How to use an electric hand planer

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Do you desire to be a modern wood worker? Then an electric hand planer is the tool for you. For many years, we have known a hand planer as the carpenter’s main tool. 

Electric planers were introduced recently. They do the same work as hand planers just that they are driven by a motor.

A typical hand planer has a width of 3-¼ inches with a 5 amp motor operating at a speed of 15, 000 rpm. The electric hand planers are best suited for carpentry, building type construction and renovation as opposed to fine woodworking.

Are you stuck on how to use an electric hand planer?

Don’t fret…..

Here is the ultimate guideline for you to use a electric hand planer in various purpose:

Safety Tips When Using An Electric Hand Planer

When you using an electric hand planer you must follow some safety rules to keep safe yourself form any types of major or minor hazard. Safety guides are following to prevent hazard:

  • Put on safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from flying shavings
  • Since some woods contain dangerous chemicals, look for a good quality dust mask to avoid inhaling the chemical during operation
  • Ensure that the tool is disconnected from power before changing the blades
  • Tighten the blade-locking screws
  • Support the material you are working on in a firm and comfortable position
  • Always use two hands when operating a planer
  • Do not put the planer down if the blades are still running
  • Ensure that the working area is smooth and that there are no bumps when operating to ensure smooth planing from end to end

How to use an electric hand planer

The first step is balancing your body. To ensure this, stand with your feet apart. Ensure the position in which you stand is very comfortable with you and makes it convenient for you to pass the planer through the work-piece.

The final effect displayed on your work piece solely depends on the speed with which you push your planer and the cutting depth you choose for the tool.

Ensure that you make the necessary settings before making a pass. These settings depend on your desired outcome and the type of wood you are working on.

For example, if you desire to hog off dimensional lumber, then adjusting your depth to ⅛ inches will be suitable. For better and smoother finish on hardwood, then setting it up to 1/64 or 1/32 inches can give the desired result.

Before you start your work, ensure that the blades are sharp enough. Most hand planers are equipped with re-sharpenable blades which can be re-sharpened using whetstone.

Most planers are also equipped with a kickstand to protect the blade. Ensure that it is well elevated and positioned before you make a single pass.

Once the necessary adjustments are made, you can go ahead and make a pass on your work piece.This planer basically operates on a sole plate or a shoe. Start by positioning the electric hand planer’s front shoe flat on the wood surface.

When doing this, ensure that the blades do not come into direct contact with the wood as they may damage the wood by causing unnecessary cuts.

In the next stop, switch on the motor and keep it in running mode until maximum speed is attained. Once you achieve the full speed, move the planer steadily until it comes into contact with the wood and slowly push it forward.

Most electric hand planers are manufactured with a handle that makes it comfortable to achieve a firm grip.

Therefore, as you push the tool into the workpiece, keep the initial pressure on the front grip. As the tool’s handle and the adjustment knob also come into contact with the workpiece keep the balance of the hand as well as the pressure applied by the hand.

There is a situation known as snipe which entails making an uneven cut on the wood. To avoid this, don’t put a lot of pressure at e end of a pass. In this step, it is where you push the planer over the workpiece in order to make a single pass.

There is a situation known as snipe which entails making an uneven cut on the wood. To avoid this, don’t put a lot of pressure at e end of a pass. In this step, it is where you push the planer over the workpiece in order to make a single pass.

Do you desire to plane your door? Then follow the procedure below:

Start by marking the areas which need to be planed. You can do this using a pencil. This will help you keep a track of the area you have planed and the ones you haven’t during your work.

Lay the door on a firm surface and secure it with straps or clamps to ensure that it doesn’t move when you are working on it. Use painter’s tape to secure the area around the surface you are planing for getting damaged by the planer.

door planing procedure

Pick your electric hand planer and ensure that it is adjusted to the right angle. This is achieved by adjusting the wheel behind the handle of your plane.

Use a scrap wood to check if the adjusted angle will help scratch off enough material. If it works well on the extra piece of wood, then be sure that it will work well on your door. Now you can start planing. Ensure that you run the planer smoothly on your piece of work.

Do not press the planer hard on the work piece or exert so much pressure on it as this may make you cut off unnecessary parts. To create smooth cuts, run the planer in the direction of wood grain.

Continuously check if the door fits to its frame as you plane in order to avoid taking off to much wood. When you have achieved your desired result, use a sandpaper to smoothen the parts which may have been roughly planed. 

Finally, paint the planed parts to make your door achieve the same desired appearance.

How to use a power hand planer on wide boards?

How to use a power hand planer on wide boards

Set up the board- this is the first step to set it up correctly. This is achieved by getting a flat surface larger than the board making sure that it is fully supported.

In case the board is cupped, set it in a way that it is convex. Ensure that all the four edges of the board are marked. This will help you ensure evenness from one end to another.

Power plane the board- this step involves planing the board according to the marks you made. In order to set your board to a flat surface as you require, use winding sticks. It is advisable that you flatten the wider board in steps as it may change shape as it loses tension.

Let the board settle- the board should be left to settle for a day or two in order to allow it to shape fully.

Sand it down- this is the last step. You can use a wide-belt sanding machine in order to achieve a nice finishing for the work piece.

How to use an electric planer on a table top?

  • Ensure the wood you are using is dry and then check it thoroughly for any nails.
  • Make sure that the table is well clamped to prevent it from moving around when working on it making sure there is adequate space for you to work from
  • Apply pressure on the front and the heel of the plane before you start planing down the wood. When you start planing, check with a straight edge periodically.
  • Place the planer at the table’s edge and start planing off your work piece in small amounts. Continue planing the table until you have acquired your desired finish. You can adjust your blades to incorporate unique patterns.
  • Once you are done with planing, switch off the planer and place it safely after ensuring that the blades are not running
  • Finally, you can varnish, paint, or wax your tabletop


Electric hand planers save on time used to cut on wooden surfaces and they can be used for a wide variety of purposes. They can hog off a huge amount of wood within a short duration and ensure a smooth finish on your piece.

With the guidelines and safety measures i have highlighted above, you can comfortably plane your own wood piece without need for professional assistance. 

This is a locally available tool which is cost effective and has its durability guaranteed. If you get one for yourself, you won’t be disappointed as its performance is amazing.


This is Abraham. Professional power tools mechanic with years of experience. Writing is my hobby. So I decide to share my experience with people by writing about all types of power tools review and buyers guide that I'm using.

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