How To Plane Wood Without A Planer? [5 Alternative Ways]

How To Plane Wood Without A Planer

If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission

Almost all lumber comes into your inventory with rough surfaces. Whether you purchase lumbers straight from a sawmill or the lumberyard in your neighborhood, the scenario will be the same.

If you intend to use your woodworking skills seriously, you’ll need to plane your lumber. But what if you don’t have that massive and expensive planer at your disposal? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Numerous woodworkers ask about how to plane wood without a planer.

For those, we have some alternative ways to get the job done without worrying about a planer. Your skill and some basic tools will be enough to get your lumber planed as you desire. So, without further ado, let’s get into the main discussion.

What tools can be used for plane wood other than a planer?

Planing wood without using a planer is just a game of tools. Switching your tools to something you already have can remove your headache.

However, not all people are aware of the fact that they can use some specific tools for the job. So, let’s first have a look at tools you can use for planing wood.

  • Table saw
  • Wood Router
  • Sandpaper 
  • Hand Wood Planer
  • Drum Sander or Belt
  • Water, Heating Source, and Towels

How to Plane Wood Without a Planer?


The method of planing wood without a planer can vary depending on the type of tools you will use. However, not all methods will give you the best result. So, based on the ease of use and the end result, we have discussed some of the most effective ways below.  

#1- Run the Lumber Through Your Tabletop Circular Saw


Using a table saw, you can trim the wood surface at least six inches wide. This course of action requires less time and effort than other methods. 

First of all, you have to ensure a stable base. For this, it’s wise to build a jig. The endeavor may take substantial time and effort, but you will feel the outcomes. You should ensure the blade angle is 90 degrees for an even surface. 

You can still increase and decrease the angle using an engineering square. Now you can start cutting wood as you set your blade and the board in place. Make sure to sand down any left sawdust to finish your project neatly and professionally.

#2- Sanding Wood with Sandpaper


One of the most widely used wood-planing techniques is sandpapering. With this technique, large pieces of wood can be worked on efficiently. However, you should skip this method if your wooden amount needs to be more significant. 

Wrap the fine-grained sandpaper around a stock crate. This increases your control over the sandpaper so you can press it more firmly on the wood and will also ensure a tight grip. 

Now, apply sufficient force to the sandpaper and rub it according to regain direction. As this process requires much time, it will work as a last-minute solution if you are unprepared to do so.

#3- Use a Wood Router


The wood router is the most effective tool you can use to see near the exact results of your planer. Every wood router requires a bit of sandpaper and further refining if you need a distinct thickness and the smoothest surface possible. 

However, a wood router offers terrific speed and consistent outcomes. In most cases, you will have to devise a jig to acquire the most productive results when using your router. 

As soon as you have positioned the lumber facing the router, push it toward the opening to start planing. This will trim only one side, so you must flip the lumber and plane it similarly.  

#4- Relying On a Drum or Belt Sander


The working mechanism of a planer, belt, and drum sanders appears similar, but the sanders use sandpaper instead of knives. In general, they’re used to ensuring a finer finish followed by a planer. However, you can also use them for plane wood.

Remember, the sanding effect is determined by the type of grit of the sandpaper you select. For best results, select a sandpaper that corresponds to your desired finish. Avoid using sandpaper with a low grit, since the sander will run more aggressively.

So, try to equip your sander with heavy-grit sandpaper. Now, feed the lumber into the sander. Before using the age-old technique to smooth out your lumber, be patient and allow some additional time for the wood to get to the depth you desire.

#5- Use a Hand Planer


One option to accomplish your budgeting goals is to be old school and take advantage of manual planers. Depending on the ease of use, start with a jack planer to effectively finish your tasks within a single tool. 

Different types of blades can influence the layout of your work, and it’s important to match the edges to the texture of the wood when cutting. For an excellent result, it is necessary to plan the wood according to the grain direction. 

Set up your direct edge according to your criteria correctly., gradually moving in a straighter direction. You can also use sticks with longer shafts next to each other and look over the ones beside each other. This technique will allow you to examine it as well horizontally. 

Why May You Need to Plane Wood Without a Planer Machine?

With the evolution of power tools, electric wood planers have become the only go-to solution for some woodworkers. Despite its reliability, precision, and fast working capability, some prefer planing wood without a planer.

Even we can see many retro woodworkers still rely on old-school tools like hand planers. Here are some key reasons you may need to consider an alternative. 

Planer Machines Are Expensive

The Planer machine is quite expensive. Even though its benefits outweigh the cost in the long run, you may consider an alternative when you need more cash to make an initial investment.

They Don’t Work Without Electricity

Whether it’s a cordless or corded planer, you can only think about using the machine with electricity. So, power planers will only be helpful if you’re working in a remote area with electricity. 

They Are Noisy

If you love to work in a quiet place, a power planer might not be for you since it’s very noisy.

A Planer Machine Require Large Workspace

In case you have a small workspace, you should skip off using a planer

Risk of Serious Accidents

Most importantly, you must be skilled and confident to work with a planer. Otherwise, it would be best if you thought about an alternative.

Tips for Achieving a Professional Finish Without a Planer

When thinking about something out of the ordinary, you may face difficulties. And the same thing goes for finishing wood without a planer. However, to get rid of difficulties and ensure the best result, you can follow some tips mentioned below:

Plane wood by hand is a stressful and hard-working job. Try to match the grain direction and use a proper blade to get a professional finish and save your energy.

  •  Keep a leveling kit and an engineering square during the project to ensure maximum precision.
  • While using a table saw, it’s good to opt for sanding or other smoothening treatment later. 
  • Try using multiple units simultaneously if you’re working on a large project with a power sander. This will save you time to spend on later treatments.

Final Words

We’re confident that you’ve got a good grasp of how to plane wood without a planer. As you go through the various alternatives, you can see that most of them depend on access to other power tools.

However, it’s not very annoying if you need to purchase one since manual alternatives will satisfy you. Think of a jack planer as an example; this manual planer has proven itself for thousands of years.

It may take only minutes to put together, and all you need to accomplish a substantial project is a little sandpaper, no burr, and wood. After all, it’s your own choice.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top