What Is The Planer And Thicknesser For?

We are talking about one of the fundamental equipment for woodworking; let’s try to understand why it enjoys this consideration and what it is for.

Among the various equipment used for woodworking, both in the professional and amateur fields, the planer is perhaps the most important. This cutting tool, in fact, has the primary purpose of finishing the pieces of wood in order to grind the angles of boards, boards and strips, and give them a smooth and regular surface.
Originally it was a manual instrument whose shape and size varied according to the size and type of work to be carried out. The only country in the world where manual planing is still a very widespread and practiced art, however, is Japan, which boasts long and complex traditions of carpentry and carpentry, and where the craftsmen are real masters able to make any shape with a simple hand plane, and with a level of precision that has a miracle.

In the rest of the world, by now, manual planes are used only by a few enthusiasts; in fact, in the carpentry and carpentry workshops, the motor models have almost completely replaced the manual ones. Among the various types of motorized planes, one of the most important and widespread is that of the surface and thickness; it is a machine that in the environment is often defined as “combined”, a simplification that perfectly conveys the idea of ​​its main feature.

This equipment, in fact, combines the functions of a surface planer with those of a thicknesser; the more expensive models then, intended for intensive use in large carpentry workshops, tend to be even more complex and integrate further functions in themselves, such as that of circular saw, vertical milling machine and mortising machine.

The main applications and the working method


The thickness and surface planer is used above all to level the surfaces of boards, planks, strips and other types of solid wood pieces, and for the grinding of the edges on the pieces of laminated plywood. Machining is performed in two stages, using the two combined capabilities of the machine.

This is made up of an upper worktop, divided into two sections independent of each other and separated by the window from which the knives protrude, and a smaller worktop, called a shelf, located in the lower part of the machine. below the knife holder shaft. In the upper part the planing takes place flush, while in the lower part the thicknessing is carried out.

The flush is the first part of the planing process and must be performed on both sides of the piece of wood. The two sides must be contiguous, therefore a face and a rib, in order to produce a first right angle which will serve as a reference in the next stage of processing; before proceeding, however, the height of the worktops must be adjusted.



The exit plane must be adjusted so as to be at the same height reached by the knives when they are at the apex of their rotation, while the entry plane must consequently be lower than the height of the exit plane; the waste can vary from two to three millimeters depending on the case, as it determines the amount of wood that will be removed from the knives.

Once the outfeed and inlet planes have been adjusted, proceed to do the same with the ruler, that is the lateral stop which plays the double role of sliding guide and support surface; to ensure the perfect linearity of the planed side, in fact, as soon as the piece of wood is pushed onto the knives and reaches the exit surface, it is necessary to exert pressure against the latter in order to make it adhere perfectly.

When working on the face, therefore, the pressure should be exerted only towards the exit plane. Once the face has been planed, then, we proceed to work the edge by placing the planed face on the ruler, and then exerting the pressure both towards the latter and towards the exit plane; in this way you will get a perfect 90 ° angle between the two contiguous sides.

At this point you can move on to the thickness planing of the other sides, placing the piece on the lower shelf after adjusting the height. The piece must be placed on the already planed side, in order to ensure that the side to be worked on is parallel and with a continuous thickness along its entire length. The opposite face and edge, therefore, once planed to thickness, will make the piece perfectly squared and ready for the subsequent processing or finishing phases.

Choose the right machine for your needs


Power planes are not only used on an industrial and professional level, but are also widely used in the hobby and amateur fields. Indeed, this range of users represents the largest segment of the market.

As regards in particular the combined wire and thickness, in fact, on the market you can find a wide range of models in a price range ranging from 250 to 1,000 euros, which are designed specifically for small craftsmen and for simple DIY enthusiasts.

Obviously there are differences between equipment intended for professional use and those for hobby use, and not only in terms of price. If you intend to buy one of these machines, then, in order to identify the best planer and thicknesser for your specific needs, you will first have to evaluate the level of precision that this is able to ensure.

If the manual planer is used to smooth out the wood surfaces and make them regular, in fact, the main purpose of the motorized flush and thickness variant is to square the pieces of wood with a level of precision almost impossible to achieve manually.

The precision of the machine, therefore, becomes the main parameter for evaluating its performance; consequently the chosen model, in addition to being built with good quality manufacturing materials, must be perfectly assembled and so as not to leave “play” between the various components, especially those intended for the adjustment of the worktops.

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