What is a Planer
When you face a problem of planing lots of wood boards, it soon becomes obvious that this task is very labour-intensive and time-consuming if performed manually. In this case, a wood planer will be of much help. A planer is a woodworking tool intended for planing solid wood into the boards of the desired thickness.
One of the main benefits planers provide is their labour-saving capability since such tools have a high-power motor and let you process a lot of raw materials in no time. Another advantage is the safety of operation as the probability of injury is quite low for powerful planers. And the last but not the least is the quality of surface as the electric planers enable you to obtain the boards of top accuracy dimensions and fine finish. Furthermore, such boards can be used for laying floors, making furniture or interior, etc.
Such tools have the following principle of operation: a workpiece is fed along a horizontal table on rollers and a rotating cutter head with the knives whittles the workpiece to shape it into a board.
You can also learn more about circular saws on our site, which may come in handy if you are going to buy more sawing tools.
What Features to Compare
Before buying such valuable assistant as planer, you should learn about its functionality and clarify the most important features.
There are several Types of planing tools and they are designed to perform different types of wood processing:
- Surface planer (jointer). This type of planer performs a primary machining of a workpiece. To obtain a fine and even plank surface and edges, you have to process a workpiece in such a way as to get a plain (reference) face, along which the whole surface is going to be dubbed or joined with another piece of lumber. Making an even face is an intended purpose of a surface planer.
- Thickness planer (thicknesser). This planer type serves for cutting pieces of wood of the required thickness. The wood is pulled in from one end of the planer (infeed) and passes the cutter, led by the rollers. This results in cutting this piece of wood to the desired thickness with perfectly parallel upper and lower faces.
Secondly, you need to pay attention to those planer parameters that influence the Performance:
- Workpiece size. These features determine the maximum width and height of a workpiece that can be machined with a planer. Therefore, the higher these values are, the bigger workpiece can be machined with a planer.
- Depth-of-cut. This parameter defines the thickness of a wood layer that a planer removes at a single pass. The bigger the cutting depth is, the fewer times you'd need to run a workpiece on the tool to remove a thick layer of wood.
- Motor power. This parameter directly determines the power of a planer. More powerful electric planers are capable of dubbing tough wood. With that being said, when you use a tool equipped with a low-power motor, you might need to run a workpiece several times on a planer to achieve the desired thickness of a board.
- Rollers rotation speed. In general, the higher the rotation speed of planer rollers is, the smoother and more even the machined surface is.
- Number of rollers. The number of planer rollers depends on planer's design and its purpose. Portable planers, for example, are intended for household purposes and scales of jobs and are limited to having one roller only, while semi-pro planers may be equipped with two or three rollers which enable the processing of a workpiece from both sides simultaneously.
In addition to the above-mentioned parameters, woodworking planers just as other machines have their Extra Features that make the use of these tools more convenient and, thus, are worth your attention. These features include the devices for blowing wood dust and chips out of a workpiece, special systems of dust and trash collection, various LEDs that indicate the statuses and operation modes. Some wood planers offer two operating speeds, so you can choose the one you need. Some planer tables may have a unique cover for a smooth feeding of a workpiece.
Powerful and Space-saving
The Makita 2012NB is a powerful but pretty small thickness planer. Being equipped with a highly-efficient 15A motor, the tool can handle any type of wood, no matter how hard or soft it is. As a result, it makes the surface perfectly smooth and even. Thousands of users have already seen for themselves all its benefits and you've got a chance to try it either; simple-to-use and safe as it is, it can be operated easily by any member of your family. Owing to the small size, this benchtop thickness planer is also easy to displace when necessary. After all, the weight is just 28.1 kg. So, if you need a reliable assistant for wood processing, the Makita 2012NB can be a real bargain.
