wood planer

What is a wood planer and how to use it

What is a wood planer?

A wood planer is one of the best woodworking tools that woodworkers might need when doing different projects. In this article, you’re going to learn what a wood planer is and how to use it correctly.

wood planer

The history of the wood planer

The use of the wood planer goes back to centuries ago when Egyptian sculptures and tombs were flat and perfectly planed which showed actual evidence of using hand planers to make rough wooden surfaces smoother. There was some Roman wooden furniture showing that this tool is being used for thousands of years.

There was only a blade covered by a wooden handle in the past, and people used those to plane different surfaces. After years of working with those handy tools which needed a lot of muscle power, in the nineteenth century, a man called Leonard Bailey began making wood planers with iron bodies. He was a pioneer in the field of designing and producing hand planers and after that different companies started making beautifully designed wood planers with wooden bodies.


A wood planer is what you need!

A wood planer (also known as “thickness planer”) is a woodworking tool that is capable of trimming wood to a specific thickness to produce a consistent finish.

What a wood planer actually does!

Have you ever had the experience to scrape a knife across the top of a knob of butter?

If you did, that’s what exactly a planer does to a piece of wood.

Simply, a planer is used to shave the surface of the wood, make a rough wooden surface much smoother, and reduce the thickness of it so that it’s prepared for finishing and making wooden furniture.

That might come in handy for woodworkers who cannot align two pieces of wood. Sometimes cabinet doors can’t be closed and opened smoothly and a planer can solve the problem easily. Once you have a thickness planer, you’ll never regret the expenditure, because you’ll be in control of the thickness like never before. By the way, you can use a table saw to have control over the thickness of different wood lumbers you order from wood suppliers but having a compact and handy wood planer which you can carry everywhere sounds much better.


If you have two edges to be adjoined to each other and the edges are not flat and even, a wood planer can help you because it can level the thickness of irregular wood lumbers with different thicknesses.


Different types of wood planers

Hand planers

Handheld versions work with the power of the human body and muscles like the ones Leonard Bailey designed in the 19th century.

hand planer

Bench planer

A bench planer is the simplest handheld planer. It’s an ideal tool for those who are beginners and new to the process of woodworking and planing.

here is the link to buy STANLEY Hand Planer, Black/Red (12-220)

Rabbet planer

If you’re wondering how you can cut rebates in wood, a rabbet planer can be a good choice. There are wooden rabbet planers and metal rabbet planers available in the market that you can buy each, depending on the project you are working on.


Electric planers

Fortunately, after years of working with hand planers, tool designers and producers came to the idea of designing electric planers which can flatten the surface more precisely and they need less physical energy and time to do the same thing. Some power planers are as easy as handheld versions to work with. You only have to hold the planer on the top of the wood and guide it along the grain direction.

Bench-top planer

If you’d like to make rough wood ready for the project, a bench-top planer could be a good option. While smoothing the sides, bench-top is capable of reducing the thickness of a piece of wood.

here is the link to buy WEN PL1326 15-Amp 13-Inch Spiral Benchtop Thickness Planer

Molding planer

Some woodworkers want to have complex shapes and designs on pieces of wood to make them look better. You can use a molding planer to shape hardwood and make uneven surfaces even.

Thickness planer

In a woodworking operation, woodworkers use a thickness planer to cut boards with the same thickness for both sides. It can only plane one side of the lumber at the time of planing.


How to use an electric wood planer?

The planer has a set of two rotating blades that cut into the wood. A fence sticks to one side of the planer to keep it at a consistent height from the surface. After that, you can change the distance between the planer and the surface by changing the level of the depth adjustment knob then place the front part on the top of the workpiece and apply downward pressure and push forward steadily to get a flat surface.

Is a wood planer easy to work with?

As we have mentioned before, a wood planer is a handy tool for woodworkers. That’s not something you can start working with the day you buy it. Due to being a handheld tool, using a wood planer can cause tear-outs because it needs muscle power. So if you do the process of planing a surface wrongly it increases the time you spend on the project.

Take your time and understand how a wood planer works properly and efficiently. Here are some key points to have in mind when working with a planer.

Always make sure you are working in the same direction as the wood grain. If you don’t work with the planer in the grain direction, the blade will get stuck in the wood and it causes lots of problems for the wood and the blade itself. However, some types of wood have different grain directions and you have to find the best direction to do the process of planing.


Secondly, buy a planer with a sharp blade to get the best out of doing the process.

Finally, working with sharp objects is dangerous. You’ll need to take care when it comes to working with a planer, especially a hand planer.


To make different kinds of furniture, a woodworker needs a planer to complete the process of cutting and designing. No matter if you are a pro woodworker or a beginner, you’ll need a planer in your set of tools. However, if you are a beginner, make sure to know the way to work with the planer. It can cause serious injuries. Always wear a dust mask, safety glasses, and ear muffs when working with a planer.

If you enjoyed reading this article about planer, you can read another cool article about different types of power saws.