How to Use an Electric Planer on a Table Top

Are you wondering how to use an electric planer on a table top? It is a fairly easy process. Even a newcomer can easily learn it in no time.

An electric planer is one of the must-have weapons for modern carpenters. If you are new to the DIY woodworking community then you get accustomed to it. So today I will give you tips about how to use an electric planer on a tabletop in detail. 

A couple of years after I started my carpeting currier, I had purchased an electric planer to get a head start on my work. But I wasn’t fully aware of all the functions and tricks. So, I couldn’t get the maximum output from the machine for a very long time. 

So I will introduce you to some electric hand planer tricks for a smooth workable experience. 

What Is an Electric Hand Planer

Electric hand planers are the updated version of the jack plane. They are a fairly new invention. It is a handy tool to trim the wood surface to make it smooth. This power tool is also used to flatten the rough patches. 

Usually, the electric planer has a 5 amp motor that fluently works at 15,000 rpm speed. Typically this small machine widths 3 ¼  inches. There are three types of electric planers. An electric corded planer, a hand planer, a battery-powered planer ( cordless).

An electric corded planer only works when there is enough power storage. You have to plug it in, so you can’t take it anywhere. But it is, however, best for home workstation use. 

A hand planer is usually used for small furnishing. For a big project like a tabletop, this one is not recommended. But, for the last finishing, you can plan with it. 

A battery-powered planer is one of the best electric planers for beginners. You don’t need any power outlet for this. But they are kind of heavy since you have to put the battery on them. Though efficient, they are costly, and the battery will eventually run out of its course. 

Safety Measures

Before using an electric planer to make tabletops, you need to maintain a few safety protocols. More so if you are a beginner. Otherwise, you might succumb to a small or big accident. These safety protocols are- 

  1. Safety goggles for flying particles. 
  2. You need a face mask since a lot of wood boards have chemicals on them. 
  3. Check that the screws of the blade lock are tight or not. 
  4. Make sure that the tabletop is firmly secured on a nice plane surface. 
  5. Use both of your hands to operate the electric planer. 
  6. Don’t set aside the planer if the blades are still working. 
  7. Make sure to read the manual properly to know how does a hand planer works.

Steps To Take Before The Planning

You need to plane a tabletop two times. Once when in the making process, before glueing. And another after the glues are all nicely dried. After you have gone through the safety procedure and everything, we can get to the main process. 

Choosing the material:

 You need good material for smooth work. So selecting the raw material is the first step and the critical part of the process. Make sure to choose a nice dry wood for your project. If the wood is not dry, then dry them out in the sun. 

Nail Checking:

When the wood is nice and dry, check for any hidden nails. The blades of the planer will get damaged if it collides with a nail. So check the boards thoroughly. 

Cleaning:

Now, make sure to wipe any excess dirt or particles from the tabletop. Don’t use moistened clothing to do this. Otherwise, you will have to dry it again. Wipe off the excess glue from there. Also, you need to make sure there aren’t any hard particles that can damage the planer. 

Clamping:

Before you start the planning process, you need to make sure the board is secured. If it moves around too much, then the work will be half hazardous. To make sure the tabletop is stable and secure, we recommend using clamps. They are sort of a big clip that you place at one end to hold down the board vertically. Put two on both ends.

Checking:

Now, you need to check the planning equipment now. Check its parts. Then it’s blades. Make sure it is sharpened accurately. If not then take it to a hardware store to sharpen them. Dull blades will produce dull work. So your planning with a nicely sharpened blade. I want to put another caution note here. Place the board on a platform that has enough space to move around it. 

Precaution:

Before planning with this equipment, make sure that the electric planer’s heel is working aligned with the material you are working on. Also, check to see that the board is not dipping or moving as you shave the tabletop. To keep that from happening, you can use a straight edge. 

Posture and Stance:

A stable stance is vital while planning. If you are not grounded, enough your hands will shake. If you become off-balance, you can somehow damage the electric planer and also the tabletop. So you need to make a steady and well-grounded stance. Keep your feet apart until you find the proper posture to get the right support. Also, make sure you are comfortable in it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hold it and get muscle cramps. A stable stance will support your hands to push the planer comfortably. 

How to Use an Electric Planer on a Table Top

After taking all of these steps to get the material and equipment ready, you can now finally start the real work process. Now we will briefly discuss the method of using an electric hand planer to flatten the wood.  

  • First, place the planer at one edge of the board.
  • With your dominant hand, turn on the equipment.
  • And with your non-dominant hand, put pressure on the front, so it doesn’t flip backward. If there is a knob, then you should place your hand there. 
  • Now slowly move the planer across the board and strip the wood until you achieve your desired result. 
  • Be careful that the edge doesn’t dip down while you push it forward. 
  • If you are working with an old or a  reclined wood, then you need to adjust the blade’s depth. Sometimes this type of wood has a lot of twists and irregularities. As you need to correct all of them, a greater depth is necessary. 
  • If you are an experienced woodworker, you can make any decorations around the edges. However, newbie carpenters should avoid it for now. Once you have achieved an advanced level, you can try it out. 
  • After you are done planing the entire tabletop switch off the equipment. Beware, the blade won’t stop spinning instantly. So hold it firmly away from the planned tabletop until the blade stops spinning entirely. Then put it away in a safe place. 
  • Now furnish the tabletop as you like. You can varnish it, color it, wax it, stain, or apply other decorative ideas for attractiveness. 

Often Made Mistakes- Things you should avoid

  1. Working with a wrong posture. 
  2. Dull, rusty, or broken blades. 
  3. Not taking enough safety measures for himself and around the workplace. 
  4. Trying to plan on the wet wood. 
  5. Applying pressure on the wrong place of the electric planer. 

Things to be Mindful off 

Apart from those above-mentioned mistakes, which we discussed even before, newbies should be mindful of these two factors 

Issues with Cross Grain 

It is dangerous to plane the wood across the grain even with a strong and powerful blade. It will do some sort of damage to your planer. And frankly speaking, it won’t work either. 

Instead, you can angle the electric planer around 45 degrees to avoid serious harm to the equipment. The point is you should consider learning more about grain orientation and how to plan them before working with the severe grain issue. 

Slipping From Hand

An electric hand planer is a powerful tool. If you don’t grab them tightly, they will slip away from your hands. And the result? Well, it can be catastrophic. So you need to be extra careful about that. 

If the equipment is too powerful for you, then return to the old jank plane version. It works just about the same but slower. And even if it isn’t heavy for you, hold it in your hand and switch it on. Hold the machine like that for a couple of minutes. It will allow you to get used to it.

Conclusion

Reading our article on how to use an electric planer on a tabletop, you have gotten the basic idea of how the equipment works, and you can use it to make a tabletop. This equipment will save you a lot of time. And if you master its usages, your work will be three or four times more efficient.  The tips I have given you in that instance will surely serve that purpose. Hone your skills using those suggestions, and you will have a wonderful experience.

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Oliver is a professional interior designer and part-time content writer of Top Tools lab. He always researches different types of improvement tools.

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