Electric hand planers are devices used to remove little amounts of wood by cutting them off. This addition has been around for over 30 years and is mostly associated with carpentry home refurbishment and building type construction making them greatly used by carpenters than by woodworkers.
The hand planers normally have two or three blades that assist in task accomplishments. They usually remove a maximum of one-eighth of materials in a single pass and are more accurate, efficient, and faster than a manual hand plane.
But can you use an electric hand planer on a tabletop? Well, read on to find out more.
Uses of the Hand Planer
The main task of the planer is to smoothen wood surfaces. It can also be used in smoothening of wood’s uneven end grain and rough edges. Another use of an electric hand planer is to narrow down wood. For example, if a door is too broad, you can use a planer over the sides to modifying the depth size and cut the required depth.
Furthermore, you can use it to remove wood from the back of the door casing and also for trimming the protruding crests of some deck beams before screwing down boards.
If there is a spot that is too big to fit, a planer can come in handy to trim it down. This coarse tool can be used for coarse tasks like removing dirty surfaces on boards, uneven edges, and a gross number of twists.
If you want your cabinets to fit firmly against the walls, ensure that you use a planer to trim the boards. In case you have a wooden door that doesn’t close smoothly, you can use the planer to smoothen its edges as this will make it close smoothly. Last but not least, it can be used to file poles and handrails and also leveling edges and frames.
Techniques on Using the Hand Planer
The first thing you need to do before you even touch a planer is learning about its safety precautions and how to operate it by reading the manual instructions. Once you get to fully understand the tips, you can now set your hand on the planer.
Tips on Handling an Electric Hand Planer
First and foremost, you need to choose carefully the things that you want to work on using the hand planer. It is advisable to use dry wood. However, if the wood is not fully dry, just ensure that you dry them fully for some time before you start working on them using your planer.
After the wood has fully dried out, ensure that you check all sides for any covered nails. It is not advisable to use your planer on wood that has nails on it as it can damage it. The next step is to clear your tabletop of any unneeded materials.
Use a dry fabric to rub the tabletop to get rid of any dirt. You should not use a moist fabric as this can add moisture to the wood. Additionally, ensure that the top is super clean and free of any chaff that might cause damage to the blades in your planer.
Once done cleaning the tabletop, remove your bolts and begin fixing the tabletop with bolts. Ensure that the tabletop is secure and stable and does not move once you start planning. Also, ensure you have enough space to move on all sides of the table.
Find out if the planer’s blades are sharp before you start using it. Blunt blades will give you the best results on any task at hand.
Once you start planning the wood, make sure that you take a firm position or posture. Ensure that you do not feel wobbly when pushing the planer against the surface of the wood. This is because the wood and the planer can get damaged if your posture is unsteady.
So, take the correct stance and make sure that your feet are grounded in a good way. Ensure they remain apart until you find the finest position to get the right support. Plus, maintaining the right posture will make you comfortable and your hands will get enough strength to support the hand planer as you push it along.
Make sure that the planer’s heel is running collateral to the material before you start working with it. Ensure that the wood is neither moving nor dipping as you proceed using the planer over it. You can use a linear edge to prevent the wood from dipping.
After following keenly the techniques for using a planer on a tabletop, you can now begin working with it. There are some brief tips on how it should be handled the right way. So, after you have gotten the correct posture, sharpened the blunt blades, and ensured that the wood is positioned the right way, place the planer at the edge of the table.
Switch it on and start shaving off the wood. Remove little amounts of wood at a time and, then move slowly and strive to achieve a good finish.
As you are moving it across the surface of the board, you should exercise great care by ensuring that it does not drop off or scratch the edge with its blade. In case you are working on recycled and older wood, consider adjusting the depth of the blade based on the number of crumples the wood has. Recycled wood normally has crumples and irregularities that usually need to be corrected.
You might get hurt if you don’t adjust your posture when using the planer. Your planer or tabletop may also get damaged if you do not change the planer’s angle and your position as well.
Once you are done using the electric hand planer, switch it off and take it off from the table. Put it in a safe place up until the blade ceases spinning. Lastly, finish off the tabletop either by waxing, varnishing, or painting it.
Issues that Beginners Experience when using a Planer on a tabletop
Some issues may arise for beginners when using a planer on a tabletop for the very first time. One issue is Cross-grain planning, where there is a need for the tool to be placed at 45 degrees to prevent the blade from being damaged.
The other issue is that of run-away, whereby a planer escapes from your hold. If you are a newbie you need to do workouts that will strengthen your arms to prevent this issue.
If you still need some help, this video is a helpful tool and a great visual example:
In conclusion, consider using an electric hand planer in your woodworking projects on a tabletop. An electric hand planer is a powerful tool and it will save you a lot of effort and time when you are doing some woodwork.