How to make a thickness planer out of a hand planer

How to make a thickness planer

I am surprised with this small electric hand planer. I told you when I made the homemade jointer that I had made peace with it now that I can use it as a jointer. But now that I can use it as a thickness planer … well, now I love it (nearly) as much as I love my routers. I’ve been sometime thinking where to “find” 300€ to buy a cheap planer, but with this mounting I can wait to buy one. With this homemade jointer I will save some money, because I can buy cheap wood in a local sawmill instead of buying more expensive wood, jointed (or even planed if I need it) in a DIY centre. In addition, because we can give our wood the right dimensions and a nice surface, we will save a lot of sanding time.

In the next video you can see how I made this do it yourself thickness planer.

Two strips: before and after planing

To make this homemade thickness planer we need to attach our electric hand planer to the table. We can do this the way I did when I made my homemade jointer. And we need some kind of sliding fence, too.

The idea is to put our boards between the electric hand planer and the sliding fence. Because we can easily reduce the width between the fence and the planer, we can give our boards the right dimensions after we pass the wood three or four times between them.

You can think we could do this with our jointer, but we won´t get parallel faces with the jointer. Because the blades push the board against the fence, the face in the side of the blades will be parallel to the face in the side of the fence. But we must make sure that the base of our electric hand planer is at a 90 degrees angle with the table. So, take your time, adjust the mounting and make sure that you get a perfect 90 degrees angle.

The workpiece between the planer and the sliding fence

Now, I must take into account that, what the scale in my planer says it is not the thickness that it cuts. I think in my case it only cuts a halve of what the scale says. Anyway, the trick is don´t cut too much, it is better if you cut less than needed, then you make a fine adjustment and then you make the final cut.

One more thing. I strongly recommend to connect the vacuum cleaner. This electric tool doesn’t generate a lot of sawdust, but it generates lots of shavings. If you don´t use the vacuum cleaner, they won´t get out of the tool. The shavings stay between the board and the blades, causing a lot of pressure, so it is difficult to push the board. When planning by hand without a vacuum cleaner connected to it, you can feel a slight bouncing and the final result is a slightly wavy surface in the face of the board.

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