How To Use A Handheld Planer? [7 Easy Steps]

How To Use A Handheld Planer

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

Knowing how to use a handheld planer is the most necessary step towards your journey in woodworking. To use a handheld planer, you have to sharpen the blade of your planer, adjust the angle of the planer blade, run the blade on the wooden piece with proper action, and lastly, check the accuracy. 

If you still have some confusion, you can keep on reading. We will share 7 easy steps to use the handheld planer. Along with that, you also get to know a bit more about choosing the correct hand planer. Let’s get on with it.

Are Handheld Planers Different from Electric Planers?

Yes, hand planers are very much different from electric planers when it comes to usability.

While the functionality of both the planers is the same, the purpose of using each planer is different. Here’s a table showing you all the differences between the two planers –

SpecificationsHandheld planerElectric planer
Power sourceManual Electric 
Ease of use Difficult to use Convenient to use
Control and accuracy Excellent Pretty decent 
Purpose  Used for more accurate cuts and difficult angles Used for quick wood planing 
Best suited forSmaller wood pieces Wider wood pieces 

5 Steps for Using a Handheld Planer

A handheld planer is a perfect tool to have in your arsenal for smoothening those smaller wood pieces. The best part is you can get a planner without spending too much money, and it’s also very easy to use.

Here are five simple steps you need to follow for using a handheld planer. Let’s check those out quickly –

Step-1: Sharpen the blades of your planer

Sharpening a blade is easy; all you need is 220-grit sandpaper. Place the paper on a flat surface. Keep the blade at a 30-degree angle on the sandpaper and rub it on the paper with downward pressure and a circular motion.

When you start seeing very little metal shavings on the back of the blade, you can take the blade back. Wipe the blade to remove all the shavings on it, and it’s all sharpened up.

Step-2: Adjusting the blade angle

The blade angle you use in your planer will decide how the shavings will come from the surface. If the angle is deep, the shavings will be quite thick, and if it’s a shallow angle, the shavings will be a bit thinner.

Now, you must remember that too deep of a blade angle can cause the planer to get jammed into the wood. This can result in tearing or breaking the wood. That’s why you need to adjust the depth of the blade before you can start planning a wood.

Most of the hand planers out there have a depth adjustment feature, which allows you to select the angle of the blade. The best method is to start from a very steep angle to avoid tearing the wood. From thereon, you can adjust the depth accordingly to meet the requirements of your project.

Step-3: Place your wooden piece properly to keep it stable

Once you have set the planer blade angle, you can move on to planning the wood surface of your woodworking project. 

To do that, first, you have to place the wooden piece on a stable and solid platform so that the piece doesn’t move around. You can use clamps to keep the piece steady and stable so you can work on it without moving it around. 

Step-4: Start planing the wooden piece

Next, you have to place your planer on the edge of your wooden piece, preferably from the bottom end of the piece. Then, hold the back handle of the planer with your dominant hand and the front handle with your other hand.

Step-5: Maintain proper action while planing

Now, put downward pressure on the front handle and push your planer forward using the back handle. When pushing the planer, do it firmly and put your body behind it. 

Lean forward whenever the planer is going forward, and hold back on your heel when bringing it back. Make sure to take long strokes while doing it because it will even remove the wooden shavings.

Step-6: Avoid planing against the grain

When planing the wooden pieces, it’s important to consider the wood grain you may have on them. Planing against the grain can tear the wood, or it can cause the planer blade to get jammed in the wooden piece. It also results in uneven planing of the wooden piece. 

In case you already get tears on the wood, make sure to smoothen it out first, before you start planing it again. That way, you won’t have any trouble with wood grains further in the project. 

Step-7: Keep checking the accuracy of your cuts

Test out the accuracy of your planing by checking the straight edge of the wood. If it’s not sitting flat without leaving any gap underneath, then it means there is a high spot. Find out the high spot, and run your planer around that spot once again to fix it.

You can also use tools like a try square and see whether the two connected faces have a perfect 90-degree angle on them or not. Once you are satisfied with the accuracy, you plan the wood.

How to Choose The Right-Hand Planer?

There are 4 different hand planer choices out there. Each of them specializes in certain kinds of jobs. You need to get the perfect one based on your needs.

Block plane

This is the smallest type of planner you can get. It is very effective for shorter wooden pieces or to get thin wood shavings. They are the best choice when you have to work on tighter corners.

Jack plane

Jack planes are a bit larger than block planes. They can be somewhere around 12 to 17 inches in size. You can use these planes whenever you are working with longboards. They are also quite useful for small rough lumber pieces.

Jointer plane

Jointer planes are the longest out of all hand planers and the best option for straightening your wooden pieces. Things like the edge of a door or the longboards are perfect projects for this planer. You can also use these for trimming and squaring.

Smoothing plane

Lastly, a smoothing plane should be your go-to choice whenever you have to smoothen a wooden piece surface. It’s usually 9 to 10 inches long and the perfect thing for leveling any gaps caused by a high spot on the wood.

Things to Consider While Using a Handheld Planer

Here are some considerations you have to follow while using a handheld planer –

  • Be very careful when you are handling the planer’s blades; they are razor sharp.
  • Always use proper safety measures when using the planer.
  • Don’t put too much pressure downwards, as it can jam the planer on the wood.
  • Check the wooden pieces for extreme damage before planning.
  • Try using a level surface to place the wooden piece on.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top