How Do You Use An Electric Planer

An electric planer is a versatile and powerful tool that can be used for a variety of woodworking projects. Whether you are a professional carpenter or a DIY enthusiast, knowing how to properly use an electric planer can greatly improve your woodworking skills.

Before you begin using an electric planer, it is important to familiarize yourself with the tool and its different parts. The main parts of an electric planer include the planer body, the blade, the depth adjustment knob, the handle, and the dust collection port. Understanding how these parts work together will help you operate the electric planer safely and effectively.

To use an electric planer, start by selecting the desired cutting depth using the depth adjustment knob. This will determine how much material the planer will remove with each pass. Once you have set the cutting depth, firmly hold the planer with both hands, making sure to maintain a balanced and stable grip.

Next, position the planer on the edge of the workpiece, aligning the front shoe with the surface. As you push the planer forward, press down on the front handle to maintain a steady downward pressure. Let the planer’s blade do the work, and avoid forcing or pushing too hard, as this can result in uneven cuts or damage to the workpiece.

Step 1: Choose the Right Electric Planer

Before using an electric planer, it is important to choose the right tool for the job. There are several factors to consider when selecting an electric planer:

1. Consider the Size and Weight

Electric planers come in various sizes and weights. Depending on the type of project you are working on, you should choose a planer that is suitable for the task. A smaller and lighter planer might be more practical for small-scale projects, while a larger and heavier planer may be better for larger jobs where more power and stability are required.

2. Check the Cutting Depth and Width

Another important consideration is the cutting depth and width of the planer. The cutting depth determines how much material the planer can remove in a single pass, while the cutting width determines the width of the surface that can be planed at once. It is crucial to choose a planer with the appropriate cutting depth and width to ensure efficient and precise results.

3. Look for Additional Features

Many electric planers come with additional features that can enhance their performance and versatility. Some common features to look for include adjustable cutting depths, dust collection systems, and ergonomic handles for comfort and control. Consider these additional features based on your specific needs and preferences.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the right electric planer that is appropriate for your project and ensure the best possible results.

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Step 2: Prepare the Workpiece

Before you start using an electric planer, it is important to properly prepare your workpiece. This will ensure that you achieve the desired results and prevent any damage to the wood or the planer itself.

1. Inspect the Workpiece

Begin by carefully inspecting the workpiece you are planning to use. Check for any cracks, knots, or other imperfections that may affect the planing process. It is important to remove any loose or protruding nails, as they can damage the planer blades.

2. Measure and Mark

Next, measure and mark the section of the workpiece that needs to be planed. Use a ruler or a tape measure to ensure accuracy. This will help you achieve even planing and avoid removing more material than necessary.

3. Secure the Workpiece

Secure the workpiece firmly in place using clamps or a vice. This will prevent it from moving while planing and ensure stability. Make sure to position the workpiece in a way that allows you to easily access the area you need to plane.

4. Wear Safety Gear

Before operating the electric planer, always remember to wear the appropriate safety gear. This includes safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying wood chips and debris, as well as ear protection to minimize the noise generated by the planer.

Recommended Safety Gear
Item Description
Safety Goggles Protects the eyes from flying debris
Ear Protection Reduces exposure to loud noise
Dust Mask Prevents inhalation of wood dust

Step 3: Adjust the Cutting Depth

Once you have the electric planer set up and ready to go, the next step is to adjust the cutting depth. This is an important step because it determines how much material will be removed with each pass of the planer.

To adjust the cutting depth, locate the knob or lever on the planer that controls the depth setting. It is usually located near the front or side of the planer. Some planers may have markings or numbers that indicate the cutting depth, while others may use a visual indicator such as a line or arrow.

Before making any adjustments, it is a good practice to start with a shallow cutting depth. This will help prevent any accidental deep cuts or damage to the material you are working with. Gradually increase the cutting depth as needed, making sure to check the quality of the cuts and the overall smoothness of the surface.

When adjusting the cutting depth, it is also important to consider the type of material you are working with. Softer materials, such as pine or plywood, may require a shallower cutting depth to prevent tear-out and splintering. Harder materials, such as hardwood or laminate, may require a deeper cutting depth to remove more material and achieve the desired result.

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Always adjust the cutting depth with caution and test it on a scrap piece of material before working on your actual project. This will allow you to make any necessary adjustments and ensure that you are getting the desired results.

