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December 04, 2020
Every woodworker has encountered the task of working with rough pieces of lumber. I am talking about dealing with wood that has inconsistent levels of thickness throughout the entire length of the board. These kinds of annoying imperfections make it difficult to work with, and it is something that must be addressed before moving forward with a project. So how do you transform a rough plank into a smooth and even surface? Run it through a planer!
WHAT DOES A PLANER DO?
A planer, or more commonly called “thickness planer”, is a machine primarily used by woodworkers, which is the reason why you can find this piece of machinery in almost all woodworking shops. Its number one purpose in the shop is simple, and that’s to trim the surface of a board to a consistent and specific thickness throughout the entire length of the wooden board. Also, many trades men and women use this to smooth out rough stock and making boards more parallel to each other.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A thickness planer works around three main components. They are labeled as the In-feed Roller, Cutter Head, and lastly the Out-feed Roller. This is also the order of how they operate.
During operation, the user will set the planer to a desired height. Once the unit is turned on, the board is fed into the machine until it makes contact with the in-feed roller. At this point, the roller will grip the board and automatically pull it into the fast-rotating cutter head. From here, the blades will shave off material from the surface of the board throughout the entire length. Once the out-feed roller catches the wood, it will gently assist the board out the other end. This concludes the first pass, repeat if necessary. It’s that simple.
In today’s market, you will find a great selection of planers. From large industry machines made by Shop Fox and JET, to small portable models. An easy recommendation is the DeWALT DW735 or the DW735X 13” Planer!
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The result of a finished and polished product starts off with the quality and condition of your lumber. With the assistance of a planer, you can achieve that. Another great machine to have on hand along with a planer, is a jointer. With this duo, you can really mold a distressed piece of wood into something much more pleasant to work with. Something to be aware about is the amount of dust and chips planers produces. Having a dust collection system is a major addition, some might say it is a must. I would like to end this by reminding everyone to always wear hearing and eye protection when using any powered machinery. Stay safe everybody!!!
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