The Electric Planer is one of the power tools used to work on wooden pieces in a workshop or for home projects or crafts. Its use ranges from DIY crafts to professional furniture crafting.
While it is usually used for finishing operations on woodworks, it can also be used for simple wood operations like dimensioning, screw work, stripping off old wood layers and smoothening rough edges.
Electric hand planer is also known as a buzzer among pro users simply because of its sound as it works.
Electric Hand Planer Tricks & How To Choose A Planer Ultimate Buying Guide
Hand planers comes in different sizes, while most are portable and lightweight, all hand planers are versatile and therefore easy to use for simple projects in workshops or on construction sites. A hand planer has a smooth metal plate with a fast-rotating sharp blade in the middle which shaves the wood surface until it gets its smooth finish.
Electric hand planer is a very important tool every amateur or DIY-er should have. It is a user-friendly tool perfect for both beginners and professionals alike. Some of its features include suction bags where shavings are collected, soft grip handles for a comfortable cushioning when in use and irons.
An electric hand planer is an upgraded version of the manual hand planer with more power, versatility and extra features. Some of the features include:
There are different types of hand planer which varies not just in brand name but also in their power output. One thing you should know however is that the greater the motor power of the planer, the better the output.
High power planers are heavier and are used more as sitting tools than the portable handheld planers with lower torque, though this doesn’t mean that they are not also portable, it just means they are heavier and may be restricted to heavy duty projects or tasks than random ‘pick and fix’ projects. These high torque planers can also be more expensive than the low powered ones.
Some hand planers are designed to have a sanding cylinder that lets you convert your planer into a portable sander in a quick fix. These planer types are built with matching settings to allow the proper functioning of the planer or as a sander when you need it.
Because there will be lots of shaving and scraping, one of the features you’d be glad to have on your hand planer is a suction bag or points of attachment that allows you to connect a bag or box to collect the shavings especially if you don’t want the extra task of cleaning up shavings each time you use the planer.
Suction bags are perfect for DIY home projects where you want to do so much without leaving lots of waste or shavings on the floor, however, suction bags may not be necessary in a bigger workspace.
Read more about – How To Use A Power Hand Planer On Wide Boards
As with power, the speed output of the hand planer you intend to buy is also an important factor to consider. The higher the speed of your tool, the less time you spend on the task. However, you need to also consider the type of operation you need the tool for, while you may want to get done with your project as fast as possible, some operations require low-speed for an effective result.
So, as you check out the RPM of your preferred planer, also compare it with the task it is intended for. Some tasks require low speed, high pressure planers, while others can get off with high-speed planers.
This is almost similar to the speed of the tool. The power of a hand planer is measured in Amp and it determines the output of the machine. Just like the speed, the power type a planer has depends on the type of project you intend to work on.
Based on power, hand planers can be electric or battery powered. The electric powered planer can also be corded or the cordless rechargeable type. The type you choose will also depend on how portable your work is, but while a cordless planer may give more portability and flexibility, a corded machine gives an increased power output.
Hand planers are mostly handheld and hand operated therefore you need to consider the handling comfort of the tool. Most of the time, the best type of hand planers are those with soft grip handles as they provide hand comfort and convenience especially if you have to handle most of the time.
Asides the grip comfort, it is important that the tool is lightweight and flexible in design and balance for the comfort of the user. If you have a problem with handling the tool, it may affect the final output you get.
As with most tools, it is important that the tool you get is durable and can be used for a while before you consider a replacement. Shaving, cutting, planing and sanding are powerful woodwork operations that requires a strong yet easy to operate tool that will not die off in the middle of getting a job done.
Therefore, as you look out for the planer to buy, you should also consider that it can get the job done for a long time. Some hand planers have a warranty period which tells a lot about how durable it is.
Bench Fixtures / Attachment
While this may not be a primary feature you would look out for, it is a necessary feature if you will be doing more cutting or scrapping on work tables. This feature lets you attach the hand planer on a bench or table where you can easily work on your piece. Bigger hand planers are permanently fixed on the bench in workshops, but you can also convert a portable hand planer to a fixed one for the length of time you intend to use it as such.
Read more about – How To Use An Electric Hand Planer On A Table Top
Hand Planer vs Electric Planer
As a woodworker, you must have heard of the term hand planer or power planer being used frequently and wondered the difference between them. Simply put, electric planer is also known as power planer and it refers to a planer that functions only when connected to an external source of power like electricity. There are power planers that use rechargeable batteries. These are usually cordless power planers and are only plugged in when the tool is out of power. There are various types of electric planer like the electric hand planer, benchtop planer or thickness planer which all runs on electricity.
Electric planers are handheld like the hand planers, but instead of exerting pressure on the tool manually to get the shape you desire, the power comes from the external source and gets the job done. Whether through connection with an electrical cord or cordless using rechargeable batteries, they begin to work once turned on with the blade spinning at a speed and power up to 20000 rpm.
Hand planer on the other hand is a manual tool that requires no external power source to work. it can be used anywhere and for every woodwork operations that requires a planer. It is not restricted by the availability of power, does not need to be charged neither does it run out of power. A hand planer is always handy and ready for use at any point in time.
Nearly every wood shop or DIYer own a hand planer among the many tools they use. A hand planer is obviously very useful and can be used for a lot of operations. Although it is manually powered, meaning you have to use it with your hands by pushing front and back to shave till the desired smoothness and result is achieved.