Step 4: Start Planing

After preparing your workpiece and adjusting the depth of the electric planer, it’s time to start planing. Here’s how:

  1. Position the planer: Hold the electric planer firmly with both hands, ensuring a comfortable grip. Place the front shoe of the planer flat on the edge of the workpiece, making sure it is parallel to the surface you want to plane.
  2. Turn on the planer: Switch on the planer using the power button. Wait for the blade to reach full speed before moving it onto the surface of the wood.
  3. Move the planer: With a controlled and steady motion, push the planer forward along the length of the workpiece. Keep your hands positioned ahead of the planer’s front shoe to maintain stability and control.
  4. Continue planing: Repeat the motion, planing the surface of the wood in smooth passes. Avoid stopping abruptly as this may result in uneven planing marks.
  5. Check the progress: Periodically stop planing to inspect the wood surface. Make adjustments to the depth or angle of the planer if necessary. Remove any shavings or debris that may clog the planer’s path.
  6. Smooth any imperfections: If you encounter any knots, tear-out, or rough spots, you can use a sanding tool to smooth them out after planing. This will help achieve a consistent and smooth surface.
  7. Finish planing: Continue planing until you have achieved the desired thickness and smoothness of the wood surface. Be mindful of any final passes to avoid over-planing and removing too much material.

Remember to always follow safety guidelines while using an electric planer. Wear protective gear, such as safety glasses and ear protection, to prevent injuries. Additionally, keep your fingers away from the blade and avoid wearing loose clothing that may get caught in the planer.

Step 5: Maintain Proper Technique

Using an electric planer requires proper technique to ensure safety and achieve the desired results. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

1. Wear safety goggles and ear protection to protect yourself from flying debris and the noise generated by the planer.
2. Keep a firm grip on the planer with both hands. Use your dominant hand to control the front handle, while your other hand holds the main body of the planer.
3. Always move the planer against the wood grain to avoid tear-out. This means planing in the opposite direction of the wood’s natural fibers.
4. Start each pass with the planer raised slightly above the surface of the wood. Gradually lower it as you move along the wood to achieve a uniform depth of cut.
5. Keep the planer moving at a steady pace to avoid creating uneven surfaces. Too slow of a feed rate can result in ridges, while too fast of a feed rate can lead to scallops.
6. Avoid applying excessive downward pressure on the planer, as this can cause the blades to dig too deeply and potentially damage the wood.
7. Periodically check the blades for any signs of dullness or damage. Sharpen or replace them as necessary to maintain optimal planing performance.
8. After using the electric planer, clean it thoroughly and store it in a dry place to prevent any rust or damage.
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By following these guidelines, you can use an electric planer effectively and safely for your woodworking projects.

Step 6: Clean and Store the Electric Planer

After you have finished using the electric planer, it is important to clean and store it properly. This will help prolong the life of the tool and ensure it is ready for the next use.


Begin by unplugging the planer from the power source.

Using a brush or compressed air, remove any debris or sawdust from the planer’s body and blade. Pay special attention to the blade area and make sure it is free from any buildup.

If necessary, use a damp cloth to wipe down the planer, taking care not to get any water on the electrical components.

Blade Maintenance

Inspect the blades for any signs of damage, such as chips or dull edges. If the blades are damaged, replace them before storing the planer.

If the blades are still in good condition, apply a light coat of oil to prevent them from rusting. This will also help keep them sharp for the next use.

Store Properly

Once the planer is clean and the blades are oiled, find a dry and secure place to store it. Avoid leaving it exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.

If the planer came with a case or storage bag, use it to protect the tool from dust and potential damage.

Ensure the power cord is neatly wrapped up and secured. This will prevent any tangles or accidental damage.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your electric planer stays in good condition and ready to use whenever you need it.

Questions and answers

What is an electric planer used for?

An electric planer is used for trimming and smoothing wooden surfaces, such as doors, cabinets, and furniture.

How does an electric planer work?

An electric planer has a rotating blade that shaves off thin layers of wood from the surface. It uses a motor to power the blade and has adjustable settings for controlling the depth and thickness of the cut.

Harrison Clayton

Harrison Clayton

Meet Harrison Clayton, a distinguished author and home remodeling enthusiast whose expertise in the realm of renovation is second to none. With a passion for transforming houses into inviting homes, Harrison's writing at brings a breath of fresh inspiration to the world of home improvement. Whether you're looking to revamp a small corner of your abode or embark on a complete home transformation, Harrison's articles provide the essential expertise and creative flair to turn your visions into reality. So, dive into the captivating world of home remodeling with Harrison Clayton and unlock the full potential of your living space with every word he writes.

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