Woodworking Planer Basics


Planes are woodworking tools used for shaping and smoothing. They can also be used to reduce the thickness of a piece of wood by small, gradual increments. Some planes are operated manually, while others (often called planers) are powered by electricity. All planes, whether they’re manual or electric, have a cutting edge (a sharp, rigid metal plate which some woodworkers call the “blade”) which juts down from an opening at the top (called the “mouth”) and through the large, flat bottom (the “sole”). The body of a planer is held by the woodworker with both hands as passes are made over the work piece. There are exceptions, but most planes are designed to be pushed over a piece of wood (moving away from the body) rather than pulled toward the body. When a plane moves over a piece of wood, the blade on the sole rides over and shaves off any high points and irregularities in the wood’s surface. The shavings come up from the bottom and curl out of the planer through the mouth.If the planer is adjusted properly, the wood shavings will be fairly uniform because the blade moves over the surface at a consistent angle. It removes only the highest surface imperfections during any one pass. By repeatedly planing a work piece, its surface can be flattened and smoothed, reducing the need for extensive sanding.You should see curling, paper-thin wood shavings. They’ll be thicker if your passes are removing too much of the wood’s surface at once. Likewise, if it feels like you’re not making any progress you might only see sawdust. Fortunately, you can adjust the blade’s depth – how far the cutting surface extends down from the mouth and through the sole. Using a scrap piece of wood for testing purposes, simply adjust the blade depth and angle in small increments until you have them exactly right.There are several distinct types of planers: scrub planes, jack planes, jointer planes, smoothing planes and polishing planes, among others. They’re all used for specific purposes, but they work in similar ways. Some, like the scrub plane, are used to remove large amounts of wood very quickly; others, like a smoothing or polishing plane, help prepare the surface for finishing by creating an extremely smooth surface. You’ll get the best results by keeping the blade sharp and working in the direction of the grain. Each pass with a planer should slightly overlap the previous pass.Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

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