How to Use a Corded Hand Planer

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A corded hand planer operates just like a regular hand planer only that a motor powers it. It rides on a soleplate and has blades mounted on the cutter head spinning at 20,000 rpm. It is this speed that facilitates the fast removal of wood, usually equal to the difference between the rear and the front shoes.

Modern woodworkers prefer corded hand planers to traditional versions as they save time and perform a range of tasks, including edge-smoothing, chamfering handrails, and leveling framing lumber.

​Also, skilled woodworkers use electric hand planers for finessing jobs like scribing cabinets, beveling door edges, and shaping wood trims. Here’s a step by step guide to help beginners use this versatile tool.

How a Corded Planer Works

Its front handgrip also functions as the depth adjustment gauge. It has built-in scale features that allow the gauge to turn back and forth to move the planer’s shoe up and down. You can remove little or plenty of wood shavings depending on the set depth. Also, the way you hold the planer determines its effectiveness.

How to Use the Planer

Balance Your Body

Balance your body before using the planer. To do this stand with your feet apart ensuring the position in which you stand is comfortable and makes it easy to pass the planer through the workpiece.

Inspect the Blades for Sharpness

Ensure the blades are sufficiently sharp. If not, use a whetstone to sharpen them. Electric hand planers come with re-sharpenable blades, so you want to don’t need to replace it if it is blunt. Also, ensure the kickstand is elevated and well-positioned before making a single pass.

However, if you are using planers that use disposable mini blades, you may need to replace the blades. Blades used on such planers grow dull after extended use creating smoke or fine powder when planning. The motor also gets overworked, sometimes breaking down. Here are tips to guide you when replacing the blade:

  • Unplug the planer from the power source
  • Change the blade with the new one. It ensures quality cuts and maintains the cutter head balance
  • Ensure the blade is mounted correctly. Blades that have not been appropriately mounted cause the head to vibrate
Adjust the Blade Depth

Set the appropriate depth for the project. If you are working on dimensional lumber, then a thickness of 1/8 inch is ideal. However, if making finishes on the hardwood, a depth of 1/32 or 1/64 should deliver the best results.

Planing the Surface
  • Start by resting the front shoe of the plane on the wood surface and ensure the blade does not touch the surface
  • Switch on the tool and allow the motor to attain a full speed
  • Bring the plane into contact with the wood surface pushing it forward steadily
  • Maintain the same pressure on the front grip of the planer as it shaves off the wood
  • Be sure to balance the tension between the front knob and the tool handle as both planer soles come into contact with the wooden surface
  • Apply more pressure on the rear handle as you push the tool of the workpiece

Applications of a Hand Planer


A corded hand planer comes in handy for remodeling projects. You can use it to level floor joists. Mark the joist irregularities using a straightedge and set up a stable work platform. Then, shave off the low or high spots until the joists are flat. You can use an adjustable chip deflector to direct the chippings away from your face.

Safety Tips:

  • Wear safety goggles
  • If working above your head, place the planks between two ladders aligned to the direction you are making the cuts
  • Protect your working surface and blades by setting the front shoe upon the woodblock
​Planing Post Corners

Corded hand planers are great for planning post corners as they help shape deck post edges fast. Center the V-notch in front of the shoe at the corner of the workpiece, and make a long, continuous pass. Then, make several smooth passes until you have reached the desired depth.

​Planning a Door
  • Begin by marking the areas that need planning using a pencil
  • It helps keep identify the area you have planes and those you have not
  • Lay the door on a stable surface and secure it with clamps
  • Then, adjust the planer to a suitable angle and start planning
  • Paint the planed areas to achieve the desired appearance

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