Choosing a Thickness Planer for Consistent Thickness

A thickness planer is a machine you should research if you’re just starting in the field of woodworking and are gathering all the equipment for your woodshop. Every carpenter will ultimately need this indispensable tool, which has a variety of uses.

What is a Thickness Planer?

A thickness planer is a tool used in woodworking to smooth a board’s surface by removing tiny bits of material from its face. It functions similarly to a conventional planer but can handle boards that are wider and/or thicker than what a standard planer can handle. This makes it a crucial tool for any woodworker who has plane boards that are larger than what a normal model can handle. In addition, a thickness planer can be used to flatten and smooth boards or wood panels. In addition, you can easily adapt and vary the thickness of the wooden board with this machine. You may produce flat, uniform pieces of lumber that are ready for use in your projects by utilizing a thickness planer.

What is the Function of a Thickness Planer?

The hands of the master hold a wooden plank block and saw it with a planing machine. The concept of small business. Selective focus

A thickness planer functions similarly to a shaper machine in that it has a quick return motion mechanism. The backward and forward motion pattern is followed by the rapid return motion mechanism, which completes each stroke it makes. However, as it advances, it slices your material or planer. Then it moves backward without cutting your material, then moves forward once more to finish the job. Two things, in particular, are important when using a thickness planer: the workpiece (the moving part) and the tool head (the stationary part). 

The tool head is holding the single-point cutting tool as the workpiece is placed on the worktable. After the workpiece and single-point cutting tool  has been properly fixed, turn on the machine. The cutting tool causes the worktable to move forward and backward; when it travels ahead, the material is cut; when it moves backward, all that is done is to move the material forward once more. The return stroke is the name given to this action.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Thickness Planer

  1. Capability for Thickness: Each thickness planer has a specific thickness range that it can handle, and the machine will only accept wood sizes that fall inside that range. For instance, a machine is ideal if it can handle wood widths between 4mm and 15cm because that is a typical range to work with. A thickness planer with a wider range is another option. If you work in the furniture sector, a machine with a greater capacity for thickness will be very useful. Going with a thickness planer that surpasses your needs and costs more money and space is futile, though. Make certain you are familiar with the dimensions and thickness of the wood you will be using.
  2. Power: The depth and width that a thickness planer can cut are determined by its power. Its power will determine how quickly you complete your woodworking activities. You can get a unit with a power range of 1200W to 1700W if you just work with little pieces of wood or are merely a hobbyist. However, purchasing a 2000W+ unit is strongly advised if you intend to use the planer for more difficult jobs, such as surface sizable pieces of rough-sawn hardwood.
  3. Blades: The planner’s cutter that you select typically has two to five blades. The more excellent quality finish and smoothness you receive from the planer, the more blades there are and the faster the speed. The majority of planer blades are constructed of cobalt steel or standard steel, which may produce high-quality results in terms of fine cuts and smoother finishes.
  4. Size: Depending on the available area, the machine’s size should also be taken into consideration. If your workspace is large, you can choose any size; however, if your workshop is smaller, make sure the machine you choose will fit there. Remember that the instrument will have wooden bits extending from both sides that need to be worked on. Therefore, be sure to measure your workspace accurately to ensure that you may choose a thickness planer that is the appropriate size.
  5. Degree of Noise: Woodworking uses tools and machinery, which makes it a noisy industry. The majority of thickness planers demand that the user wear ear protection while operating them. However, other machines produce less noise. Although it may not seem like a big deal, some people may be influenced by this aspect when making a purchase.
  6. The Gauge: Investing in a wood planer with a depth gauge can be advantageous. This will allow you to alter the thickness of the targeted cut. Furthermore, the ability to fine-tune the cutting depth of the blades would reduce the risks of snipe, which is a problem with most planers because the cutter tends to chip off more wood near the edges.
  7. Removing Dust: Most planers include a fixed fan, which is designed to blow dust and wood chips away from the cutting head as you work skillfully. This, in turn, helps to improve the machine’s overall performance.

In Using a Thickness Planer

Carpenter using thickness planer

  1. Pick a Planer to Use: You’ll need to purchase a thickness planer before beginning. There are a few things to consider before deciding which thickness planer is best for your job. First, you can pick between benchtop thickness planers and full-sized planers. For your intended use scenario, there are portable thickness planers on the market that will work just fine. Choose a portable thickness planer instead of the benchtop thickness, which is available in different sizes. The quantity of stock that each type of thickness planer can handle is another key distinction between them. Other than that, they all operate in the same manner. So, when you select one sort of Thickness planer over the other, you aren’t losing up on a special feature.
  2. Setup: Set up the thickness planer after selecting it. Make sure to plug your thickness planer directly into a wall socket, not an extension, when you set it up in your workshop. Having a portable planer will also be fantastic because it makes setup a breeze. Make sure there is adequate room in the location you have picked for your machines to be put up. You can simply infeed and outfeed thanks to the space. To avoid accidents, the table you’ll need to put up for the machine needs to be sturdy.
  3. Material: The sort of wood you want to plane should be chosen. Plane wood that is 12 to 14 inches long and no smaller than 3/4 inches, according to the general norm for the planer limit. However, the equipment of your choice will determine the length of wood you can plane.
  4. Depth: The next step is to calculate the depth of your wood’s thickness and set the depth to correspond to it. Set the depth stop function if your thickness planer has one. The depth stop prevents the planer from cutting into your wood more deeply than necessary. The depth stop can be disregarded by setting it to the extremely low end if you are unable to figure out how to make it function.
  5. Plane the Wood: After adjusting your planer’s settings and other items, turn on the wall outlet and allow it to begin to accelerate. The board should then be fed carefully into the thickness planer. To avoid tear-out, the planer cutting should be made along the wood grain. Make sure the board is only fed into the machine after it has been turned on. After that, insert the board from the front into the device.

The context of your job as a woodworker is streamlined and improved when you know how to utilize a thickness planer. Time is also saved. Having a working thickness planer in your workshop has many benefits.