Smoothing wood surfaces with a planer.
A planer is a simple but effective electric processing device for solid wood materials. It is suitable for cut boards and squared timber as well as for glue-laminated beams. However, planers cannot be used for processing chipboard.
Construction and mode of operation
The planer is one of the metal-cutting tools. It removes material from the surface of a workpiece. They are closely related to wood milling machines, but have one crucial difference. In contrast to the spot-type wood router, the planer machines a workpiece over its entire width. It follows that a workpiece should be as narrow as possible than the useful surface of the planer.
Milling machines consist of the following components:
- Steel planer support surface .
- Centre opening for the planing blade .
- Plane roller with two longitudinally mounted knives .
- Powerful electric motor as drive .
- Case and power connection .
Basically, a distinction can be made between the portable and the stationary planer. The functional principle is identical for both types. The electric drive sets the planing roller in rotation. In the process, the screwed-on planing knives perform a circular movement. When a workpiece made of solid wood is transferred, it is split across the width of the planing roller. The result is a smooth, splinter-free surface.>.
Processing a workpiece across its entire width is easily possible with a stationary planer. When using hand planers, however, this can become a challenge. Although the cutting depth of the planer rollers can be adjusted, the height is always relative to the surrounding planing surface. This means that planing a wide board in lanes with a hand planer requires a very steady hand and a lot of experience. Otherwise, you run the risk of setting the plane crooked and achieving an unsatisfactory result.>.
Use of planes
A plane has two uses:
- Machining of rough sawn wood materials .
- Manufacturing of pre-products with defined outer dimensions .
With the help of a wood plane, a cheap, crooked and rough-sawn squared timber can be turned into a shapely semi-finished product for sophisticated further processing in a matter of seconds. What was previously only suitable as firewood or construction timber becomes a component for furniture construction through planing. Planing therefore saves more material than turning. In addition, planing preserves the angular structure of squared timber. This makes them more suitable than turned round timber for holding other components such as boards or mouldings.>.
Special planes are used to produce solid timbers with defined external dimensions. Specially designed stationary electric planes are used for this purpose. The machines used for this purpose are designated as follows:
- Flat planer
- Thickness planer .
The surface planer consists of a planing table with a lateral fence. The workpiece to be machined should have at least one straight saw edge. It should also be narrower than the planing roller. The workpiece is guided over the rotating planing roller. This makes the underside not only smooth, but above all perfectly straight. This straight side is the zero line for the desired thickness of the workpiece. The ACTUAL thickness of the workpiece is measured and then the height of the planing roller is adjusted. When the top side is passed over the planing knife, the workpiece is bevelled to the desired thickness.
A smooth wooden board with a thickness of 4 cm is needed. There are also rough-sawn boards with a thickness of 6 cm. First, the surfaces of the board are examined. The side with the deeper holes is selected as the zero side. The board is planed to the depth of the holes, e.g. 0.6 cm. Now you have a board that is planed smooth on one side and is 5.4 cm thick.>.
Now the planer blade is set to a machining height of 1.4 cm. Then the previously unfinished top side is planed off. The result is the desired planed smooth wooden board of 4 cm thickness.
The thickness planer has a similar processing principle, but is much more powerful. It essentially consists of two planers arranged one above the other. The distance between the planing knives can be freely selected. The conversion of a rough-sawn board into a desired planed board of a certain thickness takes place on the thickness planer in one operation.
In addition to their efficient operation, thickness planers have another advantage: they are very safe. The rotating planer blade is difficult to reach from the outside. This considerably reduces the risk of injury while working.
Plane machine woodworking - versatile work.
The woodworking planer is used to produce ready-to-use boards, blocks and squared timber from solid wood. In addition to finishing construction timber, this also makes it a device for refurbishing scrap wood.
The wood plane is a powerful and radical method of restoring a heavily used surface to an attractive aesthetic condition. The following examples are typical for the use of a wood planer:
- Refinishing old beams and battens .
- De-laminating and levelling old table tops and worktops .
- Refurbishing solid wood doors
The planer is used when stripping and sanding are no longer sufficient. However, when refurbishing old wood, care must always be taken to ensure that there are no nails in the material. If this is ignored, accidents and damage to the planer blade are inevitable.
Buy a used planer
The planer for woodworking is mainly a manually operated tool. Although sawmills also work with automatically equipped work machines. However, these wood planers are usually very large and rather unsuitable for joineries or hobby users. A used planer from a brand manufacturer is always of high quality. However, the professional use of a wood planer is very demanding and puts a lot of strain on the entire machine. The work-related production of chips also contributes to the fact that the mechanics and electrics of a wood planer are highly stressed. A used planer therefore requires a thorough check before deciding to purchase it.
A cheap planer as a new machine is less suitable for a second-hand purchase. No-name hand planers are often not designed for easy repair. In addition, a wood planer from the supermarket may have supply problems with the right spare parts. It is true that it is easy to find cheap planers for under 10 euros in the classifieds or flea markets. But if it is not a brand-name machine, its useful life is usually severely limited.
This is even more true for the stationary planer for woodworking. Cheap wood planers usually have a weak basic structure. This manifests itself in wobbly tables, jammed fences or poorly replaceable interchangeable blades. A used wood planer should therefore always come from a brand manufacturer. The following makes are known for high-quality wood planers:
You'll find plenty of opportunities for an inexpensive planer even with these brand-name machines. A cast-iron staionary used planer is available in some places for just a few hundred euros. This means that even hobby users have the opportunity to buy a cheap planer.
How do I check a used planer?
Looking for a used cheap planer of brand quality is only the beginning. Buying a used planer is not possible without a thorough inspection. To do this, proceed as follows:
- External impression
- Strength of all moving parts
- Condition of wearing parts
- Condition of safety-related parts
- Test run without workpiece
- Probe piece
Scratches and light rust do not look nice. But for a cast-iron planer from a brand manufacturer, aesthetic factors are not a decisive purchase criterion. Rather, the opposite is true. A second-hand planer with a shiny, fresh varnish should make you suspicious. Even a cheap planer can be visually refurbished with a few simple steps. But that says nothing about the technical condition of the wood planer.
It is much more important that the used planer has no cracks or break-outs on the housing. Welds or patched holes should make you suspicious. However, if the cheap planer has a secure, wobble-free stand, you can continue the inspection..
The fences on the wood planer must be clean and smooth to adjust. Jamming stops may indicate that the guides are worn out. The height adjustment of the blade roller of the wood planer must also be perfectly intact. It must be possible to turn the blade roller without noticeable resistance. A perceptible jerking indicates bearing damage.
The blade should be sharp, free of sharp edges and straight. Caked sawdust in the blade roller indicates that the planer is in poor maintenance condition. The heads of the retaining screws must not be worn, otherwise the cheap planer will cause problems the first time the blades are replaced.
Even an inexpensive planer must be safe. This includes flawless switches, undamaged cables and functioning covers. A used planer from the industry always has an emergency stop switch. This is checked in the test run.
The used planer should generally be in acceptable current condition. A no-go is a wood planer with an open belt drive. These extremely dangerous devices are no longer permitted today.
The used planer must produce a steady working noise when running at full speed. Rattling, clacking or knocks indicate worn out bearings on the motor or drive. These are usually time-consuming and costly repairs. If the planer blade does not turn at all, this is not nice but not a major defect. In this case, the cheap planer only has a broken drive belt. This belongs to the wear parts.
Finally, a test piece is made. This is the final check of the reliable operation of the wood planer.
With this test you make sure that your used wood planer will serve its purpose. We wish you much fun and success with your woodworking!