s a hand tool used to shave off the surface of the wood in order to make it level. The goal is to make a flat and even plane — Click! 

Thus, the planer.

Hand Plane

stanley hand pane for woodworking

Example of a hand plane.

Picture above is the Stanley 12-404 No. 4 Adjustable Bench Plane with 2-Inch Cutter.

To use a hand planer, you basically drag it across a surface, and focus on trying to make it all level. This is an extremely concise explanation, but if you want more depth check out the link below.

How to Use this Tool.

Power Planer

Power planer for woodworking

Example of a power planer.

Pictured above is the WEN 6530 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer, 3-1/4-Inch.

To use the power planer, you do essentially the same thing as its manual predecessor, except there is a circular drum with blades spinning that chips and smooths away uneven surfaces. Personally, power planers are great for correcting uneven joints, or getting at surfaces that won’t fit in a benchtop planer. You can also use power planers for rabbets. For more depth click the link below.

How to Use This Tool.

Benchtop Planer

best first benchtop planer for woodworking

Example of a benchtop planer.

 Picture above is the DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer.

Before we get into this section, I have to say that I personally use this piece all the time. I absolutely love it.

To use a benchtop planer you:

  1. Set your depth
  2. Turn on your vacuum attached to the dustport.
  3. Turn on the tool.
  4. Feed your board into the planer — it automatically pulls it through.
  5. Catch your smooth even board on the other end.

In-and-out.

Done.

For more depth click the link below:

How to Use This Tool.

With the DEWALT DW734 I’ve managed to take warped boards, and get them completely level. It’s also amazing for cleaning up dirty, or previously painted boards. You can even make jigs in to turn it into a makeshift jointer.

Square wood = much easier assembly

The only catch is that you need one side of the board to be flat. Honestly, I’ve still been able to get good flat surfaces just by planing one side, flipping the board, and then planing the other. If you’re taking a 1.5″ board, and finishing it down to 1″ or less then you’ve got plenty of material to create a square and even surface.

The DW734 has definitely served me well, but if you have the budget I’d go for a DEWALT DW735 (pictured below). It’s basically the DW734‘s big brother with a much improved dust collection system, and two speeds.

benchtop planer upgrade that's worth the money

DEWALT DW735

Either way, a benchtop planer will completely up your woodworking game.

Run your boards through before your start your project, and you’ll barely have to sand which is freakin’ amazing!

Conclusion

You’ll come to find that there is always a manual way to do tasks that machines can also do. Planing is one of those things. However, having an actual machine for planing (pardon my pun) shaves tons of time off the construction process.

Projects that used to take me a week get done in half the time, and I end up with a drastically better and more professional looking final product.

Planers can be a bit spendy, but it’s one tool I can’t live without.

Keep on Craftin’!

-Michael

Trying to decide on a Benchtop Unit?

Click Here to see my recommendations.

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