Regardless of the type or size of the project, power planers can help to save a lot of time. They can do this by chamfering handrails, smoothing out edges, or leveling out framing lumber. As you get experienced in the use of power planers, you can even accomplish complicated results such as bevel-edge doors.
In many ways, an electric hand planer works like a jointer. When buying a power planer, you have two choices-handheld planers or a stationary machine. A handheld power planer is recommended when looking to use the planer on a wide board. This is because a stationary power planer may find some boards way too wide to work on.
On the other hand, no board is too wide for a power hand planer which makes it perfect for use on wide boards. Having taken a brief look at what makes a handheld power planer a better choice for wide boards, we can get into the details of using a power hand planer on wide boards.
Before you understand how to use a power hand planer on wide boards, you must find out what safety precautions you need to take when using a power hand planer. Luckily for you, we are going to provide the safety tips for using an electric hand planer here. Following are the safety precautions you need to take when using a handheld power planer:
- Wear glasses or safety goggles to prevent flying shavings from harming your eyes
- Use a good quality dust mask to make sure you don’t inhale the dangerous chemicals present in the wood that you’re working on
- Disconnect the tool from power before you change the blades
- Secure the screws that lock the blade
- Stay yourself in a comfortable and compact position to support the material
- Always operate the planer with both hands
- Avoid putting down the planer when its blades are still running
- For smooth planing all the way, make sure to work on a smooth area without any bumps
If you want to get the most out of the power hand planer while ensuring your safety, then make sure to follow the safety precautions recommended above. With the safety precautions for using a handheld power planer out of the way, we can finally get to the main topic at hand which is ‘how to use a power hand planer on wide boards.’
How to Use a Power Hand Planer on Wide Boards
Like a manual hand planer, a handheld power planer operates on a single plate. However, the blades of a power hand planer are fixed to a cutter head which is not evident in a manual planer. Instead, this is a quality of a jointer. The single plate of the power hand planer at the front can be moved up and down by turning the tool’s handgrip backward and forward.
Before you start a project that involves the use of the electric hand planer, you must keep the following things in mind:
- Rest the single or soleplate of the power hand planer on the wood
- Maintain the same hand pressure on the tool throughout the pass
- Avoid overarching
- Consider depth and speed as the keys to the success of your final product
With the above things in mind, you can start the process of using a power hand planer on a wide board. The first step in this process will be setting up the board.
1. Setting Up the Board
The first step in using a handheld power planer on a wide board is to set up the board correctly. Start by finding a flat surface that is bigger than the board you’re using. Also, to make sure that the wood remains stable as you cut into it, use higher spots to provide appropriate support to the board.
Set the board if it is cupped. This is to make the board convex or ensure it has an upward facing bend to keep the wood stable. Another important thing to do when setting up the board is using a marking gauge to make edges on all four sides of the board and display its high spots. The purpose of this is to even the board from end-to-end so that no side is higher than another.
2. Power Plane the Board
This step involves using the power hand planner to power down the board to the markings you made in the last step.
Additionally, it involves fine-tuning the board to the intended ‘flatness’ by using winding sticks. Flattening wider boards in stages is recommended, as this allows you to remove the tension within the wood and cause it to change shape slightly. Ideally, you should target removing approximately 75% of the wood that you want to shave off of each side.
3. Give the Board Time to Settle
Wait a two or day before you go back to working on your board. By doing this, you will allow the board to settle before it is flattened. Generally, people are impatient and want to skip this step when using a power hand planer on a wide board.
While skipping this step is a possibility, you would do yourself a huge favor by letting the board be on its own for a few days. This will allow the board to fully settle into its shape. Additionally, this will provide you with a much-needed break from the workshop; you can utilize this break to get back the energy and health you’ve lost from shaving off wood all day long.
4. Sand Down the Board
You will need to sand down the board to finish flattening it. While this step isn’t necessary, not performing it may cause all the hard work you’ve done to go to waste. By making sure to sand down your board, you can ensure that it looks and feels better than before.
To get a near-perfect finished sanding for your board, buy and use a wide-belt sanding machine. Alternatively, you could use a regular belt sander which is easily available on Amazon. The belt sander will work as well as the sanding machine to ensure an extremely smooth finish to your board to complete your project.
Handheld power planers are motorized planers with a wide variety of applications that can significantly reduce the hours spent cutting on wooden surfaces. With short durations, they can help you smooth your wide board and get it into a perfect shape.
With safety precautions and guidelines for using power hand planers on wide boards mentioned above, you can plane your board without any trouble or need for professional assistance. The best thing about handheld electric planers is that they can be easily found on Amazon and at local hardware stores. Once you get your hands on one of them, you won’t have anything left to complain about.