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How to Use a Planer Thicknesser

October 24, 2018 2 min read

A planer thicknesser is a valuable addition to your range of tools. Many woodworkers wonder whether a standalone thicknesser would be a viable alternative, but in practice, a planer thicknesser is worth the investment.

What does a planer Thicknesser do?

Put simply, it planes and smooths timber to an exact size. This is great if you’ve decided to save money by working with rough sawn timber, and essential for jobs which require joints to be at 90°. Even if pre-planed wood has been chosen, it can often be warped. A planer thicknesser will rectify any irregularities.

A planer thicknesser gives a higher level of accuracy, and using the machine means it is possible to create adjacent 90° sides. A standalone thicknesser can only work on opposite sides, so the final result will only ever be a parallelogram.

How to use: a step-by-step guide to set up:

Be sure the machine is disconnected before carrying out any maintenance

1. Clean down. Remove all the protective grease on cast iron parts using a proprietary cleaner.
2. Apply specially formulated wax to any areas where wood will pass. This will prevent rust, and allow the wood to pass easily.
3. Set the fence to 90° using a set square. If necessary, adjustment can be found at the back of the fence assembly.
4. Using a precision ruler, check the fence is parallel to the table.
5. Set the planer knives, jig and cutter block according to your machine specifications. This can feel like a daunting task, but it’s essential to getting good results.

It’s a good idea to draw up a plan for daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance to ensure your machine runs as well as possible.

Essential Safety Tips

1. Wear safety glasses and ear protection.
2. Ensure cutter head guards are in place before operation.
3. Ensure the lumber is a suitable thickness, length and width for planing. This will vary from machine to machine.
4. If wood is thicker at one end than the other, plane by inserting the thicker end first.
5. Ensure there is adequate space for wood to be fed out. Mark off space at the out-feed.
6. Check wood for foreign objects.
7. Do not plane wood that has any kind of finish, in case of toxic dust.
8. Ensure the machine is turned off and the feeder rolls, cutter heads etc. are secure before carrying out any maintenance.