How to use a planer
On impulse, I treated myself to a Bosch Planer. It was on special offer at Builders Warehouse and thought it would be a nice addition to my growing power tool collection. When I finally took it out of the box a couple of months later, it was to discover that this is actually an excellent tool to own.
A planer has a rotating cutting blade that shaves off layers of timber in manually set increments. My Bosch PHO-1 planer has a dial that sets from 0 to 1,5 cutting depth. Using this dial allows you to even out uneven boards and shave off up to 1,5mm of timber in one go, rather than wasting time sanding over and over.
The cutting blade is located on the rotating barrel. It is important to keep this dry at all times, as it will rust and blunt if not looked after. A regular spray with WD-40 will protect the blade from moisture. You also have to watch out for nails, etc., in the timber, as these will damage the blade.
Not only does a planer shave off excess timber and even out a surface, it can also be used to bevel edges if held at an angle to the board (see top image). You can also use a planer to smooth rough timber, fit doors and windows. I have included a video below to guide you through the steps.
How to use a planer:
1. Position the planer so that the blade is away from the edge of the surface to be planed. Switch on by pressing the safety switch and on-off trigger. You don't have to continue holding the safety switch once the planer is powered.
2. Slowly guide the planer over the surface at a constant pace. It isn't necessary to push hard - simply guide from one end to the other.
3. Guide the planer so that it extends past the surface being planed.
4. When finished, switch off and rest it with the front on an offcut so the blade can wind down freely.
Adjust cutting depth
To change the depth, rotate the adjustment dial to raise or lower the front base plate. Use a lower setting for fine planing and a higher setting to shave off more.
Shave off uneven surfaces
Start at 0mm and increase the dial setting as you run over uneven areas, decreasing again to 0 once level.
Wear safety goggles and a dust mask when planing.
Don’t put a planer down while the blade drum is rotating.