How to Use a Surface Planer | Woodworking



A Surface planer

is one of several tools that you’ll need in a shop if you’re going to mill
and square up rough lumber, but it also has a separate function which is just to reduce
the thickness of boards so you can use it as a thickness planer and also as a surfacer.
If you use it as a thickness planer it is pretty simple to operate. The basic way this
is setup is there is a set of blades in the middle of this housing and there are a couple
of rollers and so you pass the board in and it gets grabbed by the roller, goes under the
blades, comes out on the other roller and the blades are skimming off material as its
passing through. It can skim off up to an 16th or even an 8th of an inch, that’s pretty
aggressive at one pass. Normally what you’re doing is passing a board through multiple
times to skim off the little bits of material until you get down to the thickness that you
want. The way it works is there is a crank on the side which raises and lowers this entire
housing, that’s essentially changing where the blade height is. You need to setup that
up first when you’re working with a board. You have to know how thick a board you have.
You can measure it and set the height on this gauge here or you can measure it by feel which
is what I do. I actually put it in the machine and start lowering it and I’ll feel when it
starts to hit the rollers and other mechanisms underneath the housing.

When I hit the roller I will back off a little bit and then I know that I’m probably at the
surface of the wood at this point. From there I will go a half turn and I know I will be
taking off probably about a 16th of an inch. Now, there’s a couple of options for setting
controls on here. You can go between two types of finishes. One is called finishing cut and
one is called dimensioning. Essentially, switching between these two positions usually speeds
up or slows down the rollers so either you’re getting more cuts per inch or fewer cuts per
inch depending on the setting. More cuts per inch make a finer finish so you can use that
for a finish cut.

Another control that is pretty useful on this machine is a depth stop. You can use this
to set a depth you don’t want to go beyond. Lets say I have this board, its one and a
quarter inches, I only want to go down to an inch. It is very easy to go past an inch
sometimes if you’re not being careful with this wheel, what this does is it prevents
this wheel from turning once it gets down to one inch, you can’t even turn the wheel
anymore. That’s useful, if you’re not using that just put it down to some low dimension
that you’ll never get to and you’ll never be stopped.

Now one thing that is really important on surface planers is dust collection. These
machines make a huge amount of dust and this machine particularly ejects that dust at a
high velocity. So that machine next to us, the dust collector, has to be on when this
is on otherwise you get a big mess of dust in the shop. That’s it for the setup of this
machine. I’m going to run this board through to see how it works. One thing you’ll want
to do when you’re running a board through the planer is draw some lines on it just so
you can your progress. Sometimes the top surface of the board may have some hills or valleys
maybe cupped. One of the things you need to be aware of with this machine is that it only
works if you have one flat face already. What happens is it references off the bottom face
which is on this bed down here and it takes whatever it reads down there and does it to
the top face. So if you have a bow or twist in your board as this is passing through the
planer it is going to get pushed down by the roller and it’s just going to accentuate the
shape of whatever board you have. It’s not a magic box. It just doesn’t make a flat piece
of wood out of a twisted one. You need to actually have one flat faced before bringing
your wood over here. Once you do then you’re ready to go.

This machine is extremely loud and you will want to wear ear protection when using it.
Okay, that’s our finished product and I wanted to run this through to show you one other
thing about the planer which is something that happens a lot. It’s called snipe. I don’t
know if you can see this but there is a slight difference in height where the planer blades
have chunked out a little bit extra on these last couple of inches of the wood. What happens
is when passing the wood through there, the roller grabs it and actually pulls it up into
the blade. So at the beginning and at the end of the cuts, the roller does that, it
pulls it up into the blade. You can counteract that by lifting up on the piece of wood as
its going in and as long as it gets past the first roller and onto the blade then you can
let go. Same on the out feed side. You want to lift up as it’s coming out to make sure
while it’s exiting, it doesn’t get pulled up onto the blade. That’s it for the surface
planer, the other tool we have for milling is the jointer.

DEWALT DW735X 13″ Two-Speed Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X 13″ Two-Speed Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X 13″ Two-Speed Planer Package

DW735X 13″ Two-Speed Planer Package

Two-Speed Planer Package

Product Description
Includes 13-in Two-Speed Thickness Planer – DW735X, Dust Hose Adapter, Dust Ejection Chute, Extra Set of Knives, Infeed Table, Outfeed Table

Price: Too low to display

  • Powerful 15 AMP, 20,000 RPM motor (10,000 RPM cutterhead speed) handles larger cuts in wider materials with ease
  • Three knife cutter-head delivers 30% longer knife life and makes knife change faster and easier
  • Two speed gear box allows users to change feed speed to optimizing cuts per inch at 96 or 179 CPI
  • Fan-assisted chip ejection vacuums chips off of the cutter-head and exhausts them out of the machine
  • Includes infeed and outfeed tables and an extra set of knives









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What You Should Know About Fine Woodworking

What You Should Know About Fine Woodworking

Although fun and extremely rewarding, woodworking is very challenging. If you are a novice woodworker and wish to improve your woodworking skills, it is imperative that you take the time to educate yourself. Learn the ins and outs of woodworking to avoid common errors and dramatically improve your skills. This article is packed with great woodworking tips and advice, so read on to learn more.

