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How To Use An Electric Planer

An electric planer is a powerful woodworking tool used to smooth and shape wooden surfaces. It is commonly used by professional carpenters, woodworkers, and DIY enthusiasts to remove excess material, create bevels, chamfers, and rebates, and to achieve a smooth finish on wooden boards, doors, and other wooden surfaces.


The electric planer has revolutionized the woodworking industry by providing a quicker and more efficient alternative to traditional hand planing. It was first introduced in the mid-20th century and quickly gained popularity due to its ability to save time and effort in woodworking projects.


Key Principles

An electric planer consists of several key components that work together to achieve accurate and precise results:

1. Motor:

The motor is the heart of the electric planer. It provides the power needed to rotate the cutting blades at high speeds, allowing them to remove material from the wood surface.

2. Cutting Blades:

The cutting blades are located at the bottom of the planer and are responsible for removing material from the wood. They are typically made of high-speed steel or carbide and can be adjusted to control the depth of cut.

3. Depth Adjustment:

Most electric planers feature a depth adjustment knob or lever that allows the user to control the amount of material to be removed. This feature is crucial for achieving the desired thickness and smoothness of the wood surface.

4. Infeed and Outfeed Tables:

Electric planers often come with infeed and outfeed tables that provide support for the wood being planed. These tables help maintain a consistent cutting depth and prevent the wood from sagging or splintering during the planing process.

5. Dust Extraction System:

To keep the work area clean and free from sawdust, many electric planers are equipped with a dust extraction system. This system collects the sawdust generated during planing and channels it into a dust bag or a vacuum system.

How to Use an Electric Planer:

Using an electric planer requires careful attention to safety and proper technique. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Prepare the Workpiece:

Ensure that the wood you plan to work on is securely clamped or held in place. This will prevent it from moving or vibrating during the planing process, ensuring a smooth and even result.

2. Adjust the Depth:

Set the desired cutting depth using the depth adjustment knob or lever. Start with a shallow cut and gradually increase the depth until you achieve the desired result. Remember, removing too much material at once can cause tear-out or damage to the wood.

3. Position the Planer:

Hold the planer firmly with both hands, ensuring a stable grip. Position the front shoe of the planer flat on the wood surface, making sure it is parallel to the grain direction.

4. Start the Planer:

Switch on the planer and allow the blades to reach full speed before making contact with the wood. This will ensure a smooth and even cut.

5. Move the Planer:

Move the planer steadily and smoothly along the wood surface, maintaining a consistent speed and pressure. Keep the planer moving in the same direction as the wood grain to minimize tear-out.

6. Check the Progress:

Periodically stop planing and check the progress of your work. Make any necessary adjustments to the cutting depth or technique to achieve the desired result.

7. Finish and Clean Up:

Once you have completed planing, switch off the planer and allow the blades to come to a complete stop before setting it down. Remove any remaining sawdust from the work area and clean the planer blades and dust extraction system.


An electric planer is a versatile and efficient tool that can greatly enhance woodworking projects. By understanding its key components and following proper techniques, you can achieve professional-level results in your woodworking endeavors.

Remember to prioritize safety when using an electric planer and always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses and ear protection. With practice and experience, you can master the art of using an electric planer and unlock its full potential in your woodworking projects.

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