Many adjectives come to mind when describing a tree trunk – gnarly, rough, splintered, thick, and rough-hewn. But have you ever wondered how wood furnishings turn out to have a smooth finish? A seasoned artisan or a novice wood maker would use a tool such as a wen planer on hand to make work easier.
There are some projects in which simple sanding will not suffice. A planer is meant for perfect shaping and smoothing of wood products, both big and small. It levels the surface of your work by shaving thin layers, making it flat and splinter-less. Having a plane at work or home is essential for any wood-making enthusiast. And there are a lot of planes, too.
There are several types of hand planes (such as a jack and a smoothing plane) that are mostly used for manual planning. You can feed your wood through mechanical surface planers (or like a benchtop thickness planer) to control and guide it to the appropriate thickness. Regardless of the type, all planers need care and maintenance before and after use for a prolonged life span. Here are some pointers to ensure that your wen planer lasts you more than your lifetime.
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Use a plane for a better and smoother finish
A plane makes your woodwork look smooth and flawless. For instance, a benchtop thickness planer makes between 18,000 to 25,000 cuts per minute. These rapid cuts are the reasons why you need to use it, especially for significantly bigger wood projects, such as tables, bed frames, and chairs. It would be best to consider the blades, cutter head, and knives that come with it. You should also be wary of the power if it can handle deep cuts in hardwood, such as oak or maple wood.
Gauges are also necessary to know when you need to stop your machine—which you will need whenever there is an unexpected tear-out or a deeper nick on the wooden surface. You can check if it has preset stops to prevent extremely thin planing, especially when you are targeting a particular thickness for your board. A dust chute or vacuum is also helpful for wood-chip debris and collection of burr (also known as wooden fuzz).
Be safe while planing
Do not wear any metal accessories or jewelry when using a plane. Roll up your sleeves and ensure that your clothing is not loose. Use safety glasses and ear mufflers for your protection. It is best to plane one board or plank at a time. Do plane across the grain and not against it. Check for knots and other wood defects before planing wood because these can jam your planer. Remove metallic objects, such as screws and nails, before use. Never move your wood once you start and ensure that your machine is in locked mode whenever it is not in use.
Tune-up your planer
A plane in top condition is necessary for the success of any project. It may seem low maintenance. But regardless of the type, it still needs some cleaning after every use. Check the surface of your planer for any warped or dented spots by assessing length and width. Do a diagonal inspection as well. The top of the machine (where the wood makes contact) needs to be clean. Dust off both big and small wood chips if you see any.
Liquid residue, such as paint, oil, and lubricants should be wiped clean off the outside since it may ultimately damage and leave your metal parts rusty. You can use mineral spirits for cleaning both the surface of the table and your blades. And a thin but well-distributed coat of wax is necessary for smoother gliding of your boards across the cutters. You can also use compressed air (think of it as a leaf blower of sorts) to blow the unnecessary debris away from all surfaces and crevices of your machine. Remember to clean the guideposts and elevation screws as well with a brass-bristle brush or air whenever needed. And for effortless movement, always lubricate the threads with dry paraffin wax.
The motor brushes of a planer are made out of carbon, so it does not last forever. You need to check them every one hundred hours for eventual wear and tear. Have a look-see earlier than that when you are passing boards through them for more than eight hours per day. These need replacing when the carbon is already short by one-fourth of an inch.
Woodworking is a serious business. So a craftsman needs his tools to master the trade. Ensure the success of projects by getting one of the essential implements for your crafting needs.