A hand planer can be of different types and used for many wood operations such as trimming and smoothening the edges of woods, a jack plane used for cutting down wood to preferred size; block planer for cutting off corners of wood for slant edges, and other hand planer used for cutting decorative patterns on edges, wood interiors and exterior. It is also used to give a desired finish on a piece of wood.
You may begin to wonder why use an electric planer when hand planer seems to be the generally found type in workshops. While a hand planer seems to be perfect in itself and get the job done, there are many shortcomings in the use of hand planer that seems to get better when an electric planer is used. Some of the many advantages of an electric planer over hand planer include
Extra features and accessories
Some electric planers come fixed with different features for extra comfort and more efficiency. Features such as a soft hand grip, metal sole plates, fences and/or retractable feet make the tool really convenient to use thereby giving it an edge over a hand planer.
This is one very important upgrade that lets you select and adjust planer to a desired thickness using the depth-adjustment gauge. It works like a belt sander by allowing you remove a fraction of an inch from the wood surface so you can work fast and better. For a corded electric planer, the cord is made long enough, usually not more than 6ft long to avoid it getting caught or causing a trip. The batteries on the other hand are long lasting and can finish a task before the need for a recharge.
Chip deflectors are features needed in a planer to send wood shavings towards one direction instead of leaving them to fly in all directions. This prevents the risk of having wood shavings enter into the eye or messing up the workshop.
However, despite these advantages, the fact still remains that electric planers are more expensive than hand planers, even if the cost depends on factors like the quality, brand, blade width and amp power of the planer.
All these does not reduce the functionality and general acceptability of hand planers, moreover, a hand planer is like ever woodworker’s buddy that sticks closer than other planer types, as you can promptly fix an issue with a hand planer before you remember there’s a power planer. While the choice remains yours, there’s no harm in having both in your workshop.
Hand Planer vs Belt Sander
One frequently asked question is if a hand planer is better than a belt sander. It is important to note that these two are different tools performing different functions, but may work as the other in certain cases. If you have a wood piece where you intend to take off its varnish, you might be caught in between choosing a sander or hand planer.
A belt sander is primarily used to remove weak spots or patches from wood surfaces and to refinish a wooden piece. Because of its force, a sander needs to be handled firmly else it would remove more than the needed material from a wood piece which may eventually cause damage to an almost perfect project.
Its motor power is high and designed for efficiency at work; that is getting more done within a short time which is why you can’t use a sander without a prior experience and most beginners find the tool complicated.
Why choose a belt sander over a hand planer?
- A belt sander is designed to finish up big tasks faster than other smaller tools. It is efficient and quick to use, and because of the power it gives, a sander is able to scrape a wood surface just at one swipe.
- Though different in size, most belt sanders have a wide surface area which enables them to work a spot only once and never twice thus removing the risk of unevenness.
- Comfortable handling and durability coupled with the extra features incorporated into the tool
However, one limitation with using a belt sander is that you cannot adjust or manage its speed or power, which means you have to be precise and deliberate about the surface you intend to use the sander on before you sand. Unlike the manual hand planer you have control over and can direct its use till you get a desired finish.
Belt sanders are also quite pricey but if you can afford both, why not? So, if you wish to get a uniform and smooth surface on a wood piece, a planer is perfect for the task while a sander is best for removing finishes on a wood piece at one go.
Hand Planer vs Jointer
A jointer is used to level one side of a wood piece and make a flat edge of the same wood piece. It helps you get a leveled or squared up edge that can be placed side by side especially if you are working on a piece that requires you to join wood pieces from one edge to the other. The two basic types of jointer are the No. 7 and No. 8 jointers varying in size and usefulness.
If you were ever stuck at the point where you can only buy one of the two, a hand planer is remains a good choice this is because while a hand planer can double as a jointer in some cases, a jointer cannot work as a hand planer.
Using a jointer helps you level one side and edge of a wood piece, but this doesn’t guarantee that you get the same result on the other side of the wood, which may end up making one side of the piece thicker than the other side. In short, you don’t get a precise dimension of thickness on your board using a jointer. But using a planer will allow you to make interchanging passes on each side of the plank such that there will be uniformity.
It is fine to buy a jointer if you have enough to invest on tools, but if you are ever on a budget, and torn between buying a hand planer vs jointer, a hand planer will be your best bet.
Hand Planer vs Sander
Sander is a finishing tool used toward the end of a project to change the appearance of the wood. This gives the wood a different look and finish from the starting piece. Compared to hand planers, a sander doesn’t remove as much woods as you would if you need to get a job done fast because sanders are slow and because you have to scrape a point many times for a good finish, it causes heat buildup which may end up damaging the wood.
Sanders cannot be used for thicknessing as you may end up using more sandpapers than you can imagine, while the job is slowed down each time you have to replace the sandpaper.
Both the hand planer and sander are similar in use- to remove surface wood on wood pieces, but using a planer is faster and more effective while using a sander can be slow and expensive considering the quantity of sand paper that will be used.
Verdict : Electric Hand Planer Tricks
A hand planer is a must have for every woodworker, not only because it is a cheap hand tool, but because it has been proven to come in handy for every project carried out in a workshop or home space.
It is a versatile manual & electric tool that can be used anywhere at any time. While you are saving up to buy more power tool, a hand planer comes first which is why you find it in every wood workshop.