The beginning of the art of wood work of any kind begins quite simply – by investing in a wood planer. For shaping every wood product from pencils to kitchen cabinets, the wood planer comes in handy and does the job of giving smooth, straight lumber with no rough edges. Also known as “thickness planers,” this piece of equipment shaves the lumber making it shiny and plain and creating a uniform thickness. This makes it easier to cut and use the wood.
Typically a bulky and an expensive product, planers essentially come in two types – the hand planer and the electric planer. For smaller wood working projects, the hand planer does the job. Despite being inexpensive, the hand planer is not the most comfortable tool around. Being a manual tool, one needs to exert all the energy into making it work. This can be tiresome unless it is a tool that is easy to handle. This is exactly why most people prefer the electric planer that gives convenience and ease of use at the same time. Moreover, with practice, it can handle bigger jobs with ease.
When purchasing a wood planer it is important to know the different kinds available on the market and match them to the usage. Block planes, bench planes, trimming planes and pocket planes – the variety is seemingly endless. The most basic are the block planes and bench planes that are used for smoothing and flattening lumber, especially curved pieces of wood. The trimming plane gives excellent detailing as well as smoothness to your wood, while the pocket plane is used for speed in cutting and trimming. Next is the spoke shave that is used to even edges and to cut convex shapes in lumber.
Essential specifications for any good planer would be:
1. The motor horsepower: For electric planers, the more powerful the motor, the more accurate and fast the work will be.
2. Cutting depth of wood: This translates into the amount of thickness removed in one pass.
3. Bed width: This defines the maximum width of lumber that can be processed.
4. Bed flatness: Ensure the bed of the planer is the flattest to get smooth work.
One should also take note of the features and warranty being offered, location of the nearest parts dealer and service point, and the manufacturer. These are important factors to consider before making the final purchase. Also, a good way to choose the best planer is to look for wood planer reviews on the internet.
Planers should not be confused with jointers. A jointer is mainly used to straighten the sides of lumber, while a planer is to smooth out roughness and flatten the wide surfaces. When it comes to choosing between the two, every passionate wood worker would want to buy a planer first and then move on to the jointer.