What is the primary function of a planer?
A planer is designed to thickness material.
How do we rate planers?
Planers are rated by: POWER, DEPTH OF CUT and BLADE TYPE.
POWER: The power of a planer is associated with the motor size and is rated in watts. The higher the wattage the more powerful the planer is, most planers range from 550w to 900w.
DEPTH OF CUT: This relates to the amount of material you will remove with each pass of the planer over the material, depending on the planer this can be as little as 0.5mm to as much as 4mm. For a smoother finish it is always best to remove a small amount on each pass until you achieve the required thickness.
To achieve a smooth finish always plane with the grain of the timber.
BLADE TYPE: The two main blade types are solid HSS blades that can be sharpened or the most common tungsten carbide reversible sliver blades. The beauty of the tungsten blades are if one side of them gets dull you just turn them to the other side and keep working. The blades are fixed to the spinning "drum" of the planer and they are normally in sets of two. A new addition to this is the GMC 3 bladed planer, with the extra blade you get an even smoother finish and less scalloping at the end of your work.
WHO USES PLANERS?
Tradesmen, DIY'ers, Renovators, Boat builders, Manufacturers.
As discussed earlier the planer has a drum that rotates causing the blades to trim the material, as well as this other components are.
Motor – the motor drives the drum via a belt
Switch – the switch on a planer is a "lock off" switch this is designed with safety in mind, to operate the planer you must first depress the lock off button on the side of the planer and then depress the switch.
Front & rear shoes – the shoes or baseplate of a planer are constructed so the rear shoe is fixed and the front shoe moves up and down. The front shoe is adjusted by rotating the depth of cut adjustment knob on the front of the planer.
Chip Ejection – as planers take away material it then needs to be ejected from the machine this is done via a chip ejection chute, these can be located on either side of the planer and some planers have chip ejection that can vary from either side.
Dust collection – a dust bag can be fitted to a planer to keep the work area clean, the down side to using a bag is it fills very quickly. He best way to keep the work area clean is to attach a dust extraction unit to your planer.
When using a planer keep you hands away from the moving blade.
If you have finished your pass with the planer don't place your planer down on the workpiece with the blades still running.
Always start the planer with the blades away from the workpiece.