If you will be re-coating an existing finish, be sure that the surface is clean and free of any wax or oils. Then, let it dry completely, and lightly scuff the surface with a 220-grit sandpaper so that the finish you are applying will have something to hold onto.

Before you start any woodworking project, get all of the tools you will need for the project ready. Always remember to bring a calculator and tape measure with you when you go to purchase your wood. Make sure you have any specialty tools you will need for your project available as well.

Remember the quote, “Measure twice, cut once.” When it comes to cutting wood, you always want to ensure you have the right measurements before you begin cutting. Otherwise, you will have to buy more wood, which will cost you a lot of money. You can avoid this dilemma by ensuring proper measurements.

Always remember the rule of measuring twice and cutting once. You are human, which means that mistakes are inevitable. However, you can prevent measurement mistakes from turning into cutting mistakes when you measure two or three times. That is going to spare you serious waste, not just in terms of wasted wood, but also money and time.

Don’t lose touch with others. Woodworking shops are generally personal spaces without Internet. Still, you may get stuck on some tricky projects. Look for other woodworkers and ask them questions. Many times others have experienced the same problem as you.

Recycle wood when you can. You can also look for good wood to reuse from establishments that have a lot of scraps, like construction or flooring companies. You not just saving a lot of trees when you use recycled wood in your projects. You are also saving some cash.

Make woodworking a family affair. Your kids can really have a great time with woodworking too. In fact it can be an amazing family bonding experience. Plus, you’re giving them skills that they can use for decades to come for their own home improvement. It’s not just the boys. Your little girls, too, can have a great time with it.

Give yourself ample time for a woodworking project. A project may look simple on paper, but in reality it can be multiple hours or even multiple days. Plan ahead to make sure that you are set in terms of the necessary time. If a project stretches on for weeks because of poor planning, it may end up never getting done.

Take a class for wood working at your local community college or community center. You are sure to learn a lot from the class even if you have been working with wood for a while. It is also a great way to meet people with similar interests. You might make a few new friends, as well.

In terms of woodworking tools, you can never get enough clamps. Have a wide variety available to you. You’ll need them for holding things in place during cutting, holding together two pieces of wood when gluing, and much more. This is the one type of tool that you’ll need for nearly every project.

Always allow yourself enough time to do the job properly. If you rush, you will find that your quality of work suffers and that what you end up with isn’t what you expected. Instead, estimate how long it will take and then add another week, just in case problems crop up.


Sometimes a little bit of glue is better than a clamp. Every woodworking shop should have a hot glue gun. Hot glue will hold small pieces better than any clamp ever could, if you could even maneuver one in place. When you are done, just gently pry loose with a putty knife.

Ensure that you are wearing the right protection for your ears. The machines used in woodworking create lots of noise. Continued exposure to the noise can cause some hearing loss. You can get disposable ear plugs or invest in a high quality pair of headphones. Regardless of your decision, make certain to always use your protection while operating machines.

If you are just starting out in woodworking, consider using kits. All the wood has been pre-cut for you in these kits and it is your task to simply put them together. This is a good way to begin learning about woodworking. Practicing in this way is a good way to prevent waste resulting from newbie errors.

Hold your paintbrush at at 75 degree angle when painting. After you have applied the paint to the woodworking project, use gentle strokes to help eliminate any brush lines. If your paint does develop brush strokes a little sanding can remove them. Simply use a 400 grit sandpaper and gently buff the entire piece.

If you do woodworking as a hobby, don’t spend all your free time or days off on it. Get some rest once in a while and enjoy the relationships in your life. If you drive yourself too hard, you are going to make mistakes. This can produce results less than your best, or lead to accidents.

Keep a variety of sandpaper grits on hand for all of your woodworking projects. Lower grit sandpaper, such as 60 grit sandpaper, is use for removing a lot of material from a piece of wood or for buffing out scratches and blemishes. The finer grit sandpaper with higher numbers is used for your final sandings.

As discussed earlier in the opening paragraph of this article, woodworking is as difficult to master as it is rewarding. To become a great wood worker, you must learn as much about woodworking as possible and make an effort to constantly educate yourself. Apply the tips and advice from this article to get started on your way to becoming an expert woodworker.

Set of 4 24" Nylon Ratchet Bar Clamp Spreader Heavy Duty Woodworking Carpenter
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