How to plane boards wider than the electric planer

How I thickness boards wider than my homemade thickness planer

Many of you watched my video on how I made my homemade thicknesser, with an electric hand planer, and some asked me how to plane and thickness a board that is wider than the hand planer blades.

The truth is that I never needed to plane or thickness such wide boards, but I have some idea on how I can do it, so I think it might be an interesting practice to try. I think that getting the board perfect is going to be impossible, but it might be useful for a project where you don’t need a lot of precision when thicknessing the boards, where you are basically just looking for smooth boards. So in this post we are going to see how to thickness planks wider than the blades of the electric planer.

To plane and thickness a board that is wider than the planer blades I will run the board twice through the home thicknesser. The first time with one edge of the board on the tabletop, and the second time with the other edge on the tabletop. And both times with the same face of the board against the planer blades.

Thicknessing with the homemade thickness planer

After the first pass through the thicknesser I got the step I was expecting all along the wood. I make a pencil mark on the end to know in witch place the step was, and make a second pass with the other edge of the board against my table top and the same face against the blades. I do not move the side fence, I leave it exactly as it was when I made the first pass.

After the second pass I still have some small marks in the area of the step made by the planer blades in the first pass. In addition, I also have some marks at the height at which the planer blades reached on this second pass.

I push the board hard against the side fence

I guess that that’s to be expected from this technique and a homemade thicknesser, but I still decided to go back and make a couple of passes, making sure to keep the board against the side fence while planing.

I was almost able to remove the marks made by the blades

The result this time was not perfect either, even though I was almost able to remove the marks made by the thicknesser blades. But I think that with some sanding this board will look pretty good.

But the truth is that the board is now about half a millimeter thinner in the center than at the ends. It’s not much but it can be a problem in some projects where we need precision. It seems to me that I will have to take a look at the planer and the fence to make sure they are perfectly aligned without any deviations.

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