December 6, 2022

How to Use an Electric Planer on a Tabletop

Using an Electric Planer on a Tabletop

If you’re looking to get started in woodworking, or you want to improve your skills, then you need to know how to use an electric planer on a tabletop. This is a key piece of equipment in any woodworker’s tool arsenal, and it can help you create smooth, even surfaces on your projects. In this blog post, we will show you how to use an electric planer on a tabletop so that you can achieve great results with every project!

Can you use an electric hand planer on a tabletop?

Yes, you can use an electric hand planer on a tabletop. Make sure you have the correct posture and sharpened blades. Position the wood correctly and place the planer on the table edge. Turn on the planer and start scraping off the wood. Strip a small amount of wood at a time for better results. 

How to use an electric hand planer on a tabletop

  1. Start by looking for wood. Make sure that the material is ideal for the item. For a wooden tabletop, the wood has to be dry. Give the wood multiple weeks indoors to dry out before planning it. Double-check the wood itself, making sure there are no fasteners or embedded material that will ruin the planer’s blade. Plane before the final cut in the material. Make sure you have a large enough piece of wood.
  2. Prepare your workspace. Your workspace determines the quality of your tabletop. If you have a shed, garage, or workshop, you are sorted. Identify a table that’s large enough to fit your piece of wood. The table should be free from dust and debris, and use a dry rag to wipe down the space. Use a sturdy surface to work on and secure space, so that your tabletop remains flat. You can even put the wood on a clamping table.
  3. Check your tools. Make sure you have your electric planer and clamps if you need any. For the clamps, they should be enough to secure your piece of wood, reliable and sturdy. For your electric planer, check the blade. If it is dull, sharpen it before getting started. Plug it in and run the tool in the air to make it operate. Ensure your planer blades are sharp and not dull.
  4. Set up the electric planer tool. Your electric planer chooses which side the chips come out on. Make sure they are blowing on the opposite side of the tool, you will be standing on. Pick your cut depth. A smaller depth is quicker to plane but requires more passes.
  5. Attach the vacuum hose or dust bag to your tool. 
  6. Make your first pass on the tabletop and be consistent. Maintain a steady speed and apply pressure along the board. For the first pass, keep the front of the planer resting on the board. Your dominant hand should be on the trigger, and your non-dominant hand should be applying pressure on the front of the planer. If you have a knob at the front, rest your non-dominant hand here.
  7. Before pulling the trigger, keep the blade behind the board. It should not be in contact with the board and will spin in the air. To start, apply pressure on the planer and hold the trigger. Wait for the blade to get up to speed. Start slowly moving the planer forward across the board, maintaining the pressure. When the planer is hanging off the board, the pressure should be applied to the front of the tool, so it does not flip backward. At the end of the stroke, the pressure should be applied to the rear of the tool. That is to avoid flipping forwards over the board. Continue forward with the planer until the blade is no longer touching. Hold that position, release the trigger, and wait for the tool blade to stop spinning. Lift the tool.
  8. Keep making passes until the board is perfect. Use multiple passes until you get the desired thickness. You might need multiple passes until the top face is flat, removing all the imperfections and defects. Multiple passes of smaller cutting depths remove room for error. By doing multiple, low-depth cuts, you will have a perfect tabletop.
  9. Finish off your tabletop our way. You can add wood stain to it and then finish off with varnish, wax it or paint it depending on how you want to complete your project.

Tips for good results

  • Maintain equal and same posture so your wood sharp will not be damaged. Do not lose posture control.
  • Avoid using dull or broken blades. It reduces the cutting quality of the wood and causes dangerous incidents (Westwaymachinery.com). 
  • Do not use wet wood.
  • If you press the planer downwards at the end. The power planer can give the wood an unnecessary deep cut that will destroy the upper surface.
  • Do not put too much pressure on the back handle to avoid resistance, and your power planer will not run smoothly.
  • Apply pressure at the front handle when making the wood surface smooth and at the backside when you have completed your smoothing.
  • Balance the power planer while you are smoothing out the surface. Keep your foot steady and firm while making the first cut.
  • Before starting your power planer on the wood. There are some directions that you must keep in your mind. Touch the front side of the power planer to the wood while using it.
  • Keep the machine plugged in. Adjust the depth of the cut by rotating the knob and then make the desired cut.
  • Increase the cut depth incrementally to get the desired cut.
  • To avoid snipping, keep the power planer steady on the surface. Unnecessary pressure on the front or the backside can cause harm to the wood.
  • The final smoothness of the cut will depend on the depth of the cut. 1/8 is for the ultimate smoothness 1/64 or 1/32 is for ultimate results and precision.

Advantages of using an electric planer on the tabletop

  • An electric planer is a functional machine to clean or shave wood. 
  • Using an electric planer on a tabletop to cut wood is easy for a beginner woodworker. Following the right steps makes it easy to use while cutting or shaping wood.
  • Planers are for maintaining straightness on double surfaces and cutting wood with precision accuracy to the desired thickness (Bestplaners.com). 
  • You can use a woodworking planer to adjust the finished boards quickly.
  • It allows you to reclaim old wood from homes and furniture. 
  • You can make multiple passes until the wood meets your thickness requirements.
  • It produces flat, even surfaces in a single pass.
  • It crafts custom boards with precise shapes.
  • It cuts any wood surface to the right thickness. 

Things to consider

  • Watch the speed at which you push the tool and the depth setting as it affects the final smoothness of your work.
  • Apply control as you make your cuts.
  • Balance hand pressure between the tool handle and front knob as both planer soles contact the work.
  • Check the sharpness of the blade.

Conclusion

An electric planer is a functional machine to clean or shave wood. By following the right steps, it’s easy to use while cutting or shaping wood. You can use a woodworking planer to adjust the finished boards quickly. It allows you to reclaim old wood from homes and furniture. You can make multiple passes until the wood meets your thickness requirements. It produces flat, even surfaces in a single pass. It crafts custom boards with precise shapes and cuts any wood surface to the right thickness.

David D. Hughes

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