How To Use The Thickness And Surface Planer

For beginner hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, here is a small guide on one of the basic tools for use: the planer and thicknesser.

In the amateur field, setting up a space specifically used for carrying out one’s hobby is something that often requires time, as well as passion. At the beginning it always starts with a few tools, in fact, mostly manual; however, as experience accumulates, the complexity of the objects produced also tends to increase.

What was born as a secondary activity to occupy free time, therefore, in some cases can turn into a real full-time job; to make the leap in quality, however, it is necessary to equip oneself with specific equipment and learn how to use them correctly, also as regards maintenance and possible grinding, in order to perform a better and above all precise processing.

In the hobby field, woodworking is one of the main activities, consequently the planer and thicknesser is one of the fundamental equipment and allows you to make a real leap in quality when you reach the advanced level of practice. This type is particularly appreciated as it combines the machining characteristics of two different types of motorized planes, the surface planer and the thickness planer, thus allowing both types of machining to be carried out with a single equipment.

There are numerous models on the market, which differ both in size and in specific intended use, which in turn affects the price; the greatest convenience is usually represented by the online purchase, which allows you to save money and at the same time offers a wider range of choice.

There are therefore two main advantages offered by the surface and thickness planers sold online : the first is of an economic nature, because being a combined machine, it allows you to buy only one machine instead of two, the second instead is of a logistic nature, because a single piece of equipment takes up less space in the laboratory rooms.

The characteristics of the planer edge and thickness
As mentioned in the introduction, this particular type of motorized plane is also known more simply as “combined”, because it allows you to plan both flush and thickness. This machine has a shaft on which the “knives” are engaged, ie the blades used to perform the operation; the number of knives is always 3, but their width, and consequently that of the shaft, can vary according to the model chosen.

The shaft is then connected to an electric motor which gives it the necessary rotation motion to carry out the planing in an adequate way; the rotation speed is standard of course, but it can vary according to the model chosen.

The further feature of the tree is that it is single, that is, it works both for surface planing and thickness; what changes, however, are the work plans. On the upper one, in fact, the planing is carried out flush, while on the lower one it works in thickness.

An extremely important recommendation is to always pay due attention when working with this machine, to always adjust it correctly and to use the necessary protections, because when the knives are rotating they can represent a serious risk for the operator.

How to plan a surface

Surface planing is carried out on the upper side of the machine, which has a work surface divided into two sections separated by the rotating shaft; at the height of the slot from which the knives protrude, on one side there is a sliding cover which serves to avoid the risk of the operator’s hands coming into contact with the knives, while on the other there is the lateral stop which acts as a sliding guide for workpieces.

Both the stop and the protection are adjustable, in order to adapt to the measurements of the workpiece; the protection can also be adjusted in height, so that it can be positioned as a bridge on the piece, so as to cover the area corresponding to that where the knives are located.

The two sections of the worktop are also adjustable in height, but the latter need not be the same for both. In fact, that of the outgoing plane must be adjusted in such a way as to perfectly match the maximum protrusion reached by the knives, while that of the infeed plane, i.e. the side from which the workpiece is pushed against the knives, must be adjusted. a few millimeters below. The measurement deviation to be set obviously varies according to the amount of material that needs to be removed from the wood.

Once the height of the shelves and that of the side stop have been adjusted, and after having adequately positioned the protection, you can proceed with the planing of the piece. This must be placed on the entry surface and pushed towards the knives; when working on the face of the piece, as soon as a good portion of it has passed the knives, it must continue to push it by also pressing against the output surface, since the latter acts as a reference in order to obtain a perfectly smooth surface.

When working on the edge of the piece, however, this must be pushed against the knives by applying pressure both on the surface and against the side stop; in this way, apart from the perfectly smooth surface, it is also possible to obtain a perfect 90 ° angle between the rib and the contiguous face previously machined.

How to plan a thickness

Once the planing of two contiguous sides has been carried out, it is possible to switch to the thickness one in order to obtain a perfectly smooth and squared piece of wood, with all the right angles. The lower support surface, where you plan to thickness, is single and can be adjusted in height according to your needs; in the first step, however, it is always advisable to position it at a height of a couple of millimeters lower than that of the piece.

Once this is done, therefore, you need to place the piece of wood on the incoming side of the top and on the side of the previously smoothed face. By exerting a slight pressure, in order to ensure the perfect adherence of the piece to the surface, it is necessary to push the latter towards the drive rollers.

The infeed roller will cling to the workpiece and automatically push it towards the knives and outfeed roller. After the first step, you can repeat the step until you reach the required thickness, and then do the same on the face of the piece that remains to be planed.

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