How to Plane Wood with Electric Planer

If you’re a woodworking enthusiast, you know that planing is an essential part of the process. It’s the process of removing the rough surface of the wood to make it smooth and flat.

Traditionally, woodworkers would use a hand plane, but with the advent of technology, electric planers have become a popular alternative. In this article, I will share my knowledge and experience on how to plane wood with an electric planer.

Before we get started, it’s important to understand what an electric planer is. It’s a power tool that shaves and shapes wood like a hand plane, belt sander, and jointer all rolled into one.

It’s a versatile tool that can be used for leveling joists, making stubborn doors close easily, and for building projects in your workshop. In this article, we will focus on how to use an electric planer to plane wood.

Using an electric planer to plane wood is a quick and easy process. It saves time and effort compared to using a hand plane. However, it’s important to use the tool correctly to ensure that you get the best results.

In the next section, I will share step-by-step instructions on how to plane wood with an electric planer.

Understanding Electric Planers

Types of Electric Planers

Electric planers come in different types, each with its own unique features. The most common types of electric planers are hand-held planers, benchtop planers, and thickness planers.

Hand-held planers are portable and are perfect for small woodworking projects. Benchtop planers, on the other hand, are larger and more powerful, making them ideal for heavy-duty woodworking projects. Thickness planers are designed to plane rough lumber to a specific thickness, making them ideal for larger projects such as furniture making.

Parts and Functions

An electric planer consists of several parts, each with its own specific function. The following are the main parts of an electric planer:

  • Blades: The blades are the most important part of an electric planer. They are responsible for removing the wood from the surface of the board, creating a smooth and even surface.

  • Motor: The motor is responsible for powering the blades. A more powerful motor will be able to handle larger and tougher pieces of wood.

  • Depth Adjustment Knob: The depth adjustment knob allows you to adjust the depth of the cut. This is important when planing different types of wood.

  • Chip Ejection Port: The chip ejection port is responsible for ejecting the wood chips that are created during the planing process.

  • Base Plate: The base plate is the part of the planer that comes into contact with the wood. It needs to be flat and smooth to ensure an even plane.

Safety Measures When Using Electric Planers

Personal Protective Equipment

As with any power tool, electric planers require proper safety measures to be taken to avoid injury. Below are some basic safety measures to keep in mind when using an electric planer.

  • Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
  • Earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing from the loud noise of the planer.
  • Dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs from the wood dust created during planing.
  • Gloves to protect your hands from the sharp blades of the planer.

Working Environment

The working environment plays a crucial role in ensuring safety when using an electric planer. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that your working area is well-lit and free from clutter.
  • Make sure that the wood you are planing is properly secured to prevent it from moving around.
  • Keep your work area clean and tidy to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Ensure that there are no obstructions around the planer that could cause you to trip.

How to Plane Wood With Electric Planers

Preparation Steps

Before starting to plane wood with an electric planer, it is essential to take some preparation steps to ensure a smooth and efficient planing process. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Select the right wood: Choose the type of wood that is suitable for the project you are working on. Ensure that the wood is dry and free of any defects such as knots and cracks.
  • Mark the wood: Use a pencil to mark the areas of the wood that need to be planed. This will help you keep track of the areas that have been planed and those that still need to be done.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear protective gear such as eye goggles, earplugs, and a dust mask to protect yourself from the noise, dust, and debris generated during the planing process.
  • Adjust the depth of cut: Adjust the depth of cut on the electric planer to the desired thickness of the wood. This will ensure that you do not remove too much wood at once and cause damage to the wood.

Planing Process

Once you have completed the preparation steps, you are ready to start the planing process. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Secure the wood: Secure the wood to the workbench using clamps to prevent it from moving during the planing process.
  • Start the planer: Turn on the electric planer and wait for it to reach full speed before starting to plane the wood.
  • Begin planing: Place the electric planer at the edge of the wood and slowly push it forward. Use a steady and even pressure to ensure a smooth and consistent cut. Keep the planer level to avoid creating uneven surfaces.
  • Repeat the process: Continue planing the wood until you have removed the desired amount of material. Remember to move the planer in the same direction as the wood grain to avoid tear-out.
  • Inspect the wood: Once you have finished planing, inspect the wood to ensure that it is smooth and even. Sand any rough spots or edges to achieve a flawless finish.

Troubleshooting Common Issues


When using an electric planer, it is important to keep an eye on the temperature of the motor. Overheating is a common problem that can cause damage to the tool and even pose a safety hazard. If you notice that your planer is getting too hot, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage.

First, make sure that the blades are sharp and clean. Dull blades can cause the motor to work harder than it needs to, which can lead to overheating.

Additionally, make sure that the planer is not being overloaded with too much wood. If you are trying to take off too much material at once, the motor will have to work harder, which can cause it to overheat.

If you notice that your planer is still overheating after taking these steps, it may be time to take it in for professional maintenance. A technician can diagnose any underlying issues and make any necessary repairs.

Uneven Planing

Another common issue that can arise when using an electric planer is uneven planing. This can be caused by a number of factors, including improper blade alignment, uneven pressure on the wood, or an uneven table.

To prevent uneven planing, start by ensuring that the blades are properly aligned. You can do this by adjusting the blade height and angle until they are parallel to the table.

Additionally, make sure that the pressure on the wood is even across the entire surface. You can use infeed and outfeed tables to support the wood and prevent it from tipping.

Finally, check that the table is level and flat. If it is not, use shims or sandpaper to level it out. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your planer produces even, consistent results every time.

Maintenance and Care of Electric Planers

As someone who frequently uses an electric planer, I know that proper maintenance and care are essential for keeping the tool running smoothly and delivering top-notch results. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your electric planer and keep it in good working order.

Regular Cleaning

One of the most important things you can do to keep your electric planer in good condition is to clean it regularly. This means removing any sawdust or debris that has accumulated in the planer’s body or around the blades.

You can use a soft brush or a compressed air canister to remove the debris.

It’s also important to keep the blades clean and free of any debris that might cause them to dull or become damaged. To do this, you can wipe the blades with a soft cloth or use a blade cleaning solution.

Blade Replacement

Another important aspect of maintaining your electric planer is to replace the blades regularly.

Over time, the blades can become dull or damaged, which can affect the quality of your planing work.

You should replace the blades when you notice that they are no longer cutting as effectively as they used to.

To replace the blades, you’ll need to remove the old blades from the planer and install the new ones.

Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the correct replacement blades for your specific model of electric planer.

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