A smart design of the planer determines its comfortable use. Let's take a closer look at its features. What you'll see first is the scales thanks to which it will be easy for you to set the depth of cut in an accurate way. Then you will notice the double-edged blades which being pressed tightly against the cutter head deliver outstanding performance and can be reversed for continuous use. To replace the blades, all you need to do is to unscrew two bolts and take off the chip cover. A pilot lamp on the tool will tell you whether it's plugged in or not. For highly precise cutting and accuracy, the planer's fitted with a special Interna-Lok clamp that freezes workpieces in the head. This also makes it a great fit for using with all types of wood, including pretty expensive species. The other thing we've found attractive about this tool is that it's very quiet during operation; its noise level is only 86 dB.
Accuracy Up to 0.5 mm
Anyone choosing a benchtop planer pursues performance and accuracy. DeWALT tools are remarkable for a high power and performance, and the DW733 thickness planer can also demonstrate an ultimate cutting accuracy. It is achieved by implementation of a few high-end solutions. The first one is the lock that fixes the cutterhead in place to provide a uniform thickness for one or several workpieces. Thus, you'll be able to get perfectly sized boards without processing them with a hand planer or polisher. The second solution (and we like it) is the special indicator that shows the thickness of a wood layer to be removed. So, you can set the relevant planing depth for various types of wood without worrying about damaging the blade. Apart from high performance and top precision, what we like about this thicknesser is that it allows edging wood boards, and there's no need to buy and use a jointer additionally. A noisy motor is the only thing that we did not like about the DeWALT DW733, yet wearing hearing protectors can successfully solve this problem.
Every amateur carpenter or woodworker strives to bring his (or her) work to perfection. So, good workpieces are essential, and we recommend considering the Triton TPT125 to get them. This thickness planer will let you quickly smoothen and straighten rough timber for any hand-made article. Many woodworkers have surely faced a kickback of a workpiece while using a planer, and it's dangerous as a splinter or larger piece of wood might hit your eye or harm your hand. So, this Triton planer won't permit that as it features special anti-kickback pawls that will hold a workpiece in place and safeguard your hands. Therefore, we recommend buying this thickness planer primarily for amateur carpenters who haven't got much experience in adjusting the tool's settings to different types of wood. What is more, the Triton TPT125 is pretty light, so it's a wonderful pick for a garage or small workshop (and you will be able to replace the tool without any effort). If you have just started practicing wood crafting and are looking for relevant tools, we recommend you to buy this thicknesser together with a belt sander to make workpieces ideally smooth.
When a Thicknesser is Useless
Woodworking often involves situations when a thicknesser cannot be applied. For example, it may be a bevel planing or smoothing crooked planks. Nevertheless, these tasks aren't challenging for a planer like the Silverline 344944. Why did we pick this model for our planer review? Well, it is simply one of the best in its class! First of all, we like a tiltable fence that allows bevelling it at an angle from 45° to 90°. This feature allows making perfect corner joints, so your handicraft will be flawless. In addition, you'll be able to make a rough cut for a workpiece before thicknessing it, as the thicknesser's blades may run idle in deep concaves of a workpiece and the planing will be of fairly poor quality. Thus, as you can see, a planer is not a competitor to a thicknesser but an important addition to it. If you need to process a wide piece of wood like a table top, using a hand planer will be the best and most efficient solution.
Clarke International CPT250
Smooth Feed = Smooth Surface
Studying different models of thickness planers, we couldn't ignore the Clarke International CPT250. This tool amazed us with its sophisticated feeding system, namely, the infeed and outfeed. There are no metal or masonry tables or guides but two rollers that provide a smooth delivery, ensuring even more accurate planing. In addition, this planing tool is easy to install onto the workbench or attach an extension that allows handling long workpieces. We appreciated a convenient location of the thickness adjustment handle. It is arranged not on the top, like on the majority of planers, but aside the tool, which makes the handle easier to use. The entire body of this benchtop planer is made of metal that extends the machine's lifespan and guarantees its durability and stability as well as absorbs vibrations. We believe that the Clarke CPT250 can be a wonderful assistant for occasional wood processing at an affordable price.
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