In order to make wood completely flat and level as needed, certain equipment, such as a planer, is required. This handy tool produces fabulous results for all your woodworking projects. It also helps to reduce some of the wood’s thickness.
The best planer of 2016 will allow you to work on your projects quickly and easily with little guidance. Many come with the blades, dust hoods, and guides that are needed to make the job go smoothly.
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Prerequisites for Using a Planer
It is not ideal to pick up a planer and go to work without knowing what you are doing. There are safety precautions you need to take in order to ensure the process goes smoothly. Knowing how to use a planer is a prerequisite before taking on a job. There are several safety measures to be aware of before using this machine.
First, you need to perform a risk assessment of the area. This will tell you if your work space is safe and ready for use, or if there are aspects that need changing. A two foot perimeter around the front and back of the planer is needed.
There should be no other people or pets around either, as they can suffer from kickback if they get in the way.
What to Wear When Using a Planer
A planer should not be used when you are wearing the incorrect clothing. If you have long hair, it needs to be tied back and kept out of your eyesight. You do not want it falling forward and getting caught in the machine, or even obstructing your view and voiding your concentration. It is also important to avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry, for the same reason. It can get caught in the machine and cause injury.
Planers often run loudly, and can hurt your ears in just a short time. It is ideal to wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or full-cover earmuffs. Safety glasses are also necessary. Side shields or a face shield should be included to best protect your entire face.
Benefits of Using a Planer
Doors, cabinets, and panel pieces that were once uneven can be made parallel by using a planer. This machine brings a huge benefit to those that are in need of some leveling for their wood projects. Rather than attempt to do the work by hand, the planer will help you get the job done easier and quicker.
Not only does a planer make the job faster, but it also ensures it is done accurately. The machine can be set to the desired thickness level. The board is then ran through the machine and comes out of the outfeed at the exact level needed. That closeness is difficult to achieve by hand.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Planer
1. Hand Planer Vs. Benchtop Planer
You need to decide what type of planer would work best for your needs.
- A hand planer is a smaller device that you can hold in your hand. It is often lightweight and easy to manage for an extended timeframe.
- A benchtop planer is more heavy duty, and must sit atop a table, bench, or other workspace. You would not be able to easily lift a benchtop planer or hold it for an extended time period.
2. Corded Vs. Portable
Many planers are corded options that plug into an outlet. This can sometimes cause a problem when the cord is too short for your needs, and starts to get into the way of the project. You may find yourself moving cords out of the way and placing them over your shoulder to get the work done without interruption.
A portable planer is often a better option because it does not have a cord attached to it. The problem then comes about when the portable device was not fully charged, and is not ready for use when you need it to be.
3. AMP Level
The AMP level plays an important role in how well the planer will work. A 15 AMP motor works well for a benchtop planer that is more heavy duty. A hand planer only needs a 6 AMP level to do a good job. Finding planers that meet these AMP level requirements will ensure you locate the best equipment for your project.
4. Number of Blades
Most planers use three blades. This helps to cut an even amount all the way across. This is especially true for thickness planers that are trying to cut the board down to a desired thickness level.
Other planer options include only two blades. This may not allow the board to get cut all the way across at the same length. It is often better to have more blades than less.
Use Proper Technique
It is important follow the proper technique for using a wood planer if you want to use it correctly and keep yourself safe. This includes setting the thickness level first before you start planing. Attempting to change the thickness level while the planer is in use could cause a kickback and make your board uneven.
It is also necessary to run the planer with the grain, rather than against it. Going against it causes uneven marks and an unlevel piece of wood. Going with the grain ensures the board goes through smoothly and has its thickness cut down appropriately.
Top 5 Best Planers
- The DEWALT Benchtop Planer offers 15 AMPs of power, with 10,000 RPMs. This allows for larger cuts in the wood, and even lets hardwood choices, such as maple and walnut, go through it.
- 96 inches per cut are made thanks to the three knives that are included in this planer.
- The knives are also reversible so they can be switched around and used again. This saves money and time of having to get an entire new set of knives quickly.
- There is a four-column carriage lock that reduces the potential for snipe.
- The knives are reversible and disposable.
- The planer handles hardwoods.
- There is an extra long infeed and outfeed table.
- A dust hood is attached.
- There is only a one year warranty.
- The planer is extremely heavy and hard to move alone.
- The 6 AMP motor on the WEN Electric Hand Planer allows for many cuts to be made per minute. This makes my jobs fast and easy to handle.
- The cutting depth can be changed between 0 and ⅛ inches.
- There is also an included rabbeting guide that allows me to make rabbets of 1 inch deep.
- Any misshapen edges, chips, or splinters can be managed with this model.
- This WEN planer includes everything I could need, with a kickstand, dust bag, and parallel fence bracket. The base plate includes a groove that is v-shaped, making it easy to flatten corner posts.
- The planer includes a dust bag for easy cleanup.
- There is a parallel fence bracket.
- It only weighs 6 pounds.
- There is a two year warranty.
- There is no case or carrying bag.
- It can only handle boards up to 3 inches wide.
- PORTER-CABLE makes a hand planer with a 6 AMP motor.
- This heavy duty machine can handle high wood intake thanks to the aluminum shoe that provides control and the overmold depth knob with 10 steps.
- There are also 3 grooves.The dual-side dust extraction methods allow you to move your bag to either side. This helps keep your workspace as clean and dust-free as possible.
- A kit bag comes included with a dust bag, wrench, and edge guide.
- The carbide cutting blades are sharp and ready to cut through any hardwood.
- This PORTER-CABLE offers 120 Volts of power and comes with a power cord. This allows for regular and frequent use.
- There is a three year warranty.
- A dust bag is included.
- There is a kit bag filled with helpful tools.
- The dual-side dust extraction keeps things clean.
- It is lightweight.
- It has a fairly short power cord.
- The blades go out quickly.
- The Makita 12-Inch Planer comes with an Interna-Lok automated head clamp. This helps eliminate snipe.
- There is an LED light included that lets me know when the Makita is plugged in. It reminds me to unplug once the machine is no longer in use.
- A low noise level was a must for user comfort.
- There are also large table extensions included so the piece of wood is fully supported.
- Diagonal cross supports improve stability, while the adjustable depth stop allows for repeat cuts.
- A variety of items are included with the planer. A blade set, wrenches, tool box, and magnet holders all come with the Makita.
- A dust collection system can be added to it if you desire. Only a dust hood comes attached.
- It comes with additional tools.
- 12 inch boards can fit inside.
- There is a low noise level.
- Large table extensions ensure the wood is supported.
- A dust collection system can be added.
- No dust collection system comes installed on the planer.
- It is heavy.
Cutech offers a professional model spiral cutterhead planer. This planer offers a 15 AMP motor. The extra large infeed and outfeed tables are capable of holding a piece of wood that reaches 14 inches wide by 14 inches long. That extends far beyond what many planers can accomplish.The slide depth stop and snipe lock prevent snipes and grooves from occurring. It also ensures the wood is held in place better so it cannot move around and cause an issue. There is also a built-in dust port that keeps the work area clean from dust and debris. The two year product warranty is nice to see since may woodworking tools have a year or less.
- There are extra large infeed and outfeed tables.
- There are heavy duty guide posts.
- The cutter tips can be changed out quickly.
- The tools to change the cutter tips are included.
- It is quite costly over other models.
- There is no speed control.
These five choices all have their favored qualities, but the overall, winner has to be the DEWALT Benchtop Planer. This planer includes all the important qualities that a machine of this nature should have. It offers a 15 AMP motor, has a dust hood included, and handles hardwood. This heavy duty machine is top of the line for woodworking projects